stainless steel recycling
Stainless steel scrap demand and pricing is steady as producers of the metal boost their output.
Photo by Brian Taylor.

Stainless production ramps up in US, Europe

Association trade figures show producers’ output has recovered from COVID-19 impacts.

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June 17, 2021

The Brussels-based International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF), in a recap of national statistics, says stainless steel production increased globally by 24.7 percent in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the first quarter of 2020.

The ISSF says the 14.5 million tons of stainless steel made in the first 3 months of 2021 also represent a 2.7 percent rise compared with the previous quarter.

The most dramatic year-on-year rebound has been in China, where nearly 37 percent more stainless steel was made in the first quarter of this year compared to the same time frame in 2020, when COVID-19-related lockdowns were in effect part of the time.

The previous quarter comparison, however, shows Europe as the big gainer, with output there rising by 11 percent in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the final quarter of 2020. The United States, likewise, showed a 9.7 percent gain in output compared with the final quarter of 2020, when many states were still operating under workplace restrictions.

In a June 17 news item, metals information service provider Davis Index said demand for stainless steel scrap had been “very strong” since the beginning of June. Despite declining primary nickel prices, stainless steel scrap prices in the U.S. are not expected to follow suit and lose value this month, according to a scrap processor contacted by the news service.