Saturday, October 19, 2013
Crude Steel Output Up 1.9% In 1st Half
TOKYO (Nikkei)--Japanese crude steel production crept up 1.9% during the first half of fiscal 2013 over the year-earlier period, according to numbers released Friday by the Japan Iron and Steel Federation.
At 55.79 million tons, production volume from April through September was the largest since the 61.5 million tons churned out in the first half of fiscal 2008, before the financial meltdown.
Demand from manufacturers, especially the automobile industry, held steady. Construction industry demand was also strong, bolstered by public works projects and a rush to build condominiums before the consumption tax hike in April.
Construction materials were generally buoyant with a 19% rise in production of H-beams over the year-earlier period to 2.09 million tons. Output of hot-rolled coil, which is widely used in cars and consumer electronics and accounts for most steel production, was up 2% to 22.52 million tons.
Federation Chairman Hiroshi Tomono, also the president of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. (5401), predicted that demand during the second half of fiscal 2013 will outstrip the first.
Crude steel production for September, also released Friday, rose 5.5% on the year to 9.28 million tons, growing for the first time in two months. Production of steel plate, primarily used in shipbuilding, climbed 1.7% to 918,000 tons, the first increase in 14 months.
(The Nikkei, Oct. 19 morning edition)