Turkey’s first-half production, exports slump, imports soar

Turkish steel producers have again reiterated their calls for protectionist measures similar to those implemented by many countries, specifically the USA and EU. This would be in order to prevent increasing imports of dumped and poor-quality products to Turkey, and to restore Turkish steel exports to their former levels.

“This is vital both for our steel foreign trade and for the economy of our country,” says Turkish Steel Producers Association (TCUD) general secretary Veysel Yayan.

“Asian countries, such as China, India, South Korea and Indonesia, whose competitiveness has increased thanks to their falling energy costs, have gradually increased their shares in Turkey’s traditional markets, especially in the EU, reducing our steel exports and at the same time increasing our steel imports at dumped prices, posing a threat to our steel foreign trade,” Yayan continues.

Turkey’s June crude steel production decreased 1.5% on-year to 2.9 million tonnes, notes Kallanish.

Production in the first half of 2023 fell 16.3% on-year to 15.9mt, meaning Turkey, which was eighth-largest steel producer with 19mt in H1 2022, fell to tenth place this year.

June finished steel consumption soared 27.4% on-year to 3.3mt, while January-June consumption increased by 15.8% to 19.9mt.

Exports of steel products, however, slumped 40.8% in June to 875,900t, while falling 52% in value to $740 million. First-half exports fell 46.5% to 4.5mt and 52.5% to $3.9 billion.

June imports rose 12.1% to 1.5mt while falling 9.6% in value to $1.3 billion. January-June imports thus rose 23% to 9.5mt, while declining by 4.3% in value to $8.1 billion.

In particular, import growth for wire rod reached 82.5%, causing long steel imports to grow by 43.4% in the first half.

“The extraordinary increase in imports of long products, of which Turkey is a net exporter, widened the foreign trade deficit of the sector,” says Yayan.

Consequently, the ratio of six-month exports to imports slumped to 47.9:100 from 96.7:100 in January-June 2022.

Emphasising that the February earthquakes were also effective in decreasing production, Yayan comments: “Despite the 16.3% decline in Turkey’s crude steel production, there was an increase in the domestic demand due to the reconstruction of earthquake-hit cities. Despite the 15.8% increase in [first-half] consumption, the 23% increase in imports shows that the consumption is being met through imports.”

Burcak Alpman Turkey