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Imports reached 155,517 tonnes in November, up from 137,548 tonnes a year earlier and a little down from 156,427 tonnes in October this year.

The struggling Pakistan Steel, the country's main producer with 1.1 million tpy of capacity, has been operating at an average utilisation of 20% during 2012 because of financial troubles. Steelmakers in Pakistan also faces higher costs and problems with intermittent power supply.

Both these factors have kept output restrained, encouraging more imports of finished products to fill the gap.

At the same time, the production problems have led to much lower scrap import volumes.

Inbound shipments of ferrous scrap in November dropped to 100,673 tonnes, down 48% on the month and 25% year-on-year.