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By Harpreet Bhal
LONDON, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Global crude steel production rose in July, reversing direction after a slight fall in June, data from industry body Worldsteel showed on Tuesday, with the sector anticipating a pick-up in demand following the end of the slow summer period.
Global output rose by 2 percent to 130 million tonnes in July, compared to the same month a year earlier, according to the World Steel Association (Worldsteel).
The bulk of the increase was registered in top producer China, where output for July rose 4.2 percent year-on-year to 61.7 million tonnes.
"In China production has increased as the construction season is set to start and people are hopeful that the pickup in rebar and wire rod buying will justify the increase in production," said Kashaan Kamal, analyst at Metal Bulletin Research.
"But China has struggled to bring inventory levels down and the increase in crude steel production isn't helping. With demand around the world trending lower.. a lot of the material is not finding buyers."
Global output showed 0.7 percent growth in May and a 0.1 percent drop in June as the global economic slowdown put pressure on the outlook for demand and dragged prices lower.
Worldsteel forecast in April that global steel consumption growth was expected to slow in 2012, hit by weaker economic growth in top consumer China and uncertainties about the debt crisis in the euro zone.
In the world's second-largest steelmaker Japan, output rose 1.2 percent in July compared with the same period a year ago, to 9.3 million tonnes while in the United States production rose by 0.9 percent year-on-year to 7.4 million tonnes.
In the European Union area, weak demand and uncertainty about the region's debt crisis prompted a 4.9 percent drop in output to 14.9 million tonnes. (Reporting by Harpreet Bhal; Editing by Jason Neely; Editing by Anthony Barker)