MEPS forecasts that world crude stainless steel output will reach an all-time high of 47.5 million tonnes in calendar year 2017. This would represent a 3.8 percent increase on the previous record figure, set last year. MEPS expects continued growth in global production in 2018. A new peak volume of 49 million tonnes is 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.
Crude stainless steel production, in Japan, is foreseen at 3.125 million tonnes, in total, this year – an increase of just one percent, compared with the 2016 figure. MEPS’ forecast for 2018 is for the addition of a further 50,000 tonnes.
Output in South Korea is expected to develop strongly, this year, after a moderate performance, in 2016. Growth of nearly 5 percent, to a total of 2.375 million tonnes, is anticipated for this calendar year. A similar scale of expansion is predicted for next year.
Taiwan’s robust recovery continues. After recording a rise of nearly 14 percent, last year, the country’s annual outturn is forecast to increase by a further 9 percent, in 2017. Another strong result, with around a 7 percent rise, is foreseen in 2018.
Output in the United States, during the second quarter, was higher than MEPS’ previous estimate. As a result, MEPS has upgraded its forecast for the 2017 annual total, to 2.75 million tonnes. This would equate to a year-on-year increase of more than 10 percent. MEPS anticipates moderate growth, of around 100,000 tonnes, next year.
Production in the European Union, during the three months from April to June, turned out to be slightly lower than had been anticipated. MEPS has, consequently, revised its expected total, for 2017, downward, to 7.35 million tonnes – an increase of less than one percent, compared with the outturn in the previous twelve months. European mills are expected to be busier, in 2018, than in the current year. MEPS predicts an annual output of around 7.5 million tonnes, next year.