European demand is silver lining in gloomy Turkish export rebar market

Turkish rebar export prices were assessed stable Sept. 6 as European buyer demand remained an exception in a weak wider market.

Platts assessed Turkish exported rebar prices at $670/mt FOB Sept. 6, unchanged day on day.

Offers from Turkish mills heard during the day were $680-$710/mt FOB, with the latter being considered unworkable for buyers, according to a Turkish trader.

“There is no rebar price,” the trader said. “Nobody is buying, and nobody is selling. The offers from the mills are only there on paper.”

Instead, buyers were heard to be targeting as low as $640/mt FOB.

Some European buyers have expressed interest in importing Turkish rebar — despite the possibility of having to pay a 25% safeguard duty — as the supply of finished steel in Europe becomes limited due to the ongoing energy crisis reducing steel mill production, according to sources.

The EU tariff-free import quota for Turkish-origin rebar in Q3 was immediately exhausted July 1, with the upcoming Q4 tariff-free quota totaling 90,856.92 mt set to open Oct. 1. The Q4 quota was also expected to be exhausted quickly.

“I believe we’re hearing some bookings from Europe at the moment because the availability in Europe is very tight at the moment,” a second Turkish trader said. “Everyone is taking precautions and importing regardless of the quota, just in case they cannot afford to produce themselves.”

“Everyone is uncertain about the future. It’s either import now or accept heavy production costs throughout the winter.”

However, market sources also told Platts that European buyer sentiment in certain regions was more cautious, as traders considered the risks of importing in the current market climate.

“Spanish buyers can’t take the risk of large shipments right now, but they also cannot afford to wait either,” an EU trader said. “They’re interested in buying smaller quantities. But Italy has decided to stop importing completely until their cost structure becomes clearer.”

A second EU trader also described customer disinterest in purchasing rebar amid the ongoing energy cost crisis, and said: “We are not in the market. We are currently not being pushed by our customers to offer new material at this time.”

Turkish rebar exporters also face competition from billet as European buyers weighed the benefits of switching to roll billet to produce finished steel to save on electricity costs, according to sources.

A deal for steel billet totaling 30,000 mt was booked Sept. 2 by European buyers at $515/mt FOB Indonesia.

Platts assessed Turkish imports of premium heavy melting scrap 1/2 (80:20) Sept. 6 at $379.75/mt CFR, down $7.25/mt day on day.

— Abdi Salad