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German crude steel output drops sharply again in July

New York — German crude steel production dropped sharply for the fourth consecutive month in July to levels last hit during the financial crisis, posting a 24.7% year-on-year fall to 2.4 million mt, German steel federation WV Stahl said Aug. 24.

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Month on month, crude steel production dropped 2.1%. January-July production was 16.9% less than a year earlier at 19.9 million mt.

As German steel mills continued to curb production on top of the usual summer maintenance in July, crude steel produced using blast furnaces plunged 29% on the year to 1.7 million mt. Production using electric arc furnaces shrank 13.1% to 758,000 mt.

Pig iron production fell 28.8% year on year in July to 1.5 million mt, while hot-rolled steel production fell 21.9% to 2.3 million mt.

The biggest German steelmaker, Thyssenkrupp, estimates it will produce 9 million mt of crude steel this year, short of its "usual" 11 million mt due to weaker demand from its main customer group, the automotive industry, the head of Thyssenkrupp Steel, Bernhard Osburg, told German media. The steelmaker said it would be running production at just over 60% capacity utilization, a similar rate to its peers in Germany.

Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine said Aug. 21 that it would restart its idled blast furnace in Linz at the beginning of September as it sees a slow uptick in demand. The other currently idled blast furnace at Donawitz is undergoing a reline until October and will remain offline until demand rises significantly.