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Demand for finished products in the domestic market is slightly better at present than in this year’s January-March period. Goods are moving but at very competitive pricing.

Domestic prices of stainless steel scrap remain lower than international offers while demand from the end-user industry has been mixed. Some of the larger mills have started buying 300 series scrap after having earlier worked solely on imported slabs, whereas some medium-sized companies are closely monitoring their order books and selectively buying scrap at workable price levels. The availability of ferro-nickel at competitive prices as an alternative to scrap has also restricted upward movement in the latter’s prices.

The quarter’s key development has been Indian ports’ non-clearance of containerized cargoes from the UAE in response to the latter’s export ban. Major losses have been avoided and most of the materials are getting cleared with penalties. The UAE has been a key trading partner for India and market participants are awaiting clear directives from the government as to whether scrap cargoes from that source are to be allowed or not. The situation is rather complex and needs to be monitored over the coming few months.

Restrictions on scrap exports from Vietnam and Malaysia are also being reported, something which would definitely impact availability for Indian mills in the near future.