Global production also increased by 7% from the first quarter, rising to 131.3 million lb.

China remained the biggest user, with 41.9 million lb in the second quarter of 2013, an increase of 9% from 38.6 million lb in the previous quarter, although 25% down compared to the same quarter in 2012. Europe was the second largest user with 35.4 million lb, down fractionally from 35.5 million lb in the previous quarter but an increase of 5% compared to the same quarter in the previous year.

Usage in the USA increased by 5% to 13.7 million lb compared with 13.0 million lb in the previous quarter. Use in Japan also increased slightly, rising by 4% to 14.7 million lb from 14.1 million lb in the previous quarter.

Usage in the CIS countries increased fractionally from 5.6 to 5.7 million lb, whilst usage in other countries also increased from 15.8 to 16.0 million lb.

Production in China in the second quarter of 2013 reached 47.5 million lb, an increase of 18% compared with the previous quarter and just eclipsing production in North America at 46.5 million lb. South American production increased slightly from 26.9 million lb in the first quarter of 2012 to 27.7 million lb in the second quarter, whilst production in other countries remained static at 9.4 million lb.

“Production and use recovered slightly over the previous quarter, but the picture was mixed, regionally,” commented IMOA secretary-general Tim Outteridge. “Outside China, there were two consecutive quarters of growth in use.”