TOKYO, March 21 (Reuters) - Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co Ltd , Japan’s top electric-arc furnace steelmaker, will keep its product prices unchanged in April for the second month in a row to ensure that the steel market catches up with hikes made across December-February.
Tokyo Steel, which makes beams and bars used in the construction industry, kept its product prices unchanged in March and will do so again in April after raising them for three consecutive months.
“We will stick to the current prices as local market prices have not fully caught up with our hikes,” Tokyo Steel’s managing director Kiyoshi Imamura told a news conference on Tuesday.
The company will keep prices for its main product, H-shaped beams used in construction, at 78,000 yen ($692) a tonne and prices for steel bars, including rebar, at 56,000 yen ($497) a tonne.
“We still see the market in an upward trend, with strong domestic demand backed by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics projects and redevelopment projects in the Tokyo metropolitan areas, along with healthy export demand,” Imamura said.
Export demand and overseas steel prices have picked up as China has cut its exports, he added.
Chinese steel exports tumbled to a three-year low in February as steelmakers in the world’s top producer shifted to meeting rising demand at home.
Tokyo Steel’s pricing strategy is closely watched by Asian rivals such as South Korea’s Posco and Hyundai Steel Co, as well as China’s Baoshan Iron & Steel Co (Baosteel).
$1 = 112.72 yen Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Tom Hogue