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The domestic recycled steel market turned downwards in mid-March and continued that way for more than two months. Gulf trading companies and shippers took the lead in lowering their prices because export markets continued to weaken.

The Kanto Iron Sources Cooperative Association won a joint export tender on June 9 for 15,000 tonnes at a price of Yen 48,167 per tonne (US$ 344.05), which was Yen 1994 (US$ 14.24) higher than the price in May and the first increase since March.

According to the Ministry of Finance’s trade statistics, Japan’s recycled steel export volumes amounted to 591,779 tonnes in May - up 5.6% from the previous month and 5.2% from the same month last year, reaching a high for this year in surpassing the 575,780 tonnes recorded in March and exceeding 500,000 tonnes for the fifth consecutive month. There has been an increase in shipments to South Korea, Taiwan and Bangladesh.

According to a preliminary report from the Japan Iron and Steel Federation, domestic crude steel production in May was at 7.649 million tonnes - up 5.7% from the previous month but down 5.2% from the same month last year. A downward trend has now continued for 17 consecutive months when comparing with the same month from the previous year.