JAPAN STEEL MARKET ROUNDUP FROM MEPS
The Japanese economy is still improving. Domestic steel
selling values are on an upward trajectory in October as a result of escalating
input costs, particularly electricity and scrap. Tokyo Steel has announced that
it will leave its November domestic list prices largely unchanged to allow
previous hikes to be absorbed. The weaker yen is deterring importers. However,
export volumes fell in September. The main loss was in key Asian markets such as
South Korea and Taiwan, where demand is weakening.
Hot rolled coil producers have secured their proposed domestic price advance.
Local sales continue to climb as the economic situation recovers.
Sales of plate to the shipyards have finally started to strengthen. Demand from
construction, public works and civil engineering projects is healthy.
Cold rolled coil demand is improving, particularly from the carmakers. However,
export activity has declined a little of late. For now, selling numbers are
stable but we may see some upward movement soon, as producers plan to impose a
cost-driven hike when market conditions allow.
The supply/demand balance for H-beams has tightened, where sales to the
construction sector are improving. Producers are allowing time for Septemberís
hike to fully penetrate the market before pushing for further increases.
Japanese housing starts are on the increase. Rebar producers have maintained the
higher domestic selling figures they implemented in September.
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