BRUSSELS (Commodity Online): Global stainless steel production in first quarter reached record levels at 7.47 mn metric tonnes, according to International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF).

The growth in production was spread across the world with USA leading the way, ISSF said. It said that the 54.6% growth in output cannot be sustained throughout 2010 as production in first quarter of 2009 was severely impacted by financial crisis.

ISSF has previously noted that a recovery began in the last two quarters of 2009 as production began to return to normal levels.

While impressive, the year-on-year comparison should be reviewed in the light of the following points: 1.Production in the first quarter of 2009 was almost the lowest in a decade due to the effects of the global recession which was followed by heavy de-stocking. 2.The global economy began to recover in the second half of 2009 and manufacturing activity in stainless-using industries, such as the automotive sector, is increasing. 3.After a very strong de-stocking in 2009, better market conditions may encourage many fabricators and stainless steel stockholders to replenish their stocks.

ISSF expects that the stainless industry on a world basis will continue to return to its normal production on a reasonable level over the following quarters of 2010 and 2011. For the full year, ISSF expects around 11 to 12% increase in the volume of stainless steel production.