JFE reported a profit of 162.9 billion yen ($1.1 billion) in the nine months to the end of December 2023, compared with 143.9 billion yen during the same period a year earlier.

The steelmaker stuck to its full-year profit forecast through end-March of 190 billion yen, slightly below the 197 billion mean estimate in a poll of 13 analysts compiled by LSEG.

"In Japan, activity in the automotive sector is improving while steel demand remained under pressure in civil engineering and construction sector due to labour shortages and soaring material costs," JFE Executive Vice President Masashi Terahata told a news conference.

Terahata also expressed concern over slack demand in the world's biggest steel consumer China and rising Chinese exports.

"China's economic stimulus measures are not expected to lead to a recovery in steel demand there until after Chinese New Year," he said.

JFE also said that Yoshihisa Kitano, currently serving as the president of its key unit, JFE Steel, will assume the role of president at JFE Holding with effect from April 1, succeeding its current president, Koji Kakigi.

Masayuki Hirose, an executive vice president at JFE Steel, is set to take over from Kitano as president at the steel unit.

($1 = 148.3900 yen)

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Alexander Smith)