Global stainless steel production is still expected to reach a record level of 29 million tonnes this year. During the first quarter, most markets across the world have been quite soft. This was the result of unexpectedly large increases in steelmaking during the final trimester of 2007 in the EU and China.
These actions prompted us to make an upward revision to our estimate for 2007 global crude stainless supply, to a figure near to 27.9 million tonnes. This represents a modest one percent reduction on the outturn in the previous twelve months. The market was extremely tight in 2006 but last year it was in surplus. This is likely to be the picture throughout most of 2008.