•2010 has proved that the Arab steel industry was taking up the direction of reinforcing its strength after the confrontation it passed through as of the beginning of the last quarter of 2008 and 2009. In spite of what this industry has suffered from, this has not affected its determination to enter into new projects or expanding the production capacities.
•There is a certain peculiarity in the quality of the challenges faced by the steel industry. On one hand, there is a self-challenge imposed by the wish for continued development, and on the other, there is another challenge imposed by the speed of change meeting this industry, either at the level of the markets which have become more open or at the level of the technologies which have become more diversified. This has increased the importance of confrontation and making use of the experience in identifying the image of the winners and losers in the future. The iron and steel industry was one of the industries most affected by the global crisis due to the fact that this industry is connected with all economic activities. In spite of the difficult circumstances faced by this industry at both regional and international levels, the ability to face the crisis through execution of the expansion plans has had a great impact in continuing and leading growth towards success and setting the significant strategies after passing through the experience of the crisis and making use of it.
•This was proved during 2010 which was full of strong achievements. We sum up such achievements by some examples:
-The new hot rolling project started up in Morocco during February 2010.
-Alhamriyah project in Sharjah also started up at the beginning of January 2010.
-Fouladh company in Bahrain inaugurated its new pellets project. Also, the foundation stone of «Steel» complex in Bahrain was installed.
-In addition to other several projects and improved prices compared to 2009. A number of companies have announced positive results during the second quarter of 2010.
•2011 will witness another breakthrough of the Arab iron and steel industry after eliminating the consequences of the global crisis and receiving the signs of the return of the world economy back to its former activity. The Arab steel mills are approaching to run with their full capacities, and the steel prices are now uptrending to compensate the losses of some steel companies during the months of the global economic crisis ,which were accompanied by the stoppage of many production lines. Sometimes, some of the mills had to sell their products at prices less than the cost price and eliminate their stocks. The next period will witness more efforts by the steel producers with the decision makers to protect the Arab markets against selling products of non-Arab countries in our Arab markets which cause dumping of some of these markets under an unfair competition by the products of such countries.
It is expected that in 2011 the Arab markets will also see more intimate closeness between the steel leaders in the Arab countries under the efforts exerted by the Arab Iron and Steel Union to achieve integration of this industry.
•It is also expected to see the production of the joint Arab projects in the steel industry in the Arab markets, in addition to making the decision on the still under-study joint Arab projects.
The success of the Arab steel industry will come true by the existence of the giant projects characterized with the joint Arab investment and the sophisticated technology which can compete not only in the Arab markets but also in the world markets.
Fragmentation of the steel industry by setting up small mills scattered here and there will not bring our ambitions and dreams as Arab countries producing iron and steel to come true.
Mohamed Laid Lachgar
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