The Russian government is mulling over the introduction of export duties on Russian rebar and billet to combat a sharp rise in domestic long steel prices, Fastmarkets heard on Monday December 28.
Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia (FAS)***
Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia (FAS) suggested the export measures to curb sharp price increases in Russian domestic long steel market, according to a letter from FAS to the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation (Minpromtorg) seen by Fastmarkets.
FAS proposed a 13% duty on billet exports and a 12% duty on rebar exports. The duty would be no less than $73 per tonne on billet exports and no less than $78 per tonne on rebar exports.
The duty could be imposed for a six-month period if approved.
The FAS proposal was linked to a draft bill issued by Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development last week. The bill suggested that the export duty on steel scrap be tripled to combat the threat of a shortage of steelmaking raw materials in the domestic market and to prevent increases in the prices of finished steel used in the domestic construction sector – particularly, rebar.
scrap export restrictions***
In its letter to Minpromtorg, the FAS noted that scrap export restrictions alone will have little effect on the domestic long steel market, considering that Russian steelmakers will still have an “export alternative,” meaning they will continue to send rebar volumes overseas.
Consequently, FAS suggested the imposition of the export duty on rebar and billet “in order to provide domestic consumers with metal products at reasonable prices.”
At the same time, FAS noted that sharp rises in domestic rebar prices in Russia were driven by soaring rebar export prices and scrap costs, and that the uptrend is expected to be short-lived. There were no signs of anti-monopoly legislation violations and price fixing, according to FAS.
Russian rebar price ***
Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, cpt Moscow, Russia has averaged 51,000 ($688) roubles per tonne, including 20% value-added tax, in December 2020. This was up from a monthly average of 40,950 per tonne in last month.
Russian rebar , Market impact***
Markets participants said that most Russian rebar producers have not announced prices for January rolling for the domestic market due to the potential export duty.
“Mills are holding back volumes – they are cautious, because announcing new, higher prices might become another argument to [government] in favor of export duty imposition,” one trader in Moscow told Fastmarkets.
But some market participants doubt that the export duties on rebar and billet will be imposed.
“There are just talks. I really doubt they will really introduce restrictions, considering that there is actually a surplus of steel in the domestic market,” one mill source said.
Said another mill source: “Just like FAS said in its letter, there are no law violations, no price fixing. [Domestic ] rebar prices in Russia increased following the uptrend in raw materials and export [rebar] markets.”
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