February 21, 2009 / 10:43 AM / 11 years ago

World Jan steel output drops 24 pct, EU off 46 pct

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Global steel output plunged 24 percent in January, year on year, as the worldwide economic downturn forced a cutback in nearly all major steel producing countries, official data showed on Friday.

The World Steel Association said crude steel output fell to 86 million tonnes in January.

All major producing countries posted double-digit decreases, except China, which saw 2.4 percent growth year-on-year, it said.

Still, monthly world steel production was 4.5 percent higher than in December, mainly due to a 9.9 percent increase in Chinese production.

China’s output for January was 41.5 million tonnes, almost half of the global amount.

Japan produced 6.4 million tonnes, down 37.8 percent, while South Korea had a 25.6 percent fall at 3.5 million tonnes.

The 27 countries in the euro zone produced a total of 9.6 million metric tonnes, down 45.9 percent, with Germany’s output contracting by 35.6 percent to 2.7 million metric tonnes.

Output in North America decreased 51.2 percent to 5.7 million metric tonnes, largely due to the United States, which produced 4.1 million tonnes, down 52.7 percent.

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