(MENAFN Press) Sharjah, 20 Jan 2013:
The Middle East region is set to buck the global trend of a drop in steel consumption in 2012 and see robust growth this year as against a projected marginal improvement in world steel demand, according to recent estimates.
The trend got solid backing at the just-concluded SteelFab 2013 trade show, where all stakeholders rooted for a double-digit growth for regional steel demand on back of ambitious economic development plans launched by the governments.
The World Steel Association (WSA) has lowered the global growth forecast for steel consumption to 2.1% during 2012, while it is to rebound to 5.7% in the Middle East and North Africa region following a 2% contraction in 2011.
A recent study forecasts that the regional industry is expected to continue growth in 2013, bolstered by increasing infrastructure spend, greater industrialization and a higher demand for homes fuelled by a growing population and falling family sizes.
"The growth is facilitated by construction and infrastructure projects being initiated by regional economies that have benefitted from high oil prices over the past three years. The regional steel fabrication and metal working industry is a direct beneficiary of this growth, which was amply demonstrated at the SteelFab 2013 through better than expected visitor turnout and sales leads," said Mr. Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General, Expo Centre Sharjah, which hosted the fair from January 14 to 17.
Major projects planned in the automotive, railway, economic and industrial cities, petrochemicals and real estate sectors will drive the steel industry's growth, the study added, once again proving that SteelFab will continue to remain advantageous for machinery dealers to tap into this growing market.
During the four-day run, the fair hosted around 250 direct exhibitors from 24 countries representing more than 600 brands of steel machinery, welding equipment and surface preparation and attracted 7296 visitors.
Exhibitors at the show were unanimous in their opinion that there is no other show in the region that has enough market penetration than SteelFab. They also find it the best platform to reach out to the markets in Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries.
They also found a lot more activities in the market this time than the past two years when the demand was rather stagnant. The growing confidence in the economy and a slew of new projects have given the much-needed boost to the market, which was clearly visible during the show, they said.
While many of the exhibitors sold most of their machinery that were on display, all the participants used the opportunity to enhance their sales pipeline and successfully demonstrate their products efficiency and cost-effectiveness to a discerning audience.
Rockwood representative said that SteelFab is the main show for the regional steel fabrication and metal working industry and the event gives a head start to the company for its operations for the whole year.
"We find SteelFab to be an excellent launch platform and introduced six new products that were well received by the industry," said Mr. Basanth Raghavan of Rockwood. "The company has participated in other shows, but the response at SteelFab has always been exceptional", he said.
A key component of the show, the live displays were fully utilized by participants to promote their new machines and innovations, which, they said, would have been an arduous task at regular company showrooms where it will be difficult to draw customers and convince them to place an order.
"The event has enabled us to market new equipment, which will go a long way in helping achieve our targeted growth," said Mr. Nawab Ibrar Ahmed, Sales Manager, Lion International Middle East.
Special focus areas targeting specific industrial segments enabled industry representatives to talk to several machinery dealers directly and present their requirements for welding & cutting equipment, machine tools and pipe & tube machinery.
Germany and Taiwan pavilions at the fair helped visitors to meet direct exhibitors from those countries while Machinery Trade International's special pavilion for used and re-conditioned machinery too had many visitors.