Annual global crude stainless steel production for 2017 is estimated to have totalled an all-time high of around 48 million tonnes, which represents a year-on-year increase of 4.9 percent. MEPS forecasts a further rise in worldwide outturn of nearly 5 percent, in 2018, to a new peak of 50.3 million tonnes.

Recently-issued official Chinese output figures were significantly higher than earlier expectations. The annual total at close to 26 million tonnes represents 54 percent of global crude stainless steel production. A further escalation of around one million tonnes is predicted, in China, in 2018.

Crude stainless steel output continued its strong recovery in Taiwan, in 2017. The estimated outturn of 1.375 million tonnes equates to an upturn of nearly 9 percent, compared with the year earlier figure. More moderate growth of around 4 percent, is anticipated for this year.

South Korea production also developed strongly, last year. The estimated annual total of 2.4 million tonnes represents an increase of nearly 6 percent, year-on-year. Further, steady expansion, of around 4 percent, is predicted for 2018.

Japanese crude stainless steel output, in 2017, is projected to be 3.15 million tonnes, which amounts to a moderate increase of just under 2 percent, compared with the previous year’s total. A similar rate of growth is forecast for this year.

Recovering industrial activity helped stainless steel output, in the United States, to expand by around 8 percent, in 2017, to reach a total of around 2.7 million tonnes. However, demand eased, in recent months, and MEPS’ forecast for growth, in 2018, is more conservative, at less than 2 percent.

Output in the European Union continues to recover at a slow but steady rate, of around 2 percent per year. An outturn of 7.4 million tonnes is estimated, for 2017. A further increase, of 150,000 tonnes, is predicted for 2018.

Crude stainless steel output is expanding more rapidly in a number of countries in the “Others” category. New production capacity, notably in India and Indonesia, contributed to estimated growth of more than 12 percent, in this group of countries, in 2017. As steelmaking at these new facilities ramps up, a substantial upturn, of around 20 percent, is predicted for this year.

Source: MEPS – Stainless Steel Review – January 2018 Issue