Russia has displaced Taiwan to be amongst the top four importers of steel to India for the April – December 2022 period.

Shipments, from Russia increased nearly 500 per cent in these nine months, year-on-year (YoY), to 0.26 million tonnes (mt). Imports in year-ago-period were 0.043 mt, a Steel Ministry report said. The country has also seen the highest increase percentage-wise.

Russian shipments coming in are valued at ₹2,250 crore.

Taiwan, which had for the last two years (April – December of 2021 and 2020) reported imports of 0.15 mt and 0.12 mt, saw exports at 0.13 mt for the current 9MFY23 (valued at ₹1,404 crore).

“Distress selling by steel mills in Russia saw large bookings by Indian traders. At one point, imported steel prices were lower than offerings in the domestic market. Naturally it lead to increase in imports,” a Ministry official told businessline.

Large importers

Ministry data shows Korea as the largest importer, accounting for 39 per cent of the total at 1.7 mt, a rise of 16 per cent YoY and valued at ₹14,404 crore.

China saw shipments go by 73 per cent to 1.08 mt (0.63 mt) at ₹12,929 crore.

Imports from Japan increased 9 per cent to 0.57 mt (0.52 mt), valued at ₹7,058 crore.

Indonesia, which is the fifth largest importer to India, saw shipments fall to 0.14 mt, down 7 per cent YoY. Shipments valued at ₹3,161 crore.

Consistent increase

Cheaper offerings saw India’s finished steel imports jump 27 per cent YoY, to 4.04 mt, a trend domestic steel-makers dubbed as “worrying.” India was also a net importer of steel (imports exceeding exports) for October–December (Q3 FY23).

In value terms, imports were at ₹48,944 crore ($6,136 million) versus exports at ₹40,320 crore ($5,055 million); with the trade deficit being ₹8,624 crore.

Ministry data show shipments coming in went up consistently from April onwards, except in July and August, when they remained constant at 0.44 mt. The highest shipments were in December, at 0.65 mt.

“Volume-wise, HR Coil/Strip (1.45 mt) was the item most imported (33 per cent share in total finished steel),” the report mentioned.