Brussels, 3 June 2013. Based on preliminary data, global stainless crude steel production in the first quarter of 2013 was almost 9.4 million metric tonnes (Mt) according to the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF). Compared to the first quarter of 2012, this is an increase of 6.0%. However, all areas except China showed decreased production volumes in the year-on-year comparison.
The highest drop in year-on-year production was in the Asia excluding China area. Here production fell by 3.6% to 2.1 Mt compared to the first quarter of 2012. Eastern Europe reported a decline in stainless crude steel production of 3%. In Western Europe/Africa, stainless steel producers reduced production by 2.8% to 2.1 Mt. The Americas region achieved production of 0.6 mmt, almost the same as in the corresponding quarter of 2012.
Only China significantly increased production of stainless crude steel in the quarter, by 18.3% to 4.4 Mt. However, the Chinese authorities have revised some stainless steel statistics which may lead to these numbers being increased.
Table 1: Stainless crude steel production (in ‘000 metric tons)
|Region||Quarter||Q-o-Q +/- %||Quarter 1||Y-o-Y|
|Q4 2012||Q1 2013||2012||2013|
|Central and Eastern Europe||85||84||-0.6||87||84||-3.0|
|Asia (excluding China)||2,140||2,146||0.2||2,226||2,146||-3.6|
Source: International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF)
Comparing the final quarter of 2012 with the first three months of 2013 indicates that global stainless steel production levels are showing some improvement. In this comparison Western Europe/Africa (+19.5%) and The Americas (+10.3%) increased production considerably. Production in Asia (excluding China) was flat (+0.2%) while Eastern Europe (-0.6%) and China (-1.7%) apparently missed the production levels of the previous quarter. It should be noted that production levels were somewhat depressed in the last quarter of 2012.
The current perception is that markets will return to real-demand levels with some re-stocking in the second half of 2013. For the full year ISSF expects a slight increase in global stainless steel production.
Last modified: 03/06/2013