GLOBAL raw-steel production totalled 1.244 billion metric tons in 2006, with China by far and away the leading producer nation with 422.7 million tons of output last year. The new total improved on 2005’s global production volume (1.141 billion metric tons) by over 102 million metric tons. The results are compiled and released by the International Iron and Steel Institute in its 2007 World Steel in Figures report. The top ten producing nations remained the same from the 2005 rankings, with the only change being that Italy moved up past Brazil from tenth to ninth in 2006. However, China increased its raw-steel production total by nearly 70 million tons from 2005 to 2006, and its new lead over second-place Japan increased to 306.5 million metric tons.