Japan’s steel exports down 3% in 2014

Japanese steelmakers reported a 3.1% decrease in their iron and steel exports in 2014 as the recent upward trend was not enough to compensate for declines during most of the year.

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Overseas shipments totalled 42.08 million tonnes last year, down from the 43.45 million tonnes exported in 2013, according to figures released late last week by the Japan Iron & Steel Federation (JISF).

Carbon finished steel products comprised the majority of the total volume, at 26.74 million tonnes, down 6% year-on-year.

However, exports of specialty steel products rose 15.4% over the same period to 8.84 million tonnes, while semi-finished steel fell by 10.9% to 5.30 million tonnes, JISF figures showed.

Ferro-alloys shipments dropped by 3.7% from 2013 volumes to 231,475 tonnes, while pig iron exports slumped 83% year-on-year to 48,359 tonnes.

Upward trend
In December alone, however, exports were up 7.9% on the year at 3.80 million tonnes. Carbon finished steel shipments rose 7.5% to 2.45 million tonnes, while exports of speciality steel increased by 16.5% to 809,806 tonnes.

This was the third rise in the last four months – exports rose 7.4% year-on-year in September and 8.4% in October, before falling 2.9% in November.

Last week, JFE Holdings, Japan’s second-largest steel producer, said its export sales have been improving due to the weak yen.

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