By Paul Ploumis
SPOKANE (Scrap Monster): The latest statistics published by the Latin American Iron and Steel Institute (ALACERO) indicates that finished steel imports from China surged significantly higher by 35% in January this year. Also, consumption of finished steel by the Latin American and Caribbean region dropped nearly 8% during the previous year.
The Chinese exports of finished steel to Latin American region totaled 822,000 mt in January this year. The overall imports of finished steel from China have surged significantly higher by 35% over the previous year. Incidentally, Latin American region accounted for 11.4% share of total Chinese exports during the month, rising from 6.4% in January last year.
The largest Latin American destination of Chinese finished export was Central America. The region received 173,000 mt of finished steel, thereby accounting for 21% share of total exports by China to the region. Chile accounted for 19% share, importing 156,000 mt of finished steel during the month. Peru imported 107,000 mt, constituting 13% of the overall Chinese exports to the region. Also, the flat steel imports from China by Latin America totaled 518,000 mt in Jan ’17. The region imported 211,000 mt of long steel from China and 93,000 mt of seamless tubes.
As per data, the apparent finished steel usage by the region totaled 61.9 million mt during the whole of 2016, significantly down by 8% when matched with the year before that. Regional steel imports represented 32% of Latin American consumption in 2016, lower by 2% as compared with 34% in 2015. The finished steel production by the region amounted to 50.6 million mt, down by 5% when compared with those during 2015. Brazil remained the key producer during the year. The finished steel output by Brazil totaled 20.9 million mt, accounting for 41% of Latin American output. In second place was Mexico with 18.7 million mt (37% of regional output).
The countries to record significant rise in finished steel usage were Bolivia (up 46,000 mt, +8%), Peru (up 196,000 mt, +7%), Panama (up 32,000 mt, +3%) and Mexico (up 649,000 mt, +3%). On the other hand, the countries that recorded decline in consumption were Venezuela (down 1.4 million tons, -68%), Argentina (down 1.06 million mt, -20%) and Brazil (down 3.07 million mt, -14%). The apparent usage in Chile has narrowed by 215,000 mt (8% year-over-year) and that by Colombia has declined by 5% (213,000 mt) during 2016.
According to ALACERO data, finished steel trade by the region reported net deficit of 11.1 million mt during 2016. The country to report largest trade deficit was Mexico. Mexico’s trade deficit totaled 4.7 million mt, followed by Colombia (2.3 million mt), Chile (1.5 million mt) and Peru (1.5 million mt).The only country in the region to report trade surplus was Brazil. The country registered 3.3 million mt surplus during the year.
The advance information released by the steel trade body suggests considerable rise in Latin American crude steel production in January this year. The monthly output totaled around 5 million mt, registering 8% rise over the prior month and 12% rise when compared with the same month a year before. Meantime, production of finished steel totaled 4.2 million mt during the month, rising by 12% over December 2016 and by 3% over January 2016.