Export pick-up offsets decline in Japan’s auto steel orders

Japanese steelmakers were helped by stronger exports in July as orders from the domestic automobile industry dipped by 20.6% year-on-year.

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Export orders for all steel products increased by 3.1% in July, to 2.40 million tonnes, while orders from local car manufacturers moved down to 701,000 tonnes, according to preliminary figures released by the Japan Iron & Steel Federation (JISF) on Monday September 8.

This was the steepest year-on-year fall in orders from the automotive industry in 17 months.

However, a small year-on-year rise of 1.8% in steel orders from the construction industry, to 1.03 million tonnes, and bigger increases from the shipbuilding and machinery sectors helped Japan’s total domestic orders to experience a slight increase of 0.3%.

Shipbuilding companies ordered 24.3% more steel in July, at 383,000 tonnes, while the electrical machinery and industrial equipment industries reported increases of 6% and 7.9%, respectively, to 123,000 tonnes and 156,000 tonnes. 

In terms of steel products, hot rolled strip orders increased by 7.1% year-on-year to 1.94 million tonnes.

Orders for heavy plate moved up by 2.2% to 921,000 tonnes, while those for galvanized sheet fell by 0.1% to 884,000 tonnes.

Cold rolled sheet and strip orders rose 2.3% to 621,000 tonnes.

For long steel products, orders for wire rod and bars dropped by 4.6% and 3.7%, respectively, to 184,000 tonnes and 712,000 tonnes.

H-beam orders, on the other hand, increased by 7.8% to 352,000 tonnes.