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Alarm over hot rolled steel: Industry body wants price controls in place

Alarm over hot rolled steel: Industry body wants price controls in place

The stainless steel Tube and Cold-Forming Steel Association wants the interim government due to be appointed this year to help control hot-rolled coil steel prices. 

It cites a price jump of 20% since the imposition of higher tariffs last year.

Association secretary Varoonchai Leekanchanakorn yesterday said the price of hot-rolled coil steel, used in the production of steel pipe, was expected to increase by another 10% by year-end, in turn driving prices of steel pipes up by 8-9%.

“Steel pipe and other finished steel products made in the country have no protective measures like hot-rolled coil steel has,” he said.

“When local hot-rolled coil steel price rises, the price of local steel pipe and other products has to rise also. This prompts customers to buy cheaper imported products.”

Currently, the price of imported finished steel is quoted at US$680 a tonne, while hot-rolled coil steel goes for $700 a tonne.

“How can we survive when local raw material prices are even higher than those of imported finished products?” Mr Varoonchai said.

“One of our members has already relocated its manufacturing base to Myanmar. If there are no measures to protect our industry, many more producers will follow suit.”

However, the association is not asking for anti-dumping or safeguard measures for domestic steel pipe or other finished steel products, as it says that would hurt end-users such as the construction industry, property sector and makers of furniture, farm machinery and auto parts.

Earlier, local small and medium-sized property developers asked the military regime to help control steel prices
after the local cost of structural steel jumped with the imposition of stricter safeguards.

The import duty on hot-rolled coil, sheet and plate containing alloys such as boron and chromium was raised to 33.11% from between zero and 5% previously.

However, steel manufacturers have argued that fierce competition has already kept domestic steel prices in check, both for imported and locally made steel.

They point out that hot-rolled steel is on the Commerce Ministry’s price control list. Since last year, prices have moved in tandem with the global market, from 21.50 a kilogramme to 22.50 baht.

Such tariffs are allowed for members of the World Trade Organization.

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