September 21, 2018 / 7:27 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Japan's crude steel output edges up in August

    * West Japan mill output recovers after July rains -industry
    * Domestic demand for cars, machinery, construction remains

 (Adds comment, detail)
    By Yuka Obayashi
    TOKYO, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Japan's crude steel output rose
0.9 percent in August from a year earlier to 8.81 million
tonnes, an industry body said on Friday, reflecting a recovery
in production at mills located in areas that saw torrential rain
in July.
    Gushing water broke levees and landslides destroyed houses
in west Japan in July, killing more than 200 people in the
country's worst weather disaster in 36 years.
    "Operation at some steelworks in western Japan returned to a
normal state after being hit by heavy rains in July," said a
researcher at the Japan Iron and Steel Federation.
    "Also, domestic steel demand for automobiles, industrial
machinery and construction remained strong."  
    The monthly increase comes after crude steel production
slipped in July.             
    August output, which is not seasonally-adjusted, increased
4.6 percent from July.
    Japanese steelmakers, enjoying the best market conditions in
several years, have so far been able to shrug off fears of a
U.S.-China trade war. 
    Steel prices have risen on solid output by automakers and
machinery makers, while construction is in full swing for the
2020 Tokyo Olympics and a series of redevelopment projects in
central Tokyo.

 (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi
Editing by Joseph Radford)
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