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Spurt in stainless production: China and USA lead the way

Global – Global melt shop production of stainless steel surged 14.5% year on year in the opening quarter of 2017 although the total of 11.763 million tonnes was 3.5% shy of the 12.193 million tonnes produced in the closing three months of 2016.

Figures from the International Stainless Steel Forum show that China was responsible for around 53% of the first-quarter world output total with its 6.225 million tonnes – an increase of 19.4%, or more than 1 million tonnes, over the same period last year. Production throughout Asia (excluding China and South Korea) climbed 6.5% year on year to 1.992 million tonnes while Europe’s total was 6.1% higher at 1.98 million tonnes. However, the largest output spurt was reserved for the USA with its 36.2% increase from 530 000 tonnes in the opening quarter of 2016 to 721 000 tonnes.

In the latest Mirror publication, BIR stainless steel & special alloys committee chairman Joost Van Kleef warned that ‘China is again exporting its oversupply of stainless’. He also noted that stainless scrap values ‘are on the high side relative to primary raw materials’ and so there exists ‘a high probability of a less attractive price environment during the third and fourth quarters’.

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