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Home > MEPS Steel News - 05.11.2014


Flat product prices, in Japan, were unchanged month-on-month, according to the latest report by MEPS. After failing to hold on to hot rolled coil transaction values in September, the mills have brought some stability back into the market. Consumption is picking up but import pressure persists. The export situation remains extremely competitive.

The shipyards are performing well, helping to boost sales of plate. The healthy construction sector is also fuelling strong demand. However, large tonnages of imported commodity grade material are limiting local price rises. Moreover, overseas sales have dropped significantly.

In the cold rolled coil market there is growing competition from elsewhere in the Asian region. Order intake at the domestic mills is reasonable, despite softening demand from the vehicle manufacturers.

Domestic vehicle production fell by 6.7 percent, year-on-year, in August, the second consecutive month of lower output. Domestic car sales have dropped, following a consumption tax increase in April. Imports of coated products continue to pose problems for local steelmakers. However, transaction figures have remained stable for several months.

Structural section inventories held by distributors, at end September, rose by 1.2 percent from the August figure. Major producer, NSSMC, has decided to keep official H-beam values unchanged for October contracts. This is the ninth month in a row that the company has kept prices flat. In the marketplace, transaction numbers have moved down by 1.3 percent.

Japan’s largest rebar maker, Kyoei Steel, announced it would lift official list prices for October contracts by 3000 per tonne, due to a combination of higher input costs and tight supply. However, market values have eased down during recent negotiations.

Merchant bar producers chose to roll over last month’s figures for October contracts as their material costs reduced. Sales to the building industry are reasonable, with supply and demand largely in balance.

Source: MEPS International Steel Review - October Issue

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