Tokyo Steel to hold prices steady in March for third month

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co Ltd, Japan’s top electric-arc furnace steelmaker, said on Monday it would keep its steel product prices steady in March because of a softer overseas market and slow winter demand for local construction.

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

For March, prices for steel bars, including rebar, will remain at 69,000 yen ($624) a ton while H-shaped beams will also stay at 89,000 yen ($805) a ton.

“Overseas steel market, which had been weighed down by worries over political risks since late last year, seems to be gradually turning around after the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, while construction demand at home is a bit slow due to seasonal reason,” Tokyo Steel Managing Director Kiyoshi Imamura told reporters at a briefing.

But the company is closely watching rising costs including steel scrap, partially influenced by the surging iron ore prices after the collapse of a dam at a mine owned by Brazil’s Vale, he said.

China’s iron ore futures have risen to record highs after the dam collapse which killed an estimated 300 people in the country’s deadliest mining disaster.

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).

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Kim Coghill