Korea's exports of steel products rose to a record high last year, buoyed by rising overseas demand and increased production capacity, according to the Korea Iron and Steel Association (KOSA).

Local steelmakers, led by leader Posco, exported 28.48Mt last year, up 9.3% from a year earlier.

Exports accounted for 39.7% of total steel output. On the other hand, domestic firms imported some 22.96Mt of steel products last year, falling 8.5% over the same period, the association said.

The increased exports were attributable to increased production capacity and overseas demand.

The KOSA predicted that the nation's steel exports would rise 4.1% to 29.65Mt in 2012, while steel imports are expected to decline 4.6% to 21.91Mt this year.

South Korea produced 71.62Mt of steel products last year, up 8.6% from a year earlier, as they boosted production facilities, KOSA said.

Hyundai Steel Co and other local steelmakers have boosted output capacity over the past few years to meet rising demand and better compete with foreign rivals.

Source Daily The Korea Times, Seoul; 11 Jan 2012