Global stainless steel production reached 25.9 million metric tons (mmt) in 2008, according to preliminary figures released by the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF). The total is 6.9% lower than the 2007 level. After a decrease of 2% in 2007, this is the second year in a row that world stainless steel production has decreased.

Beyond normal seasonal factors, 2007 as well as 2008 turned out to have the same pattern: excellent first half, extremely depressed second half. The external raw materials price volatility and the overall worldwide economic situation added to the turmoil

The first half of 2008 was quite positive, but by the third quarter, the financial and economic crisis, combined with a massive drop in raw material prices (including nickel), struck all cyclical industries. Due to overstocks, reduction of excess inventories bought at inflated prices, and the complete stop of purchases from distributors and some end users, the industry moved from a bright future to a gloomy environment in just a few weeks, reported ISSF.