- Tata Steel purchased 75,000 T of Russian coal in May
- The company vowed to cut business ties with Russia in April
- Tata Steel said the coal import deal was reached before the April decision
NEW DELHI, June 20 (Reuters) – Leading Indian steel maker Tata Steel (TISC.NS) imported some 75,000 tons of coal from Russia in the second half of May, two trade sources and one government source said, weeks after pledging to stop doing business with Russia.
Tata Steel said in April all of its manufacturing sites in India, the UK and the Netherlands had secured alternative raw material supplies to end its dependence on Russia, adding that it had taken a “conscious decision to stop doing business with Russia.”
However, in May, Tata Steel shipped around 75,000 tons of PCI coal, which is used in steelmaking, from the Russian port of Vanino, of which 42,000 tons was unloaded at the port in Paradip on May 18 and 32,500 tons in Haldia, the two trade sources said. who wish to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to speak on the matter.
A spokesperson for Tata Steel said the deal to import coal from Russia was made before the company’s announcement to cut business ties with Russia, without providing further details.
“There have been no other PCI Coal purchases by Tata Steel from Russia following the announcement,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Reuters.
India’s commerce ministry did not respond to emails seeking comment.
India has refrained from condemning Russia – with which it has long-standing political ties – for what Moscow describes as a “special operation” in Ukraine. India has instead defended its purchases of Russian goods as a bid to diversify supply and argues that a sudden halt will increase prices and hurt consumers.
Tata Steel is the only major steelmaker to announce it will stop doing business with Russia. Another Indian steelmaker has been importing large quantities of coal from Russia, according to trade data reviewed by Reuters.
PCI’s coal is imported by ship called the Panamax Ostria, trade sources said. Government sources confirmed Tata Steel had imported 75,000 tonnes of coal from Russia in May but did not provide further details.
Details of Tata Steel’s Russian coal imports have never been reported before.
Purchases of Russian coal by Indian buyers including steel makers have soared in recent weeks despite Western sanctions against Moscow, as traders offered discounts of up to 30%, Reuters reported on Saturday. Read more
Supply of cheap coal is critical for Indian steelmakers right now, as they are reeling from export duties imposed by the Indian government last month to curb local inflation.
The Nifty metals index (.NIFTYMET) has fallen more than 20% since the decision to levy an export tax on May 21, with Tata Steel off about 26%, JSW Steel (JSTL.NS) down 12% and Jindal Steel and Power’s (JNSP.NS) ) has lost 21% of its value since the announcement.
Reported by Sudarshan Varadhan and Aftab Ahmed; Edited by Bernadette Baum
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