A Chinese stainless steel industry spokesman said that his country’s growth rate in refineries, power generation, chemical, transportation and machinery manufacturing will continue to drive increases in China’s stainless steel consumption. Li Cheng, chairman of the China Special Steel Enterprise Association Stainless Steel branch, told an industry forum in October that he expects China’s stainless steel product to grow in 2008, but not by more than 10%.

In 2007, China is projected to consume up to 6.5 million tons of stainless steel, up 9.24% from 2006. Stainless steel production will be about the same 6.5 million tons, down from 7 million tons in 2006, as high nickel prices have caused cutbacks in domestic mills. Total capacity of China’s stainless steel production plants will grow to 12 million tons this year, up 20% from 2006.

Li Cheng said that although more than 70% of the country’s stainless steel demand could be met by domestic production, China is still relatively weak at high-end stainless production.