Rising global prices, muted local demand boost steel exports

MUMBAI: India’s primary steelmakers have increased their share of exports in the fourth quarter of FY21 ending March, amid rising international steel prices, combined with a slight de-growth in domestic demand during the January-February period.
(JSPL) reported an export share as a percentage of sales at around 38% in Q4 from 21% in Q3. has increased exports to 0.40 million tonnes from 0.27 MT in Q3. reported a crude steel production of 4.19 MT in Q4 and sources said that there was a significant rise in exports. ‘s exports remained flat at 11% of total deliveries in Q3 and Q4.

“We continue to focus on the domestic market. However, in the last quarter of FY21 and in the last two months exports have gone up on a QoQ basis because there has been a market pull,” said SAIL’s chairperson Soma Mondal, in an interaction with ET.

“There was an increase in exports during the quarter, but we need to see that basic growth plan will always be based on the domestic market. During the first 15 days of January and February domestic demand was impacted after China’s Lunar new year,” said Jayant Acharya, JSW Steel’s director, commercial and marketing told ET.

Analysts estimate the share of exports to rise in the first half of FY21, and will increase by 12-16% in FY 22, due to widening spreads between export and domestic realisations.

Exports are increasing from India, only because of the good price in international markets.

However, primary steelmakers are maintaining a good balance and maximum is consumed domestically, said JSPL’s managing director, VR Sharma. As per data from the steel ministry, finished steel exports in FY21 was around 10.79 million tonnes, showing a growth of 29% year-on-year and export of semis in the 11-month period till February 2021 grew by 131% to 6.09 MT.

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While exports of finished steel in the first quarter of FY21 were driven by lacklustre domestic demand due to pandemic-led lockdowns the surge in the last quarter was led by higher export realisation. “Overall in fiscal 2021, exports increased 29%. The momentum is expected to continue and push finished steel exports another 12-16%higher this fiscal,” said a report by rating agency Crisil.

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