MEPS forecasts that world crude stainless steel output will reach an all-time high of 47.5Mt in calendar year 2017.

Continued growth in global production is expected in 2018 with a new peak volume of 49Mt forecast for next year.

China’s outturn during the second quarter was lower than MEPS’ previous estimate, as mills cut back production, in an effort to comply with the government’s environmental targets. Recently published statistics by the China Stainless Steel Council indicate that output recovered strongly, in the July/September period.

In Japan, 2017 crude stainless steel production is foreseen at 3.125Mt, in total, this year – an increase of just 1%, compared with the 2016 figure. MEPS’ forecast for 2018 is for an additional 50kt.

In South Korea output is expected to develop strongly this year after a moderate 2016 performance. Growth of nearly 5% to a total of 2.375Mt is anticipated for this calendar year and a similar scale of expansion is predicted for next year.

After recording a rise of nearly 14% last year, Taiwan’s annual outturn for 2017 is forecast to increase by a further 9% – another strong result, with around a 7% rise expected in 2018.

With US Q2 output higher than previous estimates, MEPS has upgraded it 2017 forecast to 2.75Mt. This would equate to a year-on-year increase of more than 10%. MEPS anticipates moderate growth, of around 100kt in 2018.

EU production during the three months from April to June, were slightly lower than anticipated, so MEPS revised its expected total, for 2017, downward, to 7.35Mt– an increase of less than 1% compared with the outturn in the previous 12 months. European mills are expected to be busier in 2018 than in the current year. MEPS predicts an annual output of around 7.5Mt next year.

Source: MEPS - Stainless Steel Review