South Korean shipbuilders are asking Japanese steelmakers to reduce their steel plate prices, Asia Times Online reported. The price of imported Japanese steel plates for shipbuilding is currently $680 per ton, far higher than the prices charged by South Korean and Chinese suppliers. Shipbuilders believe the price of Japanese products, which account for more than 30 of their annual needs, should be cut below $618 per ton.
Chinese imports hover at about $500 per ton. Hyundai Heavy Industries will more than double imports from China to 500,000 tons this year from 200,000 tons a year earlier. The projected Chinese imports constitute 17% of the company's estimated annual demand of 3 million tons. Citing improved yet inexpensive Chinese products, the nation's third-largest shipbuilder Samsung
Heavy Industries also plans to increase purchases of Chinese plates to 100,000 tons, or 9% of its total demand, up from 2% a year earlier. The company uses 1 million to 1.1 million tons of steel plates for shipbuilding annually. South Korean shipbuilders are expected to require about 5.4 million tons of steel plates, up from 1.8 million tons last year. Imports from Japan amounted to about 1.8 million tons last year and are likely to remain stable, while imports from China will likely jump to 800,000 tons from 200,000 tons last year. (Source: Asia Times Online)