World steel output fell by 8 per cent last year as the economic crisis pounded major producing countries, but emerging powers China and India bucked the trend, an industry group says.

World crude steel production reached 1.22 billion tonnes in 2009, with big drops in output in North America, South America, the European Union and the ex-Soviet bloc, the World Steel Association said in a statement on Friday.

China's output soared to 567.8 million tonnes, a 13.5 per cent rise, which represents a record annual crude steel production figure for a single country, the group said.

The Asian economic powerhouse increased its share of global steel production to 47 per cent last year from 38 per cent in 2008, by far the largest in the world.

India's crude steel production rose by 2.8 per cent to 56.6 million tonnes and the Middle East also showed positive growth, the association said.

The sector suffered in other parts of the world.

Output in Japan, the world's second biggest producer, sank by 26.3 per cent to 87.5 million tonnes.

Production sank by 36.4 per cent to 58.1 million tonnes in the United States, 29.7 per cent to 139.1 million tonnes in the European Union and 12.5 per cent to 59.9 million tonnes in Russia.