Steel output remains steady in Latin America

Worldsteel’s forecast for 2018 presents mixed picture for Latin America.

December 8, 2017
Recycling Today Global Staff

World crude steel production in October 2017 was 145.3 million metric tons a 5.9 percent increase compared to October 2016, according to the Brussels-based World Steel Association (Worldsteel).

South America lagged behind that October pace with just 2.6 percent growth year-on-year. For the first 10 months of 2017, however, South America has increased its output by 7.4 percent compared to the first 10 months of 2016.

Year-to-date, South America’s 7.4 percent output boost also is ahead of the global average of 5.6 percent.

Among Latin America’s largest steel producing nations in October, Mexico reported a drop in steel output compared to October 2016, although the tonnage figure it submitted to Worldsteel is an estimate. Year-to-date through October 2017, Mexico’s output was up 6.4 percent.

Brazil produced 3 million metric tons of crude steel in October 2017, up 3.9 percent compared to October the year before. Year-to-date through October, Brazilian steelmakers had produced 8.5 percent more steel—nearly 2.3 million metric tons more—compared to the first 10 months of 2016.

China’s crude steel production of 72.4 million metric tons in October 2017 entailed a 6.1 percent increase compared to October 2016. United States steelmakers also boosted output in October, checking in with a 12 percent increase in tons produced compared to October 2016. Year-to-date, the U.S. had produced 3.9 percent more steel through October 2017.

In October 2017, Worldsteel also released a short-term outlook for the global steel industry, looking ahead into 2018. “Developing countries are benefitting from the global recovery and economic reforms, but to varying degrees,” the association stated.

Worldsteel singled out Brazil, Argentina and Mexico (along with Egypt and India) as nations with “reform agendas” that “are expected to enhance their growth potential over time.”

The association also indicated that “countries in South America have been slow so far to benefit from the recovery in the global economy. In Brazil, continuing depressed construction activity has held demand recovery back in 2017, but a stronger recovery is expected in 2018.”