Indian HRC exporters raise prices amid widening of trade geography

Tuesday, 10 August 2021 16:16:24 (GMT+3)   |   Kolkata

Indian hot rolled coil (HRC) exporters have been successful in improving realizations during the past week, riding on the back of expanding demand from relatively newer regions in Latin America and Africa, and supported by an increase in bookings from the Gulf, SteelOrbis has learned.

Ex-India HRC prices have settled at $920-940/mt FOB, significantly higher than $870-890/mt FOB heard as tradable levels for the last two weeks.

According to sources, a number of integrated steel mills from India are heard to have successfully concluded trades from relatively emerging markets like Columbia and Mexico, from the Latin American region and Nigeria, where Indian offers have been more acceptable.

While it could not be fully confirmed, at least two local market intermediaries felt that the virtual absence of ex-China offers could be the cause of buyers in these markets increasingly looking at India as ‘replacement sourcing’ and thereby enabling Indian exporting mills to nudge up prices.

While definitive data is not readily available, estimates from industry sources pegged the total volume bookings received from buyers in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East over the past week or ten days to be in the range of 80,000-90,000 mt.

“It is too early to say if the expansion of Indian exports is a fallout from the lack of ex-China offers. But if so, the trend is definitely a positive for Indian mills to work aggressively to consolidate their presence in Africa and Latin America,” an official from a private integrated steel mill said.

“The Asian market has remained quiet for Indian exporters. While Asia will remain important, falling shipments from China will lead to a re-configuration of export markets and, if Indian exporters are able to act fast, markets in Africa and Latin America will become as important in terms of volumes too,” he added.

While the detailed breakdown of deals to these new markets has not been readily available, sources said that a western India-based exclusive flat steel producer has concluded a trade for an estimated tonnage of 15,000 mt to Columbia at around $920-930/mt FOB, while another western India-based integrated steel mill is heard to have concluded a trade for 20,000 mt with buyers in Mexico at $940/mt FOB, the sources said.

According to sources, while demand from the Gulf region is strong, buyers are largely resistant to higher offers quoted by Indian exporters. The sources said that, while Indian mills are heard to be submitting offers as high as $940-960/mt FOB, deals have largely been concluded at lower levels of $920-930/mt FOB. An eastern India-based integrated steel mill has reported a trade for around 15,000 mt to the UAE at around $920/mt FOB, sources said.

There was a rumour about 10,000 mt of ex-India HRC sold to Taiwan at $940/mt CFR, but sources agree that this should be a trader’s position, as producers are not planning to sell at lower prices while they have some alternatives. The tradable price level in Vietnam has slipped below $920/mt CFR, which is not attractive for Indian sellers so far.

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