Japan H-Beam makers Compete with Dealers for Small Lot Order

Japanese steel makers increase H-beam shipment directly for the users. The shipment for the direct shipment increases to around 50% of the shipment compared with former 40%. Some industry watchers estimate the direct shipment already reached 60% while the shipment for the dealers is only 40%. The dealers’ playing field gets narrower than before.

The direct shipment is increasing the influence on the market price. A dealer said their reselling price couldn’t increase without higher makers’ price for the direct shipment. The users submit direct order to the makers when the makers’ price for the direct shipment is lower than the dealers’ reselling price.

The dealers’ market is mainly for building with less than 2,000 square meters of floor space. Such smaller building represents 50% of total building starts in fiscal 2007 ended March 2008 and 60% in fiscal 2009-2011 compared with 74% in fiscal 1994.

The steel makers try to get order directly from the users when the building demand decreases recently. A dealer said the makers get small sized building order with 20-30 tonnes of steel use.

The dealers’ H-beam shipment is estimated to be around 1.7 million tonnes in fiscal 2011 based on Tokiwa-kai members’ shipment. The volume represented around 55% of total domestic shipment of H-beam.