Brazil flat steel distributors’ shipments fall 3.7% on year to 312,300 mt in February

Shipments by Brazilian independent flat steel distributors and service centers fell 3.7% on the year to 312,300 mt in February, according to data released March 22 by the national flat products distributors association Inda. Shipments remained fairly stable during the month from 298,500 mt in January

Purchases from associated distributors fell 8.7% on the year and 2.8% on the month to 293,800 mt in February.

Flat product inventories in the Brazilian distribution network totaled 811,300 mt, down 0.8% from January. The average inventory turnover was 2.7 months of supply.

Finished flat steel imports rose 48.6% on the year to 151,520 mt in February, excluding slab, mostly from China (81.3%), followed by South Korea (8.3%).

Imports of slabs stood at 441 mt in February. In January, slab imports reached 578,200 mt, mostly from Russia.

According to Carlos Loureiro, executive president of Inda, mills should enforce the price increase on flat steel expected for April, set at about 20% divided throughout the month, as the exclusion of Russia and Ukraine from the market affected prices.

“Either prices rise or mills would be selling below direct costs [of purchasing slabs]. Although the domestic market demand is not high, mills have no difficulties exporting,“ said.

— Jose Guerra