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Japan's FY 2018 steel output slips 2% on year to 102.89 mil mt

Tokyo — Japan's crude steel output in fiscal 2018, which ended March 2019, fell 1.9% year on year to 102.89 million mt, reflecting two consecutive years of decline, according to the latest data released by the Japan Iron & Steel Federation on Monday.

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Within the fiscal 2018 total, production by converter was down 3% year on year at 76.85 million mt, while those by electric furnaces rose 1.8% year on year to 26.04 million mt.

A JISF official said the drop in total was because of natural disasters which had hit Japan in the summer leading to slower production by steel producers. Also, facility issues by integrated mills had led to lower production by converters.

"Electric furnaces both for ordinary and special steel were kept busy to correspond to firm demand from the construction and auto sectors. Their output was kept stable to higher," he said.

The official said overall steel demand in the country from overseas customers were strong during fiscal 2018, but facility issues, which occurred mainly during the January-March quarter, pulled overall output lower during the fiscal year.

Meanwhile, crude steel output in March, the final month of fiscal 2018, was 9.08 million mt, unchanged year on year, but 17.3% higher from February at 7.74 million mt . Within this total, production by converter hovered on year, but rose 19.6% from February to 6.78 million mt, while output by electric furnaces was at 2.3 million mt, down 0.1% year on year, but up 11.1% month on month, the JISF data showed.

"Month-on-month increase in March means production by integrated mills are improving. We expect their output in April should be higher," the official said.

-- Yoko Manabe, yoko.manabe@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Norazlina Jumaat, newsdesk@spglobal.com

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