The International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) expects that stainless crude steel production in 2007 will be higher than the record-level of production in 2006, mostly driven by recovery from 2005 and some restocking.
The forecast was released during ISSF’s Annual Conference in Kyoto, Japan.
ISSF expects that global stainless crude steel production will reach 29.8 million metric tons (mmt) in 2007. This represents a rise of 5.1 % on 2006 production. The growth rate of 5.1% takes into account the very high level of supply which occurred in many countries during 2006 and caused a significant build-up of stainless steel stock at service centres and fabricators.
Actual global stainless steel production in 2006 increased by 16.7 % to 28.4 mmt compared to 2005. This more than compensated for the downturn in production during 2005 (-1,1%).
Asia is by the far largest stainless steel producing area in the world. During 2006, Asia again showed the strongest increased stainless steel production by almost 21%. ISSF expects further high growth of approximately 12% in 2007 to almost 16.9 mmt. In 2006, all Asian countries except South Korea contributed to this growth.
In 2007, China will be the driving force followed by India. ISSF expects all other Asian countries to show flat or decreasing production. China will continue to expand its stainless steel melting activities. China became the world’s leading stainless steel producer in 2006 and its lead over Japan, the second-highest stainless steel producer, is expected to increase in 2007.
Production in Western Europe/Africa is expected to decline by 2.7% to 9.7 mmt in 2007. The decline will be caused by stock corrections and stronger material inflow from Asia. The region was hit by voluntary production losses in the second half of 2005. This was more than compensated for in 2006 when production increased by 13.4% to 10 mmt.
For the Americas, ISSF expects a decrease in stainless steel production in 2007 of 3.4% to 2.9 mmt. In 2006, the region increased stainless crude steel production by nearly 10% to almost 3 mmt.