India was a net importer of steel for the fifth straight month in February, while exports halved year-on-year, indicating continuing global recessionary headwinds.
Steel imports stood at 0.59 mt, a 44 per cent rise over the same month last year. Exports in February were at 0.58 mt, a 50 per cent decline over the 1.16 mt reported in the year-ago period, provisional data with the Ministry of Steel and accessed by businessline show.
Despite India being a net importer of steel for six of the 11 months of FY23, the country has managed to remain a net exporter of steel. From April to February, exports exceeded imports by 0.30 mt. Exports stood at 5.90 m, down 52 per cent YoY; while shipments coming in were 5.60 mt, up 30 per cent.
Indian steel mills have been raising red flags over increasing incidents of imports over the last few months.
Speaking at the post-results analyst conference call, Seshagiri Rao, joint MD and Group CFO of JSW Steel, said steel demand in India rose by almost a million tonne more every month. “Imports are increasing and at the same time, exports have fallen,” he had said.
For mills, exports dropped 2 per cent month-on-month (February vis-à-vis January), while imports remained near flat at 0.59 mt, revised numbers from the Steel Ministry show. Exports last month were 0.59 mt.
Mills had expected improvement in export offers. But due to global recessionary traits, closures took time. Closures happened in February, so some of this should reflect in March numbers. On the other hand, the import numbers are near constant since the price in the domestic market and the imported price is almost at par; and most of the imports are coming.” an exporter said.
Category wise break-up
Ministry of Steel data show that non-alloyed steel exports—the key offering in overseas markets—were among the worst hits. The segment saw a 67 per cent drop in number to 3.73 mt for the April–February period, but alloyed offerings saw a 108 per cent rise in exports to 2.17 mt.
Many millers were pushing alloyed steel offerings for exports between May and November. The duty levy did not apply to alloyed steel,” an exporter said.