Dubai Multi Commodities Centre director says consumption could fall from 14m to 9m tonnes in 2009

Demand for steel across the UAE could be down by as much as a third in 2009.

The executive director for steel and base metals at the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre said estimates for consumption in the region varied from 9 million through to 13 million tonnes – a fall from the 14 million tonnes last year.

John Short added: “It’s obvious to most that demand will come off with announced slowdowns.” He said that the construction accounts for over 80% of Gulf steel demand.

The World Steel Association said last month that steel production had dropped 1.2% to in 2008 compared to the previous year, ending up at 1.3 billion metric tons.

In the statement, it added: “Worldwide steel production has shown an acceleration of negative growth from September to 2008 year end. World crude steel output for December 2008 recorded a decrease of -24.3% compared to 2007.”

The group, which represents 180 producers, typically puts out two reports annually in spring and autumn said this October’s report had been delayed because of the rapid change in the global economy.