Japanese domestic steel demand set to continue rising in Oct-Dec
October 01, 2013 - 10:37 GMT Location: Tokyo
KEYWORDS:Japan , Ministry of Economy , Trade & Industry , Meti , tankan , Bank of Japan
Japanese domestic steel demand is expected to remain robust in October-December and drive output to multi-year highs, according to the country’s trade ministry.
Overall steel demand in the quarter is projected to hit 24.6 million tonnes, according to the latest estimate issued by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Meti). This marks a 5% rise on the corresponding period in 2012.
The figure is 0.9% lower than in July-September, largely as a result of growing weakness in exports, which are projected to decline by 4.6% on the quarter.
Exports were up 4% on the year to 8.51 million tonnes.
Meti says that weakening exports will be largely offset by continuing strength in domestic demand, which is projected to increase by 5.5% from year-earlier levels and by 0.6% from the previous quarter, to 16 million tonnes.
Of that volume, carbon steel will account for 12.83 million tonnes, up 4.1% year-on-year and 1% quarter-on-quarter, with demand both from the construction and manufacturing sectors remaining robust.
Demand from the construction sector is projected to increase by 0.8% year-on-year an 1.4% quarter-on-quarter to 5.65 million tonnes, while manufacturing demand is expected to increase by 3.7% on the year and 0.7% on the quarter to 7.17 million tonnes.
The robust outlook for domestic demand ties in with the latest “tankan” survey from the Bank of Japan released on Tuesday October 1, which showed that sentiment among manufacturers currently stands at its highest since the Lehman crisis amid signs that consumers are finally opening their purses and companies are raising output to meet that demand.
That, in turn, has steel producers raising output, which in the current quarter is projected to hit 27.9 million tonnes. That marks an 8% rise on year-ago levels and is up 0.4% on the last quarter.
It also puts crude steel production for the first three quarters of the fiscal year at 83.91 million tonnes, or an annualised 111.88 million tonnes. Those are volumes not seen in at least six years.