Crude steel output plunges 44%

Kyodo News

Crude steel production totaled 5.72 million tons in April, down 43.6 percent from a year ago and the seventh consecutive monthly fall, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation said Thursday.

The dismal figure indicates steelmakers are still curtailing output in the face of weakening demand from automakers, federation officials said.

The drop in April production was the third-largest for any month.

By category, steelmakers produced 989,000 tons of specialty steel used in vehicles and other products, down 55.3 percent from the previous year and the sixth straight monthly contraction, the federation said.

Meanwhile, production of ordinary steel fell for the seventh consecutive month to 4.73 million tons, down 40.3 percent.