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U.S. steel output fell by 15.6 percent in November

Metal products cool down at a metallurgy plant in the Ural Mountains city of Nizhny Tagil, Russia in 2013. Global steel production fell last month, including in Russia, where it fell by 3.1 percent.

Global steel production sunk by 4.1 percent last month, as compared to 2014, according to the World Steel Association.

The 66 countries reporting to the Brussels-based trade association reported 127 million tons of steel output in November.

The American Iron and Steel Institute estimates capacity utilization was under 64 percent in the United States last week, well under what it needs to be for steelmakers to be profitable. It was barely any better internationally.

Capacity utilization was only 66.9 percent globally in November, according to the World Steel Association. That's a 1.4 percent decline compared to the previous month and 4 percent lower than November 2014.

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The United States, the third-largest steel producer in the world, made 6.1 million tons of steel, a 15.6 percent decline compared to November 2014. U.S. steelmakers have produced 85.3 million tons of steel so far this year, down from 93.9 tons during the same period last year. 

China, the world’s biggest steel manufacturer, saw a much smaller year-over-year decline of 1.6 percent to 63.3 million tons. Runner-up Japan made 8.7 million tons of steel, a 4.7 percent drop compared to November 2014.

Steel output in fact fell over the world in November, including by 4.4 percent year-over-year in Brazil and by 3.1 percent in Russia. Germany posted a 3.1 percent decrease from last year. Spain saw production fall by 2.9 percent as compared to November 2014, Turkey by 7.2 percent and France by 14.7 percent.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.