August 23, 2017 / 7:59 AM / 10 months ago

Japan's July crude steel output drops, third straight month of decline

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s crude steel output slid 4.3 percent in July from a year earlier to 8.59 million tonnes, the third straight month of decline, due to a slow restart at mills after maintenance and production glitches, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation said.

A worker is seen through a steel coil at a steel collection facility in Tokyo August 19, 2009. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Output increased 2.1 percent from June on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the federation said on Wednesday. Production of ordinary steel fell 6.6 percent on year to 6.51 million tonnes, while output of specialty steel rose for a 15th month in a row to 2.08 million tonnes, up 3.8 percent from a year earlier.

“Domestic steel demand for automobiles and construction is solid, but July output declined due to slow operations after maintenance and problems at some mills,” said a researcher at the federation.

“We expect to see a pick-up from August,” he said.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) raised its estimate of July-September crude steel output to 26.4 million tonnes, up 0.2 percent from a year earlier, against a forecast of 26.29 million tonnes issued in July, reflecting healthy domestic demand.

That was in line with recent signs that recovery in the world’s third-largest economy is gaining pace due to solid factory output and exports.

Confidence at Japanese manufacturers rose in August to its highest level in a decade led by producers of industrial materials, a Reuters poll showed - a further sign of broadening economic recovery.

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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