Indian domestic hot and cold rolled coil market demand has improved slightly due to the conclusion of the general election. However, strong demand is not expected due to the onset of monsoons, Indian traders tell Kallanish.

Sources expect consumption to increase as the new government gets to work, but they do not foresee demand improving significantly due to the seasonality factor. Monsoons, which occur between June-September, generally slow down demand and construction activity. Another factor which will impact demand recovery is potential oversupply once mills return to full production in July.

There has been limited supply in recent months as most major Indian mills have been undergoing annual maintenance shutdowns this quarter. An estimated 300,000-1 million tonnes have been off the market during this period (see Kallanish passim). JSW Steel and AMNS India are still undergoing some maintenance until end-June, a source adds.

A trader says buying should return to the market as an impact of the election concluding and does not anticipate any delay in policy implementation from the new government. However, he notes demand will be weak in the short term due to monsoons.

Another source notes that new Indian steel minister H D Kumaraswamy has a track record of being instrumental in Karnataka state’s development. “We should wait to see how this appointment could impact the steel sector,” he adds. Kumaraswamy was chief minister of Karnataka from 2006-07, and again in 2018-19. The new steel minister has highlighted his commitment to strengthening the economy, with the aim of increasing India's GDP.

Conversely, another source notes that while Indian mills are bullish on the new government, he anticipates the Modi “3.0” government to be less growth-oriented and geared more towards a populous policy, as a result of the coalition government.

Domestic HRC offer prices were flat on-week, heard at INR 54,000/tonne ($646.56/t) ex-Mumbai for IS2062/E250 BR grade. CRC offers also held steady at around INR 61,000/t ex-Mumbai, for IS513 Grade O.

HR plate offer prices were heard at INR 54,000/t in the retail market for base E-250 grade.

In the Indian import market segment, China-origin offers for HRC fell by $10/t on-week to $550/t cfr India, for commercial-quality base grades, June/July shipment.

Japan-origin HRC import offers held steady at over $600/t cfr India. Vietnamese offers were flat on-week at $590-595/t cfr. All import quotes are for the same grades and shipment times.

Indian export activity to Europe continues to remain weak due to persisting low demand, and Indian mills still staying off the export market (see separate story).