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TOKYO: Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co Ltd, Japan’s top electric-arc furnace steelmaker, said on Monday it will hold steel product prices unchanged in February as steel markets at home and abroad were balanced.

This is the third month the company keeps prices steady for all of its steel products, including its main H-shaped beams.

For February, prices for steel bars, including rebar, will remain at 89,000 yen ($777) a tonne while H-shaped beams will also stay at 111,000 yen a tonne.

Demand in overseas markets has been hit by supply chain bottlenecks and chip shortages amid a resurgence in global COVID-19 cases, Tokyo Steel said in a statement, while global supply has been curbed by lower Chinese output and exports.

Domestic demand for steel products is expected to rise due to large construction projects, manufacturers’ growing appetite for capital spending and high orders from shipbuilders, but demand for steel sheets has been restrained by slow auto production, it said.

“It is inevitable that steel production costs will rise further in the spring and beyond and it will be essential to pass on the higher costs to product prices, but we’ll keep our prices steady for now to reflect the current market condition,” it said.

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).

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