Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co , Japan's top electric arc furnace steelmaker, said on Monday it would keep product prices unchanged for a sixth straight month in May due to oversupply of flat-rolled products at home and slumping overseas prices.
The company's pricing strategy is closely watched by Asian rivals such as Posco, Hyundai Steel Co and Baosteel, who aim to boost exports to Japan.
"Demand in construction products is expected to rebound after the Golden Week holiday in May, backed by development projects in the metropolitan area and construction of distribution centres," Tokyo Steel's Managing Director Kiyoshi Imamura said.
"But it may take longer for consumption and supply to be balanced in flat-rolled products."
Inventories of flat-rolled products have been high due in part to slow demand from the automobile sector.
Imamura also said it was unclear whether prices overseas would recover as a supply glut in China from last year was still weighing on prices in Asia.
The price of Tokyo Steel's main product, H-shaped beams, which are used in construction, would stay at 77,000 yen ($648) per tonne in May, the company said.
Tokyo Steel stopped producing hot-rolled coils at its Okayama plant in western Japan in March to improve efficiency. It will continue to produce hot-rolled coils at its Tahara plant in central Japan, the company said.