Japan Crude Steel Demand to Decrease by 2.3% to 26MT in Jan-Mar

The estimates for Japanese crude steel demand decreased by 2.3% to 26 million tonnes for January-March 2012 from October-December 2011 and decreased for the first time in three quarters, according to Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). The demand is expected to recover mainly from manufacturing industry but the increase of imported steel products may impact domestic market. METI estimated Japanese steel makers would strengthen inventory adjustment. Reconstruction demand in the disaster area of the Japan Earthquake and restoration from Thai flood are likely to advance in or after April 2012.

The estimated demand decreased by 0.8% to 12.77 million tonnes for carbon steel products by quarter-to-quarter comparison. Among carbon steels, the demand is expected to increase by 3.0% to 1.48 million tonnes for civil engineering mainly in the disaster area while to decrease by 7.7% to 3.18 million tonnes for building constructions in the non-demand season.

Carbon steel demand from manufacturing industry is estimated to increase by 5.3% to 3.27 million tonnes such for car production or electric machines. Meanwhile the demand is likely to decrease for industrial machines when construction machine export is decreasing due to Chinese economy slowdown.

Japanese carbon steel export is forecasted to increase by 1.7% to 5.9 million tonnes. The export would recover to Thailand slightly. On the other hand, Japanese carbon steel import is forecasted to increase by 7% to 1.45 million tonnes.

Japanese annual crude steel production is estimated to decrease by 4.4% to 105.92 billion tonnes in fiscal 2011 ending in March 2012 from the pervious fiscal year, decreasing for the first time in two years. The production decreased by 1.8% to 10.762 million tonnes in CY2011 from CY2010.