October 22, 2018 / 3:45 AM / 23 days ago

Tokyo Steel to hold product prices steady for 9th straight month

TOKYO, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co Ltd , Japan’s top electric-arc furnace steelmaker, on Monday said it would hold steel product prices steady in November amid rising local inventory in steel sheets and weaker prices abroad.

This will mark the ninth straight month that Tokyo Steel has kept prices unchanged. It last raised prices in February.

The company’s pricing strategy is closely watched by Asian rivals such as South Korea’s Posco and Hyundai Steel Co, as well as China’s Baoshan Iron & Steel Co Ltd (Baosteel).

Prices for steel bars, including rebar, will remain at 69,000 yen ($613) a tonne, while the company’s main product, H-shaped beams, will stay at 89,000 yen ($790), Tokyo Steel said.

“Domestic demand for steel bars and beams as well as for heavy plates continued to be solid, but inventory level of steel sheets remained high due in part to delays in shipment because of bad weather,” Tokyo Steel Managing Director Kiyoshi Imamura told reporters at a briefing.

“Overseas steel markets have also come under pressure amid concerns over growing political risk in light of escalating U.S.-China trade tensions,” he said.

But, he added, the adjustment in overseas markets is unlikely to last for long as the U.S. steel buyers are not pessimistic for demand in 2019 and local demand in China, the world’s biggest consumer of the metal, is seen to stay strong. ($1 = 112.5900 yen) (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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