Japan’s exported 2.49mn mt of steel in July, down 18.7pc from the prior July. Exports have decreased for three months in a row amid the COVID-19 crisis, according to data released by the Japan Iron and Steel Federation. Japan’s imports of ordinary steel declined by 32pc to 0.27mn mt from the prior July.
In July, exports of hot-rolled steel coils (HRC) were 0.852mn mt, down 15.3pc from July 2019, while exports of galvanized steel sheets were at 122,000mt, down 40.5pc. Cold-rolled steel coils (CRC) exports were 76,000mt, down 58.0pc from the prior year, which is the fourth consecutive monthly drop.
China was the largest importers for Japanese steel with 645,000mt, up 42.8pc; South Korea with 391,000mt down 16.3pc; followed by Taiwan at 210,000mt, up by 12.6pc, Thailand 205,000mt, down by 59.4pc and the US with 66,000mt down by 40.6pc from the prior year.
Japan’s imports of ordinary steel in July was 0.277mn mt, down 32.0pc from the prior July. Imports dropped for the seventh successive month in July. Imports of HRC declined for the seventh straight month to 87,000mt, down 32pc from the prior year while galvanized sheet declined for the fourth straight month to 52,000mt, down 33.8pc from the prior year.
CRC imports declined for the seventh straight month to 45,000mt, down 42.6pc from the prior year, according to JISF data. Imports of plates rose to 36,000mt, up 7pc from a year ago on a gradual recovery in automotive production.
Japan imported the highest volume of steel products from South Korea, though imports from South Korea declined for the seventh straight month to 0.169mn mt, down 36.5pc from a year earlier. Imports from Taiwan declined for the second straight month to 64,000mt, down 17.2opc from a year ago. Imports from China declined for the sixth straight month to 30,000mt, down 37.8pc from a year earlier.
Auto production in H1
Total production of vehicles in Japan dropped by 37.4pc from the prior year to 3.62mn units in H1 2020, according to the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA). A decline in auto demand led by the COVID-19 pandemic impacted steel demand. In Jan-June, Japanese vehicle exports declined by 51.7pc to 1.62mn vehicles from the prior year, on the other hand, sales in the domestic market dropped by 24.7pc to 2.2mn units from the prior year period.
In July, exports of vehicles decreased by 52.8pc to 291,171 vehicles, while domestic sales lost 13.7pc to 396,346 vehicles from those in July 2019, according to JAMA. Japan’s major automakers, including Toyota Motors and Nissan Motors, sold a combined 2.01mn vehicles in July. July recorded the fifth straight month of losses for Japanese automakers, demand for cars remained sluggish in the first half of 2020.