Favourable price offerings saw Russia emerge as one of the top five exporters of steel to India in April-September period of this fiscal. Imports from Russia saw a 223 per cent jump year-on-year, during the period under review, at 0.0963 million tonne (mt).

Steel imports from Russia were 0.0298 mt in H1FY22, as per Steel Ministry data. The other top exporting nations being Korea (1.09 mt), China (0.6 mt), Japan (0.28 mt) and Indonesia (0.13 mt).

Import from Russia saw the highest ever growth in recent times, a Ministry official told businessline.

So far arrivals from Russia have entirely been in the finished steel category that include HR Coils – of 56,200 tonnes, electrical sheets of 33,300 tonnes and galvanised steel sheets (used for sheds) of 6,700 tonnes. Buyers included smaller traders.

No semi-finished steel item came in from Russia, the trade data available with the Ministry shows.

Alternative currencies

“In June, when most of the orders were placed, India’s HRC prices were at around ₹65,000 per tonne approximately, which made Russian offerings quite cheaper. Moreover, then the Russian mills also wanted to offload their stocks in view of closure of European markets,” a trade source said.

Payments were made in alternative currencies that include Dirhams and HK dollars. In initial period, euro payments were also made, trade sources said.

In value terms, Russian steel imports saw a 224 per cent rise with $141 million worth of offerings coming-in (during H1FY23). Imports worth $44 million were made in the same period last year.

For the period, export of Indian steel (finished) witnessed a 54 per cent decline while imports increased 8 per cent (at 2.6 mt). Finished steel include alloyed and non-alloyed offerings and stainless steel.

Slowdown in Orders

However, as per trade sources, bookings of Russian steel have now “dried out” post the “dollar strengthening against the rouble”. Some of the bookings made from Russia “are coming in now”.

According to a senior official of JSW Steel, there is very little change in international arrivals coming, “in terms of price”. “By and large, price offers have stabilised. From a price perspective, I do not see a further drop in current international price levels,” he said adding that from a volume perspective, import of downstream products – cold rolled coils and so on – have picked up (not necessarily from Russia).

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“We feel that this (imports) will even out in this quarter (December-end) since the viability of the international market to submit at low prices is also very limited. So going forward, imports should also stabilise,” he said.

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