JFE Steel announced on Tuesday the firm raises the selling price of hot, cold and surface treated steel sheet for dealers, re-rollers, steel tube makers and drum can makers by 10,000 yen per tonne effective for July-September shipment. The firm raised the selling price by 15,000 yen for April-June. This is the second hike in fiscal 2010 ending in March 2011.The main reason is cost up for iron ore and coal for July-September. Spot iron ore market price was US$ 130 per tonne in March and US$ 160 in April. The price temporarily approached US$ 190 in May.High spot price may affect current price negotiations between Japanese steel makers and overseas ore suppliers. Consequently the quarter price is likely to exceed US$ 120 for April-June. Vale of Brazil is reported to have offered US$ 160 per tonne for iron ore shipment in July-September against Chinese steel makers. JFE Steel judged the firm can’t absorb rising raw material costs and decided the additional price hike.Domestic demand is inactive for steel sheet of general use. Japanese hot, cold and coated steel sheet inventory held by makers, distributors and processors was below 3.5 million tonnes at the end of March. However, the demand still maintains weak from construction market. Steel sheet market price has surged since the beginning of this year but currently seems to hit the ceiling. Chinese steel sheet market price is recently in downtrend. It is unclear how much range JFE Steel’s hike would be approved by the users.
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