World Economy

LatAm Steel Industry Witnesses Huge Upturn

Steel consumption rose modestly by 4%.Steel consumption rose modestly by 4%.

The trade figures released by the Latin American Steel Association suggest that the regional steel market recovered substantially during the previous year. Crude steel production by Latin American and the Caribbean region totaled 63.9 million tons in 2017, higher by nearly 7% when compared with the previous year.

The top most producing country was Brazil with yearly production totaling 34.4 MT, accounting for 54% of the total regional production. The country’s production rose 10% in 2017. Meantime, the finished steel output by the region jumped higher modestly by 4% to total 52.9 MT. Again, Brazil emerged as the leading producer with an output of 22.4 MT, followed by Mexico with 18.7 MT during the year, news outlets reported.

The apparent steel consumption by the region rose modestly by 4% over the prior year to total 67.3 MT in 2017. Regional steel consumption had totaled only 58.7 MT in 2016. Argentina recorded 18% jump in consumption, whereas it recorded 13% in Peru. The other countries to report rise in steel consumption were Brazil (up 5%) and Mexico (up 4%).

On the other hand, the growth in steel consumption in these countries was partially offset by huge declines in other countries such as Venezuela (down 22%), Panama (down 17%) and Bolivia (down 15%). Among various categories, flat steel products accounted for 57% of the total steel consumption, followed by long products (41%) and seamless tubes (1%), said.

Latin American finished steel imports reached 20.6 MT, 4% more than 2016. The finished steel exports by the region totaled 9.8 MT, 12% higher than 2016. The trade balance for the year recorded deficit of 10.8 MT, slightly lower by 2% when compared with the deficit of around 11.0 MT recorded in 2016. The only countries in the region to report finished steel trade surplus during the year were Brazil and Argentina.

Imports of steel products from China by the Latin American countries declined substantially by 8% during 2017, says the latest trade data released by the Latin American Steel Association.

The Latin American region imported 7.0 MT of steel products from China during the year, comprising 6.8 MT of finished steel and 802,000 tons of steel-derivative products. The volume of imports from China dropped by nearly 8% when compared with imports of 7.6 MT recorded in 2016.

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