• Kyodo News

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Steel product exports in the first half of the year surged 60.9 percent from a year earlier to a record 22.04 million tons due to brisk demand in Asian markets, an industry body said Monday.

Demand for automobiles, as well as household electric and electronic appliances, was particularly strong, leading overall steel exports to surpass the previous first-half record of 20.03 million tons in 2008, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation said.

South Korea topped the list of importers with 5.76 million tons, up 38.4 percent, followed by China with 3.83 million tons, up 36.1 percent.

Exports to Thailand soared nearly threefold to 2.46 million tons, a turnaround from a decline a year earlier amid political turmoil in the Southeast Asian country, the federation said.

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