Nippon Steel to Raise Sheet Export Price by US$ 30-40/t for April

Nippon Steel will increase the export price of sheet steel by US$ 30-40 per tonne for April-June shipment. The price increases to around FOB US$ 500 for hot rolled sheet with middle-grade quality for Asian processors. The firm decided to increase the price under the better market condition when inventory adjustment progresses and commodity grade price hits bottom and rebounds in Asia. The firm tries to keep the profitability by focusing the sheet export on high- and middle-grade products when the commodity grade price is still much lower. The major part of Nippon Steel’s sheet export is high-valued products for automobile and appliances at contract basis. The firm tries to keep the price and not to ship the sheet products for Asian commodity market, of which the price plunged since spring of 2005. The firm ships some middle-grade products depending on the supply ability and the price. The firm increases the export price for ‘semi-high-grade products’ for Asian processors including pipe makers and re-rollers of construction materials. The firm said Asian sheet market improved when the distributors’ inventory adjustment already finished though some players including South Korean re-rollers are still middle of the adjustment. Chinese market price is increasing to US$ 330 per tonne for hot rolled sheet after the hitting bottom at less than US$ 300. With the expectation of higher price, distributors try to build the inventory though they have no appetite before.