Nippon Steel Corporation has initiated the process of temporarily shutting two blast furnaces in Japan in response to lower steel demand, according to a company release.
Measures including lowered the tapping ratio of blast furnaces and extending time between blasting have been undertaken by Nippon to reduce steel output in response to the steep decline in demand.
The banking process at No. 1 blast furnace at East Nippon Works’ Kashima will start from mid-April and banking at No. 1 blast furnace at Kansai Works’ Wakayama will start in late April. Coke ovens will be aligned to the reduction in blast furnace output. Nippon will tweak or suspend production of some coke ovens at Kashima, Kimitsu and Wakayama works.
Finished steel demand in Japan has slump as automobile manufacturers like Toyota or Ford have suspended operations in the country. The COVID-19 outbreak as further suppressed demand in Japan and China as well as other Southeast Asian countries which are under lockdowns.
In February, Nippon Steel had revised its earning guidance and announced a restructuring of key businesses over a period of three years, as reported by Davis Index. Nippon Steel announced that it will stop production at Kure Works’ by September 2021. The plant account for close to 10pc of Japan’s total domestic steel capacity.