Crude steel production and apparent finished steel use both witnessed mild increases between January and May 2014, according to Alacero, the Latin American Steel Association.

Finished steel consumption in Latin America and the Caribbean totalled 28.6Mt, during the period, an increase of 2% over the same period last year.

Consumption grew by 12%, 17% and 7% respectively in Mexico, Columbia and Argentina but dropped in Venezuela (39%), Ecuador (23%), Chile (10%), Panama (24%), Peru (1%) and El Salvador (44%).

Where finished products were concerned, the trade deficit for the region was down 5.4Mt, a reduction of almost 10% over January to May 2013.

Between January and May 2014, says Alacero, every country in Latin America and the Caribbean recorded trade deficits in finished steel with Mexico leading the field with a deficit of 1.5Mt followed by Columbia (944kt) and Chile (636kt).

Steel production in the region was up by 1% and reached 27.1Mt with Brazil being the main producer accounting for 52% of regional output (14Mt). Other countries reporting the highest production growth in the region were Argentina (+12%) Mexico (+7%) and Peru (+5%). On the downside, Venezuela, Chile and Columbia were down by 39%, 14% and 1% respectively.

Where finished steel production was concerned, Brazil produced 11Mt (45% of regional output) and Mexico, in second place, produced 7.3Mt (31% of regional output). In total the region produced 23.4% Other finished steel success stories over the January to May period were Columbia (up 16%); Ecuador (up 1%); and Peru (up 1%). On the downside, Venezuela and Chile dropped 37% and 23% respectively.

Figures for June 2014 show that crude steel regional output reached 5.2Mt, 1% less than June 2013. Finished steel production was down 8% at 4.4Mt.

Source: Alacero.