Stainless production grows 3.3% in 2011
The International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) has released preliminary data which indicates that stainless steel production grew by 3.3% in 2011. Total production was 32.1 million metric tonnes (Mt), a new record for a single year.
Although there was some destocking noted during the third quarter of 2011, this was partially compensated during the final three months of the year. The increase in 2011 production comes on top of a 25% increase in 2010 which followed the economic crisis of 2008/2009. The recovery of the industry proves that a century after its discovery and commercialisation, stainless steel still has enormous potential for growth. Not all of the stainless producing regions of the world have developed at the same pace in 2011. Excluding China, production in the Asia region declined by 2.7% to 8.8 Mt during 2011. In Taiwan, China production declined by 20.6%. Production in Japan declined by 5.3% to 3.2 Mt. By comparison, Korea (+5.3%) and India (+7.0%) increased their production of stainless during the year. China has remained the driving force in stainless steel production with growth of 11.9% in 2011. The country produced 12.6 Mt of stainless during the year. Including China, Asian production now accounts for 66.5% of all the stainless steel produced in the world. Stainless steel production in the Western Europe/Africa region largely stagnated during 2011 with volume of just under 7.9 Mt. Growth rates of individual countries in the region ranged from -5% to +18%. In the Central and Eastern Europe region, production rose by 14.1% to 0.4 Mt, although volume is almost negligible in a global context. In the Americas, stainless production rose to 2.5 Mt, an increase of 4.7% compared to 2010. Comparing production for each quarter to 2010 shows that there were very different growth rates in the regions over the course of 2011. This reflects growing concerns about general global economic development and the destocking that occurred during the year. For example, in the first quarter of 2011 production grew by 8.7% as stainless steel stocks were replenished. Destocking took place in the second quarter (-0.8%), while the last two quarters of 2011 were relatively stock neutral, although in some regions destocking did occur.
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