Steel Theme Play : Iron and Steel Industry to perform better

The iron and steel industry is expected to perform better this year, with demand going up, boosted by the pick-up in the construction sector.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said a new investment of RM300mil by a Malaysian company was expected for this industry over the next one to two years.

Approved total investments in the metal industry for 2009 amounted to RM3.96bil, a significant drop from RM26.84bil recorded in the previous year. Exports of metal products for
2009 declined to RM23.36bil from RM30.11bil in 2008.

Iron and steel exports last year amounted to RM8.82bil. Non-ferrous metal exports accounted for RM5.71bil while fabricated metal exports amounted to RM8.83bil.

“However, industry players have expressed concern over potential competition from China. China represents 50% of the world’s iron and steel production,” Mustapa told a press conference after the ministry’s dialogue with associations from the iron and steel industry.

Meanwhile, Malaysian aluminum makers accused China of “unfair trade” practices due to cheap raw material costs. In a memorandum given to the media, the Federation of Manufactures called on South-East Asian governments to either implement “safeguard” duties or defer 0% import tariffs under an Asean-China free trade deal. — Agencies

Federation members accused China of enjoying an “unlevel playing field” under the trade agreement, highlighting lower raw material costs on the Shanghai Futures Exchange compared with the London Metal Exchange. -- Agencies


from: thestarbiz

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