Source: S&P Global Platts
Japan's largest rebar producer Kyoei Steel announced Tuesday it will raise rebar prices by Yen 2,000/mt ($18/mt) for March contracts in response to higher input costs.
The company last raised rebar prices by Yen 2,000/mt last December and by Yen 2,000/mt last November.
Osaka-based Kyoei does not release its list prices. Current market prices for base-sized rebar in Osaka are around Yen 68,000-69,000/mt ($615-$624/mt), unchanged since last November, distributor sources said.
Kyoei in a statement said that domestic steel demand in Japan has been firm and the supply-demand balance tight, while delivery fees, scrap quality maintenance and labor costs were increasing.
An Osaka-based distributor said buying inquiries typically fell in January and February due to a slowdown in construction activity in winter, while lower scrap prices in recent months had prompted customers to wait and see.
"But scrap prices have bottomed out and the hike by Kyoei may send a message to customers that no cuts to product prices are expected, so this may accelerate customers seeking to buy rebars," he said.
Orders for bars (including flat bars) fell 15.2% year on year to 598,000 mt last December and were down 7% from November, latest Japan Iron & Steel Federation data showed.
--Yoko Manabe, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Wendy Wells, email@example.com