Latin American Steel Association Alacero announced that Latin America continues to show signs of economic recovery, although performance is uneven across countries in the region. The goal of the steel industry is to continue to meet the demand in each country. In this scenario, the total production of crude steel in 2020 was 55.6 million tonnes, which represents a decrease of 8.4% compared to the total in 2019. This is similar to the world results, which registered, without taking into account China, a reduction of 7.7%, to 822 million tonnes The Chinese steel industry, in turn, recorded a production of 1.053 billion tons, equivalent to an increase of 5.2%. In Latin America, Chile was the country with the best performance, with 1.2 million tonnes and an increase of 2.1%; at the other extreme was Peru, with a reduction of 40.6%, to 732 thousand tonnes.
Total rolled steel production fell 9.7%, reaching 46.3 million tonnes, similar to 2003 production and far from the best performance, in 2013, of 57.5 million tonnes. The largest drop in production of rolled products for the main economies in percentage was recorded in Argentina, with 18.8%, total of 3.5 million tonnes t in 2020 and in volume in Mexico with a drop of 1.7 million tonnes down 9.9% and volume of 15.8 million tonnes. As a reference, Brazil closed with minus 3.7% at 21.7 million tonnes.
Steel consumption reflects the improvement in the regional economy, having registered in November 2020 an increase to 5.5 million tonnes, 6% more compared to the same month last year - there was not a month with numbers like this since October 2019.
It is estimated that this performance may be maintained during the first quarter of 2021. In November 2020, the share of imports in consumption fell and the expectation is that regional consumption will grow again, with the trade deficit under control. In November, the accumulated trade balance registered a deficit 13.5% lower than in the first 11 months of 2019 minus 12.4 thousand tonnes.