International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) figures show that world stainless steel production decreased by 15% in the first nine months of 2009 compared to the same period of 2008.

However, production figures for the third quarter show an increase of 12.5% compared to the same quarter in 2008. Excluding China, stainless steel production in Asia was 5Mt in the first nine months, a decline of 23% from 2008.

Production was reduced significantly in India and Japan while production levels remained flat in Korea and Taiwan.

Stainless production in China was 6.6Mt, an increase of 19.1% on the same period of 2008. China now accounts for almost 37% of the world’s stainless production. At the end of the third quarter of 2008, China’s market share was 26%.

The Western Europe/African region produced 4.6Mt of stainless steel during the first nine months of 2009, a decrease of 31.5%. Production also declined in North America to 1.5Mt, a 22.9% drop on the same period of 2008. The volume of stainless produced in the Central and Eastern Europe region was 0.2Mt for the period, a drop of 38.2% on the previous year.