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Export revenues decreased by an even larger percentage, by 16.8%, to $6.99 billion, the association said late on Friday January 18.

Of the total exports, 6.63 million tonnes were semi-finished products, down by 7.4% from the 7.17 million tonnes shipped in 2011.

Flat steel exports decreased by 9.6%, to 1.93 million tonnes, while long steel shipments dipped by 22.8% to 970,900 tonnes.

Steel imports reached 3.78 million tonnes, the same volume as in 2011.

Flat steel accounted for the highest tonnage, at 2.02 million tonnes, but this was down by 10.7% year-on-year.

Imports of long steel products, on the other hand, rose by 25.5% to 1.23 million tonnes.

In December alone, steel exports totalled 759,400 tonnes, an 18.4% fall, while imports decreased by 26.6% to 261,100 tonnes, the figures showed.