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European steelmakers struggle to reach pre recession production

Steel organization EUROFER reported that European crude steel production rose by 24% in 2010, but output levels remained significantly lower than pre recession production.

According to EUROFER's annual report, production reached 172 million tonnes in 2010, 18% below pre crisis levels. Improving market conditions for flat products used in automobiles and engineering industries helped producers improve capacity utilization rates. Germany and other export driven countries led production growth in 2010.

But debt ridden European countries and the continuing construction industry slump had a negative impact on growth.

EUROFER also cited rising raw materials prices driven by demand from emerging markets as a key challenge in 2010. Iron ore prices rose 65% in 2010, and coking coal costs increased 55%.

The European Union accounted for 12% of global steel crude output in 2010.