Japan’s crude steel output falls on year in March

  • Market: Metals
  • 22/04/24

Japan's crude steel production fell on the year in March on the back of lower demand from the automobile sector, marking the first year-on-year decline in four months.

The country produced 7.2mn t of crude steel during March, down by 3.9pc from a year earlier, according to preliminary data released by industry group Japan Iron and Steel Federation (JISF) on 22 April.

The lower output is partly because of lower steel demand from the automobile sector, especially as fellow Japanese manufacturer Daihatsu suspended part of its operations since December 2023 after it was accused of tampering safety test results. Crude steel demand may not recover in April as Daihatsu will not reopen all its domestic facilities until 7 May.

Japan's crude steel output is forecast to fall by 2.2pc from a year earlier to 21.7mn t in April-June, according to a quarterly forecast released on 11 April by the country's trade and industry ministry (Meti). The year-on-year fall is mostly attributed to weaker demand in the construction sector, especially housing, on the back of rising material costs and labour shortages, according to Meti.

JISF separately said on 18 April that steel product demand from the non-housing construction sector during the April 2024-March 2025 financial year is forecast to fall from a year earlier. Demand would remain sluggish, a JISF researcher told Argus, despite several planned large construction projects including semi-conductor plants and data centres. Lower demand from other non-housing construction sectors, including office buildings weighed on overall demand, JISF added. The numbers were not disclosed.

Japanese ferrous output ('000't)
Mar '24Feb '24Mar '23m-o-m ± %y-o-y ± %
Crude steel production
Ordinary steel5,626.45,467.55,909.12.9-4.8
Specialty steel1,570.61,521.51,576.83.2-0.4
Total crude production7,197.06,989.07,485.83.0-3.9
Crude steel production method
Basic oxygen furnace5,144.55,123.05,529.50.4-7.0
Electric arc furnace2,052.51,866.01,956.410.04.9
Pig iron production5,038.25,010.55,361.10.6-6.0
*Preliminary data

Sharelinkedin-sharetwitter-sharefacebook-shareemail-share

Related news posts

Argus illuminates the markets by putting a lens on the areas that matter most to you. The market news and commentary we publish reveals vital insights that enable you to make stronger, well-informed decisions. Explore a selection of news stories related to this one.

News
21/05/24

Japan’s Kobelco to shut basic oxygen furnace, build EAF

Japan’s Kobelco to shut basic oxygen furnace, build EAF

Tokyo, 21 May (Argus) — Japan's Kobe Steel (Kobelco) will close one of the two basic oxygen furnaces (BOFs) at its Kakogawa steel works, looking to replace it with an electric arc furnace (EAF). Kobelco will invest ¥300bn ($1.9bn) to accelerate reducing greenhouse gas emissions by introducing a new EAF, the company said on 20 May as part of its mid-term strategy for the 2024-26 fiscal years. This will result in a closure of a BOF at Kakogawa. It will finalise the decision for introducing an EAF in the early part of its 2024-26 mid-term strategy period, Kobelco said, aiming to start producing crude steel with scrap metal sometime during the 2030s. Kobelco produced 5.9mn t of crude steel during the 2023-24 fiscal year ending 31 March, down by 3.5pc from the previous year. It forecasts producing around 6mn t during 2024-25, according to data separately announced by Kobelco on 9 May. The company did not disclose the production of each BOF at Kakogawa. This is the latest major Japanese steel firm that specialises in BOF production to announce proposed EAF operations, following Nippon Steel and JFE. Nippon Steel started commercial operations in 2022, while JFE plans to start in 2027. Kobelco's switch to EAF production will lead to further concerns about scarcity of scrap in Japan . The supply shortage could be as high as 5mn t in 2030 and 11mn t in 2050, according to a 2022 report by the country's trade and industry ministry. By Yusuke Maekawa Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Find out more
News

Southeast Asian steel demand to rise in 2024: Seaisi


21/05/24
News
21/05/24

Southeast Asian steel demand to rise in 2024: Seaisi

Shanghai, 21 May (Argus) — The Southeast Asia Iron and Steel Institute (Seaisi) estimates that southeast Asian countries' steel demand will grow by 3.7pc from 2023 to 76.5mn t in 2024. But the growth rate fell below previous expectations considering high global inflation risks, volatile prices and a demand slowdown in China and many other regions, the institute said at the 2024 Seaisi conference in Vietnam held over 13-16 May. Steel demand in the six major countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean-6) fell by 1.9pc from 2022 to 73.5mn t in 2023, Seaisi said. Asean-6's steel production also dropped by 2.1pc on the year to 49.4mn t in 2023, in line with contracting demand. Asean-6's net imports slid by 1.3pc on the year to 24.3mn t in 2023. Lower external demand, high inflation and interest rates as well as tightening global financial markets were the main reasons for steel industrial setbacks last year. It led to a slowdown in construction sectors and steel industrial destocking activities in the region. Steel demand in Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam fell by 14pc, 7.5pc and 4.8pc respectively in 2023, weighing on regional industrial performance although demand rose by 18pc in Singapore and 6.3pc in Indonesia, Seaisi said. Thailand's steel demand edged down by 0.1pc in 2023. Asean regional steel demand was expected to increase in 2024 because Asean-6 governments were optimistic about achieving their economic growth targets, given strong private consumption in most countries, the rolling out of infrastructure and construction projects, a recovery in tourism and electronics, and as inflation rates move towards targeted ranges. But the region will continue to experience challenges from supply chain uncertainties on the back of escalating geopolitical tensions and wars, weakening Asean currencies except for the Singapore dollar, economic slowdowns outside of Asean, volatile commodity prices, and extreme weather, Seaisi said. Seaisi did not provide a forecast for regional steel production in 2024, but it sees steel capacity expansions in the region leading to overcapacity issues. It expects Asean-6 crude steel capacity to rise from 78mn t/yr in 2022 to 94mn t/yr in 2024. Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Roy Hill's WA iron ore loadings support WA exports


20/05/24
News
20/05/24

Roy Hill's WA iron ore loadings support WA exports

London, 20 May (Argus) — Iron ore shipments by the four largest producers in Western Australia (WA) rose in the week to 18 May on the back of a rebound of Roy Hill's volumes as the company completed routine quarterly maintenance. Rio Tinto's shipments ticked up too despite a derailment on its rail line. The four largest Pilbara iron ore producers — BHP, Fortescue, Rio Tinto and Roy Hill — loaded vessels with a combined capacity of 17.10mn dwt, up from 16.63mn dwt in the week to 11 May. The dwt capacity is the maximum capacity of a vessel and overestimates actual shipments by about 5pc. Rio Tinto's shipments reached 6.14mn dwt from 5.81mn dwt the previous week. This is below the 2024 average of 6.44mn dwt.There was a derailment on the rail line heading to Rio Tinto's Dampier facilities last Monday. "We have reopened our dual train line 80km from Karratha following a rail incident on Monday, with the first train travelling on one of the repaired lines on Friday and the second line reopening on Saturday," the company said. Roy Hill's exports jumped to 795,000 dwt from 208,000 dwt the previous week as the company appears to have completed its quarterly maintenance. But the volumes remain below the average of 1.25mn dwt. BHP's volumes ticked down to 5.88mn dwt from 6.22mn dwt the previous week. Fortescue's iron ore loadings edged lower to 4.29mn dwt but were still well above the rolling average of 3.74mn dwt. Overall iron ore shipments from WA increased to 48.95mn dwt during the 1-19 May period from 47.81mn dwt in the same period last year, provisional shipping data indicate. Shipments to China rose to 42.27mn dwt from 39.51mn dwt across the same timeframe. Spot freight costs have stepped down in recent weeks as demand has decreased. Capesize freight rates — for loading on 4-7 June — on the bellwether WA to north China route fell to $10.40/t today from the most recent peak of $11.95/t on 8 May. By Andrey Telegin Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

India's JSW Steel to buy coking coal firm in Mozambique


20/05/24
News
20/05/24

India's JSW Steel to buy coking coal firm in Mozambique

Singapore, 20 May (Argus) — India's JSW Steel will buy a coking coal company in Mozambique to secure supply of the key steelmaking raw material and shield against any volatility in prices. JSW Steel's board of directors approved the acquisition of coal mining firm Minas de Revuboe (MDR) for about $74mn. The purchase of a 92pc stake in MDR gives JSW access to more than 800mn t of premium hard coking coal reserves in Mozambique, the steel producer said on 17 May. MDR's mine is not yet operational but the company aims to start developing the mine in the 2024-25 fiscal year. "This is not only going to provide us some cushioning with respect to the highly volatile [premium low-volatile (PLV)] index," said JSW Steel's chief executive officer Jayant Acharya. "It also is logistically closer to India, and therefore, will give us an optimised cost." Fluctuations in prices of high-quality seaborne coking coal have been a concern for Indian steelmakers, as they work to ramp up production in anticipation of rising demand from the infrastructure and automobile sectors. The Argus -assessed Australian PLV hard coking coal price crossed $600/t in March 2022, following the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. It was at $237/t on 17 May, a decline of $8/t from the start of this month, owing to ample supplies and thin buying interest. JSW Steel's fourth-quarter profit fell by 64pc to 12.99bn rupees ($156mn) because of higher coking coal costs. Crude steel production in the quarter rose by 3pc on the year to 6.79mn t, while sales totalled 6.73mn t, also registering a growth of 3pc from last year. The company also expects capital expenditure at 200bn rupees ($2.4bln) in the 2024-25 fiscal year, as it adds to its steelmaking capacity. JSW Steel is targeting a production capacity of 50mn t/yr by the 2030-31 fiscal year. The company expects steel demand to pick up in the coming year, citing the government's infrastructure push and robust economic growth in India. By Amruta Khandekar Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

India to launch policy to boost critical mineral supply


20/05/24
News
20/05/24

India to launch policy to boost critical mineral supply

Mumbai, 20 May (Argus) — India is working on a critical mineral policy to boost domestic supplies, and plans to collaborate with resource-rich countries in critical minerals mining and processing. The mines ministry and related government institutes like the Geological Survey of India (GSI) are working on a policy to drive domestic exploration and processing of critical minerals, a source close to the development told Argus . Discussions are currently progressing, the source added without providing details on the timeline. India is looking into all aspects to boost domestic production of critical minerals, the source said. India is also seeking critical mineral supplies from overseas to feed burgeoning demand from the green energy and electric vehicle (EV) industries. The Indian government is in talks with several countries including Chile, Australia, and some African countries, over opportunities for mining and technology collaboration for lithium processing and other critical minerals. Critical minerals like copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt and rare earths are important for the development of clean energy technologies, including wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles and battery storage. It is crucial for India, which currently relies heavily on imports of lithium-ion cells from China, Japan and South Korea, to develop a robust battery supply chain to meet its ambitious target of 30pc EV penetration by 2030. India is currently conducting feasibility tests on five projects of lithium and cobalt in Australia , said Ministry of Mines' secretary VL Kantha Rao at Khanij Bidesh India (Kabil)'s office opening ceremony on 11 May. Kabil, a joint venture between state-run Nalco and Hindustan Copper and Mineral Exploration, was formed to explore and produce strategically important minerals overseas. The firm in January signed an agreement with Argentinian state mining company Catamarca Minera y Energetica Sociedad del Estado (Caymen) to explore five lithium brine blocks in the Catamarca province of Argentina. India's mines ministry and Rao held several meetings over the past two months with the Chilean government and Chilean state-owned firms such as Empresa Nacional de Mineria and Codelco on critical minerals opportunities. India has also spoken with deputy minister of mining and heavy industry of Mongolia, Uyanga Bold, on co-operation in the critical mineral sector. By Samil Surendran Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Business intelligence reports

Get concise, trustworthy and unbiased analysis of the latest trends and developments in oil and energy markets. These reports are specially created for decision makers who don’t have time to track markets day-by-day, minute-by-minute.

Learn more