steelmakers hope that a burst of stimulus measures from the
countrys new government will help revive stagnant
domestic steel demand and make exporting easier.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abes
cabinet has endorsed a 20.2-trillion-yen ($226-billion)
stimulus package in an attempt to perk up Japans
lethargic economy and tackle the strong yen.
Abe wants to boost growth by
encouraging private investment, improving Japanese
companies global competitiveness and pumping money into
the countrys decades-old infrastructure. The package also
includes spending on reconstruction projects in Japans
northeast, which was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in
Japanese steel consumption,
which in November fell to its lowest level in six months, could
benefit from the shift in policy.
"Any measures by the government
to stimulate domestic demand are good, and we welcome the
package," an executive at one steel producer said.
The package also is a
declaration of intent that the new government will tackle the
strong yen, which makes it difficult for Japanese companies to
compete globally. The yen on Monday hit its lowest level
against the dollar in two and a half years and its lowest level
against the euro since early 2011.
"We still think its a bit high and we would like to
see it weaken more, but the decline has been a big relief
because we were really suffering badly from the high yen," the
A version of this article was first
published by AMM sister publication Steel