Japan Steel Demand Rises by 1% in July-September

Japanese steel products demand will increase by 1% to 27.2 million tonnes in July-September from same period of 2006, announced by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Friday. The demand represents 29.84 million tonnes of raw steel output, which is 2.6% higher than same period of 2006. The output increases for 7 quarters in a row. The raw steel output is 3rd high as the quarter. The steel products demand is 3.1% higher in July-September than April-June. The demand for construction increases both for civil works and building. The demand for manufacturers keeps firm for shipbuilding and automobile. However, the raw steel output decreases by 0.4%, which represents first drop in 2 quarters, when the domestic inventory of hot, cold and coated flat steel reached 4.19 million tonnes in May. The raw steel output will increase by 3% to 59.79 million tonnes in April-September from same period of 2006. The output could reach 120 million tonnes for the year to March 2008. METI said the domestic demand keeps firm. However, Japanese steel makers should be cautious when the domestic inventory increases and Chinese domestic steel market price decreases due to more supply when the export decreases. METI estimates Japanese carbon steel inventory was 6.51 million tonnes at makers and distributors and the inventory was 1.09 months of shipment at end of June. METI expects the inventory decreases to 6.2 million tonnes at the end of September.