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Latin America: Steel imports from China reached 412 thousands tons during January 2018

In January 2018, Chinese steel exports sent to the world, -which includes finished steel (long steel, flat steel and seamless pipes) and steel-derivatives products (wire and welded pipes)-, decreased 39% versus January 2017, reached 4.4 million tons (Mt) of steel. Of this total, 3.9 Mt were finished steel and 502 thousands tons.

Latin America accounted for 9.0% of total global exports, reducing its participation in two percentage points versus Jan 2017 (11%) and standing at second place as China’s preferred destination. The region is preceded by South Korea with 563 thousands tons (13% of the global total).

In January 2018, Chinese steel exports to the region contracted 50% compared to January 2017 (822 thousand tons), reaching 412 thousand tons of steel (362 thousand tons were finished steel and 50 thousand tons were steel-derivatives products).

Although the Asian giant announced that will cut their steel production by 30 Mt in 2018, there is a possibility that China will starts exporting more to Latin America following the announcement of last Thursday by the United States President Donald Trump regarding the imposition of 25% of tariffs on steel imports. It’s estimated that this decision may cause a diversion of trade to the region. For this reason the governments and industries of each country should be alert to a sudden and unexpected growth of imports.

In the case of steel-derivatives products during January 2018, Latin America received 50 thousand tons from China, representing at the first place of the global destination (10% of the total). The region is followed by the Philippines (41 thousand tons, 8% of the total) and South Korea (31 thousand tons, 6% of the total).

Finished steel imports from China by destination

The main destinations for Chinese steel (finished + steel-derivatives) in Latin American during January 2018 were: Brazil which received 111 thousand tons (27 % of the region); Peru with 68 thousand tons (17%); and Chile, 59 thousand tons (14%).

During the first month of the year, Brazil was the only country that increased its import of Chinese steel versus January 2017 (43% more).

On the other hand, the countries that have reduce their imports of Chinese steel products versus January 2017 were: Venezuela (-98%), Cuba (-96%), Argentina (-80%) and Central America (-73%).

Imports from China by products

Flat steel were the main products imported by Latin America from China during January 2018, reaching 302 thousand tons (63% of total). The most relevant products in terms of volume were:

  • Hot dip galvanized sheet (79 thousand tons, 26% share of flat steel imported from China)
  • Other alloyed steel sheets and coils (70 thousand tons, 23%)
  • Cold rolled coil (61 thousand tons, 20%)

Long steel: China exported to Latin America 47 thousand tons (26% of the total), mainly concentrated in:

  • Wire rod (23 thousand tons, 48% share of long steels)
  • Bars (19 thousands tons, 40% )

The region received 13 thousand tons of seamless pipes (2% of the total).

Meanwhile, steel-derivate products represent 9% of total imports of Chinese steel in the region, with a volume of 50 thousand tons, where:

  • Welded tubes (39 thousands tons)
  • Wire (11 thousands tons)

Source: Alacero

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