Production of stainless steel was 24.6Mt in 2009, a decline of 5.2% on 2008, International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) figures reveal.

The decrease was not even around the world with some regions reporting that production declined by up to 30%, while in other areas stainless fabrication increased by up to 27%.

This result probably reflects the uneven nature of the global economic downturn, which has seen some countries and regions affected more than others. Similarly, some areas of the world have recovered quicker from the downturn than others.

China has been the driving force in the stainless industry and that trend continued in 2009. Production grew by 26.8% compared to 2008 to reach 8.8Mt. Including China, Asia now makes almost 65% of the world’s stainless steel.

Excluding China, Asian stainless production declined by 11.6% to 7.1Mt. While the level of stainless fabrication remained flat in Korea during 2009, it increased by 13% in Taiwan, China. Production declined in Japan by 27% during the year while in India the drop was 11%.

The final quarter of 2009 showed an increase in stainless production of more than 38% compared to the same quarter in 2008. This high figure is partially due to the extremely low production levels in the final quarter of 2008. However, it also indicates the global economy was recovering and that further reconstitution of inventories of stainless steel was taking place.

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