TOKYO: Japan’s crude steel output fell 2 percent to 8.73 million tonnes in August from a year earlier, the fourth straight month of decline, due to glitches at some mills, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation said. However, the output, which is not seasonally-adjusted, rose 1.7 percent from July, the federation said. Production of ordinary steel slid 3.2 percent on year to 6.68 million tonnes, while output of specialty steel rose for a 16th month in a row to 2.06 million tonnes, up 2.1 percent from a year earlier. “Domestic steel demand for automobiles and other industries, as well as construction is fairly strong, but August output declined apparently due to problems at some mills,” said a researcher at the federation.
JFE Steel, Japan’s second biggest steelmaker under JFE Holdings Inc , said earlier this month it would halt operation of a blast furnace at its East Japan Works, near Tokyo, from late September to sometime in October due to trouble, trimming its annual output by about 300,000 tonnes. In August, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) raised its estimate of July-September crude steel output to 26.4 million tonnes, up 0.2 percent from a year earlier, against a forecast of 26.29 million tonnes issued in July, reflecting healthy domestic demand. “But given slow operation at some mills, the quarterly output may fall short of the forecast,” the researcher said.