TOKYO Japanese steel exports resumed their upward trend in August, rising 1.3 percent year on year and 2.4 percent month on month to 3.69 million tonnes, after taking a breather the previous month, the latest data from the countrys finance ministry shows.
The increase came despite falling shipments to key Asian markets as Japan ramped up exports to alternative destinations such as the European Union, the United States and Russia, all of which registered big gains but on relatively small volumes.
In contrast, shipments to Asia logged a 1.3 percent year-on-year decline to 2.91 million tonnes, but marked a 1.7 percent increase compared with July.
Exports to Japans largest marketthe newly industrialized economies of South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kongtotaled 1.09 million tonnes, down 0.4 percent year on year and 2.6 percent from July.
Shipments to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations also fell by 2.7 percent year on year to 1.17 million tonnes. However, exports were up 5.4 percent month on month.
Shipments to China fell 5.4 percent from August 2012 and 1.8 percent from July to 492,000 tonnes.
Export volumes, which are set to hit their highest levels in more than a decade this year, rose despite a fall in production. After five months of increases, crude steel output dropped 1.5 percent last month vs. July and 0.6 percent from a year earlier to 9.14 million tonnes, according to the Japan Iron and Steel Federation.
Meanwhile, imports edged up 0.5 percent year on year to 638,528 tonnes, but fell 1.5 percent from July.
Inbound shipments from the newly industrialized economies rose 2.7 percent year on year to 380,852 tonnes, but fell 3.7 percent from July levels.
A version of this article was first published in AMM sister publication Steel First.