TOKYO Japans crude steel production in May rose to its highest level since January 2011 on improving demand, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation (JISF) said June 21.
Output in May totaled 9.62 million tonnes, up 4.3 percent year on year and 5 percent higher than April levels.
Construction demand remained solid last month for condominiums, warehouses and commercial facilities in the Tokyo metropolitan area, helping fuel domestic steel demand at a time when exports are weakening, and leading to a robust increase in output of long products.
Output of flat products such as hot-rolled coil, galvanized steel sheet and electrical sheet also increased sharply amid growing demand from the manufacturing sector.
Carbon steel production of 7.48 million tonnes in May rose 5.9 percent year on year and 4.6 percent from April.
However, specialty steel output posted a tenth straight month of year-on-year declines, falling 1 percent to 2.13 million tonnes. But volumes were up 6.3 percent vs. April.
Output at the countrys four blast furnace operators came to 7.48 million tonnes, up by 6.4 percent year on year and by 5.3 percent compared to April.
In contrast, output of electric-arc furnace steels declined 2.1 percent year on year to 2.18 million tonnes, the tenth consecutive decline.
Production levels are expected to continue rising in the next few months as the effects of the weak yen begin to be felt by the countrys mills in the form of increased consumption by the manufacturing sector, while demand from the construction sector become firmer.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.