TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's crude steel output in the current fiscal year is likely to fall to the lowest level in nearly 40 years due to weak demand amid the global economic slowdown, according to industry projections made available by Thursday.
Total production is expected to decline to around 90 million tons in fiscal 2009 through next March. An output level below 90 million tons was last seen in fiscal 1971, when it stood at 88.44 million tons.
Although some recovery can be seen, demand has remained sluggish from the manufacturing and construction sectors following the global recession, steelmakers said.
An estimate by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry meanwhile shows that output is expected to fall around 31 percent from a year earlier to 42.17 million tons during the April-September first half of the fiscal year.
With output unlikely to recover during the second half of the fiscal year, the annual figure could be around 30 million tons less than the record-high output of 121.51 million tons seen in fiscal 2007, the ministry estimates.