India: Nov finished steel exports slump 32% from Oct as demand slows

India’s finished steel exports posted their fourth straight month-on-month fall in November, tumbling 31.6% from October, data from the Joint Plant Committee showed Dec. 6, as overseas demand slowed.

Year on year, however, the November exports were up 20.7% compared with the corresponding month of 2020. The annual rise was due to lower comparison figure seen in November 2020, when exports for the month sank 31% versus November 2019.

As for finished steel imports in November, they were both down 11.1% year on year and 17.5% month on month.

The lower exports came as European buyers waited for automotive contracts to be finalized for hot-rolled coil as local HRC stocks rose due to canceled orders by the automotive industry as demand fell for vehicles.

Passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union sank 30.3% in October to 665,001 units, marking a fourth straight month of declines and the weakest October since record-keeping began “due to the ongoing impact of the semiconductor supply crisis,” the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) had said.

Also, the EU’s import quotas for Indian flat steel from October to December had been exhausted early fourth quarter, data from the European Commission had showed Oct. 7. Belgium and Italy were among the leading destinations for Indian-made HRC.

The EU’s steel industry could see some firmness, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics, due to an easing of restrictions on EU steel exports to the US because of changes to the tariff regime, effective Jan. 1, which combined with recovering automotive demand, could potentially support another, milder price rally in 2022.

As for finished steel production in November, it fell 3.3% from October to 9.19 million mt but was up 1.7% against November 2020.

Similarly, crude steel output in November increased a slight 0.3% year on year but dipped 1.6% year on year.

Production of hot metal reached 6.38 million mt in November, both up 1.2% from November 2020 and 0.5% from October 2021.

Indian Steel Data (million mt)

Oct 2021Nov 2021Change (%)Nov 2020YOY Change (%)Nov 2019Nov 2021/2019 Change (%)Apr-Nov 2020Apr-Nov 2021YOY Change (%)
Crude Steel Output9.799.64-1.69.610.38.937.963.1376.4421.1
Finished Steel Output9.509.19-
Finished Steel Imports0.380.31-17.50.35-11.10.43-27.32.6973.06313.6
Finished Steel Exports1.060.72-31.60.6020.70.87-16.77.6979.53123.8

Source: Joint Plant Committee

– Clement Choo