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US again one of Turkey's top rebar export destinations in 2020

Bursa — The US, which was one of Turkey's top rebar export destinations before the Trump administration imposed Section 232 tariffs in June 2018, regained its position in 2020, as prices in the US market rose notably due to the tariff, making exports to that country profitable again for Turkish mills.

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Turkish mills' rebar exports to the US reached 382,250 mt in the first ten months of the year, more than five-fold higher than the 72,000 mt shipped in the same period the previous year, although Turkish mills' rebar shipments to the US fell to just 108,300 mt in all of 2019, down from 305,800 mt in 2018, amid doubled Section 232 tariffs against Turkish steel.

US President Donald Trump raised Turkey's steel tariff rate from 25% to 50% in August 2018 amid increased political tension between the countries. Turkey's tariff rate on steel was later dropped back to 25% in May 2019, after the relations between the countries normalized.

Turkish mills' rebar exports to the US are expected to reach roughly 450,000 mt this year. However, this export figure is still notably low taking into account that the US was Turkey's main rebar export market in 2016, buying 1.38 million mt of Turkish rebar, before the Section 232 tariffs.

Despite the notable on-year rise seen in exports to the US, Turkish mills' overall rebar export volumes in the first ten months of the year remained below last year, declining to 4.64 million mt from 5 million mt exported in the same period the previous year, according to the latest Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) data published Nov. 30.

Turkey's rebar exports to the EU region declined notably in the first ten months of 2020, amid quotas and the negative effects of the pandemic, while Turkish mills' rebar exports to the Middle East region, which was previously one of Turkey's top rebar export destinations, have fallen significantly, due to increased steel production there.

Israel and Yemen alone remained large importers of Turkish rebar in the Middle East. Israel imported at 739,500 mt in January-October, while rebar exports to Israel totaled 726,350 mt.

Turkish mills shipped 141,300 mt of rebar to Ethiopia in the ten-month period, sharply down from 237,800 mt, while exports to Djibouti totaled 110,400 mt, down 32% on year.

To overcome the declines seen in their main export markets, amid barriers, Turkish mills have increased their shipments to Southeast Asia in recent years, as Chinese mills focused more on domestic demand rather than exports. Higher Chinese steel prices have also helped Turkish mills raise their market shares in Southeast Asia.

Turkish mills' rebar exports to Hong Kong totaled 401,700 mt in the first ten months of 2020, around double on year, while Singapore became one of Turkey's main rebar export markets taking 236,000 mt, the latest data showed.