Demand for steel in GCC grows at 6pc

MUSCAT — The region's steel producers gathered here yesterday to begin two days of discussions focused on the bourgeoning demand for the commodity in the Middle East, the surge in its price, availability of raw materials and expansion plans, as well as the impact of rising oil prices on the industry.

By Our Correspondent

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Published: Wed 14 Mar 2007, 8:48 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:50 PM

Some 200 top officials from steel companies across the Arab world are participating in the 'Arab Steel Summit 2007', inaugurated by Transport and Communications Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Harthy in the presence of several other ministers and dignitaries. The annual event, held for the first time in Oman, is organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Arab Iron and Steel Union (AISU), a grouping of 85 companies in 15 countries.

Shaikh Mohammed, in its opening remarks, noted Oman's choice as the venue of the conference was international recognition of its emergence as a leading steel producer. He said steel prices had doubled since 2003 following the surge in the number of projects depending on the metal, adding that several new steel plants coming up in the Sultanate would help bring prices down. He added Oman took the first steps to establish a heavy industrial base in 2003 with an emphasis on steel and aluminium and the Batinah wilayat of Sohar as the hub. The ultra-modern infrastructure facilities at Sohar, Shaikh Mohammed stressed, had succeeded in attracting many international companies to the country, including some $5 billion worth of investments in the iron and steel industry. Mohammed Saleh Al Jabr, Chairman of AISU, said demand for steel in the GCC countries was growing at an annual rate of five to six per cent. The Gulf accounted for 25 of the 67 steel manufacturers in the Middle East, he added.

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