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Graphite: Europe begins anti-dumping investigation on synthetic graphite electrodes

Graphite: Europe begins anti-dumping investigation on synthetic graphite electrodes

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  • Time of issue:2021-03-08 11:19
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On 17 February, the European Commission (EC) began an anti-dumping investigation into synthetic graphite electrodes originating from China, leading to a sudden increase in electrode purchases and shipments before any potential duties are put in place. Market instability has also led to some price rises with Asian Metal prices for high power (HP) electrodes (400 diameter, ex-works China) increasing by 3.2% for the month of February; although, prices had already been rising for several months since bottoming out in August last year.
The complaint had been brought earlier in 2020 by graphite electrode producers Graphite Cova (German subsidiary of Graphite India Limited), Tokai Erftcarbon (German subsidiary of Tokai Carbon of Japan) and Showa Denko Carbon Holding (Japanese company with electrode plants in Germany, Spain and Austria).
In its notice of initiation of an anti-dumping proceeding, the EC suggests that ‘the use of domestic prices and costs in the country concerned is inappropriate’, with China using domestic figures to calculate prices leading to significant market distortions. It will also investigate raw material costs with claims that ‘pitch needle coke, that accounts for more than 17% of the cost of production of the product under investigation, is subject to VAT refund withdrawal in the country concerned’, leading to Chinese material reaching ‘prices significantly below those of representative international markets’.
Chinese producers have brought a counterclaim to the EC through the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products.
Roskill View
If the investigation results in restrictions being applied to electrode imports from China, this could lead to higher costs for European steelmakers. Steel mills operating electric arc furnaces (EAFs) require the use of synthetic graphite electrodes and cannot substitute with other types of lower performance carbon electrodes. Around 41% of European (EU27+UK) crude steel is produced via EAF, which allows the greater use of re

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