According to industry sources, South Korea's imports of hot-rolled steel plate from Japan are expected to increase by 44% this year to reach 2.4 million tonnes. Japan exported 1.6 million tonnes of steel in the first eight months of 2023, up 44%.
The main reason for this increase is that the Japanese yen decreased to the lowest level in the last eight years, which made Japanese steel products more attractive in the competition in South Korea.
Since Japanese hot-rolled steel plates are more affordable than Chinese-made products in Korea, Korean small steel mills and electronics manufacturers prefer Japanese steel plates.
Japanese products account for 58 per cent of all Korean imports of hot-rolled steel plates. This proportion is the highest since 2020.
In order to compete with the low prices in South Korea, Japanese steelmakers are lowering their prices by less than 15% in the local market.
Although this move by Japanese steelmakers has caused concerns in the steel industry in South Korea, Japanese steelmakers are planning to increase their prices in their home country.