Economy, Business And Markets

Iranian Steelmakers Bolster Presence in Thailand Market

Iran exported 884,800 tons of steel to Thailand in the fiscal 2016-17, accounting for 16% of all Iranian steel shipments and indicating an over 97% growth year-over-year
Thailand imported a total of 13.2 million tons of semi-finished steel and steel products last year, up 15% compared to the year before.Thailand imported a total of 13.2 million tons of semi-finished steel and steel products last year, up 15% compared to the year before.
Iran was the fourth fastest growing steel exporter to Thailand last year

Thailand is currently the world’s fourth largest importer of steel and Iran is gradually becoming a major exporter to the Southeast Asian market.

The kingdom imported a total of 13.2 million tons of semi-finished steel and steel products last year, up 15% compared to the year before, Foolad News reported.

Major infrastructure, transportation and construction projects underway in Thailand have required a steady feedstock of steel over the years. Consequently, Thailand’s import growth trend has followed a steady uptrend ever since 2000, with only a slight hiccup in 2007-9.

In 2016, the country’s steel imports amounted to 4% of the total global shipments.

Iran exported 5.53 million tons of semis and steel products in the last Iranian year (March 2016-17), the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization reported.

Over 16% of the total figure, amounting to 884,800 tons, were shipped to Thailand. This indicates an over 97% growth in shipments year-on-year and makes Iran the fourth fastest growing exporter of the commodity to the kingdom, followed by Indonesia, Australia and China.

Thailand imports steel from 110 countries with the minimum volume being about 400,000 tons from each. The large number of willing trade partners has enabled Thais to be rather autonomous in choosing one and the rise in shipments from Iran can be a positive sign of consumers favoring Iranian steel over others.

And expanding steel export markets is just what the Iranian industry needs. It is currently following an aggressive capacity expansion program as it aims to reach an annual production capacity of 55 million tons of steel by the end of 2025, as part of the so-called 20-Year Vision Plan (2005-25).

According to Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Reza Nemtazadeh, the industry has realized about 60% of the target capacity so far.

Experts believe that in order to sustain capacity growth, steelmakers must boost exports as the local construction market is still low on demand and shows no immediate signs of recovery.

  Anti-Dumping Duties on Iranian Steel

However, gaining new grounds in any market on a rapid pace will spook the market’s local producers and cause them to take action against what they might deem as dumping strategies. Thailand set definitive anti-dumping duties on the import of hot-rolled flat steel products in coil and sheet forms from Iran on Thursday. They range from 6.88% to 38.23% for five years starting May 16 and will affect Brazil and Turkey as well, according to a notice published in the Royal Thai Gazette.

Thai officials’ main focus for anti-dumping duties was products from Iran’s Mobarakeh Steel Company, which will be levied a 7.25% tax. The duty for other Iranian mills stands at 38.27%. They compare with preliminary duties of 7.09-38.52%, which had been imposed on November 16 for an initial four months before being extended for two months until May 15.

The main product under scrutiny was carbon steel hot-rolled coils and sheets, with a thickness of 0.9 mm to 100 mm and a width of 100 mm to 3,200 mm. This is not the first time Iranian steelmakers, especially MSC, face steel dumping charges. Back in early 2016, the Brussels-based steel lobby group Eurofer, declared that Iranian steel exports had become a “threat” to European markets.

The group’s members, who produce more than a quarter of EU’s iron and steel products, were startled by data showing Iranian HRC shipments growing nearly eightfold between 2013 and 2016 to over  1 million tons.

The European Commission was expected to set preliminary anti-dumping duties on Iranian HRC back on April 7, but backtracked on its decision a few days later. EC announced that it might still impose definite duties within the next six months, Metal Bulletin reported.

Iranian steelmakers exported over 3.74 million tons of semis and 1.79 million tons of steel products in the fiscal 2016-17, registering a 108% and 16% growth respectively compared to the preceding year, according to Iranian Steel Producers Association.

Thailand, the UAE and Taiwan were the main customers of Iranian steel, accounting for 16%, 12% and 11% of the total exports respectively, statistics released by IMIDRO show.

Italy with 9%, Oman with 7%, China with 7%, Iraq with 6%, Afghanistan with 5%, Jordan with 3%, Turkey with 3%, Egypt with 3%, Brazil with 3%, Spain with 2%, Morocco with 2% and Turkmenistan with 2% followed.

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