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Latin American steel market data demonstrates modest recovery during Q1
May 27,2017 09:49CST
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The latest statistics published by the Latin American Iron and Steel Institute (ALACERO) indicates that steel production and consumption by the Latin American and Caribbean region maintained positive

By Paul Ploumis

The latest statistics published by the Latin American Iron and Steel Institute (ALACERO) indicates that steel production and consumption by the Latin American and Caribbean region maintained positive balance during the initial three-month period of 2017.

SPOKANE (Scrap Monster): The latest statistics published by the Latin American Iron and Steel Institute (ALACERO) indicates that steel production and consumption by the Latin American and Caribbean region maintained positive balance during the initial three-month period of 2017.The region’s crude and finished steel production increased. The finished steel consumption too reported growth during the quarterly period.

The figures released by the trade body indicate that consumption of steel during Jan-Mar ’17 surged higher by 7% when compared with the first quarter of 2016. The region’s crude steel production soared by 12% during the quarter. Meantime, finished steel production too was up by 3% over the previous year.

The crude steel production by Latin America and the Caribbean totaled 15.2 million tonnes (Mt) in Jan-Mar ‘17, which is significantly higher by 12% when matched with the production volume of 13.6 Mt in the corresponding three months in 2016. Brazil was the largest producer of crude steel in the region. The country’s production totaled 5.4 Mt, accounting for 54% of regional production. The crude steel production by Brazil was up by 14%.

The finished steel production during the quarter rose 3% to 12.8 Mt. Among the countries in the region, Brazil emerged as the leading producer of finished steel in Q1 ’17. The country produced 5.4 Mt, accounting for 42% of the regional finished steel output. In second place was Mexico with 4.6 Mt, constituting 36% of regional output.

As per data, the apparent finished steel usage by the region totaled 16.6 Mt during the quarter, significantly higher by 7% than Jan-Mar ’16. Out of this, consumption of flat products totaled 9.3 Mt, accounting for 56% of total finished steel consumption. The long products and seamless tubes usage totaled 7.0 Mt and 237,000 mt respectively. The countries to record significant rise in finished steel usage were Mexico (up 603,000 mt, +10%), Costa Rica (238,000 mt, +115%) and Brazil (up 218,000 mt, +5%). In opposition, Argentina reported 10% drop in apparent usage. Meantime, Bolivia, Guatemala and Ecuador reported 75%, 55% and 35% declines in consumption respectively.

Imports represented 34% of Latin American finished steel consumption. The region imported 5.6 Mt of finished steel during the quarter. Out of this, 3.7 Mt were flat products, 1.7 Mt were long products and the remaining 134,000 mt were seamless tubes. The exports of finished steel by Latin America surged higher by 8% in comparison with the previous year to 2.1 Mt. Of this, flat products totaled 1.2 Mt, long products accounted for 872,000 mt and seamless tubes comprised of 253,000 mt.

According to ALACERO data, finished steel by the region reported net trade deficit of 3.3 Mt during the first three months of 2017. The country to report largest trade deficit was Mexico. Mexico’s trade deficit totaled -1.4 Mt, followed by Colombia (-638,000 mt), Chile (-428,000 mt) and Peru (-423,000 mt).Brazil and Argentina were the only countries to record trade surplus during the quarter.

The advance information for April ’17 released by the steel trade body suggests that crude steel production remained flat in comparison with March ’17. The monthly output maintained the level of 5.2 Mt. Also, production of finished steel has declined by 3% to close at 4.4 Mt. The cumulative crude steel and finished steel production during Jan-Apr ’17 stood at 20.5 Mt and 17.2 Mt respectively.

Alacero is the organization that brings together the steel value chain of Latin America. Established in 1959, the organization comprises of 49 companies in 12 different countries, whose combined production represents nearly 95% of the steel manufactured in the region.

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