Trade tensions notwithstanding, Chinese buyers snap up Indian steel

NEW DELHI: India’s exports of steel more than doubled between April to July as Chinese buyers bought steel in bulk defying the trade tensions between the two countries.

Due to the pandemic, steel prices have reduced as companies aim to sell their surplus stock after fulfilling the domestic Indian demand. It remains unclear if these purchases have broken any rules, but the Chinese Iron and Steel Association is ensuring there are no hurdles.

Leading steel companies like JSW Steel and Tata Steel have sold a total of 4.64 million tonnes of finished and unfinished steel products in the global markets. The total steel sold during the same period last year was 1.93 million tonnes, an inspection of government data showed.

Out of a total of 4.64 million tonnes of steel. China bought 1.37 million tonnes while Vietnam bought 1.3 million tonnes. Though Vietnam has been a regular buyer of Indian steel, China’s emergence as a regular buyer is surprising considering the worsening trade tensions. Other buyers of Indian steel include Belgium and Italy.

Why is China buying so much Indian steel?

China, the world’s leading steelmaker, produces vast amounts of steel but needs more as it increases infrastructure spending.

To make things sweeter, industry sources under the condition of anonymity said that Indian steelmakers are offering a $50 discount per tonne, selling products like hot-rolled coils and billets at $430-450 a tonne as against the $500 per tonne offered by Chinese suppliers.

An official of the China Iron and Steel Association said it was paying particular attention to the import of hot-rolled coils from India to China.