In Latin America, the trade deficit of steel in March increased by 12% compared to the previous month to 1.6 million tons. The deficit increased by 53.4% over the same period last year. According to the latest report from the Alacero Steel Association, imports still account for 35% of regional consumption. In the coming months, consumption in the region could reach its highest level in many years.
“In 2021, we saw a recovery curve first in consumption and then in production after a 30-40% decline in April and May 2020,” comments Alacero CEO Alejandro Wagner in an interview. “Today, we already produce and consume steel in the region at almost the same level or slightly more, an additional 5% compared to 2019. This is very encouraging, although it is still necessary to wait for the evolution of vaccination, all fiscal measures, as well as mobility in the region, due to which it is not clear how the curve will develop. Therefore, we are very careful in forecasting production levels this year, although recovery is a fact. ”
Consumption is expected to remain on a positive trajectory and the trade deficit is expected to be brought under control in the second half of the year. How the excessive rise in steel prices will affect the recovery in demand in the region, as well as what measures should be taken to increase steel consumption after the coronavirus, are, among other things, topics that Wagner discusses in a full interview.
Latin America imported 2.35 million tonnes of steel in March, which is 20.9% more than in February and 27.5% more than a year earlier. Of these, 1.72 tons were flat products, while long and seamless pipes were 602,400 tons and 35,600 tons, respectively. Imports in the first quarter reached 6.41 million tons, an increase of 15% y /y.
Meanwhile, the export of finished steel in March amounted to 756,900 tons, an increase of 44.7% compared to the previous month, but a decrease of 6.1% YoY. Shipments of long products reached 332 thousand tons, exports of flat products – 359. 4 thousand tons, seamless pipes – 65.5 thousand tons. Total exports in the first quarter amounted to 1.8 million tons, which is 17% less than in the same period last year.
The largest deficit during the month was observed in Mexico, which imported 831,900 tons of finished steel more than it exported. Of the 1.08 million tons of steel imported into the country in March, 943.7 thousand tons are flat products. Mexican exports totaled 254,300 tons and longs 136,000 tons.
The next largest deficits were Colombia and Chile – 212,700 tonnes and 168,500 tonnes, respectively.
Brazil had a surplus of 95,100 tons in March. The country imported 277.5 thousand tons of steel, of which 167.2 thousand tons of rolled metal. Meanwhile, exports reached 372,600 tons, of which 249,300 tons of flat products.
Argentina’s trade deficit reached 13,800 tons in March. Applications amounted to 59,400 tons, while the share of apartments was 63.8%. 45,600 tons of finished products were exported from the country, of which 19,900 tons of flat products and 14,100 tons of long products. According to the data, the export of seamless pipes from Argentina reached 11,600 tons, accounting for 17.7% of the total pipe shipments from Latin America in March.