Lower project activity caused by the spread of Coronavirus depressed Saudi Arabia's steel imports by nearly 23 percent in the first nine months of 2020, according to official data.
From 15.3 million tonnes worth 31.4 million Saudi riyals ($8.4 million) in the first nine months of 2019, steel imports by the world's largest oil exporter plunged to 11.8 million tonnes with a value of 23.4 million riyals ($6.24 million) in the same period of 2020, showed the figures by the Saudi Customs Authority.
Imports came from Bahrain, UAE and Oman as well as India, China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Egypt.
Saudi Arabia is a major steel producer, with an output capacity of nearly 13 million tonnes per year. The Gulf kingdom has invested in excess of 50 billion riyals ($13.3 billion) in the industry, according to the Industry and Mineral Resources Ministry.
Like other countries, Saudi Arabia has suffered from sharp business downturns during 2020 because of the pandemic.
(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)
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