STEEL production in the UK has dropped by almost 43 per cent in a 12-month period.
But the figures for the European Union as a whole show an even bigger fall.
In March this year, UK steel output totalled 749,000 tonnes, down from 1.3-million tonnes in March last year.
But the total was up on the 650,000 tonnes produced in February this year.
World crude steel production for the 66 countries reporting to the World Steel Association was 92-million tonnes in March, 23.5 per cent lower than March last year.
World production in the first quarter of 2009 was 264-million tonnes, a decrease of 22.8 per cent compared with the first quarter of 2008.
European Union production was down by 43.8 per cent compared with the same quarter of last year, while North America showed a 52.1 per cent decline.
China showed a slight increase, while all the other major steel-producing countries showed a decrease in the first quarter of 2009.