12/17/2004, 00.00
JAPAN
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Japan seeking steel as Chinese demand grows

Whilst auto makers cut production, steel plants turn to Australia.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Japan's industries are desperately seeking steel because China's booming economy has led to dwindling world supplies. This is negatively impacting Japan's big auto makers which are forced to cut back production and Japan's steel plants which have been forced to turn to overseas suppliers.

The situation is such that Suzuki Motor has been forced to reduce output by 20,000 units from 530,000 to 510,000 over the next six months. To face the emergency, Suzuki has decided to get steel from South Korean giant Posco.

Nissan Motor, Japan's second largest car maker, is facing the same problem. It suspended operations at three of its four domestic factories for five days between November 29 and December 8, losing production of 25,000 cars.

Nippon Steel and JFE, Japan's two biggest steel makers, announced that over the next ten years they will buy a total of 24 million tonnes of Australian coking coal, a key material for steel production.

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