Japanese steelmakers, which yesterday reported foreign imports at a nine-year high for April, are weighing action to stem the flow of steel from abroad, risking heightened tensions with trading partners South Korea and China.
Japanese rare-earth buyers are switching to quarterly sales contracts and looking for alternative sources after China curbed shipments, increasing prices for the materials used in hybrid cars and missiles.
Nippon Steel Corp., Japan’s biggest steelmaker, expects prices to stay low this year as global producers of the metal used in cars, ships and construction continue to compete for orders amid slowing demand.
JFE Holdings Inc., Japan’s second- biggest steelmaker, will push back a decision on whether to build a $3.6 billion integrated steel mill in Vietnam, its first outside Japan, as it assesses competitive risks.
As Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. keep trying to prove who violated each other’s patents, the companies may be motivated to prevent a possible ban on imports of Xboxes and iPhones.