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This compared with a total of 137.65 million tonnes in the corresponding month in 2013.

The biggest steel producer, China, raised its output by 2.2% year-on-year to 70.25 million tonnes, while Japan’s production increased by 2.9% in March to 9.73 million tonnes.

South Korea’s crude steel output was also up sharply, by 8% year-on-year, to 6.13 million tonnes, compared with 5.67 million tonnes in March 2013,

In the European Union, total crude steel production was up by 6.8% year-on-year during the month to 15.39 million tonnes, with output by the largest producing nation, Germany, up by 6.1% year-on-year to 4.05 million tonnes.

Italy also reported an 8% year-on-year rise to 2.36 million tonnes, while Spanish crude steel production was up by 4.1% to 1.26 million tonnes.

Crude output in France also followed the upward trend and increased by 4.1% year-on-year to 1.39 million tonnes in March this year.

However, Turkish steel production fell by 4.3% year-on-year to 2.85 million tonnes.

In South America, overall production stayed flat at 3.86 million tonnes, but Brazilian output was estimated to have risen by 1.5% year-on-year to 2.89 million tonnes.

North American steel output was up by 1.7% year-on-year, with the USA showing a 0.9% increase compared with March 2013 to 7.41 million tonnes.

Russia produced 6.03 million tonnes of crude steel last month, a rise of 1.3% year-on-year.

Contrastingly, Ukraine’s output saw a sharp drop of 7.7% in March to 2.65 million tonnes.

The biggest producer in the Middle East-North Africa region, Iran, was estimated to have seen a strong increase of 14.8% year-on-year to 1.4 million tonnes in March.

Looking at quarterly figures; Asia’s crude steel output increased by 2.6% year-on-year in the first three months of 2014 to 274 million tonnes.

The EU produced 43.8 million tonnes in the January-March period, a rise of 6.7% compared with the first quarter of 2013.

Meanwhile, North America reported a 0.8% increase year-on-year in the first quarter to 29.9 million tonnes, while the CIS reported a reduction of 2.8% year-on-year to 26.3 million tonnes.

Capacity utilisation for the 65 countries that are members of Worldsteel increased to 79% in March 2014.