Latin American finished steel consumption fell 12% during H1 2016 while crude steel and finished steel production dropped 11% and 7% year-on-year respectively, according to a report from the Latin American Steel Association (Alacero).

Regional steel imports accounted for 33% of Latin-American consumption and the trade balance in the region remains negative. That said, the deficit in tons over the January to June 2016 period decreased by 35% when compared to the same period in 2015.

Between January and June 2016 Latin America and the Caribbean produced 28.5Mt of crude steel, down 11% on H1 2015. Brazil accounted for 52% of regional production (14.9Mt).

In terms of finished steel consumption, the region was down by 12% when compared with the 2015 figure. Latin America consumed 31.4Mt of finished steel. Large increases were reported in Peru, up 6% at 80kt; Honduras, up 27% at 35kt; and Panama, up 3% at 6kt.

In other regions, however, finished steel consumption was down. In Brazil it was down 24% at 2.8Mt, while in Argentina, Columbia and Ecuador there were respective declines of 10%, 2% and 13%.

On a product-by-product basis, 53% of Latin America’s total steel consumption was flat steel, 46% was long products and 1% seamless tubes (339kt).

Latin America imported 10.4Mt of finished steel during the H1 period, down 21% on the same period last year and 67% of this figure was flat products. Long products accounted for 29% of imports and 2% seamless tubes (192kt).

Finished steel exports reached 4.5Mt, up 11% over 2015’s H1 figure and 53% was flat products, 39% long products and 8% seamless tubes.

Alacero reported a finished steel trade deficit of 5.9Mt, down 35% on last year’s figure. Brazil was the only country in the region to maintain a trade surplus of 1.8Mt of finished steel while Mexico recorded the largest deficit (2.9Mt) followed by Columbia (1.2Mt), Peru (786kt) and Chile (789kt).

Crude steel production for July 2016 was 5.1Mt, up 2% on June 2016 and down 6% on July 2015. Volume for H1 2016 was 33.6Mt, down 10% on the same period in 2015.

Source: Alacero.