October 21, 2013 / 9:35 AM / in 6 years

Tokyo Steel, wary of imports threat, keeps Nov prices mostly unchanged

TOKYO, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co Ltd is keeping November prices of most of its products unchanged as Japan’s top construction-steel maker is wary of competition from imports and wants a recent broadbased hike to be absorbed by the market.

The pricing strategy of Tokyo Steel is closely watched by Asian rivals such as South Korea’s POSCO and Hyundai Steel Co and China’s Baosteel, which are aiming to boost exports to Japan.

The Japanese company is raising prices of square-shaped steel pipes by 2,000 yen ($20.46), or about 3 percent, to 74,000 yen per tonne.

But prices of 14 other product lines will be unchanged. H-shaped beams, its main product, will be kept at 76,000 yen per tonne and prices of hot-rolled coils will stay flat at 64,000 yen per tonne.

Tokyo Steel in September increased prices of 12 products such as H-shaped beams and hot-rolled coils by 2,000 yen for October delivery on strong construction demand. But it had left prices of 3 other products, including square-shaped steel pipes, unchanged.

“Prices of construction-related steel are expected to move higher in the long term, but we first want to ensure the price hike from last month is spread into the market,” Managing Director Kiyoshi Imamura told reporters on Monday.

Imamura also said overseas steel prices will likely stay under pressure as China keeps up its massive crude steel output.

China’s total steel output jumped 8 percent to 587.4 million tonnes in the first three quarters from a year ago, government data showed.

“There has not been much increase in steel imports from other Asian countries recently, but if domestic prices rise by another 10,000 yen ($100) while overseas prices stay as they are under the current currency level, Asian products may flow into Japanese market,” Imamura said.

Japan’s crude steel production for the April-September period hit a five-year high, buoyed by solid construction demand from higher government infrastructure spending and a rush to build homes ahead of a sales tax hike next April. ($1 = 97.7650 Japanese yen) (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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