India, the world's second largest producer of crude steel, imported 281,000 tons of steel from Russia between April and January, almost five times more than in the same periodd ago.
The increase in imports is the result of a shift in Russian steel trade flows to Asia after Western sanctions were imposed on Russia. This change is driving some traditional suppliers out and domestic steelmakers in India are voicing concern about a potential loss of market share to cheaper imports.
Data showed that Russia was India's fourth largest steel supplier between April and January, ranking among the top five steel exporters in country for the first time since the 2016/17 financial year.
During the period from April to January, about 72% of steel supplies from Russia to India came from hot-rolled coil (HRC) and strip.
Data showed that Russia has displaced Japan as India's second-largest supplier of hot-rolled coil for the first time in at least eight years.
Russian suppliers have sold some of their hot-rolled steel to Indian buyers for about INR 46,000 ($555.86) per ton, at least 21% cheaper than domestic prices, said a government official with direct knowledge of the matter .
Indian steel companies have expressed concern about cheaper steel imports from Russia.
“Volume growth and low price are a concern and need to be contained,” said Jayant Acharya, Deputy Managing Director of JSW Steel Ltd.
At the same time, Russia continues to be a regular buyer of Indian stainless steel, and these volumes are expected to grow.
Jindal Stainless Ltd, India's largest stainless steel producer, said it expects its exports to reach a five-year high in the next fiscal year, thanks to increased shipments to Russia and the start of exports to South America and the Middle East.