Global Steel Output To Forge Record High In 2006

Worldwide production of stainless steel would hit a record high in 2006, soaring 7% to 26.0 million tons, British steel consultancy MEPS forecast in a report published on April 3. Global stainless steel production, excluding China and Russia, fell 4.8% to 20.81 million tons in 2005 compared with the previous year, the study estimated.

However total global production -- including buoyant output in economic powerhouses China and India -- reached 24.3 million tons in 2005, or just 1.2% less than during 2004.

Stainless steel, which is resistant to corrosion, is used widely in the manufacturing of cutlery and also by the nuclear, car and medical industries.

The MEPS also forecast that steel production in China during the first quarter of 2006 may have been as much as 18% higher than in the same period the previous year.

"World production of crude stainless steel fell last year, but should stage a recovery in 2006," according to the MEPS study. It added: This could leave world total at around 26.0 million tons, an increase of around 7%."

Chinese steel output soared to 3.2 million tons last year, while Indian production raced ahead to 1.5 million tons. Steel output in the EU declined 6.5% to 8.25 million tons last year, while the U.S.saw an 8% decline and Japan experienced a 5% fall, the MEPS added.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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