Turkish steelmakers reiterate need for measures curbing imports

Turkish crude steel production in February grew 8.2% year-on-year to 2.9 million tonnes, with January-February output up 12.7% to 5.9mt, according to the Turkish Steel Producers’ Association (TCUD).

February finished steel consumption was 3mt, up 68.3% on-year, with two-month use up 63.3% to 5.7mt.

Exports, however, decreased -8.9% in February to 1.7mt, and -12.6% in value terms to $1.2 billion, due to the coronavirus impact on the international steel market. January-February exports decreased -4.9% to 3.6mt, and -9.6% to $2.5 billion.

February imports, however, increased 31.2% to 1.1mt, and by 14.8% in value to $857 million. Two-month imports increased 40.4% to 2.6mt, and 16.3% to $1.8 billion.

In January-February, the ratio of exports to imports decreased sharply to 138:100 from 177:100 in the same period of the previous year.

February output growth was restricted, despite the consumption surge, by increased imports, TCUD observes. “In order to prevent imports, which have increased tremendously in recent months, and the foreign trade deficit, which has increased by 86% in the first two months of the year, protection measures must be taken against the imports of products that have domestic production,” says TCUD general secretary Veysel Yayan.

The coronavirus adversely affected steel consumption in Europe in February, but had little impact on Turkish consumption which continued to improve due to the base effect, Yayan adds.

“In March, however, it is predicted that Europe and the US will have very different figures and the decline in consumption in those regions will accelerate while the increase in steel consumption in Turkey is expected to start slowing down,” he comments.

Yayan has repeated calls for Turkish mill production stoppages – which he considers temporary – to be supported with measures that will enable a strong restart.

On the other hand, global crude steel production reached 143mt in February, an increase of 2.8% on-year. Two-month production increased 1% to 294mt, Kallanish notes.

Among the top 15 steel-producing countries, Iran recorded the highest production growth of 40.5% in January-February. Turkey was ranked second in production growth terms. Germany’s production continued to decline, falling -10.9% to 6mt.