Basque country steel production at 50% of pre-2008 levels, Unesid reports

Steel production in the Basque country of northern Spain fell by almost 20% in 2012, Spanish steel association Unesid has reported.

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The low levels reported for 2012 output in the region are only about 50% of pre-credit crisis levels, Unesid explained, adding that total production amounted to less than 4 million tonnes.

This figure, Unesid said, is dramatically lower than the figure for 2007, when 7.5 million tonnes of steel was produced in the Basque region.

In the entire kingdom of Spain, production in 2012 dropped by 13% in comparison with pre-crisis levels, to only 13.6 million tonnes.

A fall in production driven by low demand for steel led major steel manufacturers in the region to take drastic measures, according to Unesid.

Nervacero (Celsa), ArcelorMittal, ACB and Corrugados Azpeitia (Alfonso Gallardo), to name but a few, all made workers redundant, temporarily or permanently idled installations, or shifted their focus of operations to other areas of steel production.

“Exports essentially saved the steel sector, given the low levels of local demand,” Unesid said.

“Fifty-five percent of total steel produced in the Basque country last year went towards exports,” the association added.