Tokyo Steel to keep product prices steady in September

TOKYO, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co said on Tuesday it will keep product prices steady in September as uncertainty over the economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to weigh on steel demand.

The company, Japan’s top electric-arc furnace steelmaker, froze its steel product prices in August after raising them by 3.5%-7.3% in July.

Overseas markets are expected to stay strong as the world’s top producer China cuts exports to meet solid demand at home, but the Japanese market remains stagnant, it said in a statement.

Still, the Japanese market is expected to rise in the October-March half thanks to a rebound in manufacturing activity and reduced supply as major steelmakers have suspended some of their blast furnaces to cope with slumping demand, it added.

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

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Kirsten Donovan