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Japan's March steel exports rise 18% on month as production recovers

Tokyo β€” Japan's steel exports rose 18.3% in March to 2.77 million mt from February, as the country's steel mill production recovered by April but fell 17.9% year on year to 2.77 million mt, latest data released by the Japan Iron & Steel Federation showed.

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Integrated mills in Japan have returned to normal production by early April, a JISF official said, so he expected the mills would have more availability for exports. "But domestic demand has been firm, so exports won't jump," he said.

Ordinary steel exports fell to 1.85 million mt in March, down 16.6% year on year but up 24.6% from February. While, exports of special steel were at 599,153 mt in March, down 15.6% on year but up 4.6% on month.

Exports of hot-rolled coils were at 754,962 mt, down 20.2% year on year, but up 30% from February. "But it is improving clearly on month, we can say integrated mills are trying to catch up [with] the delay in their exports," a Tokyo-based trader said.

Meanwhile, Japan's steel exports during fiscal 2018, ending in March was at 3.47 million mt, down 8.1% from a year earlier, its sixth consecutive of decline year on year.

During its fiscal 2018, HRC exports were at 9.56 million mt, down 16.1% year on year, galvanized sheet exports were lower 5.6% on year to 2.61 million mt.

Exports of CRC slid 3.4% on year to 2.35 million mt.

Plate exports rose 22.5% on year to 2.78 million mt, because exports in the previous year were lower following temporary closure of Oita plate mill at Nippon Steel in January 2017.

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

-- Edited by Nurul Darni, newsdesk@spglobal.com