US duty hike: Larger repercussions for Indian steel industry

作者:Carry    發表日期:2018-07-18 12:17:51

Though US President Donald Trump’s proposal to hike duties on steel imports may have little impact on the Indian steel industry immediately, there could be larger repercussions later on.

Some of the biggest exporters to the US could look for alternate markets, thus increasing the competition for Indian exports, which has been gaining volume.

In 2017, India turned a net exporter of steel after imports had dominated the trade balance since the middle of 2014. But that could come under pressure now as Indian exports find increasing competition if a trade war ensues.

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Moreover, if exports come down, supply of steel in the domestic market may increase, putting pressure on prices.

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On March 1, Trump said he plans to impose a 25 percent import duty on steel in a move to protect the American industry.

Indian steel doesn』t have much of a presence in the US. According to reports, anything between 2 to 5 per cent of Indian steel exports land up in the US market. Overall, India exported 4.9 million tons of steel in 2017, up from 1.8 million tons in 2016.

The growth in exports have continued in the present financial year. The outflow of steel products has increased by 53 per cent in the nine months till December 2017.

Much of India’s exports to the US consists of pipes and tubes. In fact, the US is the biggest market for these products from India. But these amount to less than 2 lakh tons a year.

According to an official from an industry body, Maharashtra Seamless and Jindal Saw are the major exporters.

「Already there is an anti-dumping duty on Indian steel products in the US. So the additional hike in duty wouldn』t have much of an impact,」 said the official cited above.

Increasing competition

A bigger headache though would be the increasing competition in the overseas markets.

Three of the European countries – Italy, Belgium and Spain – are among the top 10 markets for Indian steel. Italy is the second largest market, after Vietnam.

Tata Steel, JSW Steel and Essar Steel are among the top exporters from India. JSW Steel had achieved its highest ever exports figures in the 2017 financial year. Tata Steel’s exports grew by 60 per cent in the second quarter of the present financial year.

At the same time, the US is a big export market for the European countries. According to reports, about 21 per cent of imports in the US origin from European countries. If Trump does hike the import duty, European exporters will come under pressure and may look for other markets, including those within the European Union. This will increase the competition for Indian exporters, and possible lead to price reduction.

Similarly, South Korea and Taiwan are significant exporters to the US. Again, they may look to divert some of their exports to the Asian market if the duty is hiked in the US.

「There will be increased supply in the Asian market, and prices could soften,」 said an official from a private steel company in India.

This will be bad news for Indian companies who have been enjoying a pick-up in price and demand for steel in the domestic market. Steel demand growth had improved to 5.2 percent in the first nine months of the financial year. Also, there have been two upward revisions in prices this year.

But the trend may reverse in the coming months if Trump does prove that his threats are for real.


轉載請註明:Carry 2018-07-18 12:17:51 於 香港國際時事通 發表

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