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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Japan crude steel output hits 10-year low for November

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Japan's crude steel output fell 3.2 percent in November from a year earlier to the lowest level in 10 years for that month, an industry body said on Monday, after floods in Thailand, an Asian hub for car production, reduced demand for steel.The November output figure, which is not seasonally adjusted, was 8.7 million tonnes. That was the lowest for the month since 2001, when November output totalled 8.1 million tonnes, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation said.
Electric furnace steelmakers, which melt steel scrap, increased output in November on a continued recovery in building construction after the March earthquake and tsunami. But Japan's top steelmakers curbed output in reaction to a decline in exports.

"It was November when customers actually started cutting new contract volumes because of the Thai floods," a federation official said, adding that the strong yen was also hurting exports to Asia.
Last month, JFE Steel Corp, the world No.5 steel maker, said it plans to produce 300,000 tonnes less crude steel in the October-December period than originally planned. It joined Nippon Steel Corp and some other Asian steelmakers in cutting output following a rapid deterioration of Asia's steel market since September.

Monday's data showed that output at electric furnace steelmakers rose 5.2 percent from a year earlier to 2.2 million tonnes, but production by blast furnace steelmakers fell 5.8 percent to 6.5 million tonnes. For overall output, it was the third consecutive year-on-year decline, after falling 0.3 percent in October and 3.8 percent in September.Compared with October, output fell 8.3 percent, the fastest month-on-month decline since February 2009. On a daily basis, output was down 5.2 percent from October.Crude steel production totalled 99.2 million tonnes in the first 11 months of this year, down 1.2 percent from the same period in 2010, the data showed.

Source: Reuters

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