In the first five months of this year, Turkey saw insufficient global long steel demand amid the pandemic, in addition to more competitiveness offers from other suppliers, have hindered export sales. As Turkey exported only 39,728 tonnes in May, reducing trade by 30.7% month-on-month and 48% year-on-year, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK).
North Africa was the only region that expressed interest in billet purchases from Turkey.
Morocco purchases still relatively unchanged year-on-year to 151,000 tonnes of semis (-0.4%) booked over January-May period. At the same time, other North African buyers lessened cooperation with Turkish suppliers for different reasons. For instance, Algeria purchased only 10,091 tonnes (-91.7%), as it grew more self-sufficient in billet after the expansion of steelmaking capacity.
Egyptian long-steel producers bought just 15,010 tonnes (-89.8%) due to the powerful safeguard duty from all origins, and Tunisia obtained 32,570 (-45.6%) since it favoured more competitive CIS products. Saudi Arabia, the second-largest billet trade partner of Turkey in January-May 2020, actually purchased only 50,574 tonnes delivered in April, dropping intake by two-thirds 152,002 tonnes compared to the same period of 2019.