Flat Angle, Channel Demand in Japan for F2006

Domestic demand of angle and channel, which represents major part of structural section steel other than H-beam, is 1.2-1.3 million tonnes for fiscal 2006 in line with recent years, according to industry sources. The demand is 700,000-800,000 tonnes for angle and 500,000 tonnes for channel. The demand is heavily connected with H-beam since those section steel products are used for subsidiary materials of H-beam. H-beam demand is expected to be 3.5-3.55 million tonnes for fiscal 2006 in line with recent years. The section demand is likely to keep firm for the year. However, the actual demand is slow when building schedule is delay due to fabrication of structural calculation sheets. Market price of angle and channel keeps flat after the price increased by 1,000 yen per tonne in Tokyo and Osaka in January. The distributors’ inventory for the shipment was 2.21 months for angle and 2.36 months for channel in Tokyo. The inventory increases nationwide. The makes including JFE Bars & Shapes, Osaka Steel and Tokyo Kohtetsu intend to reduce the order received from distributors in and after April under the slow demand. They keep the selling price since September 2004. They are likely to try to keep the price at the cost of output volume. Under the limited supply, the demand is expected to increase by July. The distributors try to keep the re-selling price in the slow demand period. The market price is likely to keep the level.