Russia is the second highest exporter of semi-finished steel to India, in value terms, at $52 million for April to February, which rose from zero in the year-ago-period. It has also displaced Japan as the second largest supplier of hot rolled coils (HRC) and strips.

While the 11M FY23 (first eleven months of financial year 2023) period saw 0.23 million tonne (mt) of HRC and strips come in from Russia, there were no imports in the category in the year-ago-period.

Russian steel shipments (across categories) to India rose over 500 per cent for the 11 month period at 0.31 mt (0.05 mt), making it the fourth largest importing nation after Korea (2.03 mt), China (1.33 mt) and Japan (0.8 mt). A lion’s share or 74 per cent of Russian steel shipments was HRC and strips, data from the Ministry of Steel show.

With shipments from Russia and Vietnam rising significantly, the two have replaced Indonesia and Taiwan and now among the top five markets that Indian players have taken to for buying steel. Shipments from Vietnam rose by over 300 per cent to 0.29 mt for the period under review.

Discounted offerings

Russia’s rise as one of the key steel suppliers came on the back of discounted offerings which some of the Indian traders had lapped up. Discounts have ranged between 20 and 30 per cent.

Ministry data shows total steel imports (semis and finished) from Russia was valued at $ 373.5 million, a rise of 313 per cent y-o-y. Finished steel shipments stood at $322 million, for the period.

Overall imports of total finished steel (alloy and non-alloy) at 5.6 mt, up nearly 30 per cent y-o-y; although the country remained a net exporter in April-February.

“Volume-wise, HR Coil/Strip (1.96 mt) was the item most imported (35 per cent share in finished steel),” the Steel Ministry report said, adding that, “(Import of) flat products accounted for 93 per cent share – up by 30.4 per cent and the rest 7 per cent was share of non-flat products – up by 18.2 per cent.”

Key categories

According to the report, non-flat steel shipments coming in stood at 0.19 mt, up 36 per cent; while flat steel shipments rose to 3.2 mt, up 25 per cent for the 11 month period.

Non-flat product shipments were valued at $ 210 million, while flat product shipments were at $3360 million.

Alloy and stainless steel categories saw shipments increase by 55 per cent,y-o-y, to 2.5 mt. Imports in the segment was 1.6 mt, in the year-ago-period.