Japan’s crude steel production in October rose to 7.2mn mt, up 11.0pc from the prior month, but down 11.7pc from a year ago. Output has increased successively for the fourth month amid a recovery in demand, according to Japan Iron and Steel Federation (JISF). Average crude steel production per day in October was 232,000mt, up 7.5pc from 216,000mt in September.

 

Outlook  

Japanese steel demand recovered steadily amid rising steel and raw material prices, globally. Major steelmakers like JFE and Nippon steel have announced the resumption of blast furnaces which were shut due to a slump in the demand due to the pandemic.

  

Nippon Steel has restarted a banked blast furnace located in the Kimitsu East Nippon Works in Chiba prefecture amid rising auto demand. The furnace was reignited on Nov 24 as per schedule. Furnace operations are also expected to normalise shortly. Recovery in demand is faster-than-expected, thus the restarted furnace needs to return to normal production at the earliest, said the steelmaker.  

 

Route-wise 

Japan’s blast furnace output was at 5.30mn mt, up 11.5pc from September, down 13.1pc from the prior year. Production through electric arc furnace was 1.898mn mt, up 9.6pc from September, while down 7.3pc from the previous year.  

 

Blast furnace output was 74pc of the total production. Converter steel production decreased for 8 consecutive months, and electric furnace steel decreased for 20 consecutive months, as per JISF data.  

 

Product-wise  

Ordinary steel production was 5.732mn mt, up 11.4pc from the prior month, but down 8.7pc from October 2019. Production of ordinary steel too marked for 8 consecutive months decline against the prior year.  

 

Special steel output was 1.468mn mt, up 9.8pc from September and down 21.7pc from the prior year.

 

Hot-rolled steel output (total of ordinary steel and special steel) was 6.467mn mt, an increase of 10.6pc from September, but a decrease of 11.3pc from October 2019.

 

Pig iron production was 5.116mn mt, an increase of 10.1pc from September and a decrease of 16.1pc from October 2019.

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