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Japan Oct-Dec crude steel output set to rise 9.6% y/y on industry recovery

Japan’s crude steel output is forecast to rise 9.6% in the October-December quarter from a year earlier, helped by a recovery in manufacturing, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) said.

It would mark the third straight quarterly rise.

The ministry estimated crude steel output at 24.11 million tonnes for three-month period, up from 21.99 million tonnes a year earlier, reflecting a pick-up in demand in areas such as auto manufacturing and industrial machinery.

It expected steel output to rise 0.8% from the July-September quarter.

Demand for steel products, including those for exports, is forecast to increase 6.7% to 21.84 million tonnes in October-December versus a year earlier, the ministry said, citing an industry survey.

Exports are forecast to jump 16.9% to 7.11 million tonnes, the ministry said.

However, it warned of an increased risk of a downturn due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on supply chains and said close attention was needed on the trend of COVID-19 infections at home and abroad.

Japan’s industrial output fell for a second straight month in August as COVID-19 outbreaks elsewhere in Asia disrupted supply chains for carmakers already facing headwinds from a prolonged chip shortage.

Major Japanese automakers including Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T, Nissan Motor Co 7201.T and Honda Motor Co 7267.T have suffered production cuts since late August due to a components shortage, which could last well into October, the industry lobby warned earlier last month.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; editing by Clarence Fernandez and Richard Pullin)

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