The International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) announced that stainless steel production rose by 16.7% to 28.4 million metric tons (mmt) in 2006. All major regions of the world contributed to this strong growth.

Crude stainless steel production in Asia grew by 20.6% to 15.1 mmt. Asia now produces more than half of all stainless steel in the world. The driving force was China with production of 5.3 mmt of stainless steel, a growth of 68% compared to 2005. The strong increase in production is partially based on new capacity that came on-stream during 2006.

Until now Japan has been the largest stainless steel producer in Asia. In 2006, total production in Japan was 4.1 mmt, an increase of 2.3%. All other stainless steel producing countries in Asia showed growth rates of between 9% and 13%. However, production in South Korea remained flat.

The Americas increased their stainless steel production by 9.8% to nearly 3 mmt. Production in the Central/Eastern Europe region increased by 17% to 363,000 thousand metric tons, according to ISSF.

The previous year of 2005 saw a small decline in world stainless steel production of -1.1%.