In October, India saw steel imports of 0.57 million tonnes, surpassing exports at 0.29 million tonnes, rendering India a net steel importer for the month. A lack of export offers from Vietnam, West Asia, and a slowdown in Europe influenced this trend. However, lower-priced steel from China made inroads into the Indian market, leading to increased imports.
In a notable development, India's steel trade dynamics in October demonstrated a shift, with steel imports outpacing exports. The nation, traditionally a net exporter of steel, witnessed a change in this pattern, largely attributed to specific market forces.
A report from the Steel Ministry, revealed that imports exceeded exports by nearly 0.28 million tonnes. This represents a significant departure from the seven-month period from April to October, where India remained a net exporter, shipping out 3.52 million tonnes.
October's figures indicate that imports experienced a year-on-year decrease of 4%, down from 0.6 million tonnes in October 2022, while exports plummeted by 21%, from 0.36 million tonnes. However, the situation takes a different turn when viewed on a month-to-month basis. Imports surged by 50%, from 0.38 million tonnes in September. This shift suggests that competitive offers from China and Vietnam started affecting the market, drawing consumers toward cheaper alternatives. Export numbers, while still below historical averages, showed a substantial 78% increase compared to September.
Throughout the April-October period, India continued to export more steel than it imported, with 3.52 million tonnes shipped out and 3.47 million tonnes coming in. This data highlights India's historical role as a net steel exporter.
Analyzing the category-wise mix, non-alloyed steel exports experienced a remarkable 277% increase year-on-year, reaching 0.24 million tonnes. Last October, export duty constraints had hindered offers. Meanwhile, non-alloyed steel imports in this category rose by 28% to 0.47 million tonnes. However, stainless and alloyed steel segments saw declines in both export and import volumes, with decreases of 86% and 53%, respectively.
On a month-on-month basis, non-alloyed steel imports surged by 80%, echoing the impact of price differentials between Chinese and domestic steel. Exports in this category also improved by 75%. In the stainless and alloyed steel segment, imports decreased by 13%, while exports increased by an impressive 102%.
The shift in India's steel trade dynamics in October, with steel imports surpassing exports, marks a notable change in the nation's historical role as a net steel exporter. Various factors, including competitive pricing from China and Vietnam, played a significant role in driving higher imports. However, it's important to note that this shift is influenced by market dynamics and is not necessarily indicative of a long-term trend. Price differentials and global market conditions are likely to continue influencing the steel trade.