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Exports to Korea, Japan’s largest market, fell by 3.5% to 4.69 million tonnes, with volumes showing year-on-year retreats for five of the last six months of the year.

Meanwhile, scrap shipments to China fell by 15.2% to 2.61 million tonnes.

Between them, China and South Korea account for about 85% of Japan’s total scrap exports.

In the first half of the year, scrap exports to Korea rose by 16.7% to 2.8 million tonnes, while those to China dropped by 2.3% to 1.4 million tonnes.

Japanese scrap prices ended the first half of the year almost where they began in January. However, in the second half, they soared by more than 20%, reducing their appeal to foreign buyers in spite of the weakness of the yen.