Stainless steel production soars in China in 2019
China, which uses less scrap as feedstock compared to other nations, was responsible for the world’s stainless steel output growth in 2019.
Photo by Brian Taylor.

Stainless steel production soars in China in 2019

Output in China rises 10 percent, while it declines in the rest of the world.

March 25, 2020

The Brussels-based International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) has released figures for stainless steel output in 2019. Those figures show output in China rose 10 percent, while production in every other region fell compared with 2018.

Because of China’s 10.1 percent rise in melt shop production, the global output of stainless steel increased by 2.9 percent year on year to 52.2 million metric tons.

While Chinese mills were churning out stainless steel slabs, coils and ingots at a record pace, output fell by  7.9 percent in Europe, 7.6 percent in the United States and 3.7 percent in the rest of Asia. An ISSF “others” category that includes Brazil, Russia and South Africa saw output fall by 2 percent.

By volume, the 24.9 million metric tons of stainless steel produced in China in 2019 represented 56.3 percent of the global total.

According to a February presentation by Anil Shah of Canada-based Ni-Met Metals Inc. at the Materials Recycling Association of India (MRAI) 2020 meeting, China relies much less than the rest of the world on stainless steel scrap to produce its slabs, coils and ingots.

Shah said from 2015 to 2018, China’s stainless steel producers used just 22.3 percent scrap as feedstock. During the same period,  scrap comprised 77 percent of the feedstock for Indian producers, though India’s output is about 15 percent the size of China’s production.