Latin American Steel Industry Maintains Moderate Performance In Jan-May Period -Alacero

- Aug 03, 2018-

Latin American steel association Alacero announced that between January-May 2018, the steel consumption in Latin America remained similar to the same period of 2017, meanwhile the steel crude and finished production grew 3% and 6%. Although, imports fell 8%, regional consumption is supplied by 34% of these imports. Exports are 8% higher than Jan-May 2017. For its part, regional trade balance remain negative, even though it diminished 18%.

Crude steel - The region produced 27.1 million tons (Mt) of crude steel during Jan-May 2018, 3% higher than the volume recorded in the same period of 2017 (26.4 Mt). Brazil it is still the main producer in the region with 53% of the regional production (14.3 Mt), increasing 1% versus Jan-May 2017.

Finished steel- Finished steel production reached 24.0 Mt, 6% higher than registered in Jan-May 2017. The main producers were Brazil with 9.8 Mt (accounting for 41% of the Latin American output) and Mexico with 8.3 Mt (with 35% share of regional output).

Finished steel consumption - In the first five months of the year, the region reached 28.7 Mt of finished steel consumption, similar to Jan-May 2017 (28.7 Mt). Largest increases in consumption, in absolute and percentage terms, were recorded in Brazil (additional 531 thousand tons, an increase of 7%), Argentina (369 thousand tons additional tons, up 19%), and Ecuador (68 thousand tons additional tons, up 9%). Conversely, in the same period Peru, Bolivia and Mexico recorded declines of 21%, 13% and 5%, respectively. From Latin-American`s total steel consumption, 57% corresponds to flat products (16.3 Mt), 41% (11.7 Mt) to long products and 2% to seamless tubes (584 thousand tons).

Imports- In Jan-May 2018, Latin America imported 9.9 Mt of finished steel, 8% less than imported during the same period of 2017 (10.8 Mt). Of this total, 71% corresponds to flat products (7.0 Mt), 21% to long products (2.6 Mt) and 3% to seamless tubes (251 thousand tons). Currently, imports represent 34% of the regional finished steel consumption, which brings about disincentives to the local industry, trade frictions, and threatens jobs.

Exports - Latin American exports of finished steel reached 4.4 Mt, 8% more than Jan-May 2017 (4.1 Mt). Out of this total, 44% are flat products (1.9 Mt), 43% long products (1.9 Mt) and 13% to seamless tubes (563 thousand tons).

Trade deficit - In Jan-May 2018, the region recorded a finished steel trade deficit of 5.5 Mt. This imbalance is 18% lower than the one observed in Jan-May 2017 (-6.7 Mt). Brazil was the only country to maintain a trade surplus of finished steel (1,1 Mt). Contrary, the largest deficit was recorded in Mexico (-2.5 Mt), followed by Colombia (-1.0 Mt), Chile (-682 thousand tons), Peru (-537 thousand tons) and Ecuador (-508 thousand tons).

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