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Japan

The new Governor of the Bank of Japan, Kazuo Ueda, has confirmed the intention to maintain an ultra-loose monetary policy for now, thereby triggering a fresh sell-off of the yen which weakened from 133 to 137.70 against the US dollar. Meanwhile, the Japanese government has eliminated the mandatory requirement for a valid vaccination certificate for all those travelling to Japan.

Monthly copper scrap exports from Japan exceeded 30,000 tonnes in March for the first time since last November, more than 70% of which were destined for China. This development has been reinforced by sluggish demand from domestic consumers.

Japan’s rolling mill production fell 6.1% in 2002 owing mainly to lower demand from an automotive industry which has yet to recover. No. 1 copper scrap, especially chopped, is proving hard to sell given the slump in local demand.

The domestic aluminium scrap market is tight owing to strong demand from local consumers and exporters, with aggressive buying of extrusions and wheels by those selling to China.

Meanwhile, the local stainless steel market has been supported by strong demand from exporters to South Korea and China for austenitic material and to India for ferritic.