India not renewing anti-dumping steel duties

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The Indian government has turned down a recommendation from the country's Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) to renew anti-dumping duties (ADDs) on hot-rolled and cold-rolled steel products from seven countries.

India in 2016 imposed ADDs for five years on hot-rolled flat products originating from China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Brazil and Indonesia, as well as on cold-rolled flat products from China, Japan, South Korea and Ukraine.

The measure aimed to provide a level playing field to the domestic steel industry, which was then going through a severe downturn because of cheap imports, DGTR said it making the recommendation. The ADD for hot-rolled steel products was $478/t, $489/t and $561/t, with cold-rolled steel set at $576/t. The hot-rolled products fall under HS codes 7208, 7211, 7225 and 7226.

"Over the last five years, the international market prices dipped below the $500/t level only occasionally. Barring these couple of occasions, the anti-dumping duty was never that useful," said Dolat Capital's metals and mining analyst Prashanth Kota.

China's hot-rolled coil fob prices were $745/t today, up by 13pc from a year earlier.

India imported 2.13mn t of steel products under the four hot-rolled HS codes during January-October last year. South Korea accounted for 59pc of the imports, Japan 11pc and China 7pc. Imports from Indonesia totalled 1pc, with the intake from Brazil just 147t.

India's finished steel imports during April-December 2021 rose by 7.7pc from a year earlier to 3.5mn t, which was over a low base year because of Covid-19 pandemic-led disruptions to economic activity in 2020.

"The requirement of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification for steel products makes it difficult to export to India," an east China trader said. Products notified in India's steel and steel products quality orders cannot be produced, sold, traded, imported and stocked unless they bear BIS' approval. Domestic products manufacturers have to obtain BIS certification, while foreign suppliers must obtain BIS registration.

A spike in coking coal prices will prove more negative for the sector in the short term, Kota said. Premium hard coking coal cfr India prices were $335/t on 2 December 2021, down from an all-time peak of $437.75/t in mid-September last year. But prices rose again to $398/t today. Domestic steel prices have touched a record peak in the past year on the back of higher exports and increased raw material costs, weighing on domestic consumption.


By Sumita Layek

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