European crude steel production rose 24% in 2010, but output levels remained significantly lower than prerecession production, steel organization Eurofer reported June 17.
Production reached 172 million tons in 2010, 18% below pre-crisis levels, according to Eurofer's annual report.
Improving market conditions for flat products used in automobiles and engineering industries helped producers improve capacity utilization rates. Germany and other export-driven countries led production growth in 2010.
But debt-ridden European countries and the continuing construction-industry slump had a negative impact on growth.
Eurofer also cited rising raw materials prices driven by demand from emerging markets as a key challenge in 2010. Iron ore prices rose 65% in 2010, and coking coal costs increased 55%.
The European Union accounted for 12% of global steel crude output in 2010.