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Venezuela ships first steel scrap cargo to Turkey in 2019

London — A Turkish steelmaker in Iskenderun, Turkey, received one cargo from the Venezuela's state-run company Corpovex in September, registering the first shipment from the crisis-hit country in 2019.

The mill booked a cargo containing 24,892 mt of scrap from Corpovex in August for $7.2 million, Turkish Statistical Institute, or TUIK, data showed, corresponding to $289.6/mt.

With the HMS 1/2 (80:20) benchmark trading around $290-$295/mt CFR Turkey at the time of this booking, this suggests the material received only a small discount, depending on the composition of the grades in the cargo.

This was also confirmed by the Turkish buyer of the cargo, who stated the purchase was only "a bit, not much" cheaper than comparable bookings from other destinations.

However, the Turkish mill told S&P Global Platts also that the seller was "not a regular supplier."

In August, a comparatively low melting margin and a wide gap between Turkish mills' price expectations and offer levels from traditional scrap sellers in the Benelux, Baltics and North-America were likely to have encouraged such a trade.

The ship carrying the cargo arrived in Iskenderun on September 2, 2019, having left Puerto La Cruz on August 13, according to cFlow, Platts trade-flow software.

While the purchase was the first one in 2019, TUIK data showed that Turkey has bought four steel scrap cargoes in the last three years from Venezuela, with three of them sold by Corpovex.

A presidential decree issued on August 21, 2018, effectively nationalized the scrap exporting sector in Venezuela, giving Corpovex the monopoly to sell scrap abroad.

The most active buyers of Venezuelan scrap in the previous years were China and Taiwan, according to export data provided by Panjiva, an S&P Global Market Intelligence unit.

Next to scrap, Turkey has also continued to buy gold and oil from the country, as US sanctions have eroded the vast majority of Venezuela's customer base.

Venezuela has sold around 24 mt, worth $40 million, of gold to the United Arab Emirates and Turkey since April, according to a July report by S&P Global Market Intelligence, as Turkey showed some support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

In August, the Turkish foreign ministry said it "disapproved the US Executive order" that would place more sanctions on the Venezuelan regime.

-- Pascal Dick, pascal.dick@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Kshitiz Goliya, newsdesk@spglobal.com

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