The largest steel plate consumer sector in Japan, the shipbuilding industry, has shown boosted recovery in January.
Many countries in Southeast and East Asia have recorded an economic rebound quicker than earlier expected lifting demand for shipbuilding in Japan. Increased shipbuilding activities lifted steel plate makers sales and posted better profits.
In January, new ship export orders in Japan surged by 62.2pc from the prior year to 1,208,650 gross tonnes(gt). There were 31 ships ordered for exports in January versus 18 in the same period of last year, according to Japan Ship Exporters Association (JSEA).
Out of total 31 ships, 18 were container ships while 12 were bulk carriers occupying the major share in January.
In February, however, plate consumption and demand could take a breather and may be slowed down ahead of the lull on Chinese New Year holidays scheduled 11-17 February.
According to the shipbuilding association, Japanese ship export orders maintained an uptrend for the last two months. Exports registered a jump by 37.4pc in January against December after rising by 16.6pc in December against November.
Despite an improvement in orders in Janaury, JSEA remained worried about the sustainability of demand and leading plate producers in Japan including Kobe steel and Nippon Steel are worried on forecasts for the ship sector due long-term impact of the pandemic last year. Many new business projects have been canceled while many got postponed on weak demand.
In FY2020 (April 2020 – January 2021), 130 ships ordered of 6.46mn gt while on delivered basis 190 ships of 8.07mn gt recorded as per association.