Nippon Steel, Japan’s largest steelmaker, will raise domestic sheet prices by ¥5,000 ($62) per tonne from May, in yet another sign that the country’s producers are moving aggressively to raise their prices.
“We have decided to offer a ¥5,000 per tonne increase for May shipments to our stockists and re-rolling customers, as there has been an upward shift in recent price trends due to regional steel producers upping their price offers to Japan,” a Nippon Steel official told Metal Bulletin.
Earlier this month, the company said it would force through a ¥2,000 per tonne hike for H-beams by only taking orders from customers willing to accept the higher price.
While the official said that it would not take such an overtly aggressive stance on its sheet offers, he insisted that “we need to have a strong mind to push through this price increase for sheet”.
Nippon Steel has already announced that it is looking to increase its plate shipment prices by ¥3,000 per tonne, while JFE Steel has said that it is also looking to raise its May offers for sheet products by ¥3,000-5,000 per tonne.
The official noted that overall demand remains steady, although demand from carmakers in particular is stronger than the company had initially expected.
Other areas of demand, such as the construction sector and reconstruction demand, are either holding steady or showing signs of improvement, he said.
As a result, Japanese steel production – which in March hit its highest levels in five months – is likely to remain at similar levels for the foreseeable future.
“We still need to watch [the market] very carefully to make sure that supply is keeping in line with demand,” he warned.