Nippon Steel is planning to idle one more blast furnace following its decision to temporarily shut down two blast furnaces last week, according to reports.
The steelmaker plans to halt the third blast furnace at its eastern Japanese mill in Kimitsu, in response to further demand decline.
Japanese steel mills have been adversely impacted by less steel consumption and demand by customers following automotive company shutdowns and construction industry stoppages. The steelmaker said on April 7 that it will idle two of its 15 blast furnaces mid- to late-April, which will cut about 10pc in production capacity, and reduce about 6mn mt of crude steel, based on yearly output. Restart dates are not definitive at this time.
Japan declared a state of emergency in many areas on April 7 and then expanded the order on April 16 to encompass the entire nation, as a containment measure to slow COVID-19’s spread. This further exacerbates falling demand in the construction industry where projects are suspended due to this order.