China Steel Corp (CSC, 中鋼), the nation’s biggest steelmaker, on Monday posted 7.47 percent annual growth in revenue for last month, helped by longer working days.
Consolidated revenue expanded to NT$32.51 billion (US$1.1 billion) last month, compared with NT$30.25 billion in January last year.
No consolidated revenue figure for December last year was provided for comparison.
“The revenue increased because the Lunar New Year holidays fell in January last year, which cut working days,” CSC deputy spokesman Lin Chung-yi (林中義) said.
Average steel prices dropped to NT$20,000 a tonne last month, compared with between NT$23,000 and NT$24,000 a tonne in January last year, the steelmaker said.
“Steel prices hit bottom in the fourth quarter last year and started increasing slightly last month,” Lin said.
When asked by the Taipei Times if the company planned to raise steel prices next week, since steel prices usually go up when the global economy picks up, Lin hinted that it was likely.
“There is nothing wrong about this assumption and the global environment has indeed improved significantly recently,” Lin said.
CSC is scheduled to announce its domestic steel contract prices for April and May on Wednesday next week.
Lin said that rising steel prices in China indicated that demand in China was strong, which would benefit CSC.
CSC said about 36 percent of its products were sold overseas, with about 12 percent of its products exported to China.
The company raised prices for its domestic products by 3.08 percent last month, after increasing prices by 0.39 percent in December last year.
CSC shares dropped 0.54 percent to NT$27.7 yesterday, underperforming the TAIEX, which gained 0.22 percent.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian government yesterday said it would impose an anti-dumping tax, which can be as high as 25.2 percent, upon steel wires imported from Taiwan, China, South Korea and Indonesia.
Taiwan Steel and Iron Industries Association (台灣鋼鐵公會) director-general Huang Hsiao-hsin (黃孝信) said that because the market sentiment for the steel industry around the world is just recovering from its bottom, some governments would try to protect their local companies.
Huang said the action mainly targets South Korean and Chinese companies, rather than companies in Taiwan.
Huang said the association would try to negotiate with the Malaysian government based on WTO regulations.
According to the association, steel wires account for only a small proportion of Taiwan’s steel exports, and only CSC and a limited number of companies would be affected.
However, steel wires account for 90 percent of steel exports from Taiwan to Malaysia, the association said.