US Industry Wants Obama Administration to Remove Russian Steel Exemption

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The US steel industry is considering challenging a trade deal with Russia that governs imports of hot-rolled steel, potentially reviving a decades-old dispute amid mounting tensions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine, two sources told Reuters this week.

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A so-called suspension agreement struck after the Cold War has sheltered Russian steelmakers from steep anti-dumping duties on hot-rolled coil, instead setting a cap on HRC imports and a minimum price that many in the U.S. industry believe is too low even after a 2012 revision.

An industry source familiar with the situation said steel companies were looking at urging the Obama administration to drop or adjust those exemptions. The original 1999 agreement was made following an influx of Russian steel imports after the Cold War. It can be terminated with 60 days notice, or modified by negotiation.

On Monday, June 30, the day’s biggest mover was the spot price of the US HRC futures contract, which saw a 2.7 percent decline to $653.00 per short ton. The US HRC futures contract 3-month price showed little movement yesterday at $635.00 per short ton.

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Chinese steel prices closed flat for the day. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price of CNY 840.00 ($135.03) and a low price of CNY 830.00 ($133.43) per dry metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese HRC held flat at CNY 3,380 ($543.35) per metric ton. The price of Chinese coking coal continues hovering around CNY 1,390 ($223.45) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row.

The steel billet cash price saw little movement on the LME at $395.00 per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the steel billet 3-month price held flat on the LME at $400.00 per metric ton.

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