Data released at an international conference confirms that the South African stainless steel industry remains one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Annual growth in domestic apparent consumption has averaged over 18% for the past 15 years, compared to the global average of around 6%. Statistics published by Sassda (Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association) show that this momentum was maintained, although at a lower rate, during year 2000. South African apparent consumption grew from 118,700 tons in 1999 to 123,300 tons. âOf particular significance is the fact that exports of stainless steel fabricated products rose by 10% from 56,200 tons to 62,000 tons during 2000,â? says Dave Slater, executive director of Sassda. âFor the first time in the history of this industrial sector, sales of fabricated products into the export market exceeded demand for fabricated products in the local market.â? Slater says the statistics show that exports of stainless steel welded pipe and tube have increased by a third. The automotive products export category, including catalytic converters, exhaust systems and flexible connectors, has more than doubled between 1996 and 2000. Tank containers are still a major success story and domestic manufacturing consumption of 15,300 tons in 1996 increased to 18,400 tons in 2000. South Africa now holds more than 50% of the world market.