South African ferrochrome producer Merafe Resources (MRFJ.J: Quote) said on Tuesday output from its chrome joint venture with Xstratra (XTA.L: Quote) fell 76 percent compared with the same period last year.

Merafe said some 80 percent of its annual production capacity remained suspended during the quarter on the back of a slump in demand. Prices for ferrochrome have dropped due to the global economic downturn caused by the global financial crisis.

Merafe said the indicative average ferrochrome price during the quarter was $0.79 per pound, compared with $1.21 the previous year.

The global ferrochrome industry has slashed output by around two-thirds in recent months in response to slumping demand.

Most producers in South Africa -- the world's biggest producer of ferrochrome, used in stainless steel to prevent corrosion -- have sharply cut back on production.

(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak)

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