Four Arab Countries on the List of Top 20 World Steel Importers in 2009
Last Update: 17/03/2010 14:20:03 ArabSteel - Egypt have come 10th among the top 20 steel-products importing countries during the January-September period of 2009, with a volume of 4.9Mt, i.e. an increase by 111% over the imports level for the same period of 2009. Algeria followed in the 11th place with 4.4Mt of imports, thus rising by 54% compared to the same period of 2008. UAE was 13th with 4.2Mt as compared to 11.6Mt for the same period of 2008, which is a sharp decline by 46%. Saudi Arabia took the 20th and last place in the list of top top 20 importing countries with 2.2Mt compared to 5.3Mt for 2008. The overall imports volume of the four Arab countries amounted to 15.7Mt. This came in the work-paper presented by Steve Mackrell, Director of Operations in the London-based Iron & Steel Statistics Bureau (ISSB), to the Arab Steel Summit 2010 held recently in Marrakesh, Morocco. Mr. Mackrell projects a rise in imports during 2010 to reach 45Mt for MEAN which include Iran according to ISSB statistics. Imports of long products, especially rebar, account for 41% of the overall figure, followed by semis, especially billets, accounting for 18%. Turkey is the leading exporter for the MEAN region, with Egypt as the prime market for Turkish exports in 2009. Meanwhile, imports of UAE market declined sharply from 5.2Mt in 2008 to only 1.7Mt in 2009. The MENA internal trade in iron and steel products accounts for a very limited volume within the overall foreign trade flow, as it is estimated at only one million metric tons, according to Mackrell. Meanwhile, internal trade in the EU-27 countries amounts to 78Mt, 65Mt in the ASEAN and 7Mt among CIS. This limited intra-trade in the MENA region could be attributed to the strong demand for steel products in local markets, leading the governments to take action to limit or even stop exports, especially concerning rebar. This, in fact, reduced steel intra-trade, in addition to the fact that prices in local markets are probably better than those in export markets, the thing that encouraged steelmakers to direct their products to the local market rather than to export.
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