March 5, 2014
By Sarah Baltic, with Anthony Poole in New York

US DOC clears Russia of ferrosilicon dumping; gives Venezuela 27.27% margin 

The US Department of Commerce made preliminary determinations that Venezuela is guilty of dumping ferrosilicon imports into the domestic market, but cleared Russia, the agency's International Trade Administration said on March 5.

As a result of the Venezuelan antidumping investigation, respondent FerroAtlantica de Venezuela, as well as other producers and exporters in Venezuela, received a preliminary dumping margin of 27.27%, the ITA said in a statement. In the Russian investigation, respondent RFA International received a preliminary dumping margin of 0%.

The preliminary determination came a day later than expected, because a snowfall in Washington DC on March 3 effectively shut the US government down for a day and delayed the announcement.

Commerce will instruct US Customs and Border Protection to require cash deposits based on the preliminary rate. Because the preliminary determination for Russia is negative, Commerce will not require cash deposits to be collected for imports of ferrosilicon from that country.

The petitions for the antidumping investigations were filed last August by US producers Globe Specialty Metals and CC Metals and Alloys, along with two trade unions that represent the workers of the two companies: the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union and the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America.

The material under investigation included all forms and sizes of ferrosilicon, including briquettes, regardless of grade, as well as slag if it meets ferrosilicon specifications of 4% or more iron, more than 8% but not more than 96% silicon, 3% or less phosphorus, 30% or less manganese, less than 3% magnesium and 10% or less of any element by weight, the agency said.

In 2013, imports of ferrosilicon from Russia and Venezuela were valued at about $117.5 million and $43.3 million, respectively, according to an ITA fact sheet.

The ITA said Commerce was scheduled to announce its final determinations in the Russia investigation and Venezuela investigation on or about May 20, 2014 and July 18, 2014, respectively. The final determination date in the Venezuela investigation has been fully extended, and Commerce may still extend the final determination date in the Russia investigation.

If the Department of Commerce's final determinations are affirmative and the US International Trade Commission also makes affirmative final determinations on Russian and Venezuelan imports, Commerce will issue antidumping orders. If DOC or ITC's final determinations are negative, antidumping orders will not be issued.

The ITC is scheduled to make its final injury determinations in the Russia investigation and Venezuela investigation in July 2014 and September 2014, respectively, the statement said.

Commenting on the preliminary determinations, a ferrosilicon trader said he believed the price of ferrosilicon would now start to fall. "It's only been inflated to this extent because of the investigation, and certainly not because demand has improved," the trader said.

Another trader described the determination as "a big surprise." And a third trader said the determination was "really shocking."

Earlier on March 5, before the preliminary determination had been announced, a source at one of the domestic producers said: "If anything surprising comes from the preliminary that, of course, could tip [the ferrosilicon price] one way or the other but, at the moment, everything's status quo." 

The Platts US ferrosilicon assessment was unchanged on March 5 at 98-100 cents/lb in-warehouse major US hubs basis.