Indian finished steel exports declined by 19 per cent in May to 0.69 million tonnes (mt) over April while it dropped 12 per cent on a year-on-year basis (May 2022), as per provisional data of the Steel Ministry, accessed by businessline.

The decline is indicative of continued global recessionary pressures impacting demand and stress on price from competing countries like China.

Exports in April were 0.86 mt. In May 2022, it was 0.8 mt.

For the first two months of this fiscal — April and May, exports were to the tune of 1.6 mt – almost at same levels as the year-ago-period.

Finished steel exports include alloyed steel, non-alloyed offerings and stainless steel.

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The Ministry’s provisional data reveal that for May, the key export offering of non–alloyed steels saw a 14 per cent decline YoY and 19 per cent drop sequentially (over April) to 0.62 mt.

In the alloyed and stainless steel category, there were 0.07 mt of May, a 2 per cent rise YoY, and a 21 per cent drop over April numbers.

Export markets under pressure

As per a trade source, export markets continued to be under pressure. Competition also increased significantly for Indian mills as Chinese players dropped price of the benchmark hot rolled coil March-end onwards.

For instance, Chinese HRC export offers were at around $695 / tonne (free on board) on March 21, and dropped 24 per cent to $530 / tonne as on May 30, as per price data maintained by market research firm, SteelMint.

SteelMint’s HRC export index also dropped to $570 / tonne east coast India as on May 30, on a weekly basis. This is nearly the same price that mills were offering to export at in December 2022.

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India, however, remained a net exporter of steel for May despite an increase in imports, the Ministry report showed.

Imports rise in May

In May, imports saw an over 17 per cent rise, YoY, to 0.47 mt, but remained at par with April numbers.

For the first two months of the fiscal, imports were to the tune of 0.92 mt, up 27 per cent YoY. Shipments coming in for the same period last year were 0.72 mt.

Non-alloyed and stainless steel imports remained almost at the same levels as April at 0.29 mt and 0.17 mt, respectively. On a YoY basis, non-alloyed steel imports rose 40 per cent whereas the stainless steel shipments coming in dropped around 8 per cent.