Despite weaker first-quarter stainless steel production, the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) said on Thursday it was still forecasting a slight improvement in 2012 output.
Global stainless steel production declined by 2.8% year-on-year to 8.6-million tons in the first three months of 2012, with all areas showing a decline.
The Americas reported the biggest decline with a 22% year-on-year drop to 607 000 t, followed by a 14.8% decline in Central and Eastern Europe to 76 000 t.
The Western Europe/Africa region’s stainless steel output dipped by 0.3% to 2.2-million tons.
China’s stainless steel production fell by 1.2% to 3.4-million tons, while other Asian countries reported a decrease of 0.6% to 2.2-million tons.
There is some improvement in production when the first quarter of 2012 is compared to the last three months of 2011. Western Europe and Africa showed a 16.5% increase, the Americas a 9% increase and Asia, excluding China, showed a 2.3% increase in production.
Eastern Europe’s quarter-on-quarter production rate declined by 9.8% and China showed a 5% decline. Overall, stainless steel production was up 2.7% in the first quarter, compared to the quiet final quarter of 2011.
ISSF stated that it did not expect the negative growth rates to continue for the remainder of 2012.
“The current perception is that markets will be driven by real-demand and some restocking will occur in the second half of the year,” it stated.