MEPS has announced that global crude stainless steel production is expected to decline by 2 million tons to 23.9 million tons in 2009. This equates to a 9.2% reduction on the outturn in the previous 12 months. MEPS forecast for stainless output in the EU this year is just below 6 million tons. This will be a 15 year low, despite a significant improvement in activity during the July to December period. US crude steel output is predicted to come in at 1.5 million tons in 2009, representing a 27 year low. However, MEPS states that stronger market conditions are developing.