TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Crude steel output in Japan dropped 24.9 percent in July from a year earlier to 7.66 million tons, down from year-before levels for the 10th straight month due to weak demand amid the global economic slowdown, an industry body said Wednesday.
But the pace of decline became slower for the fourth month in a row, as production at auto and electronics makers has begun to pick up, according to data released by the Japan Iron and Steel Federation.
The amount of crude steel production topped the 7 million ton mark for the first time since last December, when the figure stood at 7.49 million tons.
A federation official said the increase has resulted from effects of the government's recent measures including tax breaks for fuel-efficient cars as well as a rise in exports of steel products to China where the demand is growing.
The output of specialty steel for use in automobiles declined 38.5 percent to 1.39 million tons, while that of ordinary steel for use in a wide variety of industrial products sank 21.0 percent to 6.27 million tons.