Stainless Steel Crude Production on the Rise

Global stainless steel crude steel production has risen 44.3% in the first half of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009, according to preliminary figures released by International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF).

Total production for the first six months of 2010 was 15.6 million metric tons (mmt). All major regions showed significant higher production volumes in the first half year 2010. Remarkably China reported a lower than average production increase.

This never seen before strong magnitude of stainless steel production growth is reflecting several facts, according to ISSF. 1) A clear statistical basics effect after the dramatically decreased production in the first half of 2009 due to the world-wide economic crisis. 2) A much stronger and quicker than anticipated recovery of the global economy 3)A strong re-stocking business – partially combined with speculative buying. 4) A re-filling of the mill-internal supply-chain.

In Asia with China excluded, stainless steel production increased by 46% to 4.3 million tons. All stainless steel producing countries significantly increased production in the first half of 2010. Growth rates were between 20 and 80%. China increased the stainless steel production in the period of review by 35% to 5.5 mmt. Western Europe/Africa reported a 49% increase in stainless steel production during the first six months of 2010. Total production was 4.3 mmt in this period.

In The Americas region, stainless crude steel production grew by 68% to 1.4 million tons in the first half of the year. Production in the Eastern Europe region showed an increase of 63%, with less than 0.2 mmt continuously on an almost negligible low volume level.

Comparing quarter by quarter shows a different development of stainless steel melting activities, ISSF said. All regions – except the Americas – showed further increased melting volumes in quarter 2 compared to the previous quarter. Asia and China increased their production quarter on quarter by 2% and 10% respectively. EuroAfrica reported a 7% increase in the same time. At the same time the Americas reduced production by 8% q-o-q. The globally achieved volume of 8 mmt is an all-time-high production level.

The split by main stainless steel grades has seen a recovered market share of ferritic steels. This clearly reflects the strong production recovery in the global automotive industry. The market share of austenitic CrNi stainless steels has slightly decreased with the average of 2009 due to the stronger development of the ferritics. The market share of chrome-manganese steels has increased somewhat due to the better domestic market demand in China.

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