AD duties on Russian CRC a Baltic challenge: Severstal

Finding alternative supplies of cold-rolled coil since the EU’s 2016 imposition of prohibitive antidumping duties on Russian imports has proven very challenging for buyers in the small-market Baltic states, Severstal said Wednesday.

The Baltic market is too small for large producers in Europe, and as a result buyers there are last in the pecking order and have to pay top prices to secure their requirements, the Russian producer told S&P Global Platts. At the same time, imports from Asia are not feasible as volumes from there need to be large in size while the Baltic market generally books small batches.

Despite the AD duties, Severstal continues processing CRC into sheets at its service center in Riga, Latvia, it said. To continue deliveries to customers in the Baltic states, Poland, Finland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia the mill is buying Indian feedstock, which is not subject to a duty, it said.

Russian CRC has practically disappeared from the wider European market as a result of the EU’s 18.7%-36.1% AD duties. This left a vacuum, quickly filled by domestic EU producers and imports from other markets, Severstal noted.

Since the AD duties were imposed CRC prices in Northern Europe have increased on average to Eur630/mt from Eur460/mt in 2016, Severstal estimated.

The Platts CRC assessment for Northern Europe moved to Eur643/mt ex-works Ruhr currently from Eur400/mt in early 2016, before duties were announced.

In Northern Europe, formerly a captive market for Severstal, half the Russian CRC was replaced by EU mills, mostly German, Belgian and Slovakian. The remainder was filled by imports from India, Ukraine, Serbia and South Korea.

According to official EU trade statistics, the average monthly volume of rolled coil imported from India this year is 75,000 mt, up 56% from 2016; from Ukraine, up 52% to 29,000 mt; from Brazil, up 76% to 30,000 mt, and from South Korea, up 4.4% to 47,000 mt.

Wojtek Laskowski, PLATTS