Japan 2022 crude steel output falls 7.4% amid slow car production

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Output fell for the first time in two years to 89.23 million tonnes, figures from the Japan Iron and Steel Federation showed on Monday.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. fared better than most automakers in managing supply chains, but fell victim to the lack of long chip last year, and has repeatedly lowered monthly production targets.

“Domestic steel demand was hit by repeated delays in the recovery of car production, while foreign demand also weakened in the second half of the year due to high inflation and increases in interest rates in United States and in Europe,” said a researcher at the federation.

“Meanwhile, Japanese steelmakers have been reducing the number of blast furnaces, which means that it will be difficult for Japan’s steel production to return to a level of 100 million tons from the from a supply capacity point of view even if demand picks up,” he said.

Steel production for the October to December quarter fell 11.5% from a year earlier to 21.42 million tons.

Output, which is not seasonally adjusted, fell 13.1% in December from a year earlier to 6.9 million tonnes and was down 3.8% from November.

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi. Editing by Sharon Singleton)

By Yuka Obayashi

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