Tokyo Steel to raise product prices for January by up to 16%

TOKYO, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co Ltd , Japan’s top electric-arc furnace steelmaker, said on Monday it would raise prices in January for all its steel products by 10,000 yen ($97) a tonne, or 11% to 16%, reflecting firmer overseas steel prices and lower local inventories.

The move comes after the steelmaker hiked prices this month for all its steel products by up to 3.3%, including its main H-shaped beams.

For January, prices for steel bars, including rebar, will be increased by 16% to 73,000 yen a tonne, while prices of U-shaped steel sheet piles will be raised by 11% to 105,000 yen a tonne. Prices of H-shaped beams will go up by 12% to 93,000 yen a tonne.

The prices of steel products abroad have risen sharply due to a supply shortage while higher prices of steel-making raw materials have also forced steelmakers to raise prices, Tokyo Steel said in a statement.

Japan’s local market is also tightening, with improved activity in the construction industry and lower stockpiles in steel sheets, the company added, citing another reason for the price hike.

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) . ($1 = 103.3500 yen) (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)