Slow demand, competitive import offers pressure Turkish sheet

Turkish mills’ have been trying to keep their domestic and export sheet offer prices stable in recent days, although slow demand and competitive import offers have been putting pressure on their quotes.

Turkish producers have been offering hot-rolled coil to the domestic market generally at $405-$415/mt in recent days, as their price hike attempts have faced buyer resistance. Although mills’ export offers were generally around $10-$15/mt lower on an FOB basis, for sizable bookings, its was still too far away to match export buyers’ lower counter bids, sources said.

Confirming the above price levels in the market, a sales executive of a Turkish HRC producer told Platts that in this sentiment their HRC export sales volumes remained low. “Domestic demand, however, has begun to show some recovery signs,” he noted.

A trade source said the latest deals in Turkish mills’ HRC export sales were as low as $390/mt FOB in the previous week, but he didn’t hear any export bookings so far this week, he noted.

Competitive import offers were also pressuring Turkish mills’ quotations, sources said. Some Turkish buyers booked some HRC tonnages from the CIS region, especially from Russia, in mid-April, in the range of $375-$385/mt CFR, as Platts has reported. Turkish buyers have remained generally silent in recent days, preferring to study market direction.

Confirming that local HRC prices are currently at $405-$415/mt ex-works and imported HRC offers to Turkey from the CIS region are at $380-$385/mt CFR, a Turkish pipe producer said they didn’t yet make any bookings in that price range.

“April was very slow, and I am not expecting May will be much better. HRC prices could even decline a further $10-$15/mt in a sluggish market, as scrap prices will probably fall further. We could then make some bookings in that new price range,” he said.

After declining by $15/mt on day, domestic ship scrap prices in Turkey fell by a further $5/mt on Thursday to as low as $225/mt, which is expected to be reflected in imported scrap prices.

Turkish mills’ cold-rolled and coated coil prices have also continued to be effected negatively from the bearish market sentiment.

A service center manager said, a major coated coil producer organized a campaign at the end of last week and sold 3 mm thick HDG at as low as $485-$490/mt ex-works, which was even below the current CRC prices in the market.

“I have received a CRC offer from a major mill at $505/mt ex-works this week, but lower prices are still available from some coated coil producers,” he said, adding that he is expecting a gradual recovery in demand and prices in mid-May, amid the ease of the virus outbreak.

A coated coil producer also confirmed that CRC prices stood at $500-$510/mt ex-works this week, “Our current list price is higher, but you can also find DX51D with 50-70 grams/square meter zinc coating, 0.50 mm HDG at as low as at $550-$560/mt ex-works in the market,” he said.

Activities in the Turkish flats market, meanwhile, are expected to remain slow in the coming days, as the Turkish government declared another three-day curfew as of May 1 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

— Cenk Can