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MSC production of sheets less than 3 mm thick stopped windfall of import mafia
Each year Iranian carmakers need as much as 200,000 tons of steel sheets and since local purchases are less expensive than imports, they insist on buying what they need from Mobarakeh Steel Company (MSC), Mahmoud Akbari, who is in charge of the Sales Department of the Iranian steel giant, told a TV talk show.
He said claims by the Pipe and Profile Syndicate are rooted in the fact that it is closely linked to importers of foreign steel and added the spar between the syndicate and MSC intensified  two years ago when MSC began to produce sheets less than 3 mm thick, thus prevented the import mafia from getting a windfall.
Recalling the fact that MSC has limited the volume of its exports in recent years [to maximally meet the domestic need], he asked officials with the Pipe and Profile Syndicate to release clear statements about their production and demand for steel sheets in the country. “Mobarakeh Steel Company has exported only 400,000 tons of its products in the first half of the current year [started March 21, 2017]. But we have yet to receive exact figures on production and demand from the syndicate. It comes after MSC sold more than 1.3 million tons of steel products to the pipe and profile industry last year. But an MSC offer of 730,000 tons was not welcomed thanks to a market glut and a lack of need among pipe and profile producers.”
Shahrestani, a board member of the Steel Association, told the same TV show that steel prices are directly influenced by supply and demand and that mandatory prices simply upset the market balance.
He further said imports of sheets less than 3 mm thick two years ago stood at 2 million tons; last year the figure slipped to 1.3 million tons. It is expected to plunge even further this year and stand at 700,000 tons. This means local steelmakers such as Mobarakeh Steel Company are meeting more and more of the domestic need.    
He said the problems standing in the way of steel exports should be removed and called for the immediate formation of a national steel commission.
Later, Chairman of the board of directors of the Pipe and Profile Syndicate Abouei said figures released by the Customs Administration are wrong. The fact that MSC is a member of the board of directors of the Mercantile Exchange has influenced the exchange, he said.
Abouei further said the sheets which are supplied should come at global prices. He profusely thanked the importers of raw materials used in the steel industry.
And Managing Director of the Mercantile Exchange Soltaninejad said the way basic prices of steel are set at the Mercantile Exchange is similar to exchanges elsewhere in the world and added only companies which act transparently are listed on the exchange. “It is not right to condemn companies which are financially transparent and allow those whose performance is far from transparent to do whatever they want to do.”
He said the structure and performance of the Mercantile Exchange has been approved by oversight bodies, adding companies can be shareholders of the exchange and even become members of its board and this is perfectly legitimate.
And Mehrizi, the managing director of Ahwaz Rolling and Pipe Mills Co., said his company is capable of producing 500,000 tons of products, but the actual production figure was no more than 270,000 last year. “Personally, I believe supply of raw materials to rolling mills is the most important issue facing the country's steel industry,” he said.       


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