UK-origin surge lifts Indian scrap imports

Posted on 05 August 2019

Source: Kallanish

Indian imports of ferrous scrap under HS code 7204 rose 9% on-year in June to 610,304 tonnes, Kallanish learns from Indian commerce ministry data. The average value of imported obsolete scrap under HS code 720449 was $352/tonne versus $384/t in June 2018.

The import growth came despite a -3% on-year decline in imports from main supplier United Arab Emirates to 89,176t in June. This was offset by an 86% surge in intake from the UK to 84,108t. Intake from the US fell -41% to 54,246t. South Africa provided 24% more at 40,564t but Singapore supplied -31% less at 37,239t.

This came as Indian crude steel production rose 4% on-year in June to 9.34 million tonnes, according to worldsteel data.

Indian iron ore imports under HS code 2601, however, dropped to a mere 95,050t versus 912,700t in June 2018, although their value surged to $128/tonne versus $71/t in June 2018. Australia supplied zero versus over 500,000t a year earlier, while intake from Brazil and South Africa declined -35% and -89% respectively to 65,240t and 29,790t.

Indian scrap imports in the first half of 2019 thus surged 35% on-year to 3.87mt, with top two suppliers UAE and UK increasing shipments to India 27% and 117% respectively to 711,544t and 530,104t. However, the US supplied -7% less at 301,330t. Notably, India overtook South Korea as the world’s second-largest scrap importer in H1 (see separate story).

Six-month iron ore imports slumped -76% on-year to 1.87mt, with reduced intake from top three suppliers South Africa, Australia and Brazil.

JSW Steel said last week it reduced iron ore imports, instead using more captive ore to mitigate lower earnings in the June quarter (see Kallanish passim). Elevated iron ore prices squeezed Indian mill margins in the quarter, but JSW says ore supply should recover in the second half of 2019, helping widen steel spreads. 

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