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Iran to post 6 percent economic growth in near future
The managing director of Mobarakeh Steel Company (MSC) has said that gross domestic product (GDP) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) stands at $7.2 trillion (7.3 percent of GDP in the world).
Dr. Bahram Sobhani made the comment on the sidelines of the 50th Annual Conference of the World Steel Association (WSA) and added that the MENA region is home to 410 million people and accounts for 6.5 percent of the world’s population. “The per capita GDP is $6,600 in this region which produces 8.27 million barrels of oil per day; that is equal to 7.34 percent of the entire global output. The region’s demand for finished steel products is 8.71 million tons (8.4 percent of global demand), and some 2.36 million tons of crude steel is produced in this region which is equal to 2.2 percent of the entire production in the world.”  
The managing director of MSC, which is the largest steel sheets producer in the MENA region, also said that demand for steel in Iran was 7.18 million tons in 2015. “In the same period, the volume of demand was 5.13 million tons in Saudi Arabia, 9.10 million tons in Egypt, 2.7 million tons in the UAE, 6 million tons in Algeria, and 7.71 million tons in other countries in the MENA region.”
A comparison between steel production and steel consumption in the region shows that the MENA region is an absolute importer of steel, he said.
“The per capita demand for steel was 237 kg in Iran in 2015. In Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco and Qatar, the figure stood at 428 kg, 119 kg, 787 kg, 151 kg, 84 kg, 79 kg and 669 kg, respectively,” he added.
Addressing a panel which was held at the end of the WSA annual meeting, after the association’s report was released, Dr. Sobhani raised the question of steel production and consumption in Iran and answered the questions posed to him. “Iran’s growing population will exceed 90 million by 2025. This comes as the country produces around 17 million tons of crude steel, and its per capital steel consumption is about 235 kg. Following the termination of sanctions, Iran is walking down the path to development. In light of plans worked out by officials, in the next few years Iran’s economic growth will jump to 6 percent from a previous -2 percent.”    
Asked about Iran’s plans for steel consumption and exports, the MSC chief said the country needs at least five years to be all set to produce 55 million tons by 2025. “If the country can increase its production capacity to 55 million tons by 2025, its actual production will reach 55 million tons in 2030, but it is a tough plan which comes with some challenges. By 2030, Iran’s population will have reached about 100 million. In light of the fact that the country is on course to development, if the per capita steel consumption rises to 350 kg, domestic consumption will stand at around 35 million tons. So with a production of 55 million tons, Iran will be able to export about 20 million tons of steel. It should be mentioned that Iran shipped around 4 million tons of steel products to overseas markets last year.”
He explained that the development of domestic industries such as oil, gas and petrochemical industries, automotive industry, house appliances industry, construction and infrastructure will increase per capita steel consumption to more than 350 kg, up from the current 235 kg. “Except for Turkey, Iran’s neighbors to the east and west do not have much of steelmaking industry. These countries can be a good target market for Iran’s steel products. When regional conflicts come to an end in the future and the reconstruction of war-hit areas gets underway, steel consumption in this region will soar.”
The Islamic Republic of Iran is the only country in the MENA region which has the raw material and energy – such as iron ore, natural gas and coal – needed for steel production, he said, adding the country can take giant steps toward growing steel production in the region thanks to its educated young workforce, proficiency in the steel technology and the relative advantages it enjoys in this regard. 
According to the correspondent of Steel Newsletter, the 50th WSA Annual Meeting ratified the performance report and financial statements of the World Steel Association, and elected John Ferriola – the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nucor Corporation – as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the World Steel Association for the 2016-17 term. Wolfgang Eder, CEO of Voestalpine, was elected vice-chairman along with Kosei Shindo, President of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation. Eiji Hayashida, President/CEO at JFE Holdings Inc., was named the WSA treasurer.
The annual meeting also made decisions on the membership terms and conditions, annual membership dues, and the selection of the auditor.
The 2016 Annual Meeting of the World Steel Association was held in Dubai (October 10-12) in three sections: conference, general assembly and an inspection tour of the UAE steelmaking. The conference section, which focused on steel production and consumption in the Middle East and North Africa, had two parts: a WSA report submitted by Ms. Nae Hee Han on economic, production and consumption indices in the MENA region in 2015; and a panel attended by the representatives of Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE reviewed a WS report with the attendees answering the questions raised in the session.

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