Latin America imported from China 2.3 million tons of steel during January-April 2016

The total exports of steel from China to the world -including finished (long steel, flat steel and seamless pipes) and steel-derivatives products (wire products and welded tubes)- were 36 million tons during January-April 2016, 8% more than January-April 2015. Of this volume, 33.8 million were finished steel and 2.2 million ton of steel-derivatives products. At this rate, China will be exporting the order of 110 million tons in 2016.


Latin America accounted for 6.3% of those exports from China (2.3 million tons), reducing its participation in 4.4 percentage points versus January-April 2015 (10.7%), moving to fourth place as China’s preferred destination. China´s main destinations for finished steel exports are: South Korea (4.5 million tons, 12.4% of the global total), Vietnam (4.1 million tons, 11.3% of the total) and Thailand (2.4 million tons, 6,6% of the total). The decrease in imports of Chinese steel to Latin America is explained by Brazil’s economy and steel industry crisis, since the last year was the largest importer of Chinese steel. However, while the Chinese excess capacity, in the order of ≈400 million tons is maintained, the risk that Chinese exports to the region come back to the levels of last year is latent.




In January-April 2016, China shipped 2.3 million tons of steel to Latin America, which 2.0 million tons were finished steel and 259 thousand tons of steel-derivatives products. The total volume is 37% less than the 3.6 million tons (3.2 finished products and 335 thousand tons of steel-derivatives products) recorded in January-April 2015. The Chart 01 shows that the total volume of Chinese steel received by the region in January-April 2016 decreased versus the high levels of early 2015. Latin America during January-April 2016 received 259 thousand tons of steel-derivatives from China, being the main global destination for these steels, concentrating 11,7% of the total.


The region is followed by United States (135 thousand tons, 6.1% of the total) and Thailand (134 thousand tons, 6.1% of the total). In April 2016, Latin America received 469 thousand tons of Chinese steel, which 403 thousand tons were finished steel and 66 thousand tons of steel-derivatives products. The total steel (finished + derivate) is 19% less than March 2016 in which entered 576 thousand tons (526 finished steel and 50 thousand tons of steel-derivatives products) and 49% less than 913 thousand tons (882 finished steel and 91 thousand tons of steel-derivatives products) versus April 2015.




Finished steel imports from China by destination

The main destinations for Chinese steel (finished + steel-derivatives) in Latin American during JanuaryApril 2016 were Central America which received 480 thousand tons (21% of the region); Chile, which accumulated 362 thousand tons (16%); and Peru, with 290 thousand tons (13%). In January-April 2016, the countries that increased their imports of Chinese steel (in percentage terms) versus January-April 2015 were Costa Rica (+72%) and Cuba (+58%). However these countris still hold a small participation of 4% and 3%, respectively, of the Latin American steel imports of Chinese steel.


On the other hand, the countries that have reduce their imports of total steel products from China versus January-April 2015 were: Argentina (-77%), Brazil (-70%), Mexico (-64%), Ecuador (-54%), Venezuela (-27%), Peru (-26%) and Chile (-22%) and currently have shares of 1%, 8%, 9%, 6%, 5%, 13% and 16% respectively.




Imports from China by products

46% of the steel (finished and steel-derivate products) imported by Latin America from China during January-April 2016 were flat products, which reached 1.0 million tons. Among these, the most relevant products in terms of volume were:


> Hot Dip Galvanized Sheet (279 thousand tons, 27% share of flat steel imported from China)

> Other Alloyed Steel Sheets and Coils (262 thousand tons, 26%)

> Cold Rolled Coil (141 thousand tons, 14%)




Long steel: China exported to Latin America 845 thousand tons, mainly concentrated in:

> Bars (489 thousand tons, 58% share of the long steel)

> Rod wire (272 thousand tons, 32%)


The region received 122 thousand tons of seamless pipes (5% of the total). Meanwhile, the steel-derivate products represent 11% of total imports of Chinese steel entered to the region with a volume of 259 thousand tons. where:

> Welded tubes (197 thousand tons)

> Wire (62 thousand tons)


Source: Latin American Steel Association