March 19, 2018 / 3:40 AM / 3 months ago

Tokyo Steel to hold product prices steady in April

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co Ltd, Japan’s top electric-arc furnace steelmaker, on Monday said it would hold product prices steady in April as it needs to ensure markets have absorbed its hikes from earlier this year.

The company said last month that it would freeze product prices in March after three months of hikes on tight markets as well as rising transportation costs.

“Overseas steel markets remain tight given the healthy economy worldwide ... and domestic steel demand remains solid,” Tokyo Steel’s Managing Director, Kiyoshi Imamura, told reporters at a briefing.

“But we are keeping our prices unchanged next month to make sure our hikes through February have been absorbed by every layer of the market.”

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

U.S. President Donald Trump pressed ahead earlier this month with import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium, describing the dumping of these products in the U.S. market as “an assault on our country”.

Imamura said the news on the U.S. tariffs has helped boost prices of steel products in that country, but that the direction of markets outside the United States remained uncertain as possible countermeasures by other countries were still being worked out.

“The global steel market may stay volatile for a month or so due to speculative trades, but I don’t think it will last for long,” Imamura said, adding that markets, including in China and Southeast Asia, would be underpinned by strong demand.

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Joseph Radford

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