Global raw steel production fell -5.0% during February, with a total of 123,258 million metric tons trailing the January output of 129,779 million metric tons. The result for 63 steelmaking countries is reported by the World Steel Association, which noted that the February output showed a year-on-year increase of 1.2% compared to February 2012.

“Raw” or crude steel is the term that describes the product of electric arc furnaces and basic oxygen furnaces, prior to metallurgical refining and casting into semi-finished products, such as slabs, blooms, or billets. The Brussels-based World Steel Assn.’s monthly report totals the global carbon and carbon alloy steel output; Stainless steels and other specialty alloy steels are not included.

As usual, China’s raw steel production led all other nations’ output for February, reaching was 61.8 million metric tons, a decline of -2.8% from January’s total of 63,622 million metric tons. More notable, the February result topped China’s February 2012 output by 9.8%.

Japan, which ranks second to China among the world’s highest-volume steel producing nations, had a February raw-steel production total of 8.317 million metric tons of raw steel. That result was nearly even with the January total of 8.315 million metric tons. However, the current month trails the comparable figure for February 2012 by -3.4%.

South Korea’s steelmakers produced 4.981 million metric tons of raw steel during February, -13.4% less than during January (5.752 million metric tons), and a decrease of -8.5% versus the February 2012 total.