H-beam Price Keeps Flat in Tokyo

H-beam price is flat at 75,000-76,000 yen per tonne in Tokyo at dealers’ sites without freight for products with 100 x 200 millimeters widths. H-beam inventory was 53,891 tonnes in Tokyo area at the end of December, up by 11.6% from a month ago, among distributors dealing Nippon Steel’s products. The increasing inventory might impact on the market price. Nippon Steel will check the stock volume at each distributor and reduce the H-beam supply for them with surplus inventory. Makers including Nippon Steel are reducing their output due to seasonal lower demand in January-March. Supply and demand are balanced and H-beam price seems to keep the present level.Integrated steel makers will reduce their output by around 10% in January-March from October-December to keep the balance of supply and demand. Tokyo Steel Manufacturing, the largest H-beam supplier in Japan, also plans seasonal maintenance at Utsunomiya and Okayama plants for about a week within January. H-beam production of Tokyo Steel would decrease to less than 130,000 tonnes in January, down around 20% from the previous month.Total inventory against shipment was 1.71 months at the end of December among distributors dealing Nippon Steel’s products, which maintains low after it became 1.3 months at the end of September. Japanese market recognized H-beam price rises when the inventory ratio decreases to less than 1.7 months. However, the market price has not been stimulated with the inventory ratio below 1.7 months after spring of 2004, when direct shipment increased from makers to users and distributors’ handlings decreased.Distributors would gain some profits, though shipment is now lower in the market than the previous month. Nippon Steel reduced their selling price by 3,000 yen per tonne for October shipment and these cheaper products inflow into distributors’ sites within January. Dealers and distributors aim to keep the present price level.