Less Steel Export to Korea, More Import from Korea in 2011

Steel trade situation has changed between Japan and South Korea. Japanese hot rolled flat steel export to South Korea dropped by 37% to 2.181 million tonnes in 2011 from 2010, according to Japan Iron and Steel Federation, though which was the main exporting item to the country. Japanese carbon steel export to South Korea totaled 5.687 million tonnes in 2011, decreasing by 18.5% from 2010. On the other hand, South Korean steel plate export expanded by 2.6 times in 2011 to Japan from the previous year. Electrical steel export doubled and other items also represented year-to-year increase such for sheet pile, hot rolled wide strip, galvanized sheet and seamless pipe. South Korean carbon steel export to Japan totaled 2.952 million tonnes and increased by 29.9% year-on-year.

South Korean major steel makers, POSCO, Hyundai Steel and Dongkuk Steel have aggressively expanded their production capacity and then domestic steel supply has increased in the country. Meanwhile, Japanese steel users have increased adoption of South Korean products along the underlying trend of strong yen and weak won. These trends suggest Japanese and South Korean steel markets have actually integrated. Both markets have already peaked out. Steel industry players are cautiously watching import conditions.