Brazilian merchant pig iron prices escalated by more than $300/mt since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, while export volumes surpassed 10-year highs on the back of emerging Chinese demand and elevated iron ore prices.
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China emerged as the primary destination for Brazilian basic pig iron in 2020, surpassing the US in the top spot for the first time since 2009.
The combination of factors has resulted in a return for Brazil's basic pig iron sector to the bonanza period seen almost a decade ago.
Minas Gerais state, in southeastern Brazil, has become the nation's main pig iron producer (80%) and exporter hub (60%), taking the place held by the country's northern region until 2014.