Turkey becomes Europe’s largest steel producer in 2020

Steel production in Turkey exceeded last year’s performance in 2020, despite the pandemic, and reached 35.8 million mt, up 6% on year. Turkey, thus became Europe’s largest and the world’s seventh largest steel producer surpassing Germany.

Output figures were down across all major European producers, with Germany’s total production at 35.7 million mt in 2020, down by 10% year on year.

Only five countries among the top 20 steel producers of the world, including Turkey, managed to increase their production in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic sharply hampered the world economies.

After some decline seen in the second quarter due to the pandemic, Turkish mills started to increase their steel production notably as of the beginning of the third quarter, amid domestic and global demand recovery.

The recovery trend in Turkey’s crude steel production continued in the last month of 2020, and the country’s steel production reached 3.4 million mt in December, up by 17.7% on year, Platts observed from the latest data from the World Steel Association on Jan. 26.

Although Turkish mills continued to face trade barriers in their main export markets, especially in the EU and the US, shipments to South East Asian, African and South American markets supported Turkish mills’ export volumes in 2020. So, the decline in mills’ steel export volumes remained limited last year at 20.6 million mt, down by 2.8% on year.

Turkish mills have set the 2021 steel export target at 23 million mt, 10% higher on year, which could support Turkish mills’ crude steel output also in 2021.

— Cenk Can