Japan Sheet Steel Import Jumps by 11.5% in F2005

Japanese import of hot rolled-, cold rolled- and coated steel sheet increased by 11.5% to 3.031 million tonnes in fiscal 2005 ended March 2006 from fiscal 2004. Trading firms and distributors increased the cheaper import under decreasing market price since spring 2005. The import, however, decreased to monthly 200,000-250,000 tonnes since July compared with the peak at 320,000 tonnes in April 2005. The import decreased by 14.3% in January-March 2005 when offshore makers raised the selling price from same period of 2005. A market source said import is not attractive under increasing price in eastern Asian market and import is not likely to increase. The hot rolled sheet import increased by 3.6% to 1.619 million tonnes in fiscal 2005 from fiscal 2004. The import increased by 12.4% to 1.042 million tonnes for cold sheet and by 62.3% to 370,899 tonnes for galvanizing flat steel. The steel sheet import increased by 21.4% to 1.846 million tonnes from South Korea and by 3.0% to 791,139 tonnes from Taiwan while the import from China decreased by 10.4% to 293,760 tonnes in fiscal 2005 from fiscal 2004. The import from China decreased when the users found they can use the materials for limited applications due to the quality and they reduced the import. A source from trading firm said South Korean increased the ship for Japan when South Korea had more import from China. Japanese import from China increased to 2.1 times at 45,853 tonnes for cold sheet and to 2.8 times at 20,858 tonnes for galvanizing sheet while the hot rolled sheet import decreased by 24.1% in fiscal 2005 from fiscal 2004. The import of cold and galvanizing sheet grew at high pace despite of the limited volume. The import from China could impact on domestic market in future when Chinese makers improve the quality.