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Japan's steel output hits 40-year low

Japan's steel output hits 40-year low

Tokyo: Japan's steel output has dropped to its lowest level since the late 1960s. About 60 per cent of Japan's iron ore is imported from Australia and in recent months Japanese steel-makers have been slashing production to cope with a massive fall in demand.
Last month, the world's second largest producer, Nippon Steel, announced it was cutting its output to the lowest level in the company's history.
The news follows dreary statistics announced recently by the nation's shipbuilders.  Japanese export ship orders fell sharply for the fourth consecutive month in January on-year.
Japan bagged orders for export ships totaling 313,520 gross tons in January, down 75.9 percent from January, 2008, according to the Japan Ship Exporters' Association.
Export orders suddenly started to tumble in October when the global financial turmoil that had erupted the previous month began to take its toll on the real economy.
The January decline in followed drops of 83.9 percent in October, 79.7 percent in November and 91.1 percent in December. January orders for eight ships included seven bulk carriers and one oil tanker. 
Another major consumer of steel -- the car industry - has made plain that this year will see giant cuts in production. It is unlikely Japanese steel consumption will return to higher levels until 2011. [19/02/09]

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