Profitability of Japan Steel Wire Rod Makers Lowered by Import

Profitability of Japanese steel wire rod makers is weakening significantly with sharp increase of steel wire rod import. Makers’ sales volume decreases due to expanding import share in the domestic market and the market price of steel wire rod is impacted by the cheaper imports. The market condition is getting worse for Japanese wire rod makers in both the price and the volume.Japanese steel wire rod import increased by 35.2% to 119,744 tonnes in 2005 from a year ago, according to Ministry of Finance. Japanese domestic production of steel wire rod decreased by 5.6% in January-November 2005 from the same periond of 2004, including low-carbon steel wire, galvanized steel wire, steel wire for screw and nail, according to Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. In recent years the import has increased while the domestic production has decreased. The trend was especially remarkable in 2005.Japanese major nail maker, Amatei Inc. posted the profit decrease in April-December 2005 even with the sales increase. The consolidated recurring profit decreased by 51.1% and the net income by 44.2% over the same period of 2004, though the net sales increased by 3.4%. Nichia Steel Works lowered the sales estimate for the year ending March 2006 due to the sales decrease of steel wire rod in April-December 2005.