Crude steel production remained at a record-high pace during the first nine months of 2008 but then dropped sharply because of the global recession caused by the financial crisis.
The steep downturn in crude steel production in the year's final three months caused annual production to decrease 1.2% to 118.74 million tons.
This was the first year-on-year decrease in three years. Despite the decrease, 2008 production was the third highest in Japan's history, surpassed only by output of 120.20 million tons in 2007 and 119.32 million tons in 1973.
Production of hot-rolled ordinary steel products decreased 2.8%, or 2.40 million tons, to 84.30 million tons, the first year-on-year decline in three years. Production of some products was higher, such as plates because of strong demand from shipbuilders. But production in many other categories, including bars and hot-rolled wide strips, decreased mainly because of the low level of building construction starts and an abrupt downturn in demand for motor vehicles.
On the other hand, production of hot-rolled specialty steel increased 1.3%, or 0.28 million tons, to 21.78 million tons. This was the ninth consecutive year of growth and the seventh consecutive year of record-setting production.
Source: Japan Iron & Steel Federation
More info: http://www.jisf.or.jp/en/statistics/sij/docs/Production_001.pdf
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