The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan believesthat the Japanese government will increase the consumption tax rate in October,and that the automobile and other industries will concentrate on expandingprocurement before the tax increase will be the main reason for theyear-on-year growth of crude steel production in the third quarter. Inaddition, in the same period last year, Japan suffered from floods, earthquakesand other disasters, causing some enterprises to stop working, and crude steelproduction declined, resulting in a lower crude steel production base in thesame period last year. This is also one of the reasons why the crude steeloutput is expected to increase year-on-year in the third quarter of this year.Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry estimates that Japan’s crudesteel exports will increase by 1.7% year-on-year to 7.14 million tons in thethird quarter of this year. Boosted by the automotive industry, constructionindustry and other industries, the domestic demand for crude steel will alsoincrease by 0.4%. In addition, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry isexpected to produce 25.82 million tons of crude steel in Japan in the secondquarter of this year (April to June), down from the previous estimate of 26.57million tons.