NEW YORK Market
speculation is mounting about a possible trade case against
Turkey after total rebar imports soared to more than
140,400 tons in March. However, some dismissed rumors of a
trade case as nothing more than customary saber-rattling.
"There is a case in the works,
and (the mills) are putting something before the (U.S.
International Trade Commission) down the road," a source
familiar with the situation said. "I think it should be evident
to the country that Turkey is a problem and theyre not
playing by the same rules. And it is massively affecting our
Preliminary U.S. Census Bureau
figures show that total rebar imports nearly doubled in March
from 75,600 tons in February and were 43 percent higher than
98,300 tons in March 2012.
Turkish mills supplied more than
106,000 tons of rebar in Marchmore than double the 51,300
tons the previous monthaccounting for 75.5 percent of the
Domestic rebar mills said that
the flood of Turkish imports was partially to blame for their
slim margins and mediocre sales volumes.
"Were feeling pressure," a
domestic rebar mill source told AMM. "(Imports are)
one reason our competitors are keeping pricing low. ... The
issue is, its going to come in anyway. Its here,
its coming, someones going to deal with it.
Im not sure how to deal with it. Its costing us
business, and its certainly costing us money."
Tampa, Fla.-based Gerdau Long
Steel North America told customers in a May 1 letter that it
was lowering rebar prices by $20 per ton partially in response
to increasing competition from foreign producers (
amm.com, May 1).
Several sources said that
imported rebar, particularly from Turkey, is coming in too fast
and is too cheap. "Were seeing rebar $100 a ton below our
costs," a second domestic rebar mill source said. "The margins
were making are grotesquely thin."
Others downplayed the effects of
imports, saying that spring trends were normal and that rumors
of a trade case were overblown.
"Our bookings have stayed fairly
stable," a third domestic rebar mill source said. "I have a
sense that (imports) have been tracking along and reflect the
normal spring increase for the months of January through
Some sources also said that tons
scheduled for April delivery arrived early, artificially
inflating March import numbers. "A lot of (the tons) hit early
into New Orleans, and they came up the Mississippi. Ive
been shipping Turkish stuff since mid-April, and thats
that March arrival data," a rebar distributor source said.
A rebar trader downplayed rumors
about a potential trade case. "I dont know how true that
is," he said. "I dont know if thats saber rattling
or what. Can they win it? Are they losing money?"
Domestic rebar producers would
need to prove to the International Trade Commission that they
are losing money due to imports, sources said.
"Its not going to happen,"
the distributor source said of a trade case. "(The mills are)
going to claim damage. They cant show damage unless you
can show that youre financially being impacted."