JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Commerce has granted six steel export licenses and six cement export licenses so far this year.
In 2020, the ministry issued a total of 21 cement export licenses and 19 steel licenses, and is currently reviewing two more export applications.
The new licenses come as construction activity begins to recover following the postponement of many projects during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
At the same time, the price of steel jumped to SR 3,514.73 ($ 937.26) per tonne in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021, a 33% increase year-over-year and the highest price since 2008, according to the latest data from the General Statistics Authority (GASTAT).
Badr Jawhar, chairman of the National Cement Company Committee at the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said that since exports were allowed and companies were exempt from export duties, Saudi exports of clinker and of cement had increased, like the Saudi product. become a strong competitor in foreign markets.
He said local businesses will continue their overseas export operations, which increased significantly in the first quarter of this year.
Materials prices rose as construction activity surged in the first quarter, according to a study by real estate consulting firm JLL.
“From a supply perspective, the first quarter saw an increase in construction activity,” the JLL report says.
According to its figures, in the residential sector in Riyadh, 7,700 homes were delivered in the first quarter, bringing the total to 1.3 million units in the capital. In Jeddah, around 2,000 units were added, bringing the total to 838,000 units.
According to the report, 36,000 units will be delivered to Riyadh and 12,000 units to Jeddah this year. This year Riyadh will see the construction of an additional 386,000 square meters of office space, 240 square meters of retail space and 2,800 new hotel rooms, while Jeddah will gain a total of 43,000 square meters of office space, 200,000 square meters of retail space and 2,700 new hotel rooms.
At the same time, the Kingdom issued 307 new factory licenses in the first three months of the year, according to government estimates. This reflects a total investment of SR 17.72 billion ($ 4.73 billion), an increase of 428.6% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2021.
According to data from the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources website, 240 permits were issued during the same period last year, an increase of 27.92% year-over-year.
Osama Ghanem Al-Obaidy, economic adviser and expert on international economic law, told Arab News that the initiatives were part of the government’s attempt “to transform Saudi Arabia into a leading industrial power.”
He added: “The development of this sector is one of the pillars of Saudi Vision 2030 to create a competitive economy and sustainable development. Saudi Arabia aims to develop promising industries in food, medicine and medical supplies, as well as military industries and industries related to oil, gas and petrochemicals, mining and products chemical. “