Tokyo Steel Leaves Prices Unchanged for February Order

Tokyo Steel Manufacturing announced on Monday it left the selling prices of all products unchanged for February order to accept to Wednesday. The firm said it needs more time to figure out the market condition of ferrous scrap and steel import though Japanese flat steel inventory gets better balance for some products, domestic long products enjoys favorable condition and Chinese market price turned into increase. The firm expects the steel market could recover in and after mid-February when China and Asian steel interests start operations after Chinese New Year holiday. The firm said Chinese hot rolled coil price rebounded by US$ 20-30 per tonne from FOB US$ 300 at the end of December. The firm still tries to understand the market if the rebound could result in better market condition. The firm expects Chinese market price might increase to more than US$ 400 after the New Year holiday. Japanese steel market is firm mainly for long products due to higher investment by private sector. Tokyo Steel operated H-beam lines at full capacity producing 167,000 tonnes in December. However, the flat steel demand is still slow and the firm operates the flat steel mills at 50% of the capacity. The firm said the building demand is increasing around Osaka and Nagoya due to capital expenditure by appliances makers, automakers and supermarket though the building demand is peaked out around Tokyo. The firm expects the domestic demand keeps firm for 2006. The firm plans regular maintenance from January 23 to February 3 at Okayama plant and from January 23 to 27 at Utsunomiya plant. The firm plans to decrease the H-beam output by 20% to less than 140,000 tonnes in January from December due to those planned maintenance for a week at the plants in January-February. The firm will keep the output to the demand level.Refer to attached Excel file “Feb2006_TokyoSteelSalesPrice.xls”