Preliminary figures released by the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) show that stainless steel crude steel production has decreased in the first half of 2008 by 1.8% compared to the same period of 2007. The decrease was 2.9% in the first quarter but just 0.6% in the second. All major regions have shown lower production volumes in the first half of this year.
In the Asia region, stainless steel production declined by 1.5% to 8.3 mmt in the first half of 2008. All stainless steel producing countries reduced their production except China. For individual countries, the rates of decrease range between 6 and 13%. With an increase of 10%, China is the only country in the region to increase stainless steel production to a total of 3.9 mmt in the first six months of this year.
The second largest producing area, Western Europe/Africa reported a 0.8% decrease in stainless steel production during the first six months of 2008. Total production was 4.9 mmt for the half year.
In The Americas, stainless crude steel production declined by 6.4% to 1.4 mmt in the first six months of 2008. Production in the Eastern Europe region showed a decrease of 4.3%, or 0.2 mmt on a low level of volume.
A quarter-by-quarter analysis shows a 2.9% decline in production in the first quarter of 2008. It should be noted that production in the first and second quarters of 2007 was extremely strong. In the second quarter of 2008 the decline is just 0.6% compared with the same period of 2007. Total world stainless crude steel production was 7.4 mmt in both the first and second quarters of 2008.