Japan Sheet Inventory Drops by 4.8% in March

Japanese steel inventory decreased by 4.8% to 4.144 million tonnes for hot-, cold- and coated- steel sheet held by makers, distributors and coil centers for domestic shipment at the end of March from February. The inventory adjustment progressed though the level was still higher than 4 million tonnes, which is recognized as normal level. Integrated steel maker source said the inventory will decrease to around 4 million tonnes in May. The adjustment is finishing from the peak of 4.5 million tonnes in summer 2005. The inventory decreased for 2 consecutive months when domestic makers examined order, rejected some excess order and reduced output while the demand keeps firm for automobile and other manufacturers and users decrease import due to higher import price. The inventory decreased for almost all applications and all items in March from February. Especially the inventory held by makers decreased by 9.6% while the distributors’ and coil centers’ inventory dropped marginally. The makers’ inventory decreased to 1.675 million tonnes while the distributors’ stock decreased by 2.7% to 860,000 tonnes and coil centers’ stock decreased by 0.5% to 1.609 million tonnes. The makers’ inventory decreased to less than 1.7 million tonnes for the first time since April 2005. The inventory was 2.234 million tonnes for hot rolled sheet, 759,000 tonnes for cold sheet and 1.152 million tonnes for coated sheet.