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The figure compared with 2012 output of 42.7 million tonnes and comes in above previous expectations of 42.2 million tonnes.

Effective capacity utilisation for 2013 comes in at 83%, compared with 84% in 2012.

However, quarterly production was up year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2013 for the first time since the summer of 2011, the association said, with October-December output rising by almost 7%.

December 2013 figures of crude steel output also saw an increase of 12.8% year-on-year to 3.46 million tonnes.

“The stabilising trend seen for several months has continued in December. However, the recent growth is not yet evidence of an impending strong recovery,” WV Stahl said.

Detailed figures for November, released today, showed that the month’s total output of hot rolled steel products was 3.08 million tonnes, flat year-on-year.

Within that total, however, there was a marked difference between flats and longs, with output of the latter down by 12% year-on-year to 1.08 million tonnes and production of the former up by 8% to 2 million tonnes in November.