Mexico Metals Report Q1 2014
BMI forecasts that Mexico's strong domestic macroeconomic fundamentals over our forecast period through 2017 will lead to solid growth in both steel production and consumption. We see steel-intensive growth in the automotive, manufacturing, and infrastructure sectors as Mexico's economy matures further. Recent energy sector reform provides significant upside potential and is likely to increase steel consumption, as is investment into oil and gas infrastructure. However, domestic producers will still come under pressure from foreign imports, given global steel market overcapacity. We forecast annual steel production and consumption growth to average 3.9% and 4.4% over 2014-2017, respectively.
We expect domestic growth in various industries to drive Mexico's metals industry, particularly automotive and manufacturing. Following a weaker-than expected manufacturing performance in Q313, BMI continues to forecast an upswing on the back of strengthening consumer confidence in both the US and Mexico. Mexico's auto sector will continue to see investment and production growth given its exposure to the US, the world's largest autos market, and Latin America, which will see growing automotive consumption. Energy reform, which recently passed Mexico's Congress, may lead to a significant uptick in oil and gas infrastructure investment and lead to increased consumption of steel used in pipelines and other equipment. We recognize the potential is large, and will thus monitor investment into the country's oil and gas industry, as well as a concurrent uptick in production and consumption trends, over the coming quarters.
The steelmaking industry will be Mexico's main refined metal output, with both domestic and foreign producers, particularly Altos Hornos and ArcelorMittal, leading. Asian, European and Brazilian producers will also continue investments into the country. We believe that recent government protectionist measures aimed at limiting illegal steel imports should help to boost domestic production. Both Russia and China have been the target of anti-dumping investigations in recent quarters, and recent regulatory action will put in place stricter oversight on imports, mandating importers to provide greater detail regarding the origin and value of a particular product.