TOKYO, May 20 (Reuters) - Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co Ltd , Japan’s top electric-arc furnace steelmaker, said on Monday it will hold all steel product prices steady in June, for the sixth month in a row, citing a weaker overseas market and high inventories at home.
For June, prices for steel bars, including rebar, will remain at 69,000 yen ($626) a tonne while H-beams will also stay at 89,000 yen ($808) a tonne. Prices will be unchanged for all of the company’s 15 steel products.
Tokyo Steel’s pricing is closely watched by major Asian rivals such as South Korea’s Posco and Hyundai Steel , and China’s Baoshan Iron & Steel Co Ltd (Baosteel) .
Tokyo Steel last raised prices for its heavy plates in December. For most of other products, including its main H-shaped beams, June will be the 16th straight month for which the company has held prices steady.
“The U.S. and European steel markets are on a bearish tone and some countries facing weaker local currency, such as Russia and Turkey, are shipping cheaper products into Asia, weighing on prices in this region,” Tokyo Steel Managing Director Kiyoshi Imamura told reporters at a briefing.
Chinese steel futures fell to five-week lows early last week, although they have since rebounded.
“Domestic steel inventories remained at a high level due to last-minute production boosts by Japanese steelmakers at the end of the last financial year (in March),” Imamura said.
Some Japanese steel buyers are taking a wait-and-see stance, Imamura said, hoping product prices may decline.
But he predicted the domestic market will tighten after July on the back of solid construction demand, with a series of redevelopment projects in the Tokyo metropolitan area and plans to build new hotels across the nation to meet the growing number of foreign tourists.
$1 = 110.2100 yen Reporting by Yuka Obayashi Editing by Kenneth Maxwell