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China Becomes World's Largest Stainless Steel Producer
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China has become the world's largest stainless steel producer with its output exceeding five millions tons in 2006 for the first time, up 60 percent or three million tons from 2005.

The growth more than quadrupled the world average of 14 percent projected by the MEPS, a UK steel consultancy.

The world's total stainless steel output was expected to hit 27.8 million tons last year, about 3.4 million tons more than the previous year.

China's National Development and Reform Commission attributed the production boom to a wealth of projects approved in 2005, involving Taiyuan Steel, Baosteel and Jiuquan Iron and Steel Group.

China's stainless steel production capacity reached 12 million tons by December 2006 with no less than 20 new plants to commence production this year.

World demand for the raw material of stainless steel, nickel, has shot up. Chinese steel plants were expected to consume 200,000 tons of nickel this year and 400,000 tons in next few years, said CRU, a London-based independent consultancy group focusing on metals and energy.

(Xinhua News Agency January 20, 2007)

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