The total value of hose assembly sales during 2015 was 62.562 billion yen, 5 percent less than the previous year, representing a turn to negative territory after an annual increase in 2014, according to the Japan Hose Coupling Association (JHCA). For December alone, overall sales were down more than 10 percent from December of the previous year.
Resin belt production in 2015 was approximately 1.04 million square meters, on a par with the previous period. Demand was stable in the two main segments of food and distribution systems. By product segment, PVC showed a slight increase and polyurethane a slight decrease. All other products showed a double-digit increase.
Japanese rubber belt production in 2015 was around 29,000 tons, marking a 6-percent year-on-year drop to below the 30,000-ton level for the first time in five years, according to statistics compiled by the Japan Belting Manufacturers' Association. Domestic demand held to only a small three-percent decline, but export demand decreased steeply by 15 percent.
Rubber consumption will see its first annual increase in five years, according to a forecast by the Japan Rubber Manufacturers Association (JRMA). The combined total consumption volume of natural and synthetic rubber in 2016 is expected to amount to 1.3414 million tons, up 0.8 percent from the previous year. See a breakdown of the figures by major product category below.
Trading Companies Part 2—Although many trading firms focus on domestic demand, a generational change has been under way recently, resulting in an increase in younger managers. Merchants of this new generation have begun setting their sights not just within the country but overseas as well. They are also eager to explore new markets and develop new technologies and products.
Trading Companies Part 1—A recent survey of trading companies in Japan conducted by Japan Rubber Weekly found that about 70 percent of respondents saw tough times ahead in 2016. The survey of 330 trading companies in Japan received 203 responses (62 percent response rate). Trading companies play a crucial role in Japan’s distribution.