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Japan's Nisshin Steel boosts ferrite stainless output on demand

Highlights

Japanese steelmaker Nisshin Steel has increased ferrite stainless steelproduction due to higher demand, with the product making up half of itsstainless steel output in July, a company spokesman said Friday.

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The stainless steelmaking plant's "run rate stays the same, but demandfor chrome [ferritic] stainless steel has been brisk recently and itcurrently accounts for half of our stainless steel production," spokesmanMitsuhiro Murashita said.

Nisshin has been producing around 30,000-40,000 mt/month of stainlesssteel at its Shunan plant in Hiroshima prefecture in western Japan. Theoutput, which represents around 70% of its record high output of 700,000mt/year before the 2008 global financial crisis, has remained stable sinceOctober, Murashita said.

"Demand for nickel [austenitic] stainless grades, such as SUS304, is notpositive," he said. "Demand for chrome stainless grades from the automotive,industrial machinery and electric machinery sectors, has been strong. As aresult, chrome stainless accounts for half of our production."

Another Nisshin Steel source said ferritic stainless steel demandstarted to pick up from the previous quarter.

SUS434 grade ferritic stainless steel, with 16-18% chrome and 0.75-2.5%molybdenum content, is used for automotive exhaust systems and malls.

Murashita declined to elaborate on the share of ferritic and austeniticstainless steel production before the boost in ferritic stainless demand, buthe suggested that austenitic stainless steel output is typically larger dueto its market size.

Japanese steelmakers sold 41,684 mt of ferritic stainless steel in May,compared with 208,805 mt of austenitic stainless steel, according to thelatest data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry.

--Mayumi Watanabe, mayumi.watanabe@platts.com

--Edited by Meghan Gordon, meghan.gordon@platts.com