Stainless steel crude steel production worldwide increased "tremendously" in the first half of 2010, up 44.3% compared to the same period of 2009, according to preliminary figures from the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF).
Total production for the first six months of 2010 was 15.6 million metric tons (mmt). All major regions showed significantly higher production volumes, but, an ISSF statement said, "Remarkably China reported a lower than average production increase."
ISSF characterized the growth as unprecedented and reflects several factors:
• "A clear statistical basics effect after the dramatically decreased production in the first half of 2009 due to the world-wide economic crisis."
• "A much stronger and quicker than anticipated recovery of the global economy."
• "A strong re-stocking business – partially combined with speculative buying."
• "A re-filling of the mill-internal supply-chain."
In Asia, with China excluded, stainless steel production increased by 46% to 4.3 million tons; all stainless steel producing countries significantly increased production in the first half of 2010. Growth rates were between 20% and 80%. China increased stainless steel production by 35% to 5.5 mmt.
Western Europe/Africa reported a 49% increase in stainless steel production. Total production was 4.3 mmt.
In The Americas region, stainless crude steel production grew by 68% to 1.4 million tons in the first half of the year.
Production in the Eastern Europe region showed an increase of 63%, with less than 0.2 mmt.
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