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Higher local demand may hurt steel exports in FY21.

Date: 27-01-2020
Subject: Higher local demand may hurt steel exports in FY21
MUMBAI: India’s steel exports are likely to decline in the next fiscal year starting April 1 on higher domestic demand from automotive and infrastructure companies, analysts said.

Exports of finished steel during the April-December period of the ongoing fiscal year increased marginally to 6.5 million tonnes from 6.36 mt in the same period last year, according to provisional figures released by the Joint Plant Committee, an authoritative and independent source of information about the Indian iron and steel industry.

In December, however, steel exports fell 11.5% to 767,000 tonnes, according to the report.

“The auto sector has seen one of the worst periods in the last 9 months and we see that the worst is behind...we expect better demand from auto and infra companies in FY2021E on a low FY2020 base and we are seeing that restocking has resumed since December 2019,” Kotak Institutional Equity analyst Sumangal Nevatia said.

Analysts, however, said the numbers are likely to come down marginally this year.

Iron ore exports should fall in FY2021 because of an interim disruption due to licence expiry and auctions of iron ore mines in Odisha, Nevatia said. “A tight domestic market should elevate domestic iron ore prices and inflate costs for steel companies,” he added.

Jayant Acharya, director (commercial and marketing), JSW SteelNSE -3.70 %, said “green shoots for steel demand are coming from various sectors, especially from construction and auto companies. Along with this, the government’s spending on infrastructure will further boost demand, which will continue for the next 3-4 months.”

The company cut down steel exports to 24% from 31% in the second quarter of the current fiscal year.

“Steel supply could be lower in India and in the global market in 2020 due to rising Chinese demand and increasing prices of coking coal and iron ore, the basic raw material for steel,” said Manoj Jain, director, commodities and forex banking, India Nivesh.

Iron ore prices have increased by 14% in the last one month to $106 a tonne and coking coal prices have gone up about 10% to $145, data sourced from the Indian Commodity Exchange showed. While exports may come down, India will still be a net exporter, Jain said.

“Dumping of Chinese steel into other countries could be lower and India can tap the opportunity. Rising steel and iron ore prices could support Indian steel export and probably India could still be a net exporter of steel in the year 2020,” he said.

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com

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