5 ŞUBAT 2016
2nd MENA Billet Import Conference
Metal Expert announces 2nd meeting for MENA billet market insiders on April 13, 2016 in Dubai, UAE.

Steel companies in the MENA region have for a long time been focusing on the re-rolling capacities, such as rebar mills, which has resulted in a huge deficit of in-house steelmaking capacities and the growth of billet import. In 2014, MENA imported around 9 million t of billets. In 2016, MENA's deficit of square billet capacity will increase by around 1.5-2.5 million t, analysts expect, which will lead to a big redistribution of local trade flows.

Overpriced ferrous scrap is making re-rolling business profitable again in MENA, and in some cases this is the only way for regional companies to stay in the business. That is why billet import into Turkey, for example, may expand by 1.2-1.7 million t in 2016. 

Despite great optimism about Egypt, which is also among the largest billet consumers in the region, there are no positive trends at the moment, as political instability remains and investors are losing their confidence.
Saudi Arabia remains the largest billet consumer among the GCC countries. Falling oil prices are curbing the growth of the government investment activities in construction, which, in turn, is hampering steel demand. MEED‘s GCC Projects index is still increasing this year, but the growth rate is slowing down.

The military conflicts remain one of the most important problems in the region. Iraq’s long products consumption decreased by 800,000 t in 2014, and continues to decline now. Combined consumption in Yemen and Libya went down by 800,000 t. 

The growing export from China has directly impacted MENA. Last year, MENA's import of Chinese long products and billets more than doubled, increasing by 2.5 million t. This year, Chinese import is expected to stay in the range of 3.5-4.5 million t. Meanwhile, total import into MENA in 2014 went up by merely 0.5 million t. Thus, China was not only responsible for the total growth, but displaced traditional rebar suppliers, like Turkey.

There are new projects in Iran, for which low energy prices, raw materials availability and advantages in logistics may become important drivers to expand billet export. However, many of them are idle at the moment amid low demand and investments inside Iran. However, after sanctions removal, billets export may become a great opportunity for Iranian steel companies to enter regional markets.