UNITED KINGDOM May 05 2016 3:08 PM
LONDON (Scrap Register): Worldwide crude stainless steel production in 2015 totalled just over 41.5 million tonnes. This represents a decrease of 0.3 percent, compared with the peak figure, achieved in the previous year. MEPS predicts that global output will grow by around 1.1 percent, in 2016, to reach a new all-time high mark of 42 million tonnes.
Outturn fell, slightly, year-on-year, in most of the established stainless steelmaking countries and regions. Output in the developing nations, continued to expand. We forecast that production will recover, to return increased tonnages in 2016, in all areas, except China.
Following many years of rapid expansion, Chinese output peaked, in 2014, at 21.7 million tonnes. This equates to 52 percent of the global outturn, in that year. In 2006, China had produced only 5.3 million tonnes, or 18 percent, of global crude stainless steel.
Having been a net importer, in the early part of the twenty-first century, China has increased its production capacity, in recent years, to a point far in excess of its own requirements. Much of this surplus material has been exported, often at very low prices, compared with prevailing market values. In response, many governments around the world have introduced antidumping measures against Chinese imports. With export opportunities thus reduced, and domestic economic growth slowing, the country’s stainless steel output fell by 0.6 percent, year-on-year, in 2015. MEPS predicts a further, small decrease, this year.
Following lower production figures, last year, compared with those in 2014, we forecast output to recover and record positive growth in the European Union, Japan and the United States. In the latter country, in particular, a healthy increment of more than 5 percent is anticipated. This would take the annual total to its highest point in ten years, at around 2.45 million tonnes.
South Korea bucked the trend of the traditional stainless steel producing nations, by achieving growth of around 10 percent, year-on-year, in 2015. The estimated annual output, at more than 2.2 million tonnes, represents the country’s highest total since 2006. More modest expansion, of approximately 2 percent, is predicted for this year.
Taiwan’s annual production has hovered around the 1.1 million tonnes mark for several years. The 2015 figure showed no change from the outturn recorded twelve months earlier. A moderate increase, of just over one percent, is forecast for this year.