Third quarter stainless steel production surprisingly strong: sets all-time-high

Brussels, 17 January 2012. Preliminary figures released by the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) show that worldwide stainless steel crude steel production increased by 3.6% in the first nine months of 2011 compared to the corresponding period of 2010. Total production for the first three quarters of 2011 was an accumulated 24.2 million metric tons (mmt). Production reached 7.7 mmt in the third quarter – a new all-time-high for a third quarter. However, there are big differences in the performance of the individual regions.

Excluding China, stainless steel production in Asia decreased by 1.9% to 6.6 million metric tonnes (mmt) for the first nine months of 2011. However, the growth rates of the individual stainless-producing countries in Asia showed variations ranging from plus 10% in India, to minus 33% in Taiwan, China.

Mainland China increased its stainless steel production by 12.8% in the first three quarters of 2011 to 9.4 mmt. The country now accounts for around 39% of the world’s stainless steel production. This compares to the same period of 2010, when China’s market share was at about 36%. At the end of the third quarter of 2011, Asia (including China) accounted for two thirds of the world’s stainless steel production and the trend is increasing.

Western Europe/Africa is the third largest stainless steel producing area in the world. However, stainless steel production in the first three quarters of 2011 dropped slightly by 0.7%. Total production was 6 mmt for the first nine months of the year.

In The Americas region, stainless crude steel production decreased by 5.5% to 1.9 million tons over the first three quarters of the year. Production in the Central and Eastern Europe region showed an increase of 20.4%. However, total production for the year so far is just 0.3 mmt, an almost negligible volume.

Table 1:       Stainless crude steel production (in ‘000 metric tons):
First three quarters 2011 compared corresponding period of 2010

Region

Full Year

+/- %

First Nine Months

Y-o- Y
+/- %

2009

2010

2010

2011

Western Europe/Africa

6,449

7,875

22.1

6,017

5,978

-0.7

Central and Eastern Europe

237

340

43.6

252

303

20.4

The Americas

1,942

2,609

34.4

2,041

1,929

-5.5

Asia (excluding China)

7,472

9,011

20.6

6,718

6,593

-1.9

China

8,805

11,256

27.8

8,313

9,376

12.8

World total

24,904

31,090

24.8

23,341

24,179

3.6

Source: International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF)

Looking at the third quarter alone, production was the highest ever recorded for a third quarter. However, all of the increase came from the Asia region (including China). Both Asia and China itself produced more stainless in the third quarter of 2011 than in 2010.

Production in the Central/Eastern Europe region decreased compared to the second quarter of 2011, but was higher than in the third quarter of 2010. In both the Western Europe/Africa and the Americas regions, production decreased when compared to both the second quarter of 2011 and the third quarter of 2010.

Table 2:       Stainless crude steel production (in ‘000 metric tons):
Quarter-by-quarter comparison: 2011 and 2010

Region

Quarter 1

+/- % Y-o-Y

Quarter 2

+/- % Y-o-Y

Quarter 3

+/- % Y-o-Y

2010

2011

2010

2011

2010

2011

Western Europe/Africa

2,081

2,216

6.5

2,222

2,080

-6.4

1,715

1,683

-1.9

Central/Eastern Europe

73

85

16.8

89

114

26.9

89

104

16.8

The Americas

728

779

6.9

671

598

-10.9

641

553

-13.8

Asia (excluding China)

2,235

2,238

0.2

2,278

2,134

-6.3

2,205

2,220

0.7

China

2,607

3,076

18.0

2,862

3,129

9.3

2,844

3,170

11.5

World total

7,724

8,395

8.7

8,122

8,054

-0.8

7,494

7,730

3.1

Source: International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF)

 

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Published: 17/01/2012
Last modified: 09/05/2012

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