Indian billet suppliers still interested in exports amid soft local demand and high allocation

Wednesday, 04 September 2019 16:02:20 (GMT+3)   |   Kolkata

The last billet export deal from a southern Indian steel mill was concluded at $395-400/mt FOB for early October delivery last week, SteelOrbis is informed. The deal is in line with the previous transaction made by the same mill a week before. “Most billet producers are aggressively pushing volumes overseas to offset local over-production. Indian billet exports in August this year have been estimated by industry data at around 110,000 mt, while the ability of producers to sustain higher export levels will largely determine domestic billet pricing trends at a time when domestic demand is continuing to fall, particularly for rebar,” an official from Neelachal Ispat Nigam Limited (NINL), one of the largest pig iron and billet producers in the country told SteelOrbis.

Local Indian billet (grade IS 2831, 100 mm x 100 mm) prices have softened marginally during the past week, edging down by INR 100/mt ($1.4/mt) to INR 28,700/mt ($397/mt) ex-works, while the pressure on price from sluggish domestic demand was partially checked by the aggressive export push by leading producers, traders said on Wednesday, September 4.

However, an official with JSW Limited cautioned, “The export thrust on billets and comparatively higher export realizations compared to domestic sales have their limitations. In the Southeast Asian market, there is strong competition with ex-CIS and ex-Iran offers. Indian billets owing to their quality specifications were only acceptable in some Southeast Asian countries, which would limit Indian producers from significantly increase shipments overseas in a sustainable manner.”

Local traders said that, with monsoon rains expected to abate over the next one month and with the festive season starting, expectations of a slight revival in construction activity and hence demand for rebars could provide modest support and check the sharp fall in local billet prices from current levels.

$1 = INR 72.34


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