Rebar sales hardest hit as Thailand’s political turmoil continues

Rebar suppliers in Thailand are struggling against slowing sales as many construction projects are put on hold amid the ongoing political turmoil.

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The political strife in Bangkok, which aims at forcing Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from office, is already wreaking havoc on the domestic economy following weeks of mass opposition protests, with some foreign companies shelving expansion plans or delaying land purchasing decisions.

Out of all the steel products, sales of rebar have been hit hardest, a trader said from Bangkok.

While the official selling price remains unchanged, mills are cutting rebar prices in order to move inventory, particularly those in need to improve cash flow, he said.

Offers for rebar have fallen by 1 baht per kg ($30 per tonne), or about 5%, from last month to their current level of 18.6 baht per kg ($565 per tonne), he added.

“Still, it’s difficult to sell at that price,” he added.

The political deadlock in Bangkok also saw some trade measure – imposed to protect domestic steel producers – expiring with no further action.

Last August, Thailand imposed preliminary anti-dumping duties of 16.14-33.98% on imports of alloy-added high-carbon wire rod from China. The duties were for four months and expired in early December.

This means Chinese producers or exporters can now sell their product freely to Thailand with no tax, sources said.

Even if the trade ministry plans to implement measures, its officials probably cannot even get to work due to the street protests, the Bangkok-based trader said.