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The figure is 1% lower from last quarter and marks a 2% fall from the corresponding period a year earlier.

It is also lower than its forecast put out early last month when it predicted demand will reach 28.02 million tonnes in crude steel equivalent in the July-September period.

Meti noted that the dip in crude steel output was caused by fact that many of the country's electric arc furnace-based producers have postponed operations for annual maintenance during the summer.

The country's EAF operators typically undertake maintenance over the summer months to avoid higher electricity charges.

But despite the fall in crude steel production levels, Meti is projecting the country’s output of finished steel products to come in at 24.3 million tonnes, an increase of 4% year-on-year.

Last month, it projected finished steel demand in the period to total 24.44 million tonnes.