Japan’s steel imports plunged 25.3pc to 329,000mt in February, according to Japan Iron and Steel Federation (JISF). Imports dropped amid the supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak in China.
Imports of ordinary steel products in February 2020 were 329,000mt, down 25.3pc from February 2019. After the Chinese New Year holidays, many manufacturers remained closed to fight the COVID-19 epidemic. Lack of transportation in China due to the virus lockdown and resultant disruption of the supply chain also hit Japanese imports. Steel imports dropped for the second consecutive month in Japan.
The highest imports were of hot-rolled wide-band steel at 112,000mt, down by 15.1pc from the prior year. Imports of galvanised steel sheets dropped for the first time in four months and were 75,000mt, 17.2pc down from the prior year. Imports of cold-rolled wide-band were 54,000mt, down 42.0pc and thick plates at 31,000mt, down 40.0pc from the prior year.
South Korea supplied 227,000mt steel, down 24.3pc down for the second consecutive months. Taiwan exported 60,000mt steel, down 20.4pc maintaining a drop for three consecutive months. Japanese steel imports were impacted the most by the highest drop recorded in exports from China. Steel exports from China were 34,000mt, down 42.1pc.
Japan’s steel exports in February 2020 were 2.977mn mt, up 27.2pc from the prior year period. Steel exports rose for the second consecutive month. Weak domestic finished steel demand resulted in higher exports in 2020. The exports of ordinary steel products were 1.823mn mt, up 22.6pc from the previous year period. This is a second consecutive rise in steel exports.
Exports of hot-rolled wide-band steel was at 931,000mt, up 60.3pc from the prior year. Exports of cold-rolled wide-band steel stood at 1.7mn mt, up 16.1pc, galvanized steel rose 2.4pc. On the other hand, exports of planks were 191,000mt which dropped for the fourth consecutive month.
In February, Japan exported highest steel volumes to South Korea. Exports to Korea was 434,000mt, up 30.1pc, a second consecutive month of increase. Japan’s steel exports to China was 426,000mt, up by 14.3pc and Thailand 424,000mt, 11.2pc up; Taiwan 254,000mt, up 106.2pc; and exports to the United States was 78,000mt, down 14.5pc for the fifth consecutive month.