Japan’s steel sector is facing tumultuous times.
But, in the short term, there are initial signs of it pulling through in 2021.
Are you on the hook for communicating the company’s steel performance to the executive team? See what should be in that report.
Pandemic impacts on Japan’s steel sector
The COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the weakening of domestic needs. Furthermore, tepid global demand, cheaper exports by China and an ambitious net-zero emission target to develop cleaner steel have all come together to negatively affect the country’s steel sector.
According to an S&P Global Platts report, Japan’s iron and steel product exports fell 4.9% year over year to 32.14 million metric tons (MT) in 2020.
Quoting from data from the Japan Iron & Steel Federation, the report noted total exports to the US fell 30.5% year over year to 890,000 MT. That marked the fourth straight year of decline since reaching 2.06 million MT in 2016.
A slight recovery in December saw exports rise by 5% from November to 2.56 million MT. Hot-rolled wide strip steel accounted for the bulk of the ordinary steel products exported.
In fact, for the first time since 2009, as the S&P Global Platts report noted, Japan’s crude steel production fell below the 100 million MT mark.
Production fell 16.2% year over year to 83.19 million MT in 2020, according to the World Steel Association.
The country’s crude steel output fell 3.9% in January this year from a year earlier.