Chinese finished steel exports to Latin America: Brazil, the most important importer. Mexico, the fastest growing destination – Alacero

alaceroSantiago of Chile, January 29th, 2013. During the first three quarters of 2012, Brazil stood up as the main Latin-American destination for Chinese finished steel exports. Meanwhile, Mexico continued to be the country that showed the most important relative growth of Chines imports, compared to same period of 2011.

Because of the observed deceleration of the Brazilian economy during 2012, apparent steel consumption reached 19.2 million tons and grew just 1% during Jan/Sept 2012, compared to same period of the previous year. During the first three quarters of 2012, imports of finished steel products from all over the world grew 3.4% while Brazilian steel products exports fell by 17%, compared to same months of 2011. The appreciation of local currency can be traced as one of the facts that explain these results.

Throughout Jan/Sept 2012, Brazilian imports of Chinese finished products also fell by 25%, versus a year ago.This decrease is mainly due to the reduced arrival of flat product (-34%). On the other hand, Chinese long products imports experienced significant growth (+65%).

As a whole, Brazil imported 649,762 tons from China between January and September 2012, about 22% of total steel imports of this Latin American country.

Within long products, rails and railroad accessories represented 59% of the group and grew 289%, compared to the first three quarters of 2011. This fact can probably be explained by the increased demand derived from infrastructure projects.

Regarding coated steel for packaging, while tinplate imports decreased, tin free steel (that replaces regular tinplate in some packaging parts) imports grew considerably.

When volume is considered, despite a noticeable decrease of 32%, cold rolled coil continues to be the most imported steel product in Brazil (213,991 tons). Imports of these products, along with silicon sheets and coils -that grew 37% (Jan/Sept 2012 versus year ago)- are replacing local production.

Mexican authorities and CANACERO repeatedly expressed their concern about the increasing arrival of steel products from China and other countries that do not maintain free trade agreements with the country. Finished steel imports from the Asian country grew 121% as compared to Jan/Sept 2011, while imports of these products from the rest of the world just increased 60%.

When Chinese exports during Jan/Sept 2012 are compared to the same period of 2011, it can be observed that many steel products increased by more than 100%. Flat products imports grew 183% and. Coldrolled coils stand out within this group, with an increase of 525%. Sheet and coils of other alloyed steels imports also augmented markedly during the period (+240%). Wire experienced a significant growth of 2432%, going from 843 tons during the first three quarters of 2012 to 21,342 tons during the same period of 2012.

Finished steel or wrought steel: Refers to steel included in one of these 3 groups: Long products (e.g.: reinforcing bars, bars, wire rod, light sections, heavy sections, rails), flat steel (e.g.: cold rolled coil, coated sheets, silicon steel sheets and coils, chrome-plate sheets, cold rolled sheets etc.) and seamless tubes.

About Alacero
Alacero -Latin American Steel Association- is the organization that brings together the Steel Value Chain of Latin America to promote the values of regional integration, technological innovation, corporate responsibility and social and environmental sustainability. Founded in 1959, Alacero is formed by 52 companies of 25 countries, whose production –of about 70 million annual tons- represents 95% of the steel manufactured in Latin America. Alacero is a Special Consulting Organization to the United Nations and is recognized as International Non-Government Organization by the Republic of Chile, host country of Alacero´s headquarters.