Steel exports to remain low due to rising domestic demand

Mumbai, Mar 3 (Agency) Steel exports from India are likely to remain low over the balance of fourth quarter (4Q FY21) due to continuing strong domestic demand and robust realisations, India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) said on Wednesday. Finished steel exports in January totalled 0.58 million tonnes, down 6 per cent month-on-month and 16 per cent year-on-year with producers focusing on domestic sales. During the lockdown period, export volumes were at 8.84 million tonnes, up 23 per cent year-on-year. Conversely, finished steel imports were higher by 2 per cent month-on-month and 8.3 per cent year-on-year at 0.52 million tonnes in January.

“The reduction in import duties to 7.5 per cent from 10 to 12.5 per cent earlier on all semi- and finished-alloy and non-alloy steel products should have a stabilising impact on domestic supplies and steel prices in the near term,” said Ind-Ra in its latest credit digest. India’s finished steel imports over April 2020 to January 2021 were at 3.79 million tonnes, 37 per cent lower year-on-year due to Covid-19 led disruptions. “However, there is unlikely to be any spurt in imports due to domestic prices being at a discount to Chinese prices and China having limited steel surplus,” said Ind-Ra.

China’s crude steel output in January is estimated to be at 90.2 million tonnes, about 1.15 per cent lower month on month but still largely on par with 2020 levels. But India’s crude steel output in January was at 10 million tonnes, about 2 per cent higher month-on-month and 7 per cent year-on- year.