Latin American steel industry maintains its recovery spurred by higher steel consumption
The cumulative amount of crude steel production until July is 37,670.7 million tons (Mt), 23.5% more if compared to the same period in the previous year and exceeding the first seven months of 2019 by 2.7% (36,663.8 million tons). As for finished steel, the cumulative amount up to July is 32,798.9 Mt, which points to a 30.4% growth if compared to the same period in 2020, and 8.1% higher than the levels of 2019.
Although the production of raw and laminated steel has decreased if compared to the previous month (-2.2% and -0.7% respectively), the performance levels have remained high compared to recent past.
Last June the trade balance pointed to a decrease in the deficit of around 8.5% if compared to the previous month. However, the cumulative amount remains critical, and the deficit has been around 64.2% above the number seen in the first half of 2020. This fall in the monthly deficit has been due to a slight decrease in imports and an increase in exports.
Intra-regional imports registered an 1.2% increase if compared to last May, reaching 7.4% of the total imports. Extraregional exports have accounted for 30.8% of total exports.
Regarding to regional consumption, the accumulated in the first 6 months of 2021 was 37.8% higher than the same period in 2020, reflecting the recovery of the steel demanding sectors.
The second quarter of the current year was around 64.3% above the same period in the previous year and around 9.6% above the first quarter of 2021.
The analysis made by Alacero of the sector’s numbers during the second half of the year points to a recovery of the industry that is sustained in the medium term.
Alejandro Wagner, Executive Director of Alacero, explains: “These figures, in addition to indicating positive numbers for the sector, translate into tangible issues for the development of Latin American countries”.
He adds: “The steel sector generates more than 1.2 million high-quality direct and indirect jobs, offering higher salaries than the rest of the manufacturing industry. In addition to that, the region counts on the advantage of producing much cleaner and more sustainable steel than its main competitors. (Latin America releases 1.6 tons of CO2 per ton of crude steel produced into the atmosphere, if compared to 2.1 tons emitted by China)”.
According to Wagner, “It is important for countries in the region to implement policies to strengthen the recovery of their economies and achieve a sustainable recovery. The growth of the steel industry and its entire value chain plays a fundamental role in generating new jobs and boosting local communities, reaffirming that the steel industry is an important economic engine in Latin America”.