According to the preliminary figures released by the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF), stainless steel crude steel production has decreased in the first half of 2008 by 1.8% compared to the same period of 2007. The decrease was 2.9% in the first quarter but just 0.6% in the second. All major regions have shown lower production volumes in the first half of this year. In the Asia region, stainless steel production declined by 1.5% to 8.3mmt in the first half of 2008. All stainless steel producing countries reduced their production except China. For individual countries, the rates of decrease range between 6 and 13%. With an increase of 10%, China is the only country in the region to increase stainless steel production to a total of 3.9mmt in the first six months of this year. The second largest producing area, Western Europe/Africa reported a 0.8% decrease in stainless steel production during the first six months of 2008. Total production was 4.9mmt for the half year. In The Americas, stainless crude steel production declined by 6.4% to 1.4 mmt in the first six months of 2008. Production in the Eastern Europe region showed a decrease of 4.3%, or 0.2mmt on a low level of volume. A quarter-by-quarter analysis shows a 2.9% decline in production in the first quarter of 2008. In the second quarter of 2008 the decline is just 0.6% compared with the same period of 2007. Total world stainless crude steel production was 7.4mmt in both the first and second quarters of 2008.