September 16-18, 2019
King Faisal International Conferences Hall
Intercontinental Hotel, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Outlook of GCC iron and steel industry
Saudi economic diversification, investment into infrastructure, and local content initiatives
UAE demand drivers after Dubai Expo 2020
Outlook for Arab region steel demand and investments into new production capacity
Global trade wars and protectionism - how it is affecting trade flows and regional steelmakers
Global steel overcapacity – progress in tackling and challenges remaining
India's potential to become the new steel demand driver
Investments into higher value-added steel production
The challenge of rising production costs and how to handle them
Technological innovations to help increase efficiency/reduce cost of steelmaking
Saudi Arabian economic growth and, with it, steel demand, are poised to recover following a challenging few years due to lower oil prices and surging Chinese exports on to the global market. Saudi Vision 2030 is being touted as the programme that will reboot construction activity and encourage new end-uses for steel across the kingdom. However, with protectionism becoming the new buzzword worldwide following the imposition of US Section 232 tariffs last year, and with interest rates rising, the recovery remains fragile. This session will examine the prospects for Saudi steel consumption and the obstacles standing in the way of both demand and relevant local supply growth. Also discussed will be the processes required to facilitate giving priority to domestically produced steel over imports.
Although fears over global steel overcapacity have subsided to some degree, the threat has not disappeared, especially given Chinese economic growth is less certain than it once was. Growing protectionism has made some regions more vulnerable to surplus exports than others. The focus is gradually shifting to India as the next growth driver – but is the latter's ambitious 300 million tonnes/year capacity target justified? In the US, the economy appears to be booming despite President Trump's promises of a massive infrastructure-spending programme yet to materialise. This session will look at the prospects for global steel demand growth, with particular focus on key steel producing and consuming countries.
Investment into specialised "value-added" steel, as well as digitalisation, has become popular concepts in recent years. However, as we live in a world of finite resources, competitively sourcing input materials required for steelmaking is becoming difficult. This session will bring together the world's largest steel producers to discuss today's key challenges in steelmaking, as well as any further obstacles that may appear on the horizon, and the techniques and processes being put in place to deal with them.
The steel industry has long been at the forefront for innovation into new technology. With increasing consideration for the environment, and a focus in recent years on cutting costs, however, new technologies are required more than ever to make steelmaking simultaneously more efficient and less polluting. In this session the world's leading technology suppliers will discuss the latest technological innovations, including improvements in DRI and EAF technology, the preferred steelmaking route in the Middle East, as well as the prospects for alternatives to powering steelmaking with fossil fuels.
Arab steel consumption has suffered in recent years from lower oil prices and geopolitical conflict, while restricted natural gas availability and rising iron ore pellet prices mean the region is not the ultimate low-cost producer it once was. The region has nevertheless invested into considerable new steelmaking capacity that has increased its self-sufficiency in certain products. Imports have declined considerably but, considering its lack of trade defence measures, the region remains under threat from shipments potentially re-diverted by trade wars. Major economic programmes in various countries have stimulated steel consumption, while stability in Iraq could provide a platform for increased steel demand. This session will bring together key players in the Arab steel market to discuss opportunities and threats for regional steel growth.
The Saudi construction industry is the kingdom's largest steel consumer. However, its output has fallen considerably since 2015 when state spending was curtailed due to lower oil prices. This, coupled with new steel capacity coming on line, resulted in a sizeable steel supply surplus in Saudi Arabia, especially for rebar. The outlook for construction has nevertheless improved with an array of huge projects set to break ground as part of the Saudi Vision 2030. This session will look at the latest developments in the Saudi construction sector and how they bode for future steel demand.
Another key facet of Saudi Vision 2030 is plans to accelerate the kingdom's long-touted diversification away from oil dependence. This should see the establishment of sectors such as automotive production, shipbuilding and military equipment manufacturing, all of which will provide new opportunities for steel consumption. Along with Saudi's aim to increase local content, the development of these new industries will require investment into new steelmaking capacity for products not currently available in the kingdom. This session will examine the prospects for new Saudi steel end-user sectors.
Despite being a WTO member and having the tools at its disposal, Saudi Arabia has a limited track record of using trade defence mechanisms to support its steel industry. In the past, this was because the kingdom depended on steel imports. However, following years of investment into new steel capacity that has increased self-sufficiency, and a global trade war that threatens to re-direct steel shipments to the Arabian Peninsula, many observers deem it time for Saudi to consider more active trade defence. This session will look at steel trade defence cases around the world and the prospects for Saudi Arabia initiating its own.
With so much uncertainty in global and regional macro environment and in the steel industry itself, making firm forecasts for the future is almost impossible. That makes open discussion even more crucial for market participants to refine their views of how markets will develop over the coming months and years. In this final panel industry executives review and discuss the challenges and opportunities outlined in the previous sessions.