TOKYO Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. (NSSMC) will increase its H-beam prices further despite a sharp rise in stockpiles.
H-beam inventories held by the Tokiwakai network of dealers handling NSSMCs products totaled 186,900 tonnes at the end of February, equivalent to 2.19 months supply, up 5.6 percent from 177,000 tonnes (2.06 months supply) a month earlier.
"We are not so concerned, as February had fewer operational days," a company executive said. "We expect levels to start falling again from this month, as we are keeping a tight control on production and demand remains stable."
The company has been reining in production of H-beams and sheet piling at its Sakai Works in Osaka, as well as at its Kashima and Kimitsu plants, in an attempt to improve the supply-demand balance.
"In the March-to-May period, production at Kashima and Sakai will be halted for repairs, while at Kimitsu we will continue our shift-down in production," the executive said.
NSSMC over the past few months has slashed output earmarked for spot sales by 70 to 80 percent of normal levels.
It plans to hike H-beams by 5,000 yen ($52) per tonne "as soon as possible," the executive said, after boosting prices by the same amount at the end of last month.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.