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New EU sanctions to include Russian semi-finished steel imports

Highlights

Bloc also banning coal exports, including coking coal

Transition period for some semi-finished steel products

Over 80% of EU semi-finished products from Russia, Ukraine

  • Author
  • Jacqueline Holman
  • Editor
  • Jonathan Loades-Carter
  • Commodity
  • Coal Metals
  • Topic
  • War in Ukraine

The European Council has adopted its eighth sanctions package against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, which expands its ban on the import of Russian steel products to include semi-finished steel, the European Commission said in an Oct. 6 statement.

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Among a number of other restrictions announced, the EC said it was banning the export of coal, including coking coal, which was used in Russian industrial plants.

The EU previously banned imports of finished steel from Russia as part of sanctions imposed in March, while some semi-finished and raw material suppliers had also been previously hit by sanctions imposed on specific companies and individuals.

The EC, which said the new import restrictions totaled almost Eur7 billion ($6.9 billion) in value, added that the ban on imports of some semi-finished steel products would be subject to a transition period.

Market sources told S&P Global Commodity Insights previously that European mill representatives had made an official request to impose sanctions on imports of semi-finished products from Russia after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a partial military mobilization Sept. 21.

However, nine large companies, including European steel rerollers and traders, sent a joint letter to the EC Sept. 27 underlining the risk "of sanctioning input materials for the rerolling business model in Europe."

According to the letter, any import ban on semi-finished steel products, such as slabs, billets, and blooms from Russia would have consequences for the industry, such as unemployment and price spikes, as there were no other real options for substituting the supply with alternative producers.

More than 80% of the EU's steel semi-finished steel products come from Russia and Ukraine, according to the letter.

Platts, part of S&P Global, assessed the weekly FOB Black Sea slab price at $450/mt Oct. 5, falling 23.1% since the beginning of 2022. Russian slab and flat-rolled steel exporters mainly target the Turkish market, with their slab prices lower than the competition, according to S&P Global.

Platts assessed import slab in Southern Europe at $600/mt CIF Italy Sept. 30, unchanged week on week, and plate in Southern Europe at Eur1,000/mt ex-works Italy Sept. 30, also flat.

NLMK is the only slab exporter from Russia still active in the EU market despite global sanctions and has been focused on slab delivered to its own coil and plate rolling mills in Belgium, France, Denmark and Italy and some external sales to Central European buyers.