India’s Essar stops steel offers to Europe

Indian steelmaker Essar Steel will no longer offer its products to European markets, sources close to the matter said.

The decision comes after the producer was acquired on 16 December by Luxembourg-based steelmaker ArcelorMittal and Japanese producer Nippon Steel. The new company has been renamed ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India.

Market participants said the move was expected, given the company’s position in European markets. ArcelorMittal declined to comment.

The company operates a number of plants across Europe and has been locked in fierce competition with imported flat steel in the past few years.

The decision will likely see Europe’s steel imports from India drop, with some market participants suggesting Essar was supplying 30,000-40,000 t/month to Europe. The EU’s imports of Indian hot-rolled coil, cold-rolled coil and galvanised steel declined from January-November 2019, data from European steel industry association Eurofer show, but the country remains one of the key flat steel suppliers to the bloc.

Where this material will be diverted remains to be seen, but Vietnam and Turkey are potential new markets, as both countries import volumes from India. With Indian domestic demand expected to rise, the cargoes could also be supplied to the local market, especially since prices have been rising, increasing this month by $56-70/t from last month.

Essar Steel produces a range of flat steel products, including hot-rolled, cold-rolled, galvanised and coated products, plates and pipes.

By Lora Stoyanova