Nippon Steel decided 5,000 yen per tonne price hike for hot, cold and coated sheet steel for distributors for January order. The firm apparently started to notify the buyers of the hike. The firm tries to improve the profitability by passing higher raw materials cost eyeing additional price hike depending on cost situation. Steel market price could increase when higher raw materials cost forces steel makers to increase the steel price.Nippon Steel also increases the plate steel selling price by around 5,000 yen per tonne for distributors for January production. JFE Steel also increases the plate price for distributors. The makers see plate supply is already tight under strong demand for shipbuilding, construction machinery and energy industry. Nippon Steel expects the sheet steel demand keeps the level in January-March due to strong automobile export while the domestic automobile sales is slow. The firm also sees domestic sheet demand for building shows sign to recover when housing start recorded higher level than a year earlier level for 6 months in a row. Domestic sheet steel demand for hot, cold and coated steel decreased to 3.744 million tonnes at end of November from 3.922 million tonnes in October. Raw materials cost increases for steel makers with higher market price for iron ore, coal and ferrous scrap. The higher cost encourages price hike by steel makers at home and abroad. Domestic steel dealers also try to increase the reselling price under the expectation for higher steel price.
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