By Paul Ploumis
SPOKANE (Scrap Monster): The recent statistics published by the Latin American Iron and Steel Institute (ALACERO) indicates that finished steel consumption by the region declined significantly during the initial nine-month period of the current year. The crude steel and finished steel production too has declined during this period. The trade body notes that the decline in production and consumption reflects the economic de-growth in the world in general and in the Latin American region in particular.
Latin America and the Caribbean region produced 44.048 million tons of crude steel during January to September this year. The output declined by over 9% when compared with the crude steel output volume recorded during the corresponding nine-month period in 2015. The top crude steel producer in the region was Brazil. The country’s crude steel output has dropped by 9% year-on-year to total 22.9 million tonnes. Brazil accounted for 52% of the regional crude steel production. The output during the month of September totaled 5.017 million, down by 4% when matched with September 2015.
The finished steel production by Latin America totaled 37.954 million tons during Jan-Sep ’16, nearly 6% less when compared with January-September 2015. Brazil was the key producer of finished steel during this period. The country’s output of 15.8 million tons accounted for 42% of the Latin American finished steel output. The second largest producer was Mexico with 14.2 million tons, accounting for 37% share of regional output. The finished steel output during Sep ’16 remained more or less flat at 4.265 million tons.
The finished steel consumption by the region totaled 45.2 million tons during the first nine months of the year, down significantly by over 12% when matched with the previous year. Peru reported largest increase in apparent usage in absolute terms. The country’s consumption increased by 1.402 million tons year-on-year. The largest increase in apparent usage in percentage terms was by Honduras, which reported 11% jump in consumption during the initial nine-month period of the year. The consumption by Brazil dropped sharply by 16% when matched with the previous year. The other countries to report decline in finished steel consumption were Argentina (down 23%), Chile (down 8%), Colombia (down 6%) and Ecuador (down 24%).
Out of the 45.2 million tons of finished steel consumed during the nine-month period, flat products consumption totaled 23.6 million tons, accounting for 52% of the total steel consumption. Long products consumption totaled 21.0 million tons, whereas seamless tubes consumption totaled 568,000 tons. Also, imports accounted for 32% of the regional finished steel consumption. During Jan-Sep ’16, Latin America imported 14.3 million tons of finished steel, significantly down by nearly one-fifth when matched with the imports of 18 million tons during the corresponding nine-month period last year.
Meantime, Latin American finished steel exports increased by nearly 3% during Jan-Sep ’16. The exports totaled 6.6 million tons as against the exports of 6.4 million tons during January to September last year. The exports of flat products reached 3.3 million tons, accounting for 50% of total exports. The share of long products and seamless tubes were 41% and 9% respectively. The exports of long products and seamless tubes during the initial nine-month period of 2016 totaled 3.3 million tons and 613,000 tons respectively.