RECORD GLOBAL STAINLESS
STEEL OUTPUT FORECAST FOR 2013 - MEPS
Global crude stainless steel production is
forecast to achieve an all-time high figure of 36.4 million tonnes
in the calendar year, 2013. This would be 2.9 percent above the
previous record mark, set last year.
Stainless steelmaking in the established markets of the EU, United
States and the Far East remain below the pre-crisis peak of 2006.
Chinese production has more than tripled since that time.
Whilst output in most parts of the world is predicted to record
either moderate growth or contraction in 2013, Chinese stainless
steelmaking continues to expand at a greater rate than anywhere
else. A year-on-year increase of more than 7 percent is forecast for
2013, giving a total outturn of over 17 million tonnes.
The other established stainless steel producing nations in the Far
East are not faring so well, in competition with the burgeoning
Chinese industry. With subdued purchasing at home and in traditional
export markets, output in Taiwan and South Korea is predicted to
decrease this year, compared with 2012. The situation in Japan is
improving slightly and a marginal increase in crude stainless steel
production is anticipated, to give a total of over 3.1 million
There have been some positive results in economic indicators from
the United States. Output in the first half of 2013 has matched
expectations and we have uprated our forecast for the remainder of
the year, to give an annual total of more than 2 million tonnes – an
increase of over 2 percent, year-on-year.
Industrial activity in the European Union remains depressed. The
countries in the south of the continent have shown little sign of
recovery. Even in Germany, where the effects of the financial crisis
were offset by strong sales of cars and other consumer goods to
Asia, the economy has slowed. Our forecast for total 2013 production
has been revised downwards to 7.325 million tonnes, a reduction of
nearly 2 percent on last year’s figure.
The situation regarding Outokumpu’s divestment of the former Inoxum
plant at Terni, in Italy, has not been resolved. The deadline for
the sale – necessary to satisfy EU competition rules – has been
extended, as the Finnish group have not received any bids that they
find satisfactory. Whilst it is expected that production will
continue at Terni, whoever the new owners may be, it is clear that
there is overcapacity in the European stainless steel sector. At
least one of the leading players will have to reduce their
steelmaking capabilities in the medium term.
Source: MEPS -
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