US tariffs ‘will not affect’ Brazilian flat steel market, Inda says

Brazil’s flat steel market will not be affected by the steel import tariffs being imposed by the United States government following its Section 232 investigation, according to national flat steel association Inda.

In the Brazilian market of finished flat steel goods, Section 232 [measures] should not cause any problems, Inda president Carlos Loureiro said on Tuesday March 20.

Current flat steel shipments to the US from Brazil will be absorbed by the country’s domestic market, the group said.

“The only company that could face a small effect is Cia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN), due to its exports of galvanized steel products,” Loureiro said. “But it could sell this material to the domestic market, where the excess demand is currently being supplied by imports.”

Brazil’s exports of hot-dipped galvanized coil (HDG) to the US totaled 235,014 tonnes in 2017, down from 324,863 tonnes the previous year.

CSN said earlier this month that the 25% import tariff imposed by the US on steel products would have a minimal effect on its shipments but could disturb the domestic market in Brazil.

Meanwhile, “ArcelorMittal has its hot-rolling strip line at 100% capacity and [is] selling most volumes in the domestic market,” Loureiro added.

The effects of the measure in the Brazilian steel market are limited, Thomaz Zanotto, head director of the department of trade and foreign affairs of the São Paulo state industrial group Fiesp, agreed.

“There is more certainty now that there will be negotiations, possibly resulting in some form of voluntary restraint agreements,” he told Metal Bulletin. “Depending on the outcome of these negotiations, the [US] measures might not be that bad for Brazilian producers.”

No pressure is being felt due to potential diversion of steel exports to the Brazilian market, Loureiro added.

“If this pressure happens, it will be seen in prices,” he added. “In the short term, I don’t see any signs of price decrease in the [Brazilian] domestic market [because of the US trade measures].”

Metal Bulletin’s monthly assessment for Brazilian HDG was at 3,000-3,200 Reais ($913-974) per tonne ex-works on March 9, unchanged from February.

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