The Latin American Steel Association (Alacero) has reported zero growth for the Latin American finished steel market during the first nine months of 2014. Regional crude steel production for the region remained static when compared with 2013 figures and finished steel imports continued to gain market share and now account for 33% of regional consumption.
During the period, regional consumption of finished steel reached 52.5Mt, a growth rate of 2% year-on-year with ‘significant’ consumption increases in Mexico (up 14%); Peru (up 23%); Columbia (up 17%); and Argentina (up 3%). Venezuela, Brazil and Ecuador, on the other hand, recorded strong drops. Venezuela and Ecuador recorded drops of 43% and 20% respectively while Brazil and Chile were down 5% and 4%.
Brazil’s drop in consumption equated to 1Mt less year-on-year and was accentuated between June and September when volume consumed was 12% lower than during the same period in 2013.
Where imports of finished steel were concerned, Latin America bought in 17.4Mt, up 9% year-on-year (14.9Mt). Comparing current import volumes with the same period in 2010 there has been an increase of 26%, according to Alacero.
On the export front, there was a fall of 8% (they reached 5.9Mt) but the region built up a trade deficit of -11.4Mt, which was 20% deeper than in 2013 when it reached -9.5Mt during Q1.
During the first nine months of 2014, all Latin American countries recorded a steel trade deficit and the most serious offenders were Mexico, Columbia, Peru and Chile.
In terms of steel production, the Latin America and Carribean region produced 49.2Mt of crude steel. Brazil represented 52% of regional output (25.6Mt) while Argentina recorded the most marked percentage growth (up 8%) followed by Mexico (up 6%) and Peru (up 3%). Columbia and Mexico increased production by 13% and 10% respectively and displayed the most marked finished steel expansions year-on-year. Respective drops of 41% and 23% were recorded in Venezuela and Chile.
In October 2014 crude steel production in the region reached 5.9Mt, 2% up on October 2013.