New Delhi, February 8
Indian steel exports witnessed improved sentiments in January, two months after export duty was waived. Exports rose 33 per cent over December to 0.59 million tonne (mt) though on a y-o-y basis, exports slipped 28 per cent.
For the April – Jan period, finished steel exports halved to 5.33 mt against 11.14 mt a year back, indicating continued global recessionary pressures and demand slowdown.
Finished steel includes non-alloyed steel offerings, alloyed offerings and stainless steel.
According to a Steel Ministry report, India’s non-alloyed steel export – the key offering – stood at 0.52 mt in January, down 27 per cent y-o-y. However, the numbers improved over December by 60 per cent when exports were 0.323 mt. In 10MFY23, non-alloyed steel exports fell 68 per cent, to 3.247 mt.
On the other hand, alloyed and stainless steel exports decreased 30 per cent y-o-y to 0.07 mt. January 2022 exports were 0.1 mt. On a 10-month-basis, the segment saw an 116 per cent increase in exports, y-o-y, to 2.082 mt (0.96 mt).
Trade sources told businessline that some mills had opted for export of alloyed steel since the segment did not have the duty levy. Post withdrawal of export duty, mid-November onwards, some improvement in sentiment happened and it has been visible with sequential increase in December and January export numbers.
Jayant Acharya, Deputy MD, JSW Steel – the country’s largest steel maker by volume – in the post-result conference call said, on the pricing side, things are looking up.
“In the last few weeks, we have seen the international prices move up. On a dollar basis, I think China moved up by about $100 / tonne. European CFR also, moved up in the range of $140-plus. And we are seeing a reflection of that in India,” he said adding that prices were initiated from January (in the domestic markets).
According to the company management, with duty levy gone, there is an opportunity to export certain volumes from India. Realisations are expected to improve too.
“Going forward, we see a much improved FOB (freight on board) realisation as far as exports is concerned. So, whatever impact was there – the double whammy – one was export duty and the lower export realisation, both in this quarter, we will see a positive up-trend,” Acharya said.
According to him, in the domestic market there is an opportunity in this quarter to be better than Q3FY23.
With international and domestic prices being “similarly poised”, imports have seen a decline sequentially.
January imports fell 9 per cent to 0.596 mt against 0.653 mt in the previous month. On a y-o-y comparison, imports rose 33 per cent; while for the 10-month period imports moved up 28 per cent to 5 mt.
India was a net importer in January, for the fourth straight month, although gap reduced significantly to 0.004 mt only (the lowest so far). But in April – January, India was net exporter of steel.