Sustained steel consumption consolidates production growth

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Rolled steel production and demand each increased 17% compared to the first quarter of 2020, returning to pre-pandemic levels

Alacero - São Paulo, Brasil, June, 17th, 2021. Steel consumption grew for the third consecutive quarter, driven mainly by the construction and manufacturing sectors, with a heterogeneous economic performance among the main countries in the region, such as Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. The level accumulated until March, of 18.4 million tons (Mt), registered an increase of 17% compared to the same period in 2020 and 5.5% compared to the same period in 2019. In March, consumption of steel rose 27% compared to the same month last year, reaching 6.71 Mt, 17.4% above that observed in the same month of 2019.

In the first quarter, imports grew by 3.4 percentage points as a share of regional consumption in relation to the previous quarter. 6.4 Mt were imported, 15% more than in the first three months of 2020, and 9% more than in the first quarter of 2019. In March, 52% of imports came from China, reaching levels above those registered in January (30%) and February (33%). As for exports, the accumulated in the quarter was 1.8 Mt, 17% less than the accumulated in the first three months of 2020 and 23.6% more than in 2019. This led to an increase in the trade deficit, which in first quarter of the year was 36% higher than in 2020.

Trade and consumption data are in line with the 13% growth in monthly rolled steel production recorded in March. In April, however, there was a 1% drop in the same comparison, although production is already at the levels of 2019. In the fourth month of the year, it accumulates an increase of 16.9% compared to the first four months of 2020. Monthly production Crude steel rose 2% in April, accumulating between January and April an increase of 13.9% compared to the first four months of 2020.

“Demand continues to recover. These data are encouraging, although unevenly by country and sector. In addition, we must continue to pay attention to extrazone imports, which represent a risk and displacement of production in our region. In March, imports rose 27% compared to the same month in 2020, half coming from China,” said Alejandro Wagner, executive director of Alacero. “The recovery of the steel industry and its value chain is very important for Latin America, which was a region very economically affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The sector generates 1.2 million qualified and qualified jobs in the region, and they must be preserved. For this recovery to be maintained over time, public policies that favor national and foreign private investments, stimulate economic recovery, lead to a reduction in the tax burden and an increase in productivity are needed,” he added. ••

About Alacero

Alacero – Latin American Steel Association (Asociación Latinoamericana del Acero) - is the non-profit civil entity that brings together the Latin American steel value chain to promote the values of regional integration, technological inno- vation, excellence in human resources, safety at work, corporate responsibility and socio-environmental sustainability. Founded in 1959, it is made up of more than 60 producing and related companies whose production is close to 60 mi- llion tons per year. The United Nations recognizes Alacero as a Special Consulting Agency.

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