Latin American rolled steel production increased 4% year on year in January and February to 9.27 million mt, while consumption totaled 11.8 million mt in the two-month period, up 8% from the year-ago period, Latin American Steel Association Alacero said Monday.
The difference "was increasingly supplied by imports, which already represent 37% of the consumption in the region," Alacero said. In January and February, Latin America imported 4.4 million mt of rolled steel, 32% more than in the same period last year. The region's exports fell 1% to 1.3 million mt.
The rise in Latin America's steel consumption was mainly driven by Peru, up 95%; Colombia, up 13%; and Mexico, up 12%. Argentina and Brazil, meanwhile, saw reductions of 11% and 4%, respectively.
The main increases in production in January and February were in Chile and Brazil, up 8% and 7%, respectively. Meanwhile, year-on-year output fell 15% in Venezuela, 6% in Colombia and 5% in Argentina.
Preliminary data from Alacero showed that March rolled steel production totaled 4.9 million mt, 3% more than in March 2014, and that first-quarter output increased 3% to 14.2 million mt.
Latin American crude steel production grew 3% to 10.8 million mt in January and February, of which Brazil accounted for 5.7 million mt. Alacero indicated that in March it reached 5.5 million mt, 4% less than in March 2014. Total Q1 production reached 16.3 million mt, level with Q1 2014.