Indian mills hiked their offers for hot rolled coil following the 15% steel export duty annulment on 19 November. However, Indian suppliers do not see prices sustaining at these levels and anticipate a correction on the back of sluggish global demand and competitive offers from other suppliers.

Nevertheless, the duty revocation has opened the doors for Indian suppliers in Europe and other destinations, meaning India can now compete with non-boron-added HRC in these regions. Also in Nepal, Indian mills can now transact in dollars, as previously Nepalese customers were paying in Indian rupees for boron-added HRC.

According to sources, an Indian steel major concluded a deal last week for 15,000 tonnes of structural and tube-making grade HRC with three United Arab Emirates-based customers at $590-610/t cfr Jebel Ali.

This week, quotes for SAE 1006 grade HRC are heard at $600-610/t cfr UAE, for January shipment, translating to around $570-575/t fob India, Kallanish notes. Meanwhile, low offers from China, Saudi Arabia and Japan continue to haunt Indian suppliers, and sentiment is pressuring Indian mills to revise offers.

“Only Gulf Cooperation Council-based buyers are keeping all suppliers busy,” opines an Indian trading source. “India has been playing with short lead, delivery times in the GCC, but my anticipation is that if India does not revise its offers, then it might not bag large quantities in the coming quarter in the GCC.”

Meanwhile, a source informs of an offer indication by another Indian mill to Algeria at $575-580/t cfr Algeria for a 20,000t parcel; however, the deal is not yet done. Current indications to Turkey are meanwhile heard at $580/t cfr Turkey, and bids are noted at $560-565/t cfr.

According to sources, Indian structural grade HRC offers to Europe are heard at $630/t cfr Italy and $640/t cfr Antwerp. Offers for DC-01 cold rolled coil are meanwhile heard at $670-680/t cfr Antwerp. Multiple deals for Indian DC-01 CRC were heard concluding in Europe and Turkey at $650-660/t cfr Antwerp and $670-675/t cfr Turkey, respectively.

HRC offers to Nepal are noted at INR 49,000/t ($602.26) cpt Raxual. In the domestic Indian market, offers for E250-grade HRC are hovering at INR 57,000/t ex-Mumbai.

Offers to Vietnam are meanwhile heard at $560/t cfr Ho Chi Minh City, with no deals heard. Against the odds, amid sluggish market sentiment, Vietnam sold around 80,000-100,000t of structural grade as well as tube-making grade HRC to multiple end users and stockists in India at $560-575/t cfr India.

Despite the duty cancellation, many sources believe that, due to export duties, India has lost its “golden customers” across the globe and the prevailing sluggish market and falling coking coal prices will further worsen sentiment.