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Gulf steel production to rise by 11m tonnes as demand increases



Steel production in the GCC will grow by 11 million tonnes in the next few years when about 15 ongoing projects are completed, according to industry sources.

Demand for steel has been rising in the Gulf because of a construction boom and a flurry of industrial and infrastructure projects.

The GCC states invested $6.5 billion on the manufacturing of iron and steel products in 2005, according to the Qatar-based Gulf Organisation for Industrial Consulting (GOIC).

A GOIC official said production of steel in the Middle East grew 41.5 per cent between 2000 and 2005.

Production rose from 10.78 million tonnes in 2000 to 15.25 million tonnes in 2005, senior analyst Anil Singh said in a presentation at a conference at Expo Centre Sharjah.

No signs of let up

The GCC demand for iron and steel products for the year stood at 15 million tonnes. Imports of iron and steel products totalled 14.3 million tonnes in 2005.

GOIC estimated the demand for steel in the UAE at 3.5 million tonnes in 2006.

"Steel production in developed countries is stagnating and main growth is coming from developing countries," he said.

China's steel output grew at the strongest rate during the 2000-2005 period from 127 million tonnes to 355 million tonnes.

Worldwide steel production in 2006 was estimated at 1.2 billion tonnes.

In the GCC, several projects are under way that will add 11 million tonnes to the existing steel production in the next few years.

"At least seven to eight million tonnes of this production will be available within four years," said DA Chandekar, a steel industry analyst.

More than four million tonnes of extra capacity is being planned in Saudi Arabia, the number one Gulf steel producer. The projects in the UAE will provide more than 2.5 million tonnes of steel, while significant capacity expansions are also planned in Kuwait and Oman.

"There are no signs of any let up in the construction spending. This is a positive trend for the Middle East steel industry's growth," Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman said Ahmad Mohammad Al Midfa at the SteelFab exhibition.

"Despite the fact that demand for fabricated steel in the region is at an all time high due to massive industrial and infrastructure development, SteelFab continues to be the only trade platform for manufacturers and distributors of machine tools and other items related to the steel working business," he added.

The three-day event, inaugurated by Sharjah Ports Authority chairman Shaikh Khalid Bin Abdullah Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, features 280 brands and companies from 34 countries.

There are more than 60 machinery brands for steel forming and fabrication work and more than 85 brands of welding and cutting systems.

Among the participants is a group of 27 Italian companies under the umbrella of the Association of Italian Manufacturers of Machine Tools, Robots and Automation Systems.


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