Japanese steel shipments down in October on weak exports

Japanese steel shipments continued to fall in October, as export volumes plunged, while producers continued to ramp up crude steel output.

Paragraph entered by Atlantic migration, in order for SteelFirst articles to display correctly on Metal Bulletin.

Total shipments dropped to 6.15 million tonnes, down by 3.1% from levels in September, according to the latest figures from the Japan Iron and Steel Federation (JISF).

However, shipments were down just 0.9% from the corresponding period a year earlier, indicating a recovery in underlying demand.

As in recent months, domestic demand has remained especially strong, while exports have continued to fall, JISF said.

Indeed, exports were at their lowest level in two years in October at 2 million tonnes, down 9.5% from September and down 7.1% year-on-year. This is now the fourth straight month of declines for overseas shipments.

By contrast, domestic shipments were up by 0.3% month-on-month an up 4.2% on the year at 4.15 million tonnes.

Domestic shipments now stand at their highest levels since July and industry officials say they expect demand to remain robust ahead of the consumption tax hike in 2014.

Despite the drop in overall shipments, mills ramped up crude steel output levels, with production rising to its highest level since June, up 2.6% on the month and up 7.8% on the year, at 9.52 million tonnes.

Output of finished steel products totalled 6.32 million tonnes, down by 0.5% from September but up by 4.4% from the same period a year ago.

Stockpile levels, meanwhile, rose to their highest levels since January, increasing by 2.7% from September to reach 6.64 million tonnes.

Inventory levels among steel producers increased for a fourth straight month to 5.46 million tonnes, up 5.4% from the previous month. Stocks now stand at their highest level in at least three years.

In direct contrast, those held by dealers fell to a new multi-year low, dropping by 8.51% from September to just 1.17 million tonnes.

Stockpiles earmarked for export rose by 10.2% month-on-month to 1.04 tonnes, while those set aside for the domestic market were up 1.4% over the same period at 5.6 million tonnes

The inventory ratio, which measures stockpiles against shipments, continued to stay above the psychological barrier of 100%, with October’s figure reaching 108%.

However, with demand at home expected to improve yet further in the months to come, mills are becoming progressively less worried about such temporary spikes in the ratio.

What to read next
Any bolstering effect on US ferrous scrap exports from the up-month in February’s domestic trade will be tempered in the immediate aftermath of two earthquakes in Turkey — the country’s largest importing region — on Monday, February 6
Steel trading and production have come to a halt in the eastern Turkish region of Iskenderun following a devastating earthquake that hit the region on Monday February 6 and put mills in the area under force majeure, sources told Fastmarkets on Tuesday
A 120-day closure of four Illinois dams scheduled for 2023 will disrupt barge shipments and have potentially both negative and positive impacts on scrap and finished steel products from Canada to Texas
Market participants are cautiously optimistic about a rebound in iron ore concentrate premiums, with steelmakers around the world set to ramp-up production in line with an anticipated increase in demand for steel products, Fastmarkets understands
General Motors (GM) is investing $650 million to develop the Thacker Pass mine in Nevada, the largest known source of lithium in the US and the third largest in the world
We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.