World stainless steel output up 12,5% in Q3

6th January 2010 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

World stainless steel production started to show a recovery in the third quarter of 2009, with most regions increasing their output in the three-month period, the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) reported.

Third quarter stainless steel output increased by 12,5% to 7,06-million tons, when compared with the same period of 2008.

However, production volumes for the first nine months of 2009 reflected the volatile economic conditions of the year, with output decreasing by 15%. According to preliminary figures released by the ISSF this week, global stainless steel production fell to 17,9-million tons in the nine-month period, compared with 21,07-million tons a year earlier.

In 2007, global stainless steel output was 27,8-million tons, which decreased by 1,9-million tons in 2008 to 25,9-million tons.

Excluding China, stainless steel production in Asia was five-million tons in the first nine months of 2009, which was a year-on-year decline of 23%, owing to lower output in India and Japan, while production remained flat in Korea and Taiwan.

Stainless production in China was 6,6-million tons in the first nine months of 2009, an increase of 19,1% on the same period of 2008. The ISSF reported that China accounted for almost 37% of the world’s stainless production. At the end of the third quarter of 2008, China’s market share was 26%.

The Western Europe/Africa region produced 4,6-million tons of stainless during the first nine months of 2009, a decrease of 31,5%. Production also declined in the Americas region to 1,5-million tons, a 22,9% drop on the same period of 2008.

The volume of stainless produced in the Central and Eastern Europe region dropped by 38,23% to 0,2-million tons for the period.

The ISSF reported that more austenitic stainless were produced in the period, while production of ferritic stainless had declined because of a global drop in automobile manufacturing, which accounted for a large volume of chromium stainless.

The market share of chromium-manganese stainless steels has decreased over the course of 2009 owing to the recovery of stainless steel production outside China.