Japan’s steel imports up again in July on Chinese volumes

Japanese imports of iron and steel products rose for a ninth consecutive month in July on a yearly basis, with shipments from China continuing to lead the increase.

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Imports moved up by 17.6% year-on-year to 779,498 tonnes, with Chinese cargoes up 76.7% at 190,913 tonnes, according to figures released by the Japan Iron & Steel Federation (JISF) on Thursday August 28.

Of the total imports, 433,064 tonnes were carbon steel products, up by 20.5% on an annual basis, while speciality steel, or alloy steel products, comprised 85,691 tonnes, an increase of 75.7% over the same period.

Galvanised sheet imports were up 79.6% on the year at 79,697 tonnes, while those of heavy plate rose by 41% to 50,631 tonnes and hot rolled wide strip increased by 13.2% to 162,817 tonnes.

Of these totals, shipments from China accounted for 18,884 tonnes of galvanised sheet, 12,558 tonnes of hot rolled wide strip and 10,402 tonnes of heavy plate – all of which were significant increases on year-earlier volumes.

Speciality steel cargoes from China more than doubled over the same period at 64,400 tonnes.

In terms of volume, South Korea remained the largest supplier of iron and steel products to Japan, with 336,730 tonnes shipped during the month. But the figure represented only a 3.2% increase from 2013.

Imports from Taiwan, the third-largest supplier of material to Japan, increased by 34.7% year-on-year last month, to 109,589 tonnes.