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Japan's crude steel output down by 3.9% YOY in Jan

Japan's crude steel output fell 3.9% in January from a year earlier, dropping for the eleventh consecutive month as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to dent demand, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation said on Monday.

Output, which is not seasonally adjusted, declined to 7.92 million tonnes in the world's No.3 steel producer, but it increased 5.3% from last December, marking a seventh straight month-on-month rise.

Local steel demand was hit by the pandemic, forcing Japan's top two steelmakers, Nippon Steel Corp and JFE Steel, owned by JFE Holdings Inc, to idle several blast furnaces last year. But they have restarted a few furnaces since September to meet recovering demand, with Nippon Steel's Kashima plant, near Tokyo, resuming a blast furnace in mid-January.