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India turns net importer of steel again in October

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India turned into a net steel importer again in October — for the second time this year — exports slowed sharply during the month as cheaper downstream products, including cold-rolled and coated products, surged.

Steel imports totaled 593,000 tonnes in October, outpacing exports by 233,000 tonnes. Exports he 3,60,000 tons, data are available at the Ministry of Steel, business line show.

Trade sources said imports in October were the highest in two years.

It was the second time in four months that imports exceeded exports. India became a net importer of steel in July for the first time since January 2021.

Imports of unalloyed steel increased 69% year-on-year to 364,000 tonnes in October. Meanwhile, imports of alloy steel and stainless steel increased by 41% year-on-year to 2,30,000 tons.

import up

Imports in October 2022 are 57% higher than the same period last year and 19% higher than September 2022.

Sources say global prices are cheaper than domestic prices. International prices have fallen to INR 50,000 per ton compared to benchmark prices for hot rolled coils in India which have remained at INR 55,000-57,000 per ton. The latter is therefore more attractive to downstream sectors.

“Given that India is the only country in the world with increased demand for steel at the domestic level, international players will look to offer lower-priced products,” said a factory official. .

Sesagiri Rao, joint MD and group CFO of JSW Steel, the country’s largest steel maker, flagged some of these concerns on a recent analyst conference call. “But imports are up, and that’s a concern. If you look quarter by quarter, they’re up 23% (see previous figures), while exports are down at the same time,” he said.

Imports for the April-October period were 3.15 million tonnes, up 14% year-on-year. However, seven-month exports he continued to outpace imports with 3.9 million tonnes.

support?

Trade sources say most of these imports are arrivals that were probably booked two to three months in advance. Some of them are also made in Russia and are now starting to appear on the market.

However, from a price point of view, sources say no further decline is expected at current international prices. “Maybe this quarter (October to he December) will stabilize,” Jayant Acharya, his CFO of JSW Steel, said on a conference call with analysts. “We don’t think there are too many imports because the international market has very limited opportunities for low prices.

He said international prices are between $620 and $650 and domestic prices are “not far away” as the rupee is declining. “When you bring into the country a country that imposes import tariffs, I think the domestic price is set appropriately,” he explained.

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