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Turkey: Europe’s largest steel producer steps up a gear

The steel industry, which signed exports of $1 billion 56 million 325 thousand last month, aims to increase exports by 10% in quantity and 15% in value this year.

Turkey, which rose to the position of Europe’s largest steel producer last year with the 35.8 million tons of steel it produced, aims to increase exports by 10% in quantity and 15% in value this year.

According to the data compiled by AA correspondent from Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM) data, the steel industry exported $1 billion 56 million 325 thousand last month. The sector’s exports decreased by 7% compared to the same period last year.

The share of steel industry exports from Turkey exports was 7.8% in January 2021.

The sector made the most exports to Israel with $111 million 57 thousand last month. Israel was followed by Spain with $70 million 652 thousand and Iraq with $53 million 446 thousand.

On the basis of country groups, the region to which the steel industry exports the most was European Union (EU) countries. The sector, which exported $389 million 579 thousand to EU countries in January 2020, made the highest export to this region with $309 million 568 thousand, despite the 20.5% decrease in the same period of this year.

Middle Eastern countries followed the EU, where exports decreased by 8.3%. Last month, $234 million 666 thousand were exported to Middle Eastern countries.

“Last year only China, Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Vietnam saw an increase in production”

Adnan Aslan, the Chairman of the Board of Steel Exporters’ Association (CIB), told Anadolu Agency (AA) that global crude steel production fell 0.9% last year compared to 2019, to 1 billion 864 million tons.

Aslan stated that China, which represents 56.5% of world steel production, grew 5.2% last year, and that the 811 million-ton steel production outside China shrank by 7.7%.

Stating that only China, Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Vietnam were among the top 15 countries in global steel production last year, Aslan said that there were double-digit decreases in the production of India, Japan, the USA, Germany, and Italy.

Aslan said, “Turkey’s steel production increased by 6% last year and reached 35.8 million tons. We can proudly say that Turkey ranked 8th in global crude steel production, surpassing Germany by the end of 2020, becoming the world’s 7th largest producer. Thus, our country has become Europe’s largest steel producer.”

“We hope the prices will reach a balance in the first half of 2021”

Stating that there was a serious contraction in the steel industry, especially in the second quarter of 2020, due to the new type of coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic, Aslan said:

“Especially large steel producers had to cut their production during this process. But as of the fourth quarter, demand came back again, but the prices of raw materials used in steel production increased. So much so that by January 2021, the prices of major liquid steel production inputs such as scrap and ore approached almost twice the prices of the beginning of the previous year. As a result of the beginning and persistence of the downward trend in the said input prices, prices may return to more reasonable levels. We hope the prices will reach a balance in the first half of 2021.”

Aslan said that, within the scope of the normalization expectations of the steel industry in 2021, the exports will reach approximately 23 million tons with an increase of 10%, and that they expect to realize at the level of about $15 billion with an increase in value by 15%.

Aslan stated that they do not expect an increase in exports in these markets in 2021 due to quotas in the EU and import and trade policy taxes in the US, but they aim to increase exports to these markets compared to the previous year by focusing more on Southeast Asia, Latin America, and West Africa.

“We started exporting to China, where we have been competing for 20 years”

Stating that a new era has entered in the supply chain with the Covid-19 outbreak, Adnan Aslan emphasized that it is more important than ever for the sector to turn to alternative markets.

Stating that the Turkish steel industry has created a way out for itself in terms of carrying its export performance one step ahead of the past, Aslan made the following evaluations:

“We have also used the advantage of having a very experienced and great knowledge in crisis management here. In order to overcome the obstacles, we both turned to old markets and tried to increase our presence in new markets. Today, we started to export again to China, the country where we have been competing for 20 years. In addition, we were able to regain our Far East markets due to the developments in China. In addition, we were able to increase our exports to Africa and South America. In this way, we were able to create at least the equivalent of the recession we experienced in Europe and the USA.”

Noting that they expect the steel demand to increase globally after Covid-19 and this will contribute to the increase in steel production and exports in Turkey, Aslan said that in this case, the interest in manufacturing and exporting companies will gradually increase.

Source: AA / Translated by Irem Yildiz

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