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Latin American steel consumption could decrease on an annual basis by 17pc this year  due to the effects of the pandemic.


In 2019, the Latin American steel consumption decreased by 5pc to 64mn mt, according figures from the Latin American Steel Association (Alacero).


The automotive industries from Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina saw their production plummet by 90pc in April from a year ago, which affected the steel consumption in the region, Francisco Leal, president at Alacero said during a webinar developed by the Brazilian steelmaker Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM), which was reported by media.


Brazil’s automotive output fell by 99.3pc in April to 1,800 units, down from 267,600 in April 2019. Mexico’s car production dropped by 98.8pc to 3,722 cars, down from 300,106 in the same month last year, and Argentina’s car production saw a reduction of 100pc to zero cars produced in April from 30,294 vehicles.


The economic difficulties that the Latin American steelmakers faced before the pandemic also softened steel demand in the region, Leal added.


In April and May, seven blast furnaces from some Latin American steelmakers shut down their operations because of COVID-19, Alacero said, without disclosing the name of the companies that shut down their furnaces. The shutdowns represented a combined capacity of almost 7mn mt, which resulted in the current capacity utilization of 42pc in the region.


Latin American crude steel production fell by 34pc to 3.5mn mt in April from a year ago because of the pandemic. The region’s crude steel output was 5.3mn mt in April 2019.

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