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Russian watchdog drops probe into steel companies over rebar price hike

The Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, or FAS, dropped an investigation on Mechel PAO, PAO Severstal and Evraz Plc for allegedly pushing up steel prices, Mechel's press office told S&P Global Market Intelligence on April 4.

FAS opened the investigation in July 2016 on suspicions that the companies were abusing their dominant position in the market. The watchdog found that from January 2016 to April 2016, Evraz rebar prices rose 34%, while prices at Severstal surged 103%.

Additionally, rebar prices at Mechel subsidiary Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Plant increased 70% from December 2015 to May 2016.

"The increase in rebar prices in April 2016 outstripped production costs and for this reason FAS suspects these companies of raising the price of their products," FAS said in a July 2016 statement.

Sources from Severstal told Russian newspaper Kommersant that it welcomed the decision to drop the investigation and "rebar prices were just as volatile on the Russian market as they are on the global market," adding that there are many other rebar producers in Russia.