The Latin American and Caribbean steel market increased by just 1% during Q1 2014 when compared to the same period last year, according to the Latin American Steel Association (Alacero).
Apparent steel use between January and April 2014 was 22.2Mt, up by 221kt on 2013 figures, and the countries that contributed the most were Columbia, Mexico and Argentina. Strong drops were recorded by Venezuela, Ecuador and Chile.
The Q1 2014 deficit in the regional trade of finished steel reached -4.1Mt, an increase of 7% on Q1 2013. Mexico continually presents 'the most marked unbalance' of -1Mt, followed by Columbia (-772kt), Chile (-506kt) and Peru (-502kt).
Argentina and Brazil presented less marked deficits of -100kt and -78kt respectively.
Regional production of crude steel reached 21.5Mt, 1% more than in 2013. Brazil was the main producer (11.1Mt) representing 52% of regional output. Crude steel production in Argentina, Mexico and Peru was up 13%, 6% and 4% respectively but was down in Venezuela, Chile and Columbia by -32%, -13% and -2% respectively.
Q1 2014 finished steel production was 18.4Mt. Brazil produced 8.5Mt and had a 46% share of regional output. Mexico produced 5.5Mt and took a 30% share. Mexico's production was up 5% year-on-year.
Other countries that increased their production during the Q1 2014 period were Columbia (+19%); Peru (+3%); Ecuador (+3%); and Argentina (+1%). Venezuela and Chile dropped by -31% and -27% respectively.
Between January and May, Latin America and the Caribbean produced 27Mt of crude steel, which was in line with the same period of 2013. Finished steel production for the first five months of 2014 reached 23Mt, down 1% year-on-year.