SAO PAULO, Sept 26 (Reuters) -
Cheaper steel from Russia and China is "flooding" Brazil's market, the chairman of Brazil's Aco industry group said on Tuesday, though a top executive said Chinese imports were less of a problem than a decade ago.
Jefferson de Paula, who also heads the Brazilian arm of No. 2 global steelmaker ArcelorMittal, said during an industry event that "Chinese and Russian companies are flooding the market with steel products at subsidized prices."
Meanwhile, the country's steel mills have an idle capacity of around 40%, he said.
Brazil's steel imports this year through August jumped 49.5% compared with the same period a year earlier, according to the industry group's latest data, hitting 3.18 million metric tons.
At 61%, the bulk comes from China.
"I don't see China as being as serious a problem as it was 10 years ago," ArcelorMittal CEO Aditya Mittal said while attending the conference virtually, noting countries should nevertheless "ensure fair trade."
A series of trade actions against China as well as its focus on controlling its emissions should curtail the growth of its steel production capacity, he added, saying the Chinese government "is not necessarily supporting exports" of steel.
Global steel demand should, according to ArcelorMittal, reach 2.5 billion tons by 2050 from 1.9 billion currently. (Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr. Editing by Marguerita Choy)