Tokyo Steel to keep prices unchanged for 4th straight month in April

TOKYO, March 18 (Reuters) - Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co Ltd , Japan’s top electric-arc furnace steelmaker, said on Monday it would keep its steel product prices unchanged in April amid soft overseas prices and slower local demand due to a shortage of labour and some materials.

This is the fourth straight month the company kept prices unchanged for all of its steel products, including its main H-shaped beams.

For April, prices of steel bars, including rebar, will remain at 69,000 yen ($619) a tonne, while H-shaped beams will also stay at 89,000 yen ($798) a tonne.

“Overseas steel markets, which plunged late last year, seem to be recovering after the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday,” Tokyo Steel Managing Director Kiyoshi Imamura told reporters at a briefing.

“But domestic construction demand remains a bit sluggish due to higher inventories and delays in some projects because of shortage of labour and some materials,” 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 = 111.5600 yen) (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)