India turned net importer of steel for Q3FY23 (Oct–Dec), with imports outstripping exports by 7,06,000 tonnes. This is the first quarter in over two years in which India has turned net importer.
For Q3FY23, steel imports were pegged at 18,46,000 tonnes against 11,40,000 tonnes of exports, a report of the Union Steel Ministry, accessed by businessline, revealed. Imports at 6,53,000 tonnes for December was substantially higher than exports, that stood at 4,42,000 tonnes. .
Imports in November and October were 6,00,0000 tonnes and 5,93,000 tonnes while exports during these months were 338,000 tonnes and 360,000 tonnes, respectively.
Discounted price, recessionary pressures
Increased imports from Russia at a lower cost of nearly 20 per cent by some trades, and a drop in international steel prices at levels lower than domestic prices —by some $40 / tonne— made shipments coming into the country lucrative.
On the other hand, exports took a hit following global recessionary pressures and poor order for Indian mills (since their offerings were costlier than competing offers from China, Vietnam, Japan , Korea and elsewhere).
“India remained a net importer of steel for the third consecutive month in December as lower shipments following the onset of a 15 per cent export duty on steel products in mid-May caused export volumes to slump. Global slowdown in metals cycle from July to September onwards and higher domestic pricing are partly the reasons,” said Naveen Mathur, Director, Commodities and Currencies, Anand Rathi Share and Stock Brokers Ltd. .
“But Indian mills are expected to accelerate exports following the removal of export duties in mid-November. Improving demand and rising prices in global steel markets are expected to increase Indian export volumes in H1 2023,” he added.
With international prices new witnessing some firming up, it is expected that imports will see moderation now.
According to the ministry report, December steel imports were 9 per cent higher than November; and up 65.3 per cent higher on a y-o-y basis.
On the other hand, for the nine month period from April to December, imports increased 27 per cent and stood at 44,04,000 tonnes (against 3458,000 tonnes in 9MFY22).
India, incidentally, still remains a net exporter for nine months of FY23.
For December, non-alloyed steel imports rose 46 per cent y-o-y to 3,63,000 tonnes (2,49,000 tonnes) while alloyed and stainless steel imports nearly doubled to 2,90,000 tonnes (1,46,000 tonnes).
On a sequential basis, non-alloyed steel imports dropped 7 per cent (December vs November); while alloyed and stainless steel shipments coming-in rose 38 per cent.