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Global Panorama: Middle East

World Cement,

Middle East

Once again, there is much international focus on the general unrest in parts of the region, particularly in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. At the time of writing, the fourth anniversary of the Syrian war had been recorded, a war that has so far claimed over 220 000 lives and displaced several millions of men, women and children. Unfortunately, there is no end in sight, with the knock on effects continuing in the rest of the region. Plummeting oil prices will mean the major oil producers will have difficulty balancing their budgets. In Iraq, Lafarge has said sales are rebounding due to improved transport conditions, but generally it is difficult to obtain reliable information. What is known is that the country is still importing cement from Iran. In total, between March 2014 and January 2015, Iran exported just under 16 million t, well on the way to reaching a target of 18 million t of cement and clinker to some 24 countries. Current domestic production is running at about 69 million t.

Peter Feuilherade, writing for The Middle East online, points out that the GCC countries are spending dozens of billions of dollars to launch metro, tram and urban light rail systems in a bid to cut vehicle congestion and reduce the impact of air and noise pollution. Some of the major projects underway in the UAE include the Etihad railway network, the Dubai airport expansion, Dubai metro and other road and bridge contracts.To meet the growth in national construction projects, including a series of economic cities, Saudi Arabia has been importing cement to add to the country’s current output of about 55 million tpy. Expansions of some of the existing plants are projected to raise production to 66 million t this year. Major development plans are in place in Kuwait, Oman, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar.

Written by Paul Maxwell-Cook. This is an excerpt from World Cement's July 2015 issue. Subscribers can read the full issue by signing in, and can also catch up on-the-go via our new app for Apple and Android. Non-subscribers can access a preview of the July 2015 issue here.

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