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Production of crude steel from the country’s two blast furnace operators totalled 9.3 million tonnes, a 5.6% increase year-on-year.

The blast furnace-based flats producers are Erdemir and Isdemir. Turkey also has three electric arc furnace-based (EAF) producers: Toscelik, Colakoglu and MMK Metalurji.

Among these, Isdemir, Toscelik and Colakoglu have production capabilities convertible between flats and longs.

MMK Metalurji stopped its furnace in November 2012 and does not plan to restart production of crude steel in the first quarter of 2013.

Colakoglu is mainly focusing on billet production and prefers to import slab.

Other producers also imported slab in 2012 as production costs were high, Steel First was told by market participants.

A company executive noted that reduced slab production does not mean lower hot rolled coil output, although the finished product is produced by rolling slab.

Turkish flat steel market participants believe that production tonnages in 2013 will be quite close to the figures in 2012, as there is not much sign of a pick-up.

Even though the market is currently recovering after a very slow December, buyers of flat steel in Turkey believe the positive sentiment will not continue long because European markets have not recovered yet.

The principal destination for Turkey’s flat-steel exports is Europe, including end-products such as automotive parts and white goods.