Major Japanese Steelmakers' Output To Hit 30-Year High

Crude steel output by Japan's top steelmakers is set to reach the highest level in about three decades by early 2009 thanks to robust demand at home and abroad, a report said April 14.

Nippon Steel, JFE and three other major Japanese steelmakers plan to produce a combined 88.4 million tons of crude steel in the year ending in March 2009, up 7.2% from the year just ended, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said.

The companies are aiming for growth by boosting output of competitive, high-quality steel for such use as automobile sheets and pipes for oil extraction. They plan to boost their capital spending by nearly 40% over the next three years to more than 2.2 trillion yen (US$18.5 billion), the report said citing its tally of the five companies' plans.

Crude steel output by blast-furnace steelmakers peaked at 97 million tons in fiscal 1973 when Japan was in an economic boom period.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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