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EU exporters see opportunity as US cancels some Turkish rebar imports: sources

US rebar importers have started to cancel some Turkish-origin rebar contracts secured last week, following an announcement by US President Donald Trump that he intends to double the Section 232 tariffs on Turkish steel, sources told S&P Global Platts on Tuesday.

The US president said he intends to raise tariffs on Turkish steel from 25% to 50% as a result of the country’s military actions in northeast Syria.

“I’m not aware of any cargoes [from Turkey] currently in transit but I can tell you that new contracts secured last week have been cancelled as of this morning already,” one US trader said Tuesday.

The contracts were heard to be agreed at $575-580/st CFR US, with one Marmara-origin cargo to the northeastern US also heard to be cancelled.

Platts assessed Turkish exported rebar at $400.50/mt FOB Turkey Monday. The price has fallen sharply, dropping $37/mt since the beginning of September as export options for Turkey narrowed, leaving only the large-volume option of Southeast Asia, where prices are far more competitive.

However, some European long steel exporters see the higher US tariffs on Turkish steel as an opportunity to finally close deals with US customers.

“Italy seems to be raising their [FOB rebar] prices as a result but I think that is a short-term blip as the world market is still very soft,” the US trader added.

Platts assessed steel rebar FOB southern Europe at Eur380-Eur390/mt Friday, stable on the week.

One Italian rebar exporter said Tuesday that he had received two e-mails from US stockists asking for material.

“I woke up this morning and I received two e-mails from US stockists saying that they wanted to close a purchase deal. I got these e-mails from the very same buyers that were holding off so I think that [Trump’s announcement] is having a psychological effect,” the Italian rebar exporter said.

“Yes, it’s true that US stockists did not really buy from Turkey but they still had a possibility, and now they will probably not have other choices and EU prices are competitive,” the exporter added.

Turkey shipped only 18,486 mt to the US between January and July, followed by a further 19,800 mt of rebar to the US in August. But, this export figure was still lower than the 41,200 mt exported in August 2018.
Source: Platts

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