World production of raw steel increased by 1.9 percent to 119 million tons in February compared to output 12 months earlier, after slipping in January, the World Steel Association said on March 20.
The rise in February was fuelled by a 3.3 percent increase in production in China to 55.9 million tons and a 7.6-percent surge in South Korea to 5.4 million tons, the association said.
Steel output in the European Union contracted by 3.8 percent to 14 million tons in February, the WSA said, with production by top producer Germany falling by 3.1 percent, but Italian output rising 4.5 percent and French output 9.3 percent.
U.S. steel production rose by 8.5 percent to 7.3 million tons, the association said.
The WSA represents 170 global steel producers, including 17 of the 20 biggest companies, responsible for about 85 percent of the world production in steel.
The increase in steel output comes as global mining giant BHP Billiton said on Tuesday that Chinese demand for iron ore appeared to be flattening as the Chinese economy slows.
China, the world's biggest consumer of raw materials, announced an economic growth target of 7.5 percent for 2012, a marked downgrade from last year's 9.2 percent growth and 10.4 percent in 2010.
Graph courtesy of the World Steel Association
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012