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Indian steel prices to fall by 10%-15% in 2022

New Delhi, Dec 16: Indian steel prices will soften by 10 to 15 per cent next year as domestic and international steel spreads narrow. Supply constraints will ease due to stronger Indian crude steel production, with more material directed towards domestic end-users.

S&P Global Platts Analytics expects Indian domestic hot-rolled coil prices to average Rs 53,550-56,700/mt ($705-$745/mt) in calendar 2022. This compares with average prices of Rs 63,000/mt year-to-date in 2021, which is 58 per cent higher than Rs 39,761/mt in CY 2020. The pre-pandemic average in CY 2019 was Rs 38,567/mt.

The spread between India domestic and China domestic HRC prices blew out to $220/mt on November 15, the highest level since April 2017, according to Platts data. Since late 2017, there has been a close correlation between Indian and Chinese steel prices.

The two prices diverged in October this year but have subsequently started to narrow again.

S&P Global Platts expects the spread to revert to historical norms, with the Indian price influenced by subdued market conditions in China in 2022 due to slower economic growth and the downturn in the country’s property sector.

High domestic Indian steel prices this year have in large part been due to Indian mills lifting exports to take advantage of the higher prices on offer overseas, which has tightened local supply. India has particularly targeted Vietnam, Italy, Belgium, and Turkey.

Over April-October, India exported 14 per cent of its finished steel output, a similar ratio to the year before, but up from 8 per cent in April-October 2019, Platts Analytics calculates based on Joint Plant Committee data.

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