Worldwide total crude stainless steel output in 2014 reached an all-time high figure of nearly 41.7 million tonnes. This exceeds the last peak, achieved in the previous year, by 8.3 percent. MEPS predicts that global production will grow by a further 3.4 percent, this year, to reach a new record of 43.1 million tonnes.
EU production totalled over 7.2 million tonnes, last year. This represents a 1.4 percent increase on the 2013 figure but remains 23 percent below the output recorded in 2006. It is unlikely that such a figure will be reached again, given the expansion of stainless steelmaking capacity throughout the world. Although local consumption is disappointing, at present, European producers will be boosted in the short-to-medium term by the effects of EU antidumping duties levied on cold rolled coil from China and Taiwan.
Production in the United States climbed by more than 16 percent, year-on-year, in 2014, to in excess of 2.3 million tonnes. Output will grow more moderately, this year, to reach a predicted level of 2.4 million tonnes.
Japanese stainless steelmaking also grew strongly, last year, to turn out at more than 3.3 million tonnes – an annual increase of nearly 5 percent. More moderate expansion is anticipated in 2015, to achieve a total of 3.35 million tonnes.
In the face of fierce competition in the region, output in South Korea fell to just over 2 million tonnes, in 2014, a decrease of 4.3 percent, compared with the previous year’s outturn. A modest recovery is forecast for 2015, with production increasing by around 1.5 percent.
Annual production in Taiwan rose by 2.6 percent, last year, to exceed 1.1 million tonnes. Output in 2015 is predicted to record only minimal growth, compared with the year earlier figure.