Investida das montadoras não deve salvar setor do aço

  • : Metals
  • 24/03/14

É pouco provável que os novos investimentos anunciados por fabricantes de automóveis no Brasil proporcione um grande impulso ao setor siderúrgico do país, que está paralelamente pressionado pelo aumento das importações.

Desde o início deste ano, as principais montadoras anunciaram bilhões de dólares em investimentos para aumentar a produção e impulsionar operações mais verdes.

O Brasil importou 1,6 milhão de toneladas (t) de aço destinado ao uso automotivo em 2023, um aumento de 4,6pc em comparação com 2022, de acordo com o Instituto Aço Brasil. Espera-se que as importações totais de aço aumentem mais 20pc em 2024, enquanto o consumo aparente deverá crescer apenas 1pc, disse o instituto.

O ligeiro aumento no consumo projetado ocorre mesmo com as montadoras General Motors (GM), Volkswagen, Hyundai e Toyota anunciando investimentos no país. A Stellantis também disse neste mês que planeja investir US$6 bilhões no Brasil e lançar 40 novos modelos de veículos até 2030.

A montadora chinesa BYD também iniciou este mês a fabricação de veículos elétricos (EV) no Brasil, afirmando que planeja produzir 150.000 veículos anualmente até o final deste ano, fazendo do país seu centro de exportação de EV na América do Sul.

As projeções da associação siderúrgica de aumento das importações em detrimento da produção doméstica reforçam comentários recentes de produtores e analistas de aço.

As exportações totais de aço da China em 2023 aumentaram 36pc, para 90,3 milhões de t. Participantes de mercado esperam que as exportações de aço se mantenham num nível relativamente elevado em 2024, uma vez que a procura local da China permanecerá fraca, pressionada por uma lenta recuperação na sua indústria imobiliária — o maior setor consumidor de aço do país.

O Brasil importou 2,9 milhões de t de aço da China em 2023, um aumento de 62pc em comparação com 2022, segundo a Aço Brasil.

"[A China] não é considerada uma economia de mercado", a associação siderúrgica latino-americana Alacero disse à Argus. "Isso lhes permite inundar o mundo com produtos siderúrgicos e derivados a preços muito baixos".

As montadoras não responderam aos pedidos de comentários sobre se preferem aço importado ou nacional para produção, mas a associação brasileira de veículos Anfavea disse à Argus que o preço do aço tem impacto direto no custo de fabricação de veículos e de máquinas autopropulsadas.

As montadoras ainda podem preferir aço local mais caro, já que tendem a priorizar a entrega no prazo devido ao perfil de produção e aos estoques just-in-time, disse à Argus a analista sênior da Moody's Investor Service, Carolina Chimenti.

"Se houver um grande aumento na produção automotiva (tanto de leves como de pesados, e também na produção de máquinas e equipamentos agrícolas, por exemplo), isso tende a aumentar a produção de aço também", completou.

Alguns produtores locais estão otimistas de que os fabricantes comprarão aço nacional. Uma fonte disse à Argus que "qualquer movimento" em direção à industrialização é positivo para o setor, que vem perdendo sua participação no crescimento do país ao longo dos anos.

A perda de estoque por oxidação ou qualidade inferior e a falta de especificidade para o setor automobilístico também foram citadas como aspectos negativos para o aço importado. Mas os preços voltariam a ser fundamentais.

O aço importado da China está tão mais barato que o aço nacional que a indústria prefere correr o risco de parte do volume loteado vir com alguns dos problemas mencionados acima e ser descartado, disse Igor Guedes, analista de metais da Genial Investimentos.

Impacto sobre o ferro-gusa

Qualquer aumento notável na procura por aço nacional também poderá afetar as exportações de matérias-primas siderúrgicas, como o ferro-gusa.

O ferro-gusa é uma matéria-prima essencial para as usinas baseadas em fornos elétricos dos Estados Unidos, que constituem a maior parte da sua capacidade total de produção de aço.

Os EUA importaram mais de 2,7 milhões de toneladas de ferro-gusa do Brasil em 2023, representando mais de 75pc do total das importações dos EUA durante o ano, de acordo com dados governamentais.

A dependência do ferro-gusa brasileiro cresceu devido às interrupções na cadeia de abastecimento causadas pela guerra entre a Rússia e a Ucrânia e poderá aumentar a pressão sobre os preços do material.

A Argus precificou o ferro-gusa pela última vez em US$430/t FOB sul em 7 de março.

Não está claro se os produtores locais do ferro-gusa prefeririam as vendas no mercado interno, uma vez que alguns fabricantes citaram benefícios fiscais de exportação, por exemplo, compensando os ganhos no mercado interno.

"Os compradores brasileiros pagam muito pouco pelo ferro-gusa nacional", disse uma fonte.


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