Raw steel production declined slightly from December 2013 to January 2014, falling 0.4% to total 129.8 million metric tons in the 65 countries covered by the World Steel Association’s monthly tally. That new total was 0.4% less than the result for January 2013.

The same group reported that raw steel capacity utilization during January 2014 rose 0.2% from December to 74.4%, which was 2.5% lower than during January 2013.

The Brussels-based World Steel Assn. maintains raw-steel production and capacity utilization data from its members in 65 nations, which it reports on a monthly basis. Raw (or “crude”) steel is the primary output 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 report includes data on carbon and carbon alloy steel output; stainless steels and other specialty alloy steels are not included.

The most surprising figure in the January report is the continuing cuts in China’s raw steel output. China is by far and away the world’s largest steelmaking nation, with total output in January amounting to 61.6 million metric tons. But, continuing a strategic reduction that started late last year, Chinese producers’ output fell 1.2% from December, and 3.2% from January 2013.

China’s raw steel production for January 2014 was 61.6 million metric tons, down by 3.2% compared to January 2013.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan produced 9.4 million metric tons of raw steel in January, an increase of 0.7% over December, 6.1% over January 2013.

South Korea’s raw steel out was 6.0 million metric tons in January, up by 3.1% over December, 1.9% over January 2013.

Across 28 nations of the European Union, total raw steel production was 14.4 million metric tons in January, a rise of 9.8% over December and 7.3% over January 2013. Within that region, Germany produced 3.7 million metric tons of raw steel in January, 6.0% more than in December and 2.2% more than in January 2013.

Italy produced 2.2 million metric tons of raw steel last month, barely ahead (0.01%) of the December total but up by 27.8% compared to January 2013.

Turkish steelmakers produced 2.8 million metric tons of raw steel during January 2014, falling 2.4% behind December output, and down by -0.9% versus January 2013.

Russia produced 5.9 million metric tons of raw steel last month, an increase of 1.6% over December and 4.1% more than in January 2013. In the Ukraine, raw steel production totaled 2.5 million metric tons in January 2014, falling 8.3% behind the December total, and 13.5% less than in January 2013.

U.S. steelmakers produced 7.3 million metric tons of raw steel in January, 1.8% more than in December but 0.5% less than in January 2013.

In Brazil raw steel production for January 2014 was 2.7 million metric tons, 3.1% more than during December, but 1.4% less than in January 2013.