The output of stainless steel (on a crude basis) in China is expected to reach 14Mt in 2012, up 11.2% from 2011, according to the Stainless Steel Council of China Special Steel Enterprises Association (CSSC).

This is despite statistics from the CSSC showing that stainless steel output already slowed its pace of growth in 2011 due to a low utilisation rate of producers. Last year, stainless steel production was 12.59Mt, an increase of 1.33Mt, or 11.86%, over 2010. The production increase and growth rate was 2.45Mt and 27.84%, respectively, in 2010 compared with 2009.

Of last year’s total output, 56.87%, or 7.16Mt, was Cr-Ni steel (300 series), which grew by 1.34Mt over the previous year. Output of Cr steels (400 series) decreased to 3.04Mt from 3.13Mt and accounted for 24.16% of the total. Cr-Mn steel (200 series) output was 2.39Mt, up 3.45% y-o-y and accounting for 18.97% of total production.

In 2011, China imported 901kt of stainless steel, down 15.6% from 201, and exported 2.24Mt, up 46% y-o-y, giving a net export at 1.34Mt.

Apparent consumption of stainless steel in China totalled 9.74Mt in 2011, up 3.57% y-o-y. The growth rate was 10.79% lower than that for 2010. Industry insiders say that China’s total stainless steel capacity reached 20.4Mt in 2011, and many newly built capacity will start production in 2012. Additionally, apparent demand of stainless steel is expected to reach 11.79Mt in 2012.

Source: China Metals e-mail