The Latin American and Caribbean steel market is showing limited dynamism, according to Alacero, the Latin American Steel Association.
Regional consumption of finished steel reached 40.5Mt during the period January to July 2014 and that amounts to 1% growth with Mexico, Columbia and Argentina leading with way with the largest increases in consumption at 14%, 14% and 8% respectively.
At the other end of the scale, Venezuela, Ecuador and Chile all showed sharp declines in consumption (-43%, -20% and -7% respectively) and while Brazil's -3% decline is not, at face value, a great deal, it does amount to 446kt.
Finished steel imports accounted for 32% of regional consumption at the end of July and regional trade during the period recorded a deficit of 8.5Mt, which was 13% deeper than the same period in 2013.
In fact, most Latin American and Caribbean countries recorded a deficit with Mexico at -2.8Mt, Columbia at -1.3Mt, Peru at 914Mt and Chile at 883kt.
Latin America produced 38Mt of crude steel between January and July 2014, roughly similar to 2013. The largest producer was Brazil (20Mt) and this figure represented 52% of regional output. Argentinian production was up 11%, Ecuador 10%, Mexico 7% and Peru 4%. On the reverse side, Venezuela and Chlie both registered marked declines of -43% and -19% respectively.
Latin America produced 32.6Mt of finished steel, down 1% year-on-year. Brazil was the largest producer at 14.5Mt (45% of regional output) with Mexico in second place with 10.2Mt (31% of regional production). The greatest increases in finished steel production involved Columbia (up 14%) and Mexico (up 12%). Outputs for Venezuela and Chile fell by 41% and 23% respectively.
During August 2014 crude steel production totalled 5.7Mt, which was 2% down year-on-year. The cumulative figure for January to August 2014 was 43.8Mt, similar to the same period last year. Finished steel production reached 37.3Mt, down 1% when compared with the same months of 2013.