Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (SASSDA) has reported that 2008 proved to be a tough one for the stainless steel industry. The data showed that despite a good start to the year, the final few months proved difficult and the industry took a knock. Figures showed that apparent consumption was recorded at 185,647tns, down by 5.8% YoY. This is on the back of reduced primary local supply, which was down 2.83% at 132,448tns and reduced finished product imports, which were down 45.42% at 10,846tns. According to SASSDA, it was reported by research group Antaike that China’s primary nickel output would grow by 11% in 2009 to 230,000 tonnes and that Chinese stainless steel output was forecast to fall by six percent for the country. It added that in Japan, stainless steel prices were rebounding as demand returned to September 2008 levels before the financial crisis.