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Home > MEPS Steel News - 01.05.2013

CHINA’S UNDER REPORTED STAINLESS STEEL PRODUCTION IN 2012 REVEALED

Official figures for global crude stainless steel production in 2012 show output reaching an all-time high of 35.37 million tonnes. This is 4.9 percent above the previous record, which was set in 2011. The latest estimate has been raised by around 770,000 tonnes compared with the numbers released three months ago. This is largely because the Chinese authorities have adjusted their figures upwards, as they continue to try to correct that country's problem of under-reporting of stainless steel output.

The latest estimate of China's outturn in 2012 is nearly 16.1 million tonnes, which equates to an advance of 13.4 percent over the previous year's result. The rate of growth in China will slow considerably, in 2013. However, we predict output climbing by approximately 6.9 percent in this year, reaching around 17.2 million tonnes.

We forecast a moderate increment of 3.8 percent in worldwide production in 2013, giving a total return of 36.7 million tonnes.

MEPS predicts that the negative growth of last year will be reversed in most of the established stainless steelmaking countries. Output in the EU, in 2013, is forecast to improve by just 0.6 percent, to 7.5 million tonnes. At the time of writing, the future of the Terni plant in Italy, following the merger between Outokumpu and Inoxum, has not been finalised. The outcome of this story may well be further cuts in European stainless steel making capacity. However, this will not affect production forecasts in the short term, as the mills are currently producing at well below their maximum capabilities.

The USA, where 2012's outturn was a disappointing 4.5 percent down on the previous year, is expected to return to a positive trend, achieving 1.0 percent growth, for a total of 2.0 million tonnes. Industrial activity in Japan is likely to be lifted by the government's economy-boosting measures. As a result, we foresee stainless steel production increasing by 2.2 percent, to 3.2 million tonnes. The exception is Taiwan, where the negative drift is likely to persist. After dropping significantly in 2012, by more than 8 percent, year-on-year, we anticipate output will continue to fall, albeit marginally, to 1.1 million tonnes, this year.

Source: MEPS -
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