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News

Global stainless steel still set for record output in 2004

MEPS (International) : 28 October, 2004  (New Product)
Stainless steel production will reach another peak value in 2004. We estimate Western world steel making at 21.25 million tonnes. With revised figures for Chinese supply, this equates to global melting at 23.65 million tonnes.
EU output in the first half of this year was up on the equivalent period in 2003. We expect this situation to continue into the second period - leaving the total figure for 2004 at just above 8.6 million tonnes. This represents a 2.3 percent increase on the previous twelve months.

Demand in Japan is steady but not exciting. Production is restricted due to the combination of limited raw material supply, high costs of alloys and consolidation within the industry. We forecast a slight fall in output this year.

US consumption is fair. Stainless crude steel making is slightly up this year and should remain that way for the full twelve month period - showing a gain of 1.5 percent.

A degree of oversupply is being noted in Asia. This is partly the result of increasing supply from the three major producing countries in the region. The full benefit of the POSCO investment in stainless capacity is now shining through. We envisage production in 2004 climbing to almost 2.2 million tonnes. This equates to a rise of almost 20 percent on the 2003 outturn. The Taiwanese market is slow. Nevertheless, we expect output to be slightly higher this year. Modest improvements are also anticipated from Brazil,South Africa and India in the 'others' category in our table.

Production figures in China have been the subject of debate in recent years. MEPS has erred on the side of caution when discussing them. We now note that World Bureau of Metal Statistics are reporting the higher figures in their latest report for 2003. Consequently, we are incorporating these values into our estimates for global steel manufacturing. Further growth in output is inevitable in China in the medium term.

Source: MEPS - Stainless Steel Review
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