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Global viewpoint: the cement industry in the Middle East

World Cement,

In February, a report by Gulf Investment House commented that the uptrend in cement demand in the region is supported by forthcoming major events, such as the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and the World Expo in 2020. Demand remains high for affordable housing. Saudi Arabia is expected to require some 150 000 units every year to meet its housing shortage. Global Research mentions that the Kingdom continues to enjoy hefty cement demand due to the large numbers of major projects recently announced by developers.

It is not only Saudi Arabia that is enjoying a construction boom. Kuwait is in line to join the party with projects worth US$188 billion underway, says Kuwait Finance House. Kuwait’s cement industry accounts for approximately 10% of the GCC construction materials market. In previous years demand for cement slowed as a result of postponement and delays in major infrastructure projects, but with such robust infrastructure spending plans becoming real, demand for cement will pick up this year. Demand for cement in Oman is predicted to grow at 6% pa over the next four years, according to a recent report from Al Maha Financial Service. The government is said to be investing around OMR45 billion in transport and social infrastructure, as well as developing tourism and expanding industrial areas. Oman Cement is currently upgrading its kiln no. 1 and is planning to modernise kiln no. 2. Raysut Cement is building two cement terminals in Duqm Port and in Berbera Port, Somalia. The company is establishing a grinding plant in Yemen and expanding production capacity at its UAE subsidiary, Pioneer Cement.

The news from Iran is that it now considers itself to be the world’s fourth largest cement producer. It has plans to boost its cement production to 85 million tpa by the end of the next Iranian calendar year, which began on 21 March 2014. It also plans to export 12 million t of cement in the current Iranian year. Some 24 countries receive cement from Iran, with Iraq being the top importer. IA Cement predicts that cement consumption in Iraq will reach 21 million t this year as a result of strong construction growth, higher FDI, population growth and improved power supply.

Exports of cement and clinker from Turkey in 2013 were 10.2 million t and 2.2 million t, respectively, reports Kerem Ersen of the Turkish Cement Manufacturers’ Association. The prediction is for cement production in the country to increase from 77 million t this year to 98 million t in 2020. The potential for exports over the next six years is expected to be 15 million t.

Written by Paul Maxwell-Cook. This is an abridged version of the full article, which appeared in the July 2014 issue of World Cement. Subscribers can view the full article by logging in.

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