Activity in Turkey’s scrap market is almost zero as neither mills nor suppliers are talking about business in the aftermath of Monday’s massive earthquake, which has left thousands dead and more trying to survive. Mills in the Iskenderun area, a major production hub, have halted production.

Although there are rumours about a sharp decrease in scrap prices, this has not been confirmed by the buy or sell sides.

Commenting on the current situation, Turkish Steel Producers’ Association (TCUD) general secretary Veysel Yayan tells Kallanish: “No mill in the [earthquake-hit] region is operating under current conditions. Mills will start doing due diligence tomorrow. While no significant damage has been reported to production facilities as they are made of structural steel, the buildings, cranes or open areas may be damaged. It is not yet clear when they will resume production. Although we saw improved production in January and the Turkish steel market was just about to recover, it has now been hit by the earthquake.”

Yayan expects February steel production to fall sharply.

Botaş has cut natural gas flow to the region, while roads and highways are heavily damaged. Meanwhile, the fire in Iskenderun port continues. The port is used by steelmakers mostly for containerised steel sales rather than scrap imports. At mills’ ports, where scrap imports are carried out, no damage has yet been reported.

The crude steel producers in the region are İsdemir, Toscelik, Ekinciler, MMK Metallurgy, Koç Metallurgy and Bastug Metallurgy. There are also numerous pipe producers as well as steel service centres.

A scrap supplier says: “No one talks about business in the middle of this tragedy. I am not expecting any activity this week.”

Another supplier says: “No remarkable damage is being reported by steelmakers. However, there is no one to work at the factories and no gas. I think the major issues are absent employees and transportation, besides continuing aftershocks.”

“The exact picture of the damage and the consequences of the earthquake will be determined once steel manufacturers reach their employees,” says a mill.

Some producers are heard focusing on gathering rescue teams to help people rather than on steel operations. Some plants are meanwhile opening their facilities to people for shelter.

In Turkey’s rebar market, buyers’ appetite is quite poor. Western and Marmara mills’ offers are standing at $720-725/tonne ex-works, while prices of $711-715/t are available from stockists.

Amid subdued activity, Kallanish kept its daily assessment for HMS 1&2 80:20 cfr Turkey unchanged at $425-428/t on Tuesday.