SHANGHAI Global stainless steel output hit 8.3 million tonnes in the third quarter, up 2.6 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to data from the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF).
Output for the first nine months of the year rose 2.9 percent year on year to 26.1 million tonnes. However, there were big differences in the performance of the individual regions, the ISSF said.
China played an important role in the global output increase.
The Asian nations output for the third quarter increased 5.7 percent to nearly 3.8 million tonnes compared with the same year-ago period.
That put Chinas production from January to September at 11.4 million tonnes, up 7.9 percent year on year and the largest increase among all the regions.
The country also gained more market share during the nine-month period, accounting for 44 percent of the worlds stainless steel production compared with 42 percent at the first nine months of 2011.
In 2012, the China Stainless Steel Council (CSSC) widened the scope of reporting companies, so the ISSF made some amendments to the Chinese figures for 2011 in order to provide a more accurate comparison. The 2012 data have been adjusted to tally with information issued by CSSC.
The rest of Asia saw production fall 4.5 percent to 2.1 million tonnes in the third quarter. However, Asiaincluding Chinastill made up 70 percent of the worlds total production during the first nine months of the year.
"The share is tending to increase," the ISSF said.
The Western Europe/Africa region recorded third-quarter output of nearly 1.8 million tonnes, up 4.2 percent from the same 2011 period. That pushed the January-to-September tally up 0.7 percent year on year to slightly more than 6 million tonnes.
In the Americas region, stainless steel production rose 9.1 percent year on year in the third quarter to 603,000 tonne, but in the first nine months of 2012 the total fell 5.5 percent year on year to 1.8 million tonnes.
Production in the Central/Eastern Europe region saw the largest drop both in the third quarter and the first nine months of this year, declining 13.7 percent to 90,000 tonnes and 10.6 percent to 274,000 tonnes, respectively.
ISSF predicted earlier this year that output for the full year would see a slight increase compared with 2011 levels.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.