Turkey sees no major change in steel trade with UK following safeguard extension

Turkish steel exporters and traders do not expect major changes in their steel trade as a result of the UK’s July 1 extension of its steel import safeguards system for a further two years, despite recent fluctuations in shipment levels of some products, sector representatives told S&P Global Commodities Insights.

Ugur Dalbeler, vice president of the Turkish Steel Exporters Union (CIB), said late last week he is not expecting any significant change as Turkish exporters have been facing this kind of protectionist move in many countries in recent years.

“We have entered into a protectionist system globally,” he added.

After several EU nations, Turkey has nonetheless remained one of the biggest steel exporters of iron and steel products to the UK in recent years. It ranked in seventh position overall in 2021, with 375,100 mt out of the UK’s total imports of 6.37 million mt.

A trading company manager said July 4 that as steel trade with the UK has remained slow in recent years, the extension of steel safeguards probably will not have a significant effect on Turkish mills’ export volumes to that country.

“For the UK side, exports to the US are currently their main focus,” he said.

Steel imports into Turkey have meanwhile grown in recent years while Turkey’s overall steel shipments to the EU, US and some of Turkey’s top export destinations have fallen significantly due to trade barriers, the Turkish Steel Producers’ Association (TCUD) said in a statement.

Flat steel imports into Turkey have risen substantially in recent months, TCUD noted. Flat steel imports from the UK rose significantly by 592% on-year to 139,000 mt in May, TCUD said.

However, as quotas formerly allocated to Russia and Belarus under the UK’s steel import safeguards system have been reallocated to other countries in the extended safeguards system effective July 1, Turkey will be among the beneficiaries, together with Ukraine, the EU and Taiwan, the UK’s Trade Remedies Authority or TRA, said July 1.

According to the latest Turkish Statistical Institute data, Turkish mills’ flat steel exports to the UK remained low in the first five months of 2022. This may be due to the start of a turndown in demand. However, rebar exports to that country reached 75,000 mt in Jan-May 2022, significantly higher than the 2,300 mt exported in the same period the previous year.

Turkish mills’ steel sections exports to the UK remained relatively stable at 32,500 mt in Jan-May 2022, while welded steel pipe exports to that country fell slightly by 3.5% on year to 100,000 mt.

Turkey imported 858,000 mt of ferrous scrap from the UK in Jan-May 2022, down 32% on year, while semi product imports from that country also declined by 30% on year to 21,000 mt, the data showed.

— Cenk Can