Weak global and regional economic growth in Latin America has led to crude steel production and finished steel consumption in H1 2014 remaining static when compared with the same period last year, claims Alacero (the Latin American Steel Association).

Where finished steel production was concerned the only countries showing signs of growth were Mexico (11%), Columbia (15%) and Argentina. Monthly crude steel production only exceeded 6Mt (6.1Mt) in May 2014, but for the rest of the period monthly totals hovered between 5.6Mt and 5.9Mt. The accumulated total for H1 2014 was 34.2Mt, a 0% variance over the same period in 2013.

In terms of crude steel production, the countries with the highest year-on-year growth rates were Argentina (+ 12%), Mexico (+6%) and Peru (+4%). Declines of -41%, -18% and -2% respectively were posted by Venezuela, Chile and Columbia.

Advanced information for July 2014 shows crude steel production of 5.6Mt, down 2% on July 2013. The figure for finished steel production was 4.5Mt (down 5%). The cumulative figure for January to July 2014 is 37.8Mt, roughly in line with 2013 figures. Production of finished steel for the the January to July period was 32.2Mt, down 2% year-on-year.

A similarly static picture emerged for apparent steel use (27.7Mt, down 1% on last year’s figure).

Latin America produced 28Mt of finished steel during H1 2014, 1% less than in 2013. Brazil was top dog with 12.5Mt – accounting for 45% of Latin American production. Mexico was in second place with 8.5Mt (31% of regional production and up 9% year-on-year).

Other countries increasing finished steel production year-on-year during the period were Columbia (up 15%) and Ecuador (up 1%). In Venezuela and Chile year-on-year output dropped by 40% and 25% respectively.

According to Alacero, all Latin American and Caribbean countries described deficits in their trade of finished steel with Mexico showing the most marketed unbalance (down 2.3Mt) followed by Columbia (down 1.1Mt) Peru (down 780kt) and Chile (down 743kt).

Regional trade of finished steel turned in a deficit of -7Mt, 11% deeper than H1 2013 (-6.4Mt).