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Huge infrastructure spending in Middle East is driving strong demand for steel
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Saturday, 08 Dec 2012

According to an analysis of the industry by Frost & Sullivan, huge infrastructure spending in the Middle East is driving strong demand for steel and fuelling investment in steel projects. Crude steel production in the Middle East has doubled from 10 million tonnes in 2000 to 20 million last year at an annual growth rate of about 6%.

At the same time, production throughout the Middle East and North Africa region has increased from 15 million tonnes in 2000 to more than 28 million by the end of last year, a rise of 5.2% as the region's production hubs have shifted from their traditional centers in Iran and Egypt with the GCC countries emerging as the leading steel producers.

Leading the demand are robust construction and infrastructure developments in the GCC with potential growing markets in sectors including oil and gas.

According to the analysis, demand is now more than 27.3 million tonnes making the region a net importer of iron and steel products. Imports of iron and steel products into the GCC countries reached USD 8 billion last year.

The value of projects planned and under way in the UAE dropped 1.4% to USD 539 billion as nine projects worth a total of USD 2.1 billion were completed and 5 projects worth USD 6 billion were placed on hold or declared inactive.

The Frost & Sullivan report said that in the Middle East, the GCC in particular, provides a cost-effective platform for international companies to expand their operations to new geographical locations.

The Mena steel industry is looking for long term sustainable supply of iron ore. The GCC alone imports more than 30 million tonnes of iron ore a year.

The world's largest producer of iron ore, the Brazilian resources giant Vale has invested heavily in establishing a presence in the Middle East. Last year, it opened a production and distribution center for iron pellets in Sohar, Oman with an investment of USD 1.36 billion.

Source - The National


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