Turkish consumption slump persists, exports offer some respite

Turkish finished steel consumption plunged -38.7% on-year in the first quarter to 5.4 million tonnes, according to Turkish Steel Producers Association (TCUD) data monitored by Kallanish. Finished steel output fell -25% to 7.8mt.

This indicates the fall in March consumption was at more or less the same rate as the decline in January-February, but the drop in production deepened from -23.6%.

Long product consumption slumped -50% in Q1 to 2.1mt and flats use was down -28.6% to 3.3mt. Output of longs fell -34.1% to 4.3mt and flats production declined -9.4% to 3.5mt.

Lower domestic consumption was partly offset by increased exports. In March alone overall steel shipments abroad rose 14% on-year to 2.1mt. These were driven by a 35.2% surge in flats exports to 583,000t and an eight-fold growth in semi-finished product shipments to 270,000t, but longs exports fell -15.2% to 836,000t.

Imports of steel in March, meanwhile, were down -42.7% to 879,200t. Flats imports declined -26% to 498,000t and longs imports were down -15% to 119,000t.

For every 100t of steel imports, 194t were exported in March, compared to 120t in March 2018.

In Q1 Turkish steel exports rose 15.5% on-year to 5.8mt, driven by a five-fold increase in semis exports to 596,000t and 41% growth in flats shipments to 1.7mt. Longs exports, however, fell -8.8% to 2.5mt.

Turkish billet exports in Q1 were propelled by surging demand from Africa, while rebar exports slumped -14% on-year to 1.32mt due to the retreat from the market of the US and Canada (see Kallanish passim).