Turkish wire rod export prices fail to stick amid aggressive prices from other regions

Turkish exported mesh quality wire rod exports struggled to find buyers as competitors from other regions were undercutting prices, sources said Nov. 11.

The asking prices from Turkish mills were $650-$660/mt FOB Turkey. One mill was also reported to be offering $645/mt FOB Izmir and likely to accept $635/mt FOB, a market observer said.

A European long steel distributor said that the spread between Turkish wire rod and rebar prices was particularly low, if any. Recent rebar offers were reported at $640/mt FOB Turkey, which is only $20/mt lower than the highest wire rod offers.

“Just five to six months ago, there was a $60-$80/mt gap in price. Now it evaporated completely,” the European distributor said. “It is interesting to see equalization of rebar and wire rod prices under market pressure.”

Platts put its monthly Turkish exported wire rod assessment at $645/mt FOB on Nov. 10, down $75/mt on the month. Platts daily Turkish rebar assessment dropped $52.50/mt in the last four weeks, to $637.50/mt FOB Turkey on Nov. 10.

Despite the strong price erosion, the Turkish wire rod prices were still seen as unattractive in the export markets. This was due to the supply of cheaper wire rod from other markets, particularly Asia and Algeria, sources said.

A trader in Europe said that the Algerian wire rod was negotiable at $600/mt FOB. Prices from Southeast Asia were at $530/mt FOB. The trader cited an offer at $600/mt CIF Antwerp for December shipment, with delivery six weeks later.

Recent bookings from Indonesia closed in the range of $599-$615/mt CFR Antwerp, another trader said. Turkish suppliers quoted $645-$650/mt FOB “but no one is buying at that level,” the trader added.

As of Nov. 10, the EU tariff-free quota for Turkish wire rod import for Q4, set at 113,300 mt, had a remaining balance of 53,739 mt with the last allocation date recorded on Nov. 9. In comparison, the quota for Turkish rebar import was exhausted on Oct. 1.

“There is a lot of cheap Asian wire rod from the Far East,” another trading source said. He said that the European market was buying from Southeast Asia and some of the markets in the Mediterranean were buying from China at $600-$610/mt CFR.

The demand for wire rod stayed on the low level, sources said. “If anybody is buying, they are buying half,” a trader said.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Wojtek Laskowski