EU’s Japan, Korea HRC imports could trigger probe

The jump in hot rolled coil imports into Europe from Japan and South Korea this year could trigger scrutiny by European authorities going forward, sources in the market explain.

The massive shift in trade flows following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February has provoked a jump in Japanese- and South Korean-origin HRC imports, offsetting lower Russian- and Indian-origin sales, Kallanish notes.

According to Eurofer figures, EU imports of Japanese HRC could exceed 1 million tonnes in 2022. This is a massive jump considering that Japan supplied less than 100,000 t/year of HRC into the EU prior to 2021. As a result, Japan could end up being the second-largest supplier of HRC into the EU after Turkey.

South Korean supply of HRC should also close 2022 with volumes close to 900,000t, double what the country used to import into the continent.

It is possible this shift in import patterns could trigger an investigation by European authorities into potential anti-dumping measures. It is worth noting, nevertheless, that overall imports of HRC this year should be lower than the record level registered in 2021 of over 9.6mt.

In the fourth quarter, the pace of HRC import arrivals is slowing down. According to official figures, only 24% of safeguard quotas for HRC were used until 11 November. South Korea used 64% of quota, Turkey 17% and India only 5%.

Last year in mid-November, 45% of available import quotas for Q4 were already used, with Turkey and India exhausting their allocations.

Emanuele Norsa Italy