Turkey becomes net steel importer over Jan-May; new capacities on the way: TCUD

Turkey was a net steel importer in the first five months of 2021, though new steel capacities likely to start within the next 2-3 years are expected to limit import volumes.

According to the latest Turkish Steel Producers’ Association (TCUD) data sent to S&P Global Platts July 3, Turkish mills’ steel exports totaled 7.5 million mt in January-May, up 17.4% on the year, mostly on base effect, while the revenue generated from these exports rose by 58.4% to $5.2 billion, amid higher steel pricing globally.

Turkey’s overall steel imports in the first five months of the year saw a sharper rise, by 49.4% on the year to 7 million mt, while the cost of these imports reached $5.5 billion, up by 88.1% on the year.

Turkey’s steel export/import ratio in January-May, thus fell to 94:100, from 112:100 in the same period of the previous year, according to TCUD data.

TCUD said global protection measures, particularly by the EU and the US, were affecting global trade activities and Turkish mills’ steel export volumes.

“For to avert the foreign trade deficit, Turkish steel industry accelerated the works to create new steel capacities,” TCUD said.

Turkish steel producers have announced new steel mill and capacity increase projects one after another in recent months, especially in flat steel production.

Flat steel production capacity in Turkey is expected to rise 6 million-8 million mt in the coming 2-3 years with new investments, which are expected to ease shortages in the Turkish market and to decrease import volumes.

Major Turkish steelmaker, Tosyali Demir Celik, has been continuing construction works on its new 3.5 million mt/year integrated hot-rolled coil mill investment. The new mill is scheduled to be commissioned by the end of 2022.

Turkey’s other major steelmakers, Colakoglu and Habas, are also continuing technical works at their projects to increase capacity.

Russian steel company MMK, which decided to restart the hot end of its Turkish coil making subsidiary MMK Metalurji, is expected to produce its first hot-rolled coil by end-July. The company, which is targeting entering the market gradually, is continuing commissioning works successfully, Platts learned from an informed source at the end of last week.

MMK Metalurji’s casting and rolling module comprises an electric arc furnace and a compact hot strip mill with an overall capacity of 2.3 million mt/year, which has been idle since November 2012.

Some Turkish long steel producers also have started investing to raise their capacities and to expand their product ranges, which are expected to support Turkey’s export volumes and unit prices in the coming few years.

— Cenk Can