India’s steel exports rose by 118.3pc to 1.098mn mt in H12021 (Apr-Sep 2020) from H12020, while finished steel exports grew by 66.3pc to 6.544mn mt in H1 amid weak steel demand in the country due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Exports are gradually decreasing as indicated in the official provisional data for exports in September. Compared to August, finished steel exports in September fell by 17pc to 863,900mt, while down by 15.2pc from the prior September. Total steel exports are down by 8pc at 1.495mn mt from August and still up 16.2pc from the prior year. Indian steel mills refocused their attention to the domestic market as economic activities have started to pick up, in turn, improving steel demand. Strong global cues also supported prices.
China was the largest importer of Indian finished steel in H1. India exported 1.901mt finished steel to China, which is 29pc of India’s total finished steel product in H1. The top five destinations of Indian finished steel exports were China, Vietnam, UAE, Italy and Nepal, which accounted for 72 share of the total exports.
India’s total steel exports were boosted by an increase in flat steel exports with 89pc share. In H1, finished flat exports increased by 69pc to 5.843mn mt from a year ago, while finished non-flat exports rose by 46.9pc to 700,700mt. Among non-alloy flat products, on a volume basis, HRC exports grew by 96.8pc to 4.49mn mt in H1 from a year ago. The share of HRC exports to China rose by 41pc. In non-alloy, non-flat category, exports of bars and rods increased by 88.8pc to 510,000 mt.
In September, HRC exports dropped by 26pc to 509,400mt from August, while CRC imports grew by 16pc. The dip in HRC exports can be attributed to improvement in domestic auto demand and higher flat steel prices. Indian steel mills hiked HRC prices by around Rs2,000mt ($27.28) in early October. HRC prices in India have increased to $586-590/mt in October up 23pc from mid-July. Higher international iron ore prices are supporting steel prices in the domestic market.
|India’s steel exports in H1 (mt)||Finished steel||Total finished|
Semi-finished steel exports continue to remain high in September. India exported 631,700mt semis in September, up 135.8 from a year ago and up 7pc from August. Semis include RR scrap. In H1, semis exports rose by 305.4pc to 4.438mn mt from a year ago. China is the largest importer of Indian semi-finished steel since the spread of the pandemic.
China’s imported 2.761mn mt carbon semis from India in H1, which is 62.8pc of India’s total carbon semis export of 4.396mn mt in the first half. Nepal was the second-largest export destination for Indian semis in H1 with 314,200mt, followed by Thailand 234,100mt, Indonesia 221,900mt, Sri Lanka 157.8mt, Philippines 144.8mt.
Amid a weak domestic market, Indian mills were forced to export steel semis and Chinese buyers were at the forefront of taking advantage of this arbitrage opportunity of buying at prices lower than their domestic market.
|India’s iron and steel exports in September|
|Unit: mt||Sep||Aug||MoM||YoY||H1 2021|
|Note: September and H1 2021 figures are provisional. * The figure is for total Semis including billet.|
With the ramp-up of domestic steel production and logistics and operational disruption at mines due to heavy rains, pig iron and sponge iron exports declined in September from the prior month. Pig iron exports to China in H1 was 469,600mt, which is 71pc of the total exports of 658,800mt while ferroalloy exports to China were 204,500mt, 31pc of the total 649,200mt. In H1, India exported 246,000mt of Sponge iron, of which 58pc was shipped to Bangladesh.