Japanese scrap exports rose by 36pc in March ended Q1 to 2.41mn mt from 1.76mn mt from the prior-year period. Most of the country’s exports or 840,000mt were to South Korea, down by 24pc from 1.11mn mt in Q1 2019. Exports to Vietnam, Taiwan and Bangladesh stood at 820,000mt, 300,000mt and 200,000mt, respectively.
In March, Japanese scrap exports rose by 50pc to 866,254mt from 579,135mt in the prior year. Compared to February, March exports dropped by 2pc to 889,593mt. South Korea imported the highest or 33pc from Japan, followed by Taiwan and Bangladesh at 30pc and 13pc, respectively. Japanese sellers explored the Bangladesh market this year where they exported 99,726mt. Last year in March, there were no exports recorded to Bangladesh.
Demand for domestic steel dropped due to COVID-19 lockdown in March. Major steelmakers scaled down their production. Thus, Japanese suppliers supplied resorted to sales in the export markets. Outlook for the Japanese economy and finished steel demand is bearish. Scrap exports from Japan are likely to drop amid lowered generation in March-April due to the state of emergency in April month.
Crude steel production could drop further
Japanese steel mills produced 7.9mn mt of crude steel in March, down by 13pc from a year earlier. Crude steel production was flat from February, according to data released on Thursday by the trade and industry ministry. Output in Q1 was 24.1mn mt, down by 3pc from a year earlier.
In FY 2020 ending March 2020, total output was 98.4mn mt, down by 4pc from FY2019, the volume was the lowest since the global financial crisis.