Steel exports from Japan are estimated to decline by 8.7pc in Q3 FY2021 (Oct-December) from the prior-year to 6.21mn mt. The fall in exports would be on the account of decreased production and a lack of demand in importer markets amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI).
Exports from the country have been declining for the past five months. In keeping with the trend, except China, other importer countries bought lesser steel from Japan in September.
In the last month, steel products exported were 2.49mn mt, down by 18.8pc from the prior-year period. Exports of ordinary steel products were 1.686mn mt, down by 14.5pc.
From the prior-year September, exports of hot-rolled flat steel were 907,000mt, down by 3.4pc; thick plates at 213,000mt, down by 11.8pc; and cold-rolled wide-band steel at 132,000mt, down by 28pc from the prior year.
Galvanized steel sheets exports dropped for the sixth month to 123,000mt, a decline of 33.5pc from the prior year.
China became the largest importer of Japanese steel. With the Chinese economy improving, Japan’s steel exports to China rose for the fifth month and stood at 593,000mt, up 30.6pc from the prior year. South Korea imported 313,000mt of steel from Japan, down by 36.5pc, followed by Thailand with 220,000mt, 48.2pc down; Taiwan at 174,000mt, down by 30.9pc; and the United States with 75,000mt, down by 26.2pc.
Japanese exports to the ASEAN region, the largest market by volume, dropped by 34.3pc to 672,000mt from the prior year, amid competitive prices offered by Russia and China during the period.
Imports of ordinary steel products in Sept 2020 were 285,000mt, down 19.8pc Sept 2019, marking the ninth month of decline.
Hot-rolled wide-band steel imports were at 86,000mt, down by 21.7pc; galvanized steel sheets at 55,000mt, down 28.5pc and cold-rolled wide-band steel at 10,000mt, down 25.9pc from September last year.
South Korea was the largest supplier of steel to Japan. Imports from South Korea were at 192,000mt, down by 18.7pc, declining for the ninth consecutive month. Imports from Taiwan were at 63,000mt, up 6.3pc, a fourth successive month of increase, while imports from China declined for the eighth month to 20,000mt, down 56.1pc.