By Paul Ploumis
SPOKANE (Scrap Monster): The latest trade statistics released by the Latin American Steel Association (ALACERO) indicates that imports of Chinese steel by the region totaled 1.9 million tons (Mt) during the first three months in 2017.
As per data, China exported 20.2 million tons of finished steel and steel-derivative products to the entire world during the first three months of the current year. Out of this 1.9 million tons were shipped to Latin American countries. Imports of finished steel products totaled 1.7 million tons, whereas steel-derivatives products accounted for 190,000 tons. The total imports of Chinese steel by the region surged higher by 8% when matched with the first three months in 2016.
The key destination of Chinese steel in the region was Central America with 384,000 tons. The imports by Central America were marginally lower by 2% when matched with Jan-Mar ’16. The second largest regional importer of Chinese steel was Chile. The imports by Chile surged higher by 36% year-on-year to 349,000 tons. In third place was Peru with 297,000 tons. The imports by the country recorded sharp year-on-year growth of 26%.
The volume of Chinese steel imported by Latin American region dropped 6% during the first quarter of 2017. On the other hand, the volume of Chinese steel to the rest of the world surged higher significantly by 16%. The value of steel imported by Latin America from China amounted to $1,117 million. The average quarterly import price increased by almost one-third over the previous year to $580 per ton in Q1 ’17. The average import price by Central America, Peru and Costa Rica stood below the regional average at $499 per ton, $518 per ton and $527 per ton respectively. Also, the import prices of these regions were significantly lower when compared with the rest of the world.
The Chinese steel export volume totaled 20.2 million tons during Jan-Mar ‘17. Out of this, finished steel exports totaled 18.8 million tons and the balance 1.4 million tons accounted for steel-derivatives products. The steel exports by the country were down sharply by 26% when matched with the previous year. The Chinese steel exports had totaled 27.2 million tons during the initial three-month period in 2016.
Flat products accounted for 61% of the total imports of finished steel and steel-derivative products from China. The Latin American imports of flat products totaled 1.2 million tons during the first quarter of the current year. The major flat steel products imported during the period were sheets and coils of other alloy steels (421,000 tons) and hot rolled steel (293,000 tons). The flat steel product categories recorded 102% and 35% rise in imported volume respectively. The three largest importers of flat steel from China were Chile, Central America and Peru. The imports from these countries totaled 285,000 tons, 204,000 tons and 190,000 tons respectively during January to March.
Long steel imports totaled 420,000 tons in Jan-Mar ’17. The key long steel product imported by the region from China was wire rods. The imports of wire rods totaled 192,000 tons, declining by 17% when compared with Jan-Mar ‘16. The imports of bars plunged by 56% over the previous year to 179,000 tons. Central America was the largest importer of long steel in the region with imports of 139,000 tons.
In the first quarter of 2017, seamless tube imports from China totaled 62,000 tons, accounting for 3% of total finished steel and steel-derivative products that entered the region.