Cold Rolled Sheet Price Hits Bottom in Tokyo

Cold rolled steel sheet price hit bottom around Tokyo when the supply gets tighter due to firm demand for automobile and flat panel television for October-December along with lower import from POSCO and China Steel Corporation. Rebound of hot rolled sheet steel price also supports the trend though the cold rolled price couldn’t increase immediately. The cold rolled sheet price is around 78,000-80,000 yen per tonne around Tokyo. The demand keeps strong for automobile and appliances including flat panel TV. The major users increased the central purchase while they and the parts makers reduced spot purchase from distributors. The dealers couldn’t keep the price level under oversupply when the hot, cold and coated steel inventory kept more than 4 million tonnes after April. However, the hot rolled sheet and flat steel market price rebounded in China since mid-August. The hot rolled sheet price rebounded in Japan for the first time in a year. The dealers try to improve the profitability by taking the chance of the upward trend. Domestic sheet steel supply is expected to get tighter in October-December when Japanese integrated steel makers try to minimize the shipment for distributors to avoid overstock condition and POSCO and CSC reduce export to Japan. The dealers are still uncertain if the demand recovers for dealers’ market when the major users shift to central purchase. The market could stay the level for a while but shows sign to recover.