German Steel Production Drops 50 Percent

Federal Statistical Office said production figures were 50.3 percent below March 2008 levels for pig iron and reported a 49.8 percent drop from a year earlier for raw steel.

BERLIN (AP) -- German steel production dropped by half in the year to March, the sharpest decline since the country's reunification nearly two decades ago, according to government figures released Tuesday.

The country's steelmakers produced 1.28 million tons of pig iron and 2.1 million tons of raw steel last month, the Federal Statistical Office said.

Those figures were 50.3 percent and 49.8 percent below March 2008 levels.

The statistics agency said it was the sharpest year-on-year decline since German reunification. The formerly communist east's industry shriveled following the 1990 union with West Germany.

In February, steel production was down by about a third from a year earlier.

Germany, Europe's biggest economy, went into recession in last year's third quarter as the global crisis eroded global demand for its products. The country is the world's leading exporter.

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