Japan’s crude steel output down for 3rd year

Crude steel production in Japan in 2017 fell 0.1 percent from the previous year to 104.66 million tons, down for the third straight year, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation said Tuesday.

The figure was lowest since 2009, when production fell following the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers in September 2008.

A series of production facility problems, including a factory fire at Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp., pushed down output, while overall demand was brisk, according to the federation.

Steel products for automobiles and industrial machinery drew firm demand. Also strong was demand tied to the construction of facilities for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics and to urban renewal projects.

“Crude steel output has been on a rising trend since autumn 2017 thanks to the restart of production facilities,” a federation official said.

In December alone, crude steel output rose 0.1 percent from a year before to 8,719,000 tons, up for the second consecutive month.


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