26-03-2018

Latin America: Production and finished steel demand grows 4% in January 2018

Latin American figures for January 2018 showed an increase of 4% in consumption, meanwhile crude steel production and finished steel production grew 2% and 4% respectively compared to the same period of last year. Evidencing better global and regional economic conditions.

Although, imports fell 6%, regional consumption is supplied by 32% of these imports (vs. 36% in January 2017). Exports are 3% higher than last year. For its part, regional trade balance remain negative, even though diminished 13%.

Production

Crude steel. The region produced 5.3 million tons (Mt) of crude steel during January 2017, 2% higher than the volume recorded in the same period of 2017 (5.2 Mt). Brazil it is still the main producer in the region with 54% of the regional production (2.9 Mt), increasing 1% versus January 2017.

Finished steel. Finished steel production reached to 4.4 Mt, 4% higher than registered in January 2017. The main producers were Brasil with 1.9 Mt (accounting for 42% of the Latin American output) and Mexico with 1.6 Mt (with 35% share of regional output).

Finished steel consumption

In the first month of the year, the region reached to 5.6 Mt of finished steel consumption, 4% higher than January 2017 (5.4 Mt).

Largest increases in consumption -in absolute and percentage terms- were recorded in Brazil (additional 184 thousand tons, an increase of 13%), Argentina (112 thousand tons additional tons, up 36%), and Peru (48 thousand tons additional tons, up 21%).

Conversely, in the same period Uruguay, Colombia and El Salvador recorded declines of 29%, 18% and 17%, respectively.

From Latin-American`s total steel consumption, 58% corresponds to flat products (3.3 Mt), 41% (2.3 Mt) to long products and 1% to seamless tubes (56 thousand tons).

Trade balance

Imports. In January 2017, Latin America imported 1.8 Mt of finished steel, 6% less than imported during the same period of 2017 (1.9 Mt). Of this total, 68% corresponds to flat products (1.2 Mt), 30% to long products (530 thousand tons) and 2% to seamless tubes (44 thousand tons).

Currently, imports represent 32% 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 to 829 thousand tons, 3% more than January 2017 (806 thousand tons). Of this total, 46% are flat products (378 thousand tons), 41% long products (341 thousand tons) and 13% to seamless tubes (44 thousand tons).

Trade deficit. In January 2018, the region recorded a finished steel trade deficit of 970 thousand tons. This imbalance is 13% lower than the one observed in January 2017 (-1.1 Mt).

Brazil was the only country to maintain a trade surplus of finished steel (288 thousand tons). Contrary, the largest deficit was recorded in Mexico (-400 thousand tons), followed by Peru (-141 thousand tons), Chile (-133 thousand tons), Colombia (-123 thousand tons) and Ecuador (-123 thousand tons).

The evolution of trade flows and the balance are shown in Figure 02.

Production February 2018 – Advance Information

Advance information for February 2018, indicates that crude steel production reached to 5.3 Mt, 1% lower than January 2018 and 7% higher than February 2017. The volume recorded during Jan-Feb 2018 was 10.6 Mt, 4% more than Jan-Feb 2017 (10.2 Mt).

The production of finished steel closed at 4.4 Mt, 2% less than January 2018 and up 8% versus February 2017. Between Jan-Feb 2018, the finished steel production reached to 8.8 Mt, up 6% versus Jan-Feb 2017 (8.3 Mt).

Source: Alacero

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