Tokyo Steel to hold Jan prices steady amid weaker overseas market

TOKYO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co Ltd , Japan’s top electric-arc furnace steelmaker, on Monday said it will hold steel product prices steady in January amid a weaker overseas market.

The company raised prices for its heavy plates in December by 2.5 percent to reflect tight market conditions, but kept prices unchanged for other products, including its main one, H-shaped beams.

For January, prices for steel bars, including rebar, will remain at 69,000 yen ($608) a tonne again. H-shaped beams will also stay at 89,000 yen while heavy plates will remain at 83,000 yen.

“Domestic demand remains firm, but we are keeping product prices steady as the overseas steel market has fallen quite sharply,” Tokyo Steel Managing Director Kiyoshi Imamura told reporters at a briefing.

Shanghai steel rebar prices have declined about 15 percent since this year’s peak in mid-August to around 3,420 yuan ($496) per tonne.

“We expect China’s steel prices are in the bottom range and will start recovering early next year given strong infrastructure demand in the local market,” he said.

Tokyo Steel’s pricing is closely watched by Asian rivals such as South Korea’s Posco and Hyundai Steel , and China’s Baoshan Iron & Steel Co Ltd (Baosteel) .

$1 = 113.4800 yen $1 = 6.8968 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Christian Schmollinger