New Delhi (Reuters) -According to two trade sources and one government source, Tata Steel bought about 75,000 tonnes of coal from Russia in the second half of May. This was done just a few weeks after Tata Steel said it would stop doing business with Russia.
Tata Steel said in April that all of its factories in India, the UK, and the Netherlands had found other sources of raw materials to stop depending on Russia. It also said that it had “made a conscious decision to stop doing business with Russia.”
Still, Tata Steel sent about 75,000 tonnes of PCI coal, which is used to make steel, from Russia’s Vanino port to India in May. Of these, 42,000 tonnes were unloaded in a port in Paradip on May 18 and 32,500 tonnes in Haldia, according to two trade sources who did not want to be named because they were not allowed to talk about the matter.
Tata Steel’s spokesman said the deal to buy coal from Russia was made before the company said it would stop doing business with Russia, but he didn’t give any more details.
“Tata Steel has not bought any more PCI coal from Russia since the announcement,” a spokesman told Reuters in an email.
When I sent an email to India’s trade ministry asking for a comment, I didn’t get a reply.
India hasn’t criticised Russia, which it has had political ties with for a long time, for what Moscow calls its “special operations” in Ukraine. Instead, India has said that it buys Russian goods to diversify its supply and that a sudden stop would cause prices to go up and hurt consumers.
Tata Steel was the only big steel company to say it would stop working with Russia. Reuters looked at trade data and found that other Indian steelmakers have been getting a lot of coal from Russia.
Trade sources said that the PCI coal was brought in on a ship called Panamax Ostria. The government source said that Tata Steel had bought 75,000 tonnes of coal from Russia in May, but they didn’t say anything else.
Details about how much Russian coal Tata Steel buys have not been made public before.
Indian buyers, like steelmakers, have been buying more Russian coal in recent weeks, even though the West has put sanctions on Moscow. This is because traders are offering discounts of up to 30%, Reuters reported on Saturday.
Indian steelmakers need cheap coal even more now than they did before, because the Indian government put export taxes on them last month to stop inflation.
Since May 21, when it was announced that export taxes would be put in place, the Nifty metals index has dropped more than 20%. Since then, Tata Steel has lost about 26% of its value, JSW Steel has lost 12%, and Jindal Steel and Power’s shares have dropped by 21%.