Japan July-Sept crude steel output may rise 2.3pc

Posted on 11 July 2018

Source: Business Recorder

Japan’s crude steel output for the July-September quarter is expected to rise 2.3 percent from a year earlier on strong local demand for automobiles, industrial machinery and construction, the country’s industry ministry said on Monday.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) estimated crude steel output would rise to 26.54 million tonnes for the three-month period, which would mean a fourth straight quarter of year-on-year growth.

Exports, which typically account for about 40 percent of Japanese steel production, are expected to rise 1.1 percent from a year earlier, the ministry said, despite an escalating

US-China trade spat and higher US import tariffs on steel.

The United States and China exchanged the first salvos in what could become a protracted trade war last Friday, slapping tariffs on $34 billion worth of each others’ goods and giving no sign of willingness to start talks aimed at reaching a truce.

In March, US President Donald Trump pressed ahead with higher import tariffs on steel and aluminium after his complaints about Chinese production flooding world markets and harming the American steel industry.

METI’s forecast does not reflect any major impact from the tariffs, said Yasuji Komiyama, director of the metal industries division of the Japanese industry ministry, speaking at a news conference on Monday.

“It’s difficult to predict how the US tariffs would impact Japanese export in the current quarter,” he said.

“Also, Japanese steelmakers have been busy to meet robust demand in local market, limiting an increase in their exports,” he said.

But the government is closely watching how the escalation of trade tensions would affect steel market and global flow of steel products, Komiyama said.

Demand for steel products, including those for exports, is forecast to rise 0.7 percent to 23.75 million tonnes in July-September from a year earlier, the ministry said, citing an industry survey. Exports are forecast to increase 1.1 percent.

The output for July-September is expected to be unchanged from that in April-June, it said. 

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