Brussels — Preliminary figures released by the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) show that global stainless crude steel production increased by +5.5 per cent for the first 9 months of 2013 y–o–y. Production for the first nine months of 2013 totaled 28 million metric tons (mmt), up 1.4 mmt in comparison to the same period of 2012. Production for the 3rd quarter 2013 was at 9.3 mmt, a new all–time 3rd quarter high. However significant differences in regional development prevail.
Asia excluding China recorded a stainless crude steel production of 6.5 mmt during quarters 1–3 of 2013 corresponding to a y–o–y decrease of -1.4 per cent. The development of this region shows a mixed picture ranging from +5 per cent (India) to -6 per cent (Taiwan, China). In the PR of China stainless steel production increased by 1.9 mmt or +15.7 per cent to 13.7 mmt during the first nine months in comparison to 2012. China now accounts for roughly half of global production.
The development of Western Europe/Africa was distinctly different with a y–o–y decrease of -5.6 per cent (-0.336 mmt) and a total stainless steel production of 5.7 mmt for the first 9 months of 2013. Here too the development is heterogeneous fluctuating from +1 to +3 per cent in Belgium and France to double digit negative values in Italy and Germany with the UK trailing behind at -15 per cent.
Stainless steel production in the Americas for the first three quarters of 2013 is stable in comparison to last year at 1.8 mmt with an upward trend during this period. Central and Eastern Europe display a strong growth at +8 per cent and 0.30 mmt, up from 0.27 mmt.
Q3 of 2013 was stronger than Q2 thus not following the usual seasonal pattern. In the face of regional economic developments which in general show a strong Q2 and weaker Q3 this is most likely a singular quarter on quarter compensational effect. Western Europe/Africa and Central and Eastern Europe are the exceptions displaying the usual seasonal downturn.
Source: International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF)