Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co Ltd , Japan’s top electric-arc furnace steelmaker, on Monday said it would hold product prices steady in May due to slow local demand.
The decision marks three months of price freezes by the company.
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).
“Local demand has slightly weakened as end-users had built up some inventories by early this year and due to some concerns that the new U.S. import tariff on steel may weigh on global steel prices,” Tokyo Steel’s managing director, Kiyoshi Imamura, told reporters at a briefing.
U.S. President Donald Trump pressed ahead in March 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”.
“But we are hopeful that domestic demand will pick up from around May as there is still strong demand from automakers and other manufacturers,” he said, adding that fears over an impact from the U.S. tariffs are also receding amid strong demand in China and the rest of Asia.