COVID-19 lowers South American steelmaking by double-digit percentage
Steel output has fallen in South America as COVID-19 has slowed down national economies.
Photo provided by Dreamstime.

COVID-19 lowers South American steelmaking by double-digit percentage

May output figures show steepest decline in Argentina.

Subscribe
June 30, 2020

May steel production figures gathered by Brussels-based WorldSteel show nearly 26 percent less steel was manufactured in May 2020 compared with May 2019. Year to date, some 17 percent less steel was produced in the first five months of this year compared with the same timeframe last year.

In Argentina, the 1.23 million tons of steel produced in the first five months of 2020 represents a 35.5 percent drop compared with one year earlier. In May 2020, the nation’s output was down by 52 percent compared with May 2019.

Brazil, South America’s largest producer of steel, has been in the news for its president’s unorthodox response to COVID-19. The nation’s steel output also has dropped, with its May 2020 figure of less than 2.2 million tons falling by 22.6 percent compared with May 2019 output of more than 2.8 million tons. Year to date, Brazil’s output has dropped by 15.9 percent compared with 2019.

Year to date, steel output in Colombia and Peru also has dropped by a double-digit percentage, while in Ecuador production has dropped by 8.8 percent. What remains of Venezuela’s steel industry produced just 15,000 tons of steel in the first five months of 2020, down by nearly 51 percent.

Chile has been a contrarian on the steel output front, having produced nearly 35 percent more steel in the first five months of 2020 compared with the same timeframe in 2019.

Steel output in Mexico also has dropped in 2020, falling by 13.2 percent in May of this year compared with output last year. In the first five months of 2020, the 7.25 million tons of steel produced in Mexico represents a 12.4 percent decline compared with the same five months in 2019.