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LatinNews Daily - 18 June 2021

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In brief: Record steel production in Brazil

* The Instituto Aço Brasil, the Brazilian association of steel producers, has released its latest figures on the sector’s performance, according to which steel production in 2021 so far has reached record levels. Steel production in May totalled 3.1m tonnes (t), the highest figure for the month since 2018, while production over the period January-May reached a total of 14.9mt, a 20.3% increase on the same period last year and the highest figure on record. Sales have also increased year-on-year, growing 73.9% in May to 2.1mt  (a large increase due to the low basis of comparison, with production having plunged in May 2020 due to the coronavirus [Covid-19] pandemic) and 46.4% in January-May, to 10mt. Marco Polo de Mello Lopes, the executive director of the Instituto Aço Brasil, notes that these figures show that the Brazilian steel industry has a higher output than before the pandemic, which can be explained by the recovery of consumer sectors as well as by the fact that some sectors are building “defensive stocks” due to volatility concerns linked to the high commodity prices.