China pushes global stainless steel production up in 2012

World stainless steel output hit a new high in 2012, as increased production in China offset negative growth in other regions.

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Total global steel production rose by 5.2% year-on-year to 35.4 million tonnes, according to preliminary figures released by the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF).

China was the sole region to see an increase, with production up by 14.2% year-on-year to 16.1 million tonnes in 2012. The figure accounted for 45.5% of the world’s production.

Production in Asia (excluding China) was down 0.6% on the year at 8.7 million tonnes, although Asian stainless steel producers (including China) comprised 70% of the global total.

Japan reduced production by 2.5% to 3.2 million tonnes over the year, while Korea and India saw respective growths of 0.5% and 5.3% in 2012.

Western Europe and Africa, the second-largest stainless steel producing region after Asia, saw production drop by 0.7% year-on-year to 7.8 million tonnes.

Central and Eastern Europe saw the largest drop in 2012, down 8.2% year-on-year. The region produced just 0.4 million tonnes, an amount ISSF described as ‘negligible’ in global terms.

Stainless production in the Americas totalled 2.4 million tonnes last year, down 4.7% year-on-year.

The negative growth was mainly due to de-stocking, ISSF explained.

200-series stainless products have grown in importance and now account for a higher percentage of total production.

200-series output climbed to 7.5 million tonnes in 2012, compared with 4.4 million tonnes in 2011. In 2011 it accounted for 13.8% of stainless production, in 2012 its share rose to 21.1%.

This article has been amended from its original form published on May 24 to reflect the correct output figures for 200-series stainless steel in 2012 and 2011.