“Producers are fully booked until mid-May, so they have increased their prices. And end-user demand is okay, so prices have some more room to rise,” one trader said on March 2.
“A lack of supply from Russia in late January and early February has also caused HRC shortages,” he added.
So Turkey’s flat steel output is likely to increase further as a result of strong demand for exports and because domestic buyers prefer local products to imports.
Turkey produced 989,000 tonnes of slab in January, up by 3.56% from the 955,000 tonnes produced in January 2017, according to the Turkish Steel Producers Assn (TÇÜD).
Flat steel prices increased in February as demand improved and producers filled their order books for April and most of May production.
Metal Bulletin's price assessment for Turkish domestic HRC was $660-670 per tonne ex-works on March 2, compared with $630-635 per tonne ex-works on February 2.
Metal Bulletin’s price assessment for Turkish domestic cold-rolled coil (CRC) was $750-770 per tonne ex-works on March 2, up from $690-710 per tonne a month earlier.
Turkish coated coil prices increased in February, with demand in both the domestic and export markets improving.
Some producers suffered a shortage of HRC and could not offer any product to the market for a week.
Metal Bulletin’s weekly price assessment for Turkish domestic 0.50mm hot-dipped galvanized coil (HDG) was $820-830 per tonne ex-works on March 2, up from $785-790 per tonne ex-works on February 2.
And the weekly price assessment for Turkish domestic PPGI, or color-coated coil, of 0.50mm gauge with 9002 color code, was $910-955 per tonne ex-works on March 2, compared with $865-870 per tonne a month earlier.
Metal Bulletin launched a Turkey export HDG fob price assessment on December 8, 2017.
Metal Bulletin’s weekly price assessment for Turkish HDG exports was $810-830 per tonne fob on March 2, rising from $780-785 per tonne fob on February 2.
Demand for HDG was strong in Europe, and more than 5,000 tonnes of Turkish material was sold to Europe at $780-790 per tonne fob.
Demand for flat steel imports has not been strong, however, because prices have not been competitive, sources told Metal Bulletin.
Deals for 5,000 tonnes of HRC were made in February at $600 per tonne cfr from Ukraine.
In the week ending March 2, Russian HRC was on offer to Turkey at $640-650 per tonne cfr and Ukrainian material was offered at $630-640 per tonne cfr, with buyers bidding $610-620 per tonne.
“There will be some bookings soon [and] prices may decrease by $10 [per tonne],” one market participant said at the start of March.
Metal Bulletin’s weekly price assessment for HRC imports in Turkey was $620-640 per tonne cfr on March 2, up from $590-600 per tonne cfr on February 2.
And the weekly price assessment for Turkish CRC imports was $680-690 per tonne cfr on March 2, up from $650-655 per tonne cfr in the same comparison.
Demand for Turkish HRC was strong in Europe in February and has remained strong into March.
Deals were heard at $620-630 per tonne fob to Europe for cargoes totalling about 10,000 tonnes in February.
At least 5,000 tonnes of material were sold to Europe at $630 per tonne fob.
Turkey also exported more than 50,000 tonnes of HRC to Spain at $620-630 per tonne fob at the start of February.
Metal Bulletin’s weekly price assessment for Turkish HRC exports was $650-660 per tonne fob on March 2, up from $620-630 per tonne fob on February 2.
Imports versus exports
Turkey’s flat steel imports increased by 4.06% year-on-year in January 2018, according to the latest statistics from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) published on Friday March 2.
The country imported 682,069 tonnes of flat steel, compared with 655,477 tonnes in January 2017, TUIK said.
Turkey exported 337,592 tonnes of flat steel products in January 2018, up by 71.53% compared with 196,810 tonnes in January 2017.
Demand for flat steel will remain strong in Turkey through March and price increases are expected to continue because producers are fully booked until late May, market participants told Metal Bulletin this week.