Global production slowed to 133.4 million lb for the first quarter, down 6% from 141.4 million lb in the previous quarter, but was also 7% higher compared with the same period in 2013.

China remained the biggest user, with 46.6 million lb in the first quarter of 2014, a decrease of 10% from 51.8 million lb in the previous quarter, but 11% higher than the same quarter in 2013.

Europe was the second largest user with 36.9 million lb, an increase of 5% from 35.1 million lb in the previous quarter and an increase of 3% compared to the same quarter in 2013.

Usage in the USA increased by 4% to 14.8 million lb compared with 14.2 in the previous quarter, while use in Japan also increased slightly from 14.4 million lb in the last quarter of 2013 to 14.8 million lb in first quarter of 2014. Usage in the CIS countries increased fractionally to 6.1 million lb, whilst usage in other countries also increased to 16.9 million lb.

China and NA

China remained the biggest producer, but recorded the biggest percentage decrease, falling from 51.2 million lb in the last quarter of 2013 to 44.1 million lb in the first quarter of 2014, although this still represented a 5% increase on the same quarter in 2013, the IMOA said.

North American production increased slightly from 43.2 million lb in the last quarter of 2013 to 43.7 million lb in the first quarter of 2014. Production in South America fell slightly from 38.1 million lb in the last quarter of 2013 to 36.6 million lb in the first quarter of 2014, although this was still 32% higher than production in the same quarter in 2013. Production in other countries was static at 8.9 million lb.