India-EU Flat Steel Trade Estimates to Grow Significantly by 2023
- 13-Apr-2023 12:14 PM
- Journalist: Rene Swann
Europe: In the first half of 2023, there will likely be an increase in the trade of flat steel between India and the European Union. In comparison to other exporting nations, sales to Europe have more opportunities for arbitrage due to the shorter lead times offered by Indian suppliers and the combination of competitive prices. It is unlikely that the trade volumes will reach record levels, though, because of weak demand and the difficult economic climate in the bloc. Due to concerns that price increases in the EU at the beginning of the year were the result of supply issues rather than upstream demand, EU buyers have grown increasingly hesitant to make purchases in March and April with lengthy lead times.
After the Indian government imposed a 15 percent export duty in May–November 2022 on several steel products, including hot-rolled coil (HRC), cold-rolled coil (CRC), and hot-dipped galvanized coils (HDG), Indian steel exports to the EU ceased in the middle of last year. However, Indian exports to the EU have increased since the removal of duties in mid-November 2022, in part because Indian sellers could command higher prices there than in the Vietnamese or Middle Eastern markets, which are India's other two main export markets.
While blast furnaces that were shut down in Europe last year are starting to operate again, it will take some time for capacities to ramp up, so Indian mills can book reasonable levels of orders until then, the seller added.Due to weak end-user demand, high production costs, and an abundance of import arrivals, many EU producers idled capacity toward the end of 2022. After a sharp increase in EU prices from December through February and a decrease in import penetration, many of the idled blast furnaces have now been restarted.
Another Indian mill stated that "Europe stays to be India's market of choice" because it offers better returns than other markets and that "ocean freight rates to Europe are returning to near normal levels." "One need not rely solely on bulk shipments because container shipments to Europe are once again viable. Now, rather than solely relying on customers with higher volumes to fill a break bulk vessel, Indian mills can place multiple orders [even if the orders are for lower tonnage.
An Indian producer stated that "in every contract prices have increased [for HRC] and there is still some appetite left in Europe." "There is an even greater demand for downstream products because Europe is experiencing a shortage in the cold-rolled, pickled oiled categories. Since they are also requesting downstream products, it follows that demand from the auto sector is not too bad in Europe, the producer continued.
According to an exporter from a Japanese trading company, the demand for HDG has also increased as a result of higher energy prices in the EU leading end-users to choose imported downstream material as this helps them to hedge their costs better. The exporter also noted that Indian mills are also happy because they can use their downstream facilities.