EU remains Turkey’s main HRC export market despite barriers

Although Turkish steel mills’ overall hot-rolled coil exports in January-November 2020 were 14.5% below last year at 2.71 million mt, due to the EU’s import quotas and anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations, the EU region remained Turkish mills’ main HRC export destination last year.

Despite quotas and safeguard investigations, Italy remained Turkey’s largest HRC export market in January-November 2020 taking 826,800 mt. But this export figure was notably lower than the 973,300 mt exported to that country in the same period of 2019.

Spain remained Turkey’s second largest export destination in the first eleven months of 2020 at 318,300 mt, sharply lower than 530,000 mt exported in the same period the previous year.

Turkish mills’ HRC exports to Bulgaria rose by 15.5% year on year to 152,800 mt in January-November, while shipments to other European countries and the US remained notably low on year in that period, amid trade barriers and the pandemic.

Turkish mills managed to increase their HRC shipments to Egypt significantly in the 11-month period to 368,600 mt, up 62% on year, while Turkish mills’ HRC shipments to Iraq reached 120,200 mt, up 56% on year, the latest data showed.

As availability issues have impacted the market amid a significant demand surge in the last quarter of 2020, Turkish mills’ domestic and export HRC offer prices reached as high as $800/mt and above for April rollings in the last weeks of 2020, up more than $250/mt within two months.

Rising imported scrap costs, and higher steel pricing globally have also also supported mills’ higher HRC pricing.

Demand domestic and export markets and raw materials pricing are expected to determine Turkish mills HRC pricing strategy in the coming weeks.

A service center manager told Platts on Jan. 6 he heard a major Turkish HRC producer has begun to offer $15/mt lower than its previous list prices at $810-$815/mt ex-works.

A sales manager of the mill in question, however, didn’t confirm this information with Platts, saying prices remained stable but the market was quiet.

An executive of a Turkish pipe producer said they didn’t take any price offer from domestic mills this week, but the latest offer they recently received from a Russian mill was at $790/mt FOB.

— Cenk Can