Japan Steel Exports Up In 2004, First Gain In Two Years

Japanese steel exports in 2004 rose 2.6% to 35.30 million tons, the first gain in two years, thanks to growing shipments to China, Thailand and the U.S. an industry group said Wednesday. This was the third-largest amount on record, following exports of 37.035 million tons in 1976 and 36.323 million tons in 2002, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation said.

Exports to China rose 7.1% to 6.89 million tons, the first gain in two years, while shipments to Thailand increased 7.5% to 3.86 million tons, with exports to the U.S. up 32.4% at 1.43 million tons. Exports to South Korea edged down 0.3% to 8.95 million tons for a second straight yearly decline, with shipments to Taiwan down 1.4% at 3.24 million tons, it said.

Global demand for steel in 2005 is forecast to rise 4.9% to 919 million tons, following a 10.5% rise in 2004 and a 8.7% gain in 2003, according to a survey conducted in early December by the federation.

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