Japan-based Tokyo Steel has kept its domestic finished steel sales prices unchanged for March shipments for the second month.
The move comes in the wake of global demand uncertainty as the steelmaker waits for the market to absorb the price hike it has announced for January deliveries. The company believes bullishness in China markets after the lunar new year holidays will aid this absorption. For January deliveries, prices for steel products had jumped by 11-16pc from the preceding month on high input costs.
For March shipments, rebar and HRC will be offered at JPY73,000/mt and JPY85,000/mt ex-works, respectively. The prices for H-shaped beams and U-shaped steel sheet piles are at JPY101,000/mt ($956/mt) and JPY105,000/mt ($994/mt) ex-works, respectively.
|Tokyo Steel’s March shipment prices|
|Products||Prices in JPY/mt|
|Striped H steel||103000|
|I shaped steel||100000|
In February, domestic steel scrap prices dropped amid weak demand for steel in the construction segment. The company thus carried out maintenance activities at its Utsunomiya works. Japanese electric arc furnaces were also hit by high electricity costs.
In the coming days, however, the rise in global scrap prices by over $30-50/mt could keep sentiment positive.
In the global market, steel demand has been recovering aided by government-stimulus in many countries. Raw material supplies remain tight. Chinese steel demand after the New Year holidays strengthened lifting prices by a minimum of 4-5pc. For HRC and billet exports, prices rose by $15-20/mt in Southeast Asian markets. Vaccination drives in most economies including the UK, Japan, China, and India subcontinental would further boost consumption in the coming days.
In the Asian markets, Tokyo Steel’s prices are followed by other competitors including Posco, Hyundai, Baoshan, JSW steel, and Formosa.
Four price hikes for ferrous scrap in February
Tokyo Steel announced four price hikes for ferrous scrap purchases in February amid bullish global cues. In the latter half of January, the steelmaker had slashed its bids nine times due to weak demand ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays. Elevated electricity prices have narrowed the margins for many EAF-based mills in Japan, but an increased steel consumption in the domestic market could provide some support to steelmakers.
After the latest price hike of JPY500/mt ($5/mt) for all the grades at all works, effective February 23, prices for #2 HMS were at JPY39,500/mt delivered Utsunomiya and Tahara works.