Stainless output to rise by 4.5%

Production of stainless steel will rise to 19.75 million tonnes in 2003, according to Stainless Steel Review (September 2003). This represents year-on-year growth of 4.5%, which is close to the long term average for the industry. If we add to this approximately 750,000 tonnes produced in China and other parts of Europe, the figure will rise to 20.5 million tonnes. EU stainless steelmaking is expected to expand by 300,000 tonnes this year (3.6%). The boom in exports to China has now receded. The second half of the year will be much less hectic than the first. Several steelmakers indicated significant cutbacks in the third quarter. However, a return to reasonable output is anticipated for the final trimester. Chinese consumption has also given a massive boost to Asian supply. Japanese production is expected to grow this year – albeit by a small amount. The new melting unit at Posco in South Korea has been ramped up quite quickly. A significant rise in output is therefore anticipated in the second half of this year. US production is stifled by depressed home consumption, and there is little prospect for any substantial improvement in the coming months. Output improvements are expected in Brazil. South African export sales should lead to higher production. Canadian sales are heavily dependent upon the US market and no increase is anticipated. Supplies from the rest of Western Europe are likely to be steady. (From MEPS (International) Ltd,

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