NEW YORK U.S. ports are poised to receive up to 100,000 tonnes of reinforcing bar from Turkey in January, three traders have confirmed independently, despite the threat of imminent duties as a result of an ongoing trade investigation against imports from Turkey and Mexico.
The imports will be shipped on three vessels scheduled to sail from Turkey in December and arrive at U.S. ports in January if there are no delays, traders said.
The order sizes range from around 2,000 tonnes to about 34,000 tonnes, depending on the importer, with the total tonnage likely ranging between 90,000 and 100,000 tonnes.
The importers run the risk of facing countervailing duties, which could be imposed as early as late December (amm.com, Oct. 30). If the shipments are late, they also might be required to pay anti-dumping duties, which could be determined as early as Feb. 28.
At least four companies are involved in the deals, which were all made within the past month.
"I think theyre crazy. Everyones got their own risk appetite, but this seems pretty risky," said one trader who is importing rebar from other countries.
"They took the risk and they baffled the market. Everyone was scratching their heads. Why would they take such a risk all of a sudden?" said a second trader who is importing material as part of the January arrivals but only a small quantity.
Even if the shipments are on time, domestic rebar producers that filed the trade complaint might claim critical circumstances, which could result in the imposition of retroactive duties on the imports, making the shipments especially risky, traders said.
Domestic rebar producers plan to "aggressively" examine their options for imposing retroactive duties, AMM has been told.
The Commerce Department would consider at least a three-month period, beginning with the filing of the petition Sept. 4 and comparing it with a period of equal duration prior to the filing, according to departmental guidelines. A 15-percent increase in import volumes over the two periods would constitute a massive surge, although seasonal factors are considered.
Imports of Turkish rebar surpassed 100,000 tonnes in two separate months earlier this year, reaching 106,071 tonnes in March and 101,094 tonnes in May, according to data from Commerces Enforcement and Compliance division. Imports in September, the most recent month for which data is available, totaled 64,951 tonnes, according to preliminary data.
"People think this is the last go-around that the Turks are doing, and they jump on that," a third trader said.
The material is scheduled to be shipped to several ports, including Baltimore, Fort Lauderdale, Houston and New Orleans, at prices ranging from about $605 to $620 per tonne ($549 to $562 per short ton) c.i.f., depending on the port and volume, traders said, reflecting higher prices compared with orders booked earlier in the year.
"I think several trading companies each thought they would be the only one to squeeze in one last Turkish shipment," a fourth trader said. "Since several had the same idea, we end up with 100,000 tonnes arriving in January."