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Building materials see almost 50% decline in demand

Post Time:Mar 17,2009Classify:Industry NewsView:263

Global demand for building materials has dropped by almost 50 per cent, despite the continuation of several ongoing projects.

According to experts attending the wood and glass exhibitions at the Expo Centre Sharjah, a combination of factors, including lack of liquidity, a dent in consumer confidence and cancellation of several planned projects have resulted in the drastic drop in demand.

The exhibition titled Doors, Windows, Roofs and Walls 2009 saw a mixed response. Participants said they are hoping for the number of visitors to pick up during the second and third day.

Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who inaugurated the exhibition, said: "Demand for doors, windows, walls and roofs will be on the higher side and is unlikely to see any significant drop in the near future since majority of the construction projects in the country are on schedule," said Al Midfa.

Wihanta Ongosari, General Manager of Sumatera Timberwood Industry from Indonesia, said he decided to participate in the exhibition for the first time as demand from his traditional European customers had drastically dwindled.

"Our company is part of a group of companies involved in various activities related to the wood industry. We mainly specialise in doors and windows. We usually trade to European markets. But the business has dropped and we are hoping the region with whatever ongoing projects can be a good market for us," said Ongosari.

More than 100 brands of products are being exhibited during this year's show with participation from leading manufacturers and suppliers from Europe, GCC, CIS, Asia and Oceania countries and the Far East.

Doors, Windows, Roofs & Walls 2009 is displaying products including windows, doors, grills, gates, shutters and sun protection, profies & insulation, louver blinds and interior roller blinds, glass and glass products, paints and chemicals, tensile membrane, raw material, accessories, curtains, wall coverings, locks, access control systems, and door operating devices.

According to industry analysts, several projects in the planning stages were affected due to the difficulty in obtaining necessary financing, but those that were off the ground are progressing well.

"Almost all the infrastructure projects are on track in the country and in the region. The emphasis placed on spending through higher budgetary allocations will also ensure that none of these projects will be affected in any way," added Al Midfa. These positive developments, he said, would augur well for the sustainable development of the construction sector.

Gulf Glass Exhibition

Some of the major industry players participating in this year's Gulf Glass Exhibition, also taking place at Expo Centre Sharjah, are targeting business opportunities in the region. The container side of the industry has been less affected by the global downturn, certainly compared to construction glass in the UAE, and an increased number of suppliers that specialise in this sector have taken space at Gulf Glass this year.

"There has been a slowdown in the flat glass sector mainly used in the construction industry and it has resulted in enthusiastic participation from the container glass industry," said Cinzia Schiatti, head of foreign sales at Schiatti Angelo, an Italian manufacturer of tools and machinery used for drilling and grinding of glass.

She is also part of the Italian Trade Commission is the President of GIMAV, the Association of Italian manufacturers and suppliers of machinery, equipment and special products for glass processing.

According to her, Italian companies are participating in a major way in exhibitions in the region since last five years. "We have registered quite a significant growth figures. However, we are approaching this year quite sceptically," said Schiatti.

According to her, 17 companies from the country are participating in this year's exhibition. "The Gulf as a market is still considered as one that is less affected by the global slowdown. We are aware of the impact on the region. Yet, if something is happening today, it is happening here," said Schiatti.

"All our machines are manufactured for overseas markets, where qualified representatives provide excellent sales and service assistance. We are now focusing on machinery for glass used in solar panels as the emphasis on going green has been increasing over the years and the region too has been taking significant environment friendly initiatives," said Schiatti.

According to Kevin Hudson, Event Director Gulf Glass, the appearance of major international names in glassmaking technology at this year's Gulf Glass exhibition reinforces the message that for this industry not everything is on the slide and, that "prospects in this particular part of the world are good for more growth in container glass".

"We have companies from three new countries – Turkey, Czech Republic and Poland – participating in this year's show."

On the current economic situation, he said: "Naturally, with the enormous amount of building activity taking place in recent years in the Middle East, and particularly in the Emirates, much of the marketing emphasis by suppliers has been concentrated on the flat glass sector. Clearly there is going to be an easing off in demand for the end product following the postponement of many projects."

Source: Business24-7.aeAuthor: shangyi

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