[ferro-alloys.com]Japan's January steel exports dropped by 19.2% year on year and by 13.7% from December to 2.49 million mt, the data released Thursday by the Japan Iron & Steel Federation showed.
A JISF official said the drop in January's steel exports was because domestic mills were facing short supply.
"Facility problems at blast furnaces and switching to new blast furnaces in January were largely reflected [in the] decreased export volume," he said.
JFE Steel temporarily banked three blast furnaces in the period October-January, resulting in a potential loss of 1.4 million mt of crude steel output over October-February.
Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. stopped its No.5 blast furnace with inner volume of 2,700 cu m at Wakayama Works, western Japan in January, and started its new No.2 BF with inner volume 3,700 cu m on February 15, S&P Global Platts reported previously.
This resulted in decreased production at Wakayama in January and one of the main exports from Wakayama was slab export to Taiwan's China Steel Corp.
Semi-finished export to Taiwan in January was 49,456 mt, down 60.6% year on year and 59.3% from December, according to the data.
The JISF official also said most exports byproduct declined in January but plate exports rose. "Plate exports in January 2018 improved ... the plate demand from South Korean shipbuilders have been strong," he said.
Japan's total plate export in January was 240,939 mt, up 4.5% year on year but down 6.4% from December. Export to South Korea was 87,733 mt, up 71.8% on year and 7.7% on month, according to JISF data.
(S&P Global Platts)