Japan Crude Steel Output to Rise by 1.3% in April-June

Japanese raw steel output will increase to 29.926 million tonnes in April-June, up by 1.3% or 398,000 tonnes from January-March and up by 3.3% or 954,000 tonnes compared with April-June 2006, according to Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry. The output exceeds record 29.53 million tonnes in April-June 1974. The output also hit record in January-March 2007 and achieved highest for 2 consecutive quarters.

The output in April-June will exceed 29.45 million tonnes METI originally estimated in March by 1.6% or 476,000 tonnes. The raw steel output by integrated steel makers will decrease by 30,000 tonnes in April-June from January-March under weak demand for automobile, while the output by electric furnace steel makers will increase by near 400,000 tonnes due to increased demand for construction in whole Japan.

Hisazumi Ando, steel department director of METI, showed a concern that ferrous scrap price may become much higher due to output expansion by electric furnace steel makers. He also pointed out that domestic steel makers and dealers should pay attention to overseas market when Japanese domestic inventory of hot, cold and coated steel sheet exceeded 4 million tonnes at the end of March, Japanese steel export increases in April-June from January-March and Chinese raw steel production exceeded 40 million tonnes in March.