Russia Says US Scrapping Cold War Steel Deal A WTO Issue

Russia has complained that a US move to scrap a 15-year-old deal sheltering Russian flat-rolled steel producers from high import duties is inconsistent with World Trade Organization rules, Reuters reported.

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The move comes as Western sanctions over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, together with a plunge in world oil prices, have pushed the Russian economy to the brink of recession.

The so-called US suspension agreement has sheltered Russian steelmakers from steep anti-dumping duties on hot-rolled, flat-rolled, carbon quality steel, instead setting a cap on imports and a minimum price.

It was scrapped on Dec. 19. As a result, Russian steelmaker Severstal (now faces anti-dumping duties of 73.59%, while other producers like Novolipetsk Steel and Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works face duties of 184.56%.

In their submission to Commerce, Severstal, Novolipetsk and Magnitogorsk said the duties were punitive because they were calculated 15 years ago under a different economic situation and dumping methodology and based on outdated prices.

But US producer Nucor Corp. said it was normal procedure to apply the duty rates calculated in the original investigation.

Chinese HRC saw a 5.8% drop on Monday, December 22, landing at CNY 2,910 ($467.85) per metric ton and making it the biggest mover of the day. The price of Chinese slab rose 4.9% yesterday, just off the 30-day low of CNY 2,990 ($480.71) per metric ton it hit on Thursday, December 18. The price of Chinese coking coal saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 1,080 ($173.63) per metric ton. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price of CNY 840.00 ($135.05) and a low price of CNY 840.00 ($135.05) per dry metric ton.

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The steel billet cash price saw little movement on the LME at $500.00 per metric ton. The 3-month price of steel billet remained essentially flat at $480.00 per metric ton on the LME.

The 3-month price of the US HRC futures contract remained essentially flat at $606.00 per short ton. Following two days of downward movement, the spot price of the US HRC futures contract held steady at $596.00 per short ton.

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