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Kazakhstan and Russia Cut Iran Steel Sales

Wednesday 18 July 2018

MOSCOW (Reuters) — Russia and Kazakhstan are cutting back sales of hot-rolled steel coils to Iran partly because of new US sanctions on Tehran, steel traders said. The development shows that, despite protests from the Kremlin that unilateral US sanctions should not affect Russian companies, the firms are changing their behaviour for fear of falling foul of US sanctions.

Imports of Russian and Kazakh hot-rolled steel coils, used in industries from pipes and cars to agricultural equipment, make up only a small part of Iranian consumption and can be replaced. The imports were already slowing before sanctions because of low prices and weak demand, but the US sanctions have accelerated the slowdown, traders said.

The coils are shipped to Iran by Russian steel makers Severstal and MMK along with ArcelorMittal’s plant in Temirtau, Kazakhstan. Severstal and MMK shipped 410,000 tonnes and ArcelorMittal Temirtau another 240,000 tonnes of HR coils less than 2mm thick.

Arcelor “and the likes are cutting trade with Iran because of [US President] Donald Trump’s pressure on big companies”, an Iranian trader said. Alex Agoureev, an adviser to Paramjit Kahlon, CEO of ArcelorMittal CIS, confirmed that the company planned to suspend supplies to Iran due to the US sanctions. “Supplies to Iran will be temporarily suspended due to the sanctions. Once sanctions are lifted, the supplies will be resumed”, Agoureev said.

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