Turkish buyers imported 5.6 million mt of HRC in 2021, 1.5 million mt higher than the previous year, according to the latest monthly Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) data sent to S&P Global Platts.
Turkey’s traditionally top HRC suppliers, CIS countries, increased their shipments considerably in 2021 amid strong demand and some supply issues in the country, especially in the first half of the year.
Russian mills’ HRC exports to Turkey increased by 57% year on year and this country became Turkey’s largest HRC supplier at 1.93 million mt in 2021, while imports from Ukraine totaled 1.17 million mt, notably higher than the 707,700 mt imported in the same period the previous year.
As a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was signed between Turkey and Ukraine Feb. 3, imports from Ukraine could rise further in 2022, sources said.
Although full details of the agreement are expected to be announced later, according to a statement on the website of the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine, Turkey will lower import duties for most of the Ukrainian metallurgical products under the FTA.
The Ministry also said that quotas of at least 411,000 mt are offered for 167 metallurgical products.
It wasn’t clear on Feb. 4 which steel products will be subject to lower import duties and quotas.
A Turkish industry source told Platts Feb. 4 that the details will be announced following the approval of the FTA at the grand national assembly of Turkey within this month.
A manager of a Turkish coated coil producer also told Platts that import duties for Ukrainian materials could gradually be reduced to zero, as in the FTA with South Korea.
Turkey’s imports of HRC from some Asian countries, particularly India, also showed a notable year-on-year surge in 2021 due to competitive offers from the country.
Turkish imports of HRC from India reached 614,800 mt in 2021, up from zero in the same period the previous year, while imports from Japan totaled 392,000 mt, stable on the year.
South Korea exported 225,200 mt of HRC to Turkey in that period, 21% lower on the year. Turkish mills also imported 176,300 mt of HRC from China in 2021, up from just around 1,000 mt imported in 2020.
Turkey’s HRC imports from European countries, traditionally among its top suppliers, declined in 2021. France shipped 315,000 mt to Turkey in 2021, 130,000 mt lower on the year, while Romania’s HRC exports to Turkey totaled 157,700 mt, down 28% on the year.
One of the sharpest declines in HRC imports was seen in imports from the Netherlands. The country shipped 23,500 mt of HRC to Turkey in 2021, significantly down from 155,000 mt in the same period of 2020.
— Cenk Can