The production of crude steel has risen at an astonishing speed during the 20th century, now the production level reaching 800 million per year.
In the 20th century, the average annual consumption of steel increased at a rate of 3.3%. 37% of the world's steel was produced by the United States in 1900. With the industrial development after the war, in the early 21st century, Asian steel production accounted for 40% of world steel, European (including the former Soviet Union) steel production reached 37% and North America approached 15.5%.
Until the end of the last century, the major growth of steel production was still in developing countries, such as China, Brazil, India, as well as newly developed South Korea. In the initial years, China's steel production and consumption grew steadily. Moreover, the steel industry in China developed at full speed in the closing years of the 20 century, being the leader of the rest of the world. The steel production of China was 220.1 million tonnes in 2003, 272.2 million tonnes in 2004 and 349.36 million tons in 2005. Compared with the production in 2005 of Japan at 112.47 million tons, the USA at 93.90 million tons and Russia at 66.15 million tons, China's production was much higher.
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