Veysel Yayan: Turkey’s exports expected to increase in 2024

At the EUROMETAL Steel Day & YISAD Flat Steel Conference held at Istanbul Marriott Hotel Asia on Tuesday, March 5, in cooperation with SteelOrbis, Dr. Veysel Yayan, secretary general of the Turkish Iron and Steel Producers’ Association, shared his opinions on the performance of the global and Turkish steel sectors and his expectations from the future.

Dr. Yayan presented a general outlook for Turkey’s steel sector in his talk. He said the steel sector in Turkey has shown a different trend compared to the general economy. Turkey’s general economy in 2022 and 2023 recorded 5.6 percent and 4.5 percent growth increases respectively, while the steel sector contracted by 12.9 percent and 4.0 percent for the respective years. Meanwhile, global capacity utilization rates fluctuated between 75.0 percent and 80.0 percent in recent years, while Turkish steelmakers’ average capacity utilization rate in 2023 was 56.8 percent. He said that this rate should move up to as least 70 percent in the future.

Stating that the poor performance of Turkey’s steel sector was caused by the actions of China, which has had a negative impact not only on Turkey but also globally, Dr. Yayan commented “China faced pressure from global countries as it increased its exports between 2010 and 2015, resulting in Chinese steelmakers decreasing their capacities until 2020. However, more competitive and modern capacities were put into action and its capacities are expected to increase by 40 million mt despite the green transformation endeavors. That’s why China will remain a threat for the steel industry even though it has opted for stable production rates.”

Yayan said that the outlook for Turkey’s steel sector in the coming months has changed and trade activities in the sector remained strong. Finished steel consumption in Turkey increased by 17.1 percent in 2023. While flat steel production was lower than long steel production, flat products were consumed significantly more than long products, and imports accounted for 48 percent of total consumption. According to Dr. Yayan, the production of flat products will increase provided that regulations are implemented to boost domestic supply.

Yayan also expressed his opinions on decarbonization efforts in Turkey, stating that the decarbonization process in Turkey was an unfair one, mostly due to Turkey being subjected to the same safeguard duties as countries such as China, Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea, even though Turkey is considered as a peer to EU countries in terms of the green transformation. “The EU sees Turkey as a threat and this hurts both sides. It will take some time for Europe to see this,” Yayan said.

Turkey’s crude steel production and flat steel consumption registered increases in January 2024, moving up by 24.7 percent and 33.6 percent, respectively, while flat steel exports increased more than flat steel imports. Yayan said he understood these changes as a strong positive for Turkey’s steel sector, stating that the indicators for February are even more hopeful. In 2024, Turkey’s steel exports are expected to increase and its crude steel production may exceed 40.4 million mt.