Excluding Iran, steel consumption in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is expected to improve 2pc to 41mn mt in 2020.
Steel consumption in the region fell 7pc this year to 40mn mt, according to the Arab Iron & Steel Union (AISU), due to declining oil prices and the Syrian and Yemeni wars. Additionally, reconstruction in Iraq and Syria is behind schedule.
The Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) steel consumption is slated to increase 1pc in 2020 to 16.5mn t (16.5mn mt), however, its consumption declined 8pc in 2019 compared to 2018. Saudi Arabia, the GCC’s biggest steel consumer, expects economic growth of 0.5pc in 2019 because of lower oil prices compared to past years, waning government spending, and a less robust construction sector. While Saudi Arabia’s steel consumption will decline 7pc in 2019 to 7.3mn t, in 2020 it is expected rise 2pc to 7.5mn t.
Steel consumption in the United Arab Emirates is down 12pc in 2019 to 5.3mn t, and will decline another 7pc in 2020 to hit 4.9mn t due to a 2pc economic growth during the year, a fall in oil prices, and languid construction activity in the aftermath of Expo 2020’s completion.
North Africa’s steel consumption is expected to improve 5pc in 2020 to 19.4mn t, however, it is down 7pc to 18.5mn t in 2019 from a year ago. Economic growth in North Africa is expected to slow to 3.6pc this year from 4.2pc in 2018, with instability within Libya, as well as flagging agricultural production in Morocco, cited by AISU as the most likely reasons.
Egypt’s steel consumption next year should grow by 4pc to 9.9mn t. At 9.5mn t in 2019, it is down 6pc from 2018 levels.
Steel consumption in Algeria is expected to rise 5pc to 5mn t in 2020, however, it fell 9pc this year to 4.8mn t.