The changes that the world is witnessing have driven the global economy into tension and instability state. The remaining challenges from the repercussions of the Corona pandemic, the Russian-Ukrainian war, the rise in energy prices, and the increase in the interest rate in the United States led to economic instability that affected all industries without any exception.
Global growth is expected to decline from 5.7% in 2021 to 2.9% in 2022, much lower than the 4.1% projected in January. It may continue to swing around that pace from 2023 to 2024. This year, income level per capita in developing economies will remain about 5% lower than its pre-pandemic trends.
World World Bank President David Malpass said: ” The ongoing war in Ukraine, lockdowns in China, disruptions in supply chains, and stagflation risks are taking a heavy toll on global growth, so it will be difficult for many countries to avoid recession risks. Markets are looking to resume work again. Therefore, it is necessary to encourage production and avoid the imposition of trade restrictions. However, changes are needed in fiscal, monetary, climate and debt policies to counter capital misallocation and inequality.”
At the level of the steel industry, the World Steel Organization lowered its forecast for steel demand in 2022 from 1,896.4 million tonnes in October 2021 to 1,840 million tonnes in April 2022, down only by 0.4% from the volume of demand in 2021 as a result of the new changes that occurred in the first quarter of 2022.
As for the Arab countries, the International Monetary Fund expected, with the start of easing the preventive measures, that the growth rate in the Arab region would reach 5.4% in 2022 compared to 4.3% in 2021. As for the steel industry, the Economic Committee of the Arab Iron and Steel Union indicated in its latest report that the Arab countries differ from one country to another. We find that the non-oil Arab countries will have significant challenges in the next phase due to their dependence on importing large parts of their needs, whether raw materials or petroleum materials and this bears the burdens of inflation in the next stage, especially in countries that depend on Russia and Ukraine. In addition to the high cost of final products due to the high energy and raw materials prices.
The Arab oil-exporting countries have benefited temporarily from the rise in oil prices, but in the medium and long term, they will suffer from the increase in steel products and service prices. The committee expected that the percentage of steel consumption for finished products in the Arab countries would rise by 9% in 2022 to reach 43.8 million tonnes.
Return of the activities of the Arab Iron and Steel Union
After two years of freeze that affected the world due to the Corona pandemic, the activities of the Arab Iron and Steel Union returned, as we have always used to, steadfastness in the face of challenges and difficult situations through its members support. The State of Qatar hosted the first meetings of the Board of Directors and the General Assembly through the speech of Mr Abdurrahman Ali Al-Abdulla, The Managing Director and CEO of Qatar Steel called for concerted efforts to overcome current and future challenges, stressing the importance of continuing cooperation to achieve further development in the iron and steel industry in the Arab world and to be a new start for the Union in the process of developing the iron and steel industry in the Arab world.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Arab Iron and Steel Union, Mr Awaad Al-Khaldi, and the Chairman and Managing Director of the United Steel Industry (Kuwait Steel) stressed during the meetings the need to provide an integrated industrial and commercial environment starting from raw materials to final products in light of the high prices of raw materials and the shrinking of chains supply between the countries of the world and called for the need to protect iron and steel factories by Arab governments by enacting laws and legislation to protect the national industry, similar to what many countries of the world have done.
In his speech on the secrets of the General Secretariat, Dr. Kamel Djoudi, Secretary-General of the Arab Iron and Steel Union, indicated that these meetings will be an opportunity for the members to meet after the absence and unification of the union’s ranks in light of the emergence of new challenges on the international arena that require everyone to be vigilant to face these challenges starting from the Corona pandemic to the last Russian-Ukrainian war.
He stressed that the Arab steel industry’s ability to overcome these challenges with its expertise, capabilities and advanced technologies helps achieve the desired success.
Dr Kamel Djoudi