By Bahatttin Gonultas
Turkey's rising steel imports from China have prompted concerns among Turkish steel sector representatives, who fear a loss of market share.
Imports from China have surged by a sharp 284 per cent during the January-March period of the year to over half a million tons (567,000 tons). In dollar terms, they increased by 99 percent to $504 million.
Turkey’s crude steel production for the January-March period was down 8.8 percent to 7.73 million tons, but Turkey retained its position as the world’s eighth-largest crude steel producer.
However, the country’s consumption of crude steel increased by 9 percent in the first quarter of the year.
Veysel Yayan, General Secretary of the Turkish Iron and Steel Producers’ Association, said “Turkey's economy cannot tolerate rising steel imports from China.”
“If you extend it for all year, it means about 2.25 million tons of steel imports from China and it makes China the biggest steel exporter to Turkey. This is not a condition that Turkey's economy can tolerate," Yayan said.
Yayan said Turkey’s steel exports decreased by 7.6 percent in volume to 4.35 million tons, equivalent to $3.22 billion-worth in sales - a decrease of 18 percent.
He said the steel export/import ratio of Turkey decreased to 103 from 137 and warned that “These numbers show where words fail for us.”
Turkey’s Ministry of Economy launched an anti-dumping investigation on January 28 of this year into hot rolled (HR) flat steel imports from China, France, Japan, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine.
Turkish domestic steel producers Erdemir, Toscelik and Colakoglu, supported by other Turkish steelmakers Isdemir and Habas, suggested that hot rolled flat steel imports from the above mentioned countries are sold at uncompetitive prices.
According to Yayan, Turkey’s investigation for hot rolled steel products imported from the countries lead a surge in steel imports.
“Steel producers in some countries desperately increased their exports to Turkey due to the investigation."
“The Chinese producers have been acting on the intention to destroy local market completely," Yayan added.
Turkey’s crude steel production capacity reached 50.2 million tons in 2014, up slightly by 1.9 percent from 49.25 million tons in the previous year.
China accounts for about half of global steel production
The world's second largest economy China accounts for about half of global steel production and is the world’s biggest buyer of seaborne iron ore.
The activity level of the Chinese steelmakers in the international markets and growth path of the Turkish economy are the two main factors that will play a determining role in the development of the Turkish steel industry in 2015, according to an undated statement on the Turkish Iron and Steel Producers Association website.
Undoubtedly, meeting the increasing domestic demand from the local market is also important for the growth of the Turkish steel industry. It is expected that steel importers of the Gulf Region, which have partly turned to Chinese exporters, will come back to Turkish steelmakers in 2015 and that increasing domestic consumption will mainly be met by local production, the statement said.