South Korea's steel import up 4.1 pct in March

10 April 2015

South Korea's import of steel products increased in March from a year earlier, buoyed by growing demand from the local construction industry, data showed Friday.

The inbound shipment of steel products reached 2.01 million tons last month, up 4.1 percent from the previous year, according to data by the Korea Iron & Steel Association.

The country's steel imports fell in January and February, posting a 3.8 percent and 7.3 percent on-year decline, after snapping a 14-month gain streak seen since October 2013, data showed.

Market analysts said the March data signals a dim outlook for local steel producers, hurt by Chinese rivals that crank out products at cheaper costs.

The increase was led by imports from China, which jumped 10.2 percent on-year to 1.2 million tons in March. The inbound shipments from South Korea's biggest trade partner accounted for nearly 60 percent of the total in that cited month.

Steel imports from Japan, in contrast, sank 24.1 percent to 555,000 tons over the cited period.

For the first three months of this year, South Korea saw steel imports slip 2.2 percent on-year to 5.6 million tons from a year ago. The purchased volume of Chinese-made products inched down 0.1 percent to 3.3 million tons, with that from Japan sliding 10.4 percent to 1.67 million tons.