Brazil flat steel distributors’ March shipments up 22.7% on year

Shipments by Brazilian independent flat steel distributors and service centers in March increased 22.7% year on year to 325,400 mt, recent data from Inda, the national flat products distributors association, showed April 20. Shipments were up 4.2% on month.

Shipments of hot-rolled coils totaled 189,300 mt in March, up 40.9% on year, while zinc-coated flat steel sales volume totaled 63,400 mt, a fall of 11%.

Domestic purchases from mills in March were up 24.8% year on year to 340,100 mt, according to Inda.

Month on month, domestic purchases grew 5.6%.

Flat product inventories in the Brazilian distribution network reached 711,200 mt at the end of March, down 16% on year, while the inventory-turnover average closed March at 2.2 months of supply. Historical average levels are around three months.

However, Brazilian distributors may downsize inventories level target to about 2.5 months, said the group president Carlos Loureiro. “After the price hikes, distributors may decrease their inventories levels to not compromise their cash flow,” said.

According to Loureiro, flat steel prices accumulated increase of 35% this year.

Flat steel imports in March by distributors totaled 140,443 mt, up 139.8% year on year.

— Jose Guerra