[ferro-alloys.com]Japan's crude steel production fell 9.8% year on year to a ten-year low of 8.14 million mt in January 2019, reflecting a 3.8% drop from December 2018, the latest data released by the Japan Iron & Steel Federation showed.
A JISF official said on Monday that the lower output was not due to a slowdown in demand, but rather from supply-side issues such as issues at production facilities.
"Facility problems physically lowered overall steel output," he said.
JFE Steel, Japan's second-largest integrated mill, is expected to lose a total of 1.4 million mt of crude steel output over October-February due to problems with three of its blast furnaces at the Kurashiki and the Fukuyama sections in West Japan Steel Works, as well as the Chiba section in East Japan Steel Works, S&P Global Platts had reported previously.
Within January's total production, those by converters stood at 6.13 million mt, down 11.6% year on year, and 2.5% from December, while those from electric furnaces was at 2.01 million mt, down 3.9% year on year and 8.5% month on month.
The JISF official said the drop in output produced by converters was largely reflective of JFE's facility issues, but there is no clear reason for the decline in steel output produced by electric furnaces. According to the official, the decline was due to fewer business days in January 2019 compared with January 2018.
By product, output of hot rolled coil in January fell 12.1% year on year and 0.6% from December 2018 at 3.33 million mt, while output of H-beams fell 321,900 mt, down 5% year on year, but up 0.1% on month, according to the data.
(S&P Global Platts)