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Japan steel demand continues to drop in May

The most recent data released by the Japan Iron and Steel Federation (JISF) indicates that domestic steel demand in the country continued to drop during the month of May this year. The demand had registered sharp decline during the same month a year before.

The orders booked by Japanese steel mills totaled 5.49 million tonnes in May this year. The orders including exports were down nearly 10% from the previous month. Also, steel mill orders dropped by 7.8% when compared with May 2014.

The order-booking by Japanese steel mills during the initial two-month period of the Japanese financial year totaled 11.58 mt. The total booking was down by 4.4% year-on-year. Export orders of hot rolled strip products witnessed marginal rise during the two-month period from April to May this year. The export orders were up by 5.2% to 4.53 mt over the previous year. On the other hand, domestic orders were sharply down by 9.3% to total 6.93 mt during the two-month period.

The demand from construction and automotive sector remained weak during April-May ’15. The only sector which witnessed increased steel demand was shipbuilding. The sector steel demand grew slightly by 1.3% to 687,000 tonnes.

The weaker yen has made exports profitable for steelmakers in the country. The domestic sector steel demand is expected to remain weak for some more time and a recovery is expected only towards the end of the current year.

Meantime, Japanese Ministry of Trade and Industry expects 6.1% drop in the country’s crude steeloutput during July-September quarter from the year before. It predicts that the quarterly crude steel production is likely to touch the lowest level in six years for the April-Sep ’15 quarter.