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Turkey's stainless steel imports fall while exports rise

Bursa — Turkish imports of stainless steel coils with widths of 600 mm and above fell in 2019, amid the slowdown seen in stainless consumption sectors in Turkey last year. Turkey imported 488,300 mt of stainless coils in 2019, lower than the 515,500 mt imported in the same period the previous year.

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Some of these imports could be stainless hot-band, most of which is used as feedstock by Turkey's sole stainless cold-rolling mill, Posco Assan TST in Izmit, Kocaeli near Istanbul. It has production capacity of 200,000 mt/year of 0.3-3.0 mm thick stainless CRC up to 1,600 mm wide.

Despite the decline seen in import volumes, Turkey's export of stainless coils rose by 7% year on year in 2019 to 116,000 mt, with the support of higher demand from some EU countries, particularly Italy.

Italy imported 35,200 mt of stainless coils from Turkey in 2019, up 16% year on year, according to the latest Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) data sent to S&P Global Platts.

Turkey's stainless HRC and CRC imports from South Korea, subject to a 2013 free trade agreement, totaled 207,700 mt in 2019, up 12% on year, making South Korea Turkey's largest stainless supplier.

According to the terms and conditions of the Turkey-South Korea trade deal, the gradual reduction period in customs duties finished as of January 1, 2020 and the customs duty on all steel products from South Korea zeroed as of the beginning of this year, as Platts has reported.

China was Turkey's second-largest stainless coil supplier last year at 85,000 mt, sharply down from 132,400 mt in 2018, while imports from Taiwan totaled 27,600 mt, also down 6% on year, the latest data showed.