Iranian HRC imports slump by 67%

Iranian imports of hot rolled coil (HRC) fell by 67% in the month from November 20 to December 20, against the corresponding period the year before.

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HRC import volumes for the month slumped from 160,052 tonnes to 52,686 tonnes year-on-year, according to trade data published by Iranian customs.

Over the first nine months of the Iranian year, which started on March 20, Iran imported 1.04 million tonnes of HRC, down by 33% year-on-year against 1.35 million tonnes.

Iran imported HRC, as well as other flat and long products, from Russia via the Caspian Sea.

But the flow of imports has been restricted recently, especially since the latest round of international trading sanctions on Iran came into effect in 2012.

More than 70% of imported HRC has a thickness of less than 3mm, and is mainly used for the production of pipe and hollow sections.

“There is no doubt that the tightening trade sanctions against Iran will restrict import flows more and more in future. Falling inventories in the local market will make prices rocket sooner or later,” a local trader commented.

“The only option left for Iran is to increase local production, which will not be easy as the sanctions also affect the progress of steel-plant projects,” he added.