Bloomberg News

Brazil Steel Output Fell 39 Percent in February

March 17, 2009

Crude-steel output from Brazilian mills plunged 39 percent last month as carmakers and builders “drastically” cut purchases, an industry group said.

Domestic mills produced 1.65 million metric tons in February, compared with 2.71 million tons a year earlier, the Brazilian Steel Institute said today in a report. Sales of domestically made steel products fell 47 percent to 957,100 tons, and imports fell 34 percent to 159,576 tons.

Domestic and foreign steel demand has dropped since October, forcing Brazilian steelmakers to cut production to between 50 percent and 60 percent of capacity, the institute said in a March 13 newsletter. Producers have also delayed investments.

“Steelmakers are intensively seeking alternatives to stem their losses,” including accords to change work hours, IBS, as the institute is known, said in the newsletter. Producers expect domestic demand to rebound before the end of the first half because of “government measures to support the automotive, construction and capital-goods industries,” IBS said.

Brazilian exports may improve only in the second half, according to the institute. Producers in Brazil exported 474,200 tons of steel products in February, a drop of 46 percent from a year earlier, IBS said today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Diana Kinch in Rio de Janeiro at dkinch1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net


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