April 17, 2017 / 8:06 AM / 4 months ago

Tokyo Steel holds product prices unchanged for a third month

TOKYO, April 17 (Reuters) - Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co Ltd , Japan's top electric-arc furnace steelmaker, will hold its product prices unchanged in May for the third month in a row, reflecting weaker steel prices abroad due to price cuts in China.

Tokyo Steel, which makes beams and bars used in the construction industry, kept its product prices unchanged in March and April after raising them for three consecutive months.

Tokyo Steel will keep prices for its main product, H-shaped beams used in construction, at 78,000 yen ($719.90) a tonne and prices for steel bars, including rebar, at 56,000 yen ($516.80) a tonne.

"We are sticking to the current prices as the overseas steel market is weakening after Chinese steelmills cut prices," Tokyo Steel's managing director Kiyoshi Imamura told a news conference on Monday.

China's biggest listed steelmaker, Baoshan Iron & Steel (Baosteel), said last week it has slashed prices for May delivery, ending a long streak of price hikes.

Chinese steel futures touched the lowest in more than two months last Thursday as market sentiment turned bearish on the demand outlook.

"But we expect a correction in Chinese steel market will be short-lived. And Japanese construction demand will get a boost this summer by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics projects," Imamura said, adding that his company hopes to raise product prices again to cover rising costs such as electricity and distribution fees.

Tokyo Steel's pricing strategy is closely watched by Asian rivals such as South Korea's Posco and Hyundai Steel Co, as well as China's Baosteel. ($1 = 108.3500 yen) (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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