Japan's crude steel production in the current April-June quarter is expected to fall 3.8 percent from a year earlier to 27.01 million tons, due to the end of brisk demand for vehicles and appliances ahead of the April 1 consumption tax hike, government data showed Wednesday.
That would be the first year-on-year decline since the October-December period of 2012. Output is also projected to fall 1.2 percent from the preceding January-March quarter.
However, production is expected to increase in the July-September quarter.
With the government implementing steps meant to alleviate negative effects from the tax hike, the margin of decline in the April-June quarter will be narrower than initially estimated, a Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry official said.
Demand for crude steel in the April-June quarter is expected to drop 2.4 percent year-on-year to 23.62 million tons, with exports falling 3.5 percent to 8.23 million tons, according to surveys of domestic auto and electronics makers.
In fiscal 2013 to last Monday, total crude steel production grew 3.7 percent from the year before to 111.27 million tons, the highest figure since fiscal 2007.