Source: S&P Global Platts
Japan's largest producer of sections, Osaka Steel, said Thursday it will keep sections prices for December contracts unchanged from November.
Osaka Steel does not disclose its list prices. The current spot price of channels (100x50 mm) in Osaka is around Yen 88,000-89,000/mt ($775-783/mt) and in Tokyo Yen 87,000-88,000/mt, and of angles (6x50 mm) Yen 87,000-88,000/mt in Osaka and Yen 86,000-87,000/mt in Tokyo.
Spot prices in Osaka are Yen 1,000/mt higher than a month ago and in Tokyo stable over the same period, distributors said.
An Osaka-based distributor said spot market prices in Osaka were increasing slowly as distributors adopted a strong stance in an effort to shift earlier hikes by producers. "But we haven't completed shifting all hikes by producers; we believe the producer [Osaka Steel] decided to wait for our prices to rise further," he said.
A Tokyo-based distributor said the supply-demand balance of sections was tight and prices in Tokyo were also expected to start increasing soon.
"Producers are eyeing additional increases to shift higher input costs such as electrode and alloy; previous hike needs to be absorbed in the market as early as possible and distributors need to be prepared for the next hike," he said.
Osaka Steel last lifted its section prices by Yen 3,000/mt for October contracts.
The Tokyo based distributor said mini-mills typically schedule winter shutdowns for maintenance and New Year holidays so the "supply-demand balance is expected to tighten, and higher prices will be accepted by customers."
Japan's sections output, which excludes H-beams, rose 1.8% month on month to 155,900 mt in October, latest Japan Iron & Steel Federation data showed.
--Yoko Manabe, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Wendy Wells, email@example.com