EU second-quarter imports surge, Turkey trade deficit widens

EU finished steel imports surged 44% on-year in the second quarter to 2.5 million tonnes, reflecting improved demand across the EU and the low base effect, says European steelmakers’ association Eurofer. Intake from Russia and Turkey rose 38% and 7% respectively, while supply from Ukraine soared 106%.

Flat and long product intake rose 46% and 34% respectively in Q2. Hot rolled wide strip was the most-imported product at 939,000t, followed by hot-dip galvanized coil at 506,000t. Long products represented 21% of imports.

EU exports to third countries slumped 30% to only 494,000t, with flats and longs declining 33% and 24% respectively. Exports to number-two market the US fell only 3%, but those to number-one market Turkey dropped 40% and to number-three market Switzerland by 19%. Exports to China fell 37%.

The EU’s total steel product trade deficit (finished plus semis) amounted to 1.3 million tonnes/month over Q2, mostly due to the “exceptional” rise in imports in May and June, compared to 912,000 t/m in Q1, Eurofer observes in its latest quarterly report sent to Kallanish. For finished products, the Q2 trade deficit was 1.7mt versus 367,000t in Q1.

The biggest trade deficits were with Russia (364,000t), Ukraine (243,000t) and Turkey (232,000t). The trade position with Turkey had improved from Q1 2019 to Q4 2020, reaching an all-time low of 21,000t. However, the trade deficit with Turkey has started to increase again since Q1 2021, reaching 232,000t in Q2, Eurofer says.

Adam Smith Germany