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Production of finished steel grows 2pct in Latin America - Alacero

Steel News - Published on Tue, 12 Feb 2019

Image Source: Alacero
Latin American steel association Alacero announced that reflecting the global and regional improvement in the economic conditions, the steel market in Latin America and the Caribbean presented, in 2018, an increase in regional production of finished and crude steel, which corresponds to a 2% and 1% growth respectively, versus the same period of 2017.In addition, imports showed a decrease of 7.8%, with an effect on the regional consumption, which is supplied by 35% by such imports. Exports decreased 5% in 2018 regarding the same period in 2017. On the other hand, the trade balance remains negative, decreasing its deficit by 9% versus Jan-Nov 2017.

Francisco Leal, CEO of Alacero, said "Steel production is growing in Latin America although consumption is stable. Currently, imports of laminates represent a significant part of the region's consumption (35%), that brings discouragement for the local industry, commercial frictions and puts employments at risk.”

In 2018, crude steel production in Latin America reached 65 million tonnes, 1% higher than in 2017 (64.2 million tonnes). Brazil is the main producer with 53% of the regional total (34.7 million tonnes), increasing 1 % in relation to 2017. Although Brazil is the main producer, Argentina was the country that presented the largest growth variation (12% in the year).

In December 2018, the volume of crude steel produced was 5 million tonnes, 5% lower than in December 2017 and 5% below that in November 2018.

Last year, the production of laminates was 53.7 million tonnes, 2% higher than in 2017. The main producers were Brazil with 23.1 million tonnes (43% of the total in Latin America) and Mexico with 19 million tonnes (35%). Of the Latin American total production in 2018,49% correspond to flat products (26.1 million tonnes), 48% to long products (25.9 million tonnes) and 3% to seamless pipes (1.7 million tonnes). In December 2018, finished products the year at 3.9 million tonnes 8% lower than in December 2017 and 8% below November 2018.

In the first eleven months of the year, consumption of laminates registered 61.6 million tonnes, practically unchanged from January to November 2017 (61.6 million tonnes). The main countries that increased their consumption, both in absolute terms and in percentage terms, were Brazil (1.4 million tonnes and 8%), Argentina (47,000 and 1%), Ecuador (65,000 and 4%).

Conversely, in the same period, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela registered falls of 4%, 17%, and 66% respectively. In absolute terms, the largest fall was recorded in Mexico, which, even with a fall of 1,035 thousand tons in the flat category, remains the country that consumes most consumes steel in the region. Mexico currently produces less steel than it consumes, and since in the last January 31st the 15% safeguard action was removed to imports of steel originated from nations where there is no free trade agreement, the country became undefended. This can allow a greater input of products with dumping prices that in a medium and long term will stop investments and job opportunities (this industry directly and indirectly employs 800 thousand workers).

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Posted By : Ratan Singh on Tue, 12 Feb 2019
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