HIGHLIGHTS: More trade cases, Asian stainless event, coal price talks…

CIS, Turkey & Middle East editor Nadia Popova and regional correspondent Alona Yunda look at the main news covered by Steel First over the past week.

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Trade cases
Trade barriers continued to dominate over the past week.

Australian authorities initiated an anti-circumvention inquiry to into Chinese galvanized steel imports, and an exemption inquiry into anti-dumping duties currently applied to plate imports from China, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea.

Indonesia’s Anti Dumping Committee started a sunset review of duties on shipments of steel plate from China, Singapore and Ukraine.

Vietnam complained to the World Trade Organization (WTO) about Indonesia’s safeguarding measures on imports of flat-rolled products.

On the other side of the Pacific ocean, a long-awaited trade case was filed in the USA against imports of corrosion-resistant steel sheet. This could be the first of many similar cases in the USA, industry observers said.

The use of trade cases to protect domestic steel markets worldwide is normal and necessary, Sanjay Agarwal, md of UAE-based trader Ammetal, told Steel First in an interview.

Meanwhile, European stainless steel mills have seen order volumes for cold rolled (CR) flat products surge, stainless steel distributor Damstahl said in its June stainless steel briefing.

The increase in orders was partly due to the imposition of provisional anti-dumping duties on China- and Taiwan-origin stainless CR flat imports in March, which reduced import volumes.

MB Asian Stainless Steel Conference
Meanwhile, the Chinese stainless steel producers are increasingly looking to boost domestic consumption rates with more trade barriers emerging in overseas markets, Baosteel Stainless vp He Ruying told delegates at Metal Bulletin’s 10th Asian Stainless Steel Conference held in Singapore this week.

At the same time, China’s private stainless steel producers – who account for over 60% of the country’s 30-million-tpy of capacity – are struggling to find ways to reduce oversupply in the market, Kang Ming, the vp of Sichuan Jinguang Industrial Group, told the event’s participants.

Coking coal
On the raw materials side, Peabody Energy said it is cutting its metallurgical coal production by 1.5 million short tons per year from its North Goonyella mine in Queensland, Australia.

The announcement of cuts raised some eyebrows as all eyes have been on the quarterly benchmark price negotiations in Japan over the past week.

No word had been heard from Japan about the quarterly price at the time of writing. But sources told Steel First that they expected Peabody’s move to have little effect.

MB Iron Ore Symposium

Spot 62% Fe prices are expected to find support in the next two months from weather-disrupted shipments from Australia, delegates were told at the Metal Bulletin’s 21st International Iron Ore Symposium held in Vienna, Austria.

Metal Bulletin Research (MBR) looked into the current iron ore market dynamics and if port stock levels have any further to fall.

And finally, after the symposium, Nina Nasman asked where the iron ore market goes from here as the price flatlines and growth in China continues to slow down.