Japan’s October steel imports surge 35% on month to 811,653 mt
Japan’s steel imports in October rose 34.5% from September — posting the second consecutive month-on-month increase — and were up 25.7% year on year, preliminary Ministry of Finance data released last week showed.
Ministry officials were unavailable for comment Monday. A Tokyo-based trader attributed much of the increase to the arrival of parcels that were scheduled for September but delayed by typhoons in the month.
The trader expected the extent of the surge to be a one-off, but noted customers were increasingly eyeing imports to replenish stocks as supply from domestic sources has been limited. “JFE Steel’s Kurashiki furnace stoppage might be another reason to accelerate this movement,” he added.
Japan’s second largest integrated mill, JFE Steel, temporarily banked its No 2 blast furnace in the Kurashiki section of its West Japan Works on October 23. The company plans to return to pre-banking levels by end December, but was reported earlier as saying it was expecting to lose 400,000 mt of crude steel output due to the stoppage.
Japan’s steel imports from South Korea rose 13.7% on year and 28.8% from September to 337,028 mt, from China rose 49.8% on year and 19.4% on month to 135,750 mt, and from ASEAN countries surged 174.3% on year and 115% on month to 73,484 mt, the latest preliminary data showed.
Another trader in Tokyo said the volume of imports from ASEAN was still small but the increase was significant and needed to be monitored cautiously.
Japan’s average import price of steel was Yen 123,248/mt ($1,092/mt) from September, the data showed.