According to data published by the Latin American Steel Association (Alacero) in its report ‘China – Latin America Quarterly Monitor’, the region continues to be the second most important destination for Chinese finished steel, only surpassed by South Korea.

Alacero´s research follows the progress of Chinese exports of finished steel to Latin America during the first quarter of 2013. During this period Latin America received 952kt from China, 9.2% more than during same period of the previous year. During 2012, China had supplied 7% of Latin American finished steel apparent use and had accounted for 23% of its imports.

Between Jan/Mar 2013, China exported globally a total of 12.6Mt of finished steel, a 24% increase y-o-y, but 2% less than Q4/2012. South Korea was the main destination for these products importing 2.5Mt, followed by Latin America (0.952Mt) and Vietnam.

In Latin America, the main destinations continue to be Brazil, Chile and Peru, together accounting for 48% of Chinese exports to the region. But Venezuela saw a 113% increase y-o-y, Colombia +76% and the Dominican Republic show the fastest growth in import rates at +252%.

Decreases in imports were reported in Brazil, Mexico, Cuba and Argentina for the Q1 period y-o-y. According to Alacero´s analysis, this fact might begin to signal a trend where trade flows from China will be moving from Brazil to reach other destinations such as Venezuela or Colombia.

Globally China doubled its exports of bars, reaching 2.3Mt during Q1/2013. Steel sheets and coils followed in volume at 2.2Mt. Wire rod was the third most exported product and reached a historic peak of 1.8Mt during the period.

Wire rod is also Latin America´s most imported product. In Q1/2013, the region received 154kt accounting for 16% of finished steel imports and 8% of the wire rod exported by China. There was also a steady growth –equal or above 100%- of rebar, hot rolled coils, tinplate and stainless steel.