Market Monitor - Focus on Steel industry - Mexico

Market Monitor

  • Mexico
  • Steel

1st September 2014

Mexico’s steel industry is expected to continue its rebound in 2015, thanks to an upturn in construction activities: mainly through housing and infrastructure investment postponed in 2013.

Market performance at a glance


  • Steel consumption to pick up again in 2014
  • Payment take between 90-120 days on average
  • Stable insolvency development

In 2013, the Mexican steel and iron industry accounted for 2.4% of GDP and 17% of manufacturing GDP. Mexico is the world’s 13th largest steel producer and the second largest in Latin America, behind Brazil. While Mexican steel production levelled off in 2013 compared to 2012, steel consumption decreased 8.9% year-on-year to 21.87 million tons. This was mainly due to the weak performance of the construction industry, a main driver of the Mexican economy, which grew by just 1.1% last year. Those mainly affected by lower construction activity were the steel rod, sectional steel and tubes subsectors.

However, a rebound in the steel industry has gained momentum and is expected to continue in 2015, thanks to an upturn in construction activities: mainly through housing and infrastructure investment postponed in 2013. In 2013 the Federal Government announced a six-year infrastructure investment plan to run until the end of 2018, worth US$ 300 billion. Steady growth of the automotive and car parts industries benefits the steel sector, while new investment by major domestic steel producers to improve processes and products could help to compete against imports. Apparent steel use in Mexico is expected to grow 3.4% in 2014 and 3.9% in 2015.

On average, payments in the Mexican steel/metals industry take 90 to120 days. The record of payment delays and insolvencies in this sector has been stable over the last six months and is expected to remain so in the coming months. However, our underwriting stance is quite cautious, given the potential exchange rate volatility that could adversely affect production costs and the growth in imports that could harm domestic production.

To accurately assess a credit limit application in this sector, we currently ask for audited financial statements for the year 2013. If those are not yet available, we could consider year-end 2013 management accounts signed by a company director, together with the most current financial information. Some underwriting cases can be supported by trading experience and/or guarantees or promissory notes (pagarés).

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