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Production came to 1.24 million tonnes, against 1.21 million tonnes a year before, according to the country’s steel and metals association, Fedemetal.

In December, Colombian mills produced 80,200 tonnes of long steel, down by 22% month-on-month.

Apparent long steel consumption, however, increased by 9.7% year-on-year from January to November 2012.

The group did not disclose tonnage figures.

This growth in consumption was due to increased import levels, according to Fedemetal.

From January to November, long steel imports went up by 43% compared with the corresponding period in 2011, from 449,000 tonnes to 644,000 tonnes.

Mexico supplied 42% of these imports, or 269,000 tonnes.

Turkey came next with 13%, or 85,000 tonnes – up by 106% year-on-year.

Fedemetal executive director Juan Manuel Lesmes believes that long steel demand in Colombia has been at good reported levels, while imports are growing and local production is falling.

“This [scenario] is explained by the appreciation of the Colombian currency, global steel overcapacity [...] and weak customs control,” Lesmes said.

“This demonstrates the economic issues that national steelmakers have started to experience and requires immediate action by the government,” he added.