A report by Sheffield, UK-based MEPS states that worldwide total crude stainless steel output in 2013 reached an all-time high of 38.13Mt, exceeding the last peak achieved the previous year by 7.8%.

According to MEPS, global stainless steel production will grow by a further 3.6% this year and will reach a new record of 39.5Mt.

MEPS' Stainless Steel Review claims that global outturn in 2013 was higher than previously forecast. However, production in the EU, South Korea and Taiwan was lower than in 2012. US and Japanese output began to trend upwards but remained 'significantly below peak pre-crisis figures of 2006'.

Production in China and other developing nations is expanding at a faster pace than in the established stainless steelmaking countries.

Chinese output climbed quicker than predicted, to total almost 19Mt last year. While the rate of growth is expected to slow this year, the forecast outturn of 19.75Mt represents exactly half of all global production.

Output in countries in the “Others” category is predicted to increase by over 6% in 2014 to reach 3.825Mt.

"While there are signs of economic recovery in the EU, producers in this region have lost market share globally," claims MEPS. "Output in 2013 was down by 4% year-on-year, at less than 7.2Mt and a moderate recovery, to 7.3Mt is anticipated this year.

US production grew by more than earlier forecasts, to just over 2Mt in 2013, but the outturn this year is expected to remain at a similar level.

Japanese stainless steelmaking showed modest annual growth of 1.2% in 2013. A stronger upturn is predicted in 2014, to achieve a total of 3.3Mt – up 4% on the previous year.

South Korean output is expected to turn around, with a 3% year-on-year increase this year, following a small drop in 2013.

Taiwanese production decreased by 25kt last year, compared with the previous 12-month period. However, the outturn in 2014 is forecast to be close to the 2012 figure.

Source: MEPS Stainless Steel Review