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Commodities

Japan's scrap iron export prices surge 25%

TOKYO -- Export prices of Japanese scrap iron reached a 10-month high Tuesday as traders rushed to take advantage of healthy international demand.

     Bidding conducted by the Kanto Tetsugen Cooperative Association resulted in an average April contract price of 23,103 yen ($212) per ton, a 25% leap from March. That marks the sixth straight monthly gain and is up more than 60% from the most recent low in October.

     One cause of the rally is Vietnamese purchasers switching to iron scrap after Hanoi imposed import safeguards on Chinese steel billets.

     In China, rising consumption of billets is expected to further weigh down exports as Beijing pursues transportation and other infrastructure projects, said a trading company source. Based on that view, Japanese trading houses have been increasingly eager to procure scrap iron, boosting export prices.

     Steel demand has remained resilient in Southeast Asia and other places, fueling expectations that scrap iron prices will maintain their upward trend in the short term. A scrap wholesaler in Japan's Kanto region said merchants have been keen to export amid rising international prices.

(Nikkei)

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