23 Januari 2009
Nippon Steel Steps Up Output Cuts on Weak Demand

Nippon Steel Corp, the world's second-biggest steelmaker, will cut second-half output by about 5 million tonnes -- more than double its previous plan -- as it grapples with crumbling demand, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Friday.

Nippon Steel had previously said in November it would slash output by 2 million-2.2 million tonnes in the October-March period, which was already double the cuts it initially projected.

The reduction, which would amount to a 15 percent decline from the previous year, is Nippon Steel's single biggest production cut ever, the Yomiuri said, without citing sources.

Nippon Steel is considering halting one of its blast furnaces at its Kimitsu plant near Tokyo, in addition to stopping a blast furnace at its Oita plant in southern Japan starting in February, the paper said.

Steelmakers including No.1 ArcelorMittal, No.4 POSCO and Japanese rival JFE Steel Co, the core unit of JFE Holdings Inc, have also announced output cuts as the global economic slump hurts sales in steel-consuming industries from autos to home appliances.

Nippon Steel Chairman Akio Mimura told Reuters earlier this month that it is likely to reduce production further from its previous plan.

(Source: SEAISI Website)

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