Japan’s crude steel production grew 9.9 percent in January over the previous year to 9.323 million tons, marking the 10th consecutive monthly increase, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation said Wednesday.

With the January figure, partly attributed to brisk domestic demand for automobiles, the nation’s crude steel output has exceeded 9 million tons for six straight months.

Production last month was also the highest for January since the 9.533 million tons produced in 1991, the industry group said.

It said demand for crude steel exports has become sluggish, but it was made up for by the recovery in domestic demand, particularly from the automobile sector.

Output of ordinary steel surged 7.2 percent to 7.504 million tons to mark the 10th consecutive monthly rise.

That of specialty steel, such as stainless steel, jumped 23 percent to 1.819 million tons.

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