At the panel discussion about the impact of Covid-19 on the flat steel, coated steel and steel pipe segments on the last day of the 15th SteelOrbis “New Horizons in Steel Markets” annual conference held virtually on December 1-3, Gökhan Demiruz, chairman of Turkey’s Association of Flat Steel Exporters and Manufacturers (YISAD), said that Turkey’s monthly flat steel production declined from 1.2 million mt to 800,000 mt during March and April this year due to the pandemic, while the total flat steel production volume for the current year is expected to be around 13.5 million mt, in line with last year, supported by the recovery of demand in the past two months, while Turkey’s flat steel consumption in 2020 will reach 15.5-16 million mt, again close to the 2019 level.
The YISAD chairman pointed out that steel production has decreased significantly in many countries especially in the US – apart from a few countries – resulting in hikes in prices. He went on to say that since the beginning of the pandemic scrap prices have increased by 25 percent, iron ore prices by 45 percent and flat steel prices by 30-40 and even up to 50 percent, adding that demand will determine whether the price increases will continue. Mr. Demiruz said that another important issue are the possible changes in the trade measures imposed by the US and the EU, while he underlined that the measures against Turkey do not have any economic basis. “Turkey depends on foreign supplies, importing 10 million mt of iron ore and 20 million mt of scrap each year, it is not possible to have a price policy for finished steel products low enough to disrupt the global market,” he said.
In answer to a question from the audience, the YISAD official compared the current situation to the 2008 crisis, stating, “In 2008, while prices were going up, inventories were really high and there were significant imports. People were rushing to build inventory, fearing prices would go up further. However, now inventories are at minimum levels.”