India set to exceed HRC quota allowance as EU steel supply struggles

Ongoing shortages across all steel products in the EU has fueled the exigency for steel from overseas, with the European market increasingly more desperate for material. While many market participants have found import offers difficult to acquire, those fortunate enough to book from India have had to incur duty fees for exceeding the quota allowance, European Commission data showed April 6.

Indian import material currently awaiting allocation at European ports stands at 203,058 mt, exceeding the initial quota balance of 162,982 mt by 40,076 mt. Meanwhile, Turkish steel awaiting allocation stands at 29,065 mt out of the 317,278 mt initial balance.

Once a quota balance dips below 10%, importers are obliged to deposit with customs authorities a 25% bank guarantee to cover any potential duty liability.

Indian hot-rolled coil import prices were heard between Eur820-850/mt CIF Italy Ports and as high as Eur1100/mt CIF Antwerp for CRC material.

A German distributor said he was surprised to hear the quota allowance had been exceeded, but had doubts the bulk of the material would be arriving into North Europe.

“I don’t think this material will come into Antwerp [port], it will come to the South, they are more desperate than us,” the distributor said. “They [Italy] are more desperate than us, they rely heavily on the import market and they are not getting anything, so paying the duty means the situation is desperate.”

In the last month, India has been a prolific presence in the import market, only retreating for a few weeks before coming back to the market with new offers last week.

An Italian trader said he was avidly listening to Indian imports before the import quota was exhausted. He added that with the cut to the Chinese tax rebate due this month, it was likely less imports would enter the EU, exacerbating the European supply agony, particularly in Italy.

“There is no material in the market. Most service centers were betting on lower prices and they didn’t buy, and now they have no choice but to book and pay the penalties [on imports],” an Italian buyer said.

— Amanda Flint, Laura Varriale