A weakened Asian order book and competitively priced Chinese offerings saw Indian steel exports take a hit in May, down by 42% over the same period last year. Finished steel exports in May were around 6,82,000 tonnes, flattish on a month-on-month basis. In April and May, exports declined 35% (y-o-y) to 13,58,000 tonnes. Steel exports have been declining since March. “Bookings had been done previously and mainly to Europe, while demand from Vietnam, amongst top buyers of Indian steel, was weak,” exporters told.
The flat a product category, which accounts for 75-80% of exports, stood at 11,88,300 tonnes, down 31%. Flat products include plates, hot-rolled sheets, hot-rolled coils and strips, tin plates, cold-rolled coils, and sheets. The drops in demand for non-flat products bars, rods, structural and railway materials were the sharpest. The two month export numbers were down 48% y-o-y at 1,70,000 tonnes. The fall in billet and slab sales for April-May was 40% over the same period last year at 4,61,300 tonnes.
According to trade sources, sales dropped in Vietnam is keep down between 50 and 80 percent. The combined April-May exports were around 67,000 tonnes. Endusers preferred domestic steel at a lower price. China exported large volumes at competitive rates and EU quotas limited imports.
However, Italy emerged a key buyer with finished steel sales (excluding alloy and stainless steel) for the two months being 3,03,000 tonnes. Belgium was another big buyer with sales to the European nation being around 1,79,000 tonnes. This apart, Turkey and Nepal were among the larger export markets with sales of 1,13,000 tonnes and 93,000 tonnes, respectively.