Cement demand in UAE to touch 26 mn tonnes by 2011

March 29th, 2008 - 5:49 pm ICT by admin  

(Gulf Business Capsule)

Dubai, March 29 (IANS) Demand for cement in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is likely to touch 26.2 million tonnes by 2011, a local investment bank has predicted. “The most important driver for cement consumption anywhere in the world is infrastructure and real estate development,” Hassan Awan, investment research associate at The National Investor (TNI), told the Gulf News.

“Real estate development is at its historical peak in the UAE and with extravagant projects in the pipeline, the demand is expected to be very strong in the future,” he said.

According to TNI, large developments in Abu Dhabi like Yas Island, Reem Island and Sadiyaat Island together with projects in other emirates in this Gulf nation mean the demand for construction materials in the region will continue to grow.

Due to large-scale construction in China, India, the Middle East and Africa, the emerging markets are expected to account for 85 percent of the global demand for cement by 2020.

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Saudi budget carrier flies over 500,000 passengers in one year

Saudi Arabia’s budget airline Sama has flown over 500,000 passengers since its launch in March 2007.

Chairman of Sama’s board of directors Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al Faisal has said that the airline maintains its ability and strong position to continue its full-fledged operations and fulfil its commitment to its customers, according to a report in the Khaleej Times.

“The airline receives all kinds of support from the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), which has enabled it to introduce services to international Arab destinations,” he was quoted as saying.

Sama spokesman Naif Yahya Abu-Saida had earlier said the number of passengers carried by Sama will exceed one million within a few weeks from now.

He added that the airline aimed to reach 10 million passengers by 2010 with its ongoing expansion plan in terms of the number of flights to different national and international destinations.

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UAE lending spree sparks fears of US-style sub-prime crisis

With banks in the UAE lavishing funds in housing credits to take advantage of an unprecedented construction boom, fresh fears have arisen of a US-style sub-prime crisis, resurrecting the spectre of a major bad loan problem that jolted many of them more than 20 years ago.

“Banks should be careful because you cannot expect demand to remain strong forever,” the Emirates Business 24-7 newspaper quoted an economist at a major Abu Dhabi-based bank as saying.

“The bad and doubtful loan crisis that has gripped most of them is still alive in their memory as some of them are still recovering from it. I hope they have learnt a good lesson from that problem to avoid a fresh crisis similar to the US sub-prime crisis. I also hope the central bank (of UAE) will be monitoring the situation.”

The country’s 22 national banks and 27 foreign units nearly doubled their real estate mortgage loans in just one year after September 2006 with investors rushing in for loans to benefit from a steady increase in property prices and the prospects that strong demand will keep prices high, according to the report.

According to UAE central bank figures, real estate mortgage loans extended by the country’s banks jumped by nearly 85 percent to 50.1 billion dirhams at the end of September 2007 from 27.3 billion dirhams at the end of September 2006.

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