TURKISH STEEL SECTOR IS UNBREAKABLE

The “Trade War,” incited between the U.S. and China after the increase in tariffs on the steel and aluminum sector in March, has come out as the most important issue on the agenda this year. The Turkish steel industry closed the gap, which occurred with the decline in export volume to the U.S., thanks to an increase in exports to Europe.

Turkey is the world's eighthlargest steel exporter and Turkey's exports represented about 4 percent of all steel exported globally in 2017. In value terms, steel represented just 5.8 percent of the total amount of goods Turkey exported in 2017. Turkey's steel exports recently peaked in 2012, reaching a high of 18.4 million metric tons. By 2017, steel exports had recovered from the lows of 14.8 and 15 million metric tons in 2015 and 2016.

Turkey's steel exports rose 12.5 percent in the first nine months of the year when compared to the same period last year, reaching 14.7 million tons. The Turkish Steel Exporters' Association (ÇİB) revealed that the country earned $11 billion between January and September, up 34 percent compared to the

same period last year. Turkey's steel exports soared to $1.4 billion last month, up 94.9 percent from September 2017. Steel Exporters' Association (ÇİB) Chairman of the Board of Directors Adnan Arslan said the most important factor underlying the success of the Turkish steel industry was quality and standards-appropriate production, competitive prices and exports carried out with early deliveries. In terms of quantity, Turkey's steel exports rose 12.5 percent year-on-year to reach 11.4 million tons in the first nine months of the year, according to ÇİB data. Aslan said they expect their year-end exports in terms of quantity to increase by 6.7 percent to 19 million tons and value to increase by 30 percent to $15 billion. “Construction steel exports rose 2.9 percent to 4.24 million tons. And its value also increased to $2.34 billion, up 31 percent. When we look at the products, construction steel, flat hot, welded pipe, profile and wire rod are the most exported products. In the January-September period of this year, construction steel exports, which are the main export products of Turkish steel industry, increased by 2.9 percent to 4.24 million tons. The value rose by 31 percent to $ 2.34 billion.” Aslan said.

In terms of quantity, the steel sector realized the highest exports in nine months of the year to Italy with $817 million, followed by the U.S. with $737.2 million, Israel with $587.6 million, Spain with $583.2 million, Romania with $575.7 million, and Germany with $500.9 million.

Steel imports into Europe have risen sharply as a result of U.S. tariffs, particularly from Turkey, threatening European steelmakers as demand growth in the continent slows, European steel association  Eurofer said on 24th of October. Eurofer said in its quarterly review it expected European Union apparent steel consumption, a reflection of supply to the market, would rise by 2.2 percent this year and by 1.1 percent in 2019. Trade frictions with the United States and cooling global demand had weakened prospects for EU steel users, Eurofer said.

U.S. President Donald Trump imposed import tariffs of 25 percent on steel from most countries from March 23. It added Canada, Mexico and the European Union to the list on June 1 and doubled the rate to 50 percent for Turkey in August. Karl Tachelet, Eurofer's trade director, said the U.S. tariffs had led to a surge in

U.S. steel prices of some 40 percent, meaning European producers could still sell some steel there. “The question for us is how long are the U.S. prices going to stay that high. There will be some correction and when prices go down the 25 percent will be more prohibitive,” he continued. The main impact to date was that steel that might have gone to the United States was being redirected to Europe. Turkey, facing a 50 percent tariff, could no longer realistically sell across the Atlantic, while slowing domestic growth left it with more steel to sell. “They are pushing a lot of volumes into the EU market at any cost,” said Jeroen Vermeij, director of economic studies at Eurofer. In the third quarter 2018, Eurofer said steel consumption had risen by just 0.6 percent, but imports increased by 10 percent, meaning EU mills were at best only able to deliver the same amount of steel as last year. Imports now make up some 25 percent of the EU market. Imports from Turkey and Russia increased by most - from Turkey by 57 percent in the first nine months and from Russia by 56 percent.

The European Union did put in place safeguards to limit steel imports in the light of U.S. tariffs. Eurofer said it was broadly content with the system, but the quotas were global and that countryspecific quotas should apply to major exporters to help stabilise the market.

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