Japan produced 24.4mn mt of crude steel in the first quarter of 2020 (Q1 2020), down by 2.4pc from 24.97mn mt produced in Q1 2019, according to the World Steel Association (WSA) report.
The production dipped by 2.9pc compared to prior quarter amid the COVID-19 pandemic and diminishing demand from the construction sector. Japan’s major steelmakers including Nippon and JFE Steel idled their blast furnaces, which reduced the total crude steel production of the country. Japan’s steel production is likely to remain below 19mn mt in 2020, according to Davis Index sources.
Japan exported 3.47mn mt of semi-finished steel products in Q1, which is more than double (53pc) of 2.28mn mt exported in the prior year quarter, according to Davis Index analysis. Taiwan was a major destination for Japanese steel with imports of 375,357mt, followed by South Korea at 257,644mt and Thailand at 187,883mt. Exports to Vietnam fell drastically to almost zero.