Japanese finished steel exports have dropped in July and steel exports are expected to drop further amid reduced production activities to match weakened steel demand domestically and from overseas importers, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).
In July, Japan exported 2.469mn mt of steel, down 18.5pc from the prior year, according to the preliminary data from the ministry. A slight recovery in auto sector in July and positive outlook for rest of the year is likely to push sales up. Exporters have managed to increase overseas sales by 2.5pc compared to June on the back of marginal recovery in the automotive sector.
Japan exported the largest volume of finished steel to ASEAN region. Steel exports dropped by 37.3pc to 646,000mt from the prior year. However, exports to China went up by 43.3pc from the prior year and 2.4pc from the prior month to 637,000mt amid high demand from construction and automotive in the country.
Exports to South Korea dropped by 16.5pc to 391,000mt while steel exports to the US dropped 40.4pc to 62,000mt. Non-ferrous exports rose 17.1pc to 141,596mt in July 2020.
During the June-July period, Indian suppliers offered finished steel at very competitive price to China and Southeast Asia due to lower freight and significant drop in domestic demand in the country. Indian steel suppliers gave tough competition impacting Japanese steel exports.
Japanese export shipments are forecast at 5.3mn mt, down 28.6pc from the prior year and 6.8pc from the prior quarter.