JAPAN April 01 2015 4:46 PM
TOKYO (Scrap Register): Japanese steel prices decreased month-on-month during March, according to MEPS International. Hot rolled coil suppliers were forced to concede a 3.3 percent cut during negotiations. Overseas business remained competitive.
According to MEPS, large tonnages of imported commodity grade plate continued to keep the lid on selling values. Sales to the construction industry were weak, amidst economic gloom. However, building activity is expected to improve soon. Shipbuilding demand was healthier.
Cold rolled coil producers failed to hold March’s transaction numbers at the previous month’s level, due to keen competition from suppliers elsewhere in the Asian region and shrinking demand from the automakers. However, inventories of cold rolled coil are slowly being reduced in the general market.
Auto output fell by almost 10 percent in January, year-on-year, thus reducing steel requirements from that sector. Orders for coated material from the building industry are also depressed. Imports of hot dipped galvanised coil continued to pose problems for local steelmakers who offered discounts to try to stimulate sales.
Wire rod steel prices moved lower as a result of lower scrap costs. Market values for medium sections and beams were reduced. Inventories at the distributors grew in February by 3.3 percent compared with the previous month.
Rebar transaction numbers posted another decline in March as a result of cheaper scrap and lacklustre sales. Japanese buyers secured further reductions for merchant bar during recent settlements. Weakening sales in the building industry, surplus stocks and cheaper raw materials contributed to the fall.