El Marakby Steel's chief business development officer Ramy Saleh told Fastmarkets on Monday February 15 that, in January, rebar use was at its lowest level for more than 10 years - even lower than the 312,000 tonnes consumed in May 2020 when Egypt was in lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said at the country’s rebar consumption in December was 816,000 tonnes, making the month on month decline even steeper at 62.25%.
Saleh said the fall in consumption in January “was expected, after the strong demand in late November and for the whole of December 2020 - supported by international and local price increases.”
However, he added that such a sharp a decrease in January 2021 had made for “a tough start to the year.”
Despite the increase in demand toward the end of 2020, total rebar sales in Egypt only reached 6.85 million tonnes for the whole of 2020, down by 7.68% from the 7.42 million tonnes sold in 2019.
Egyptian demand for long steel products has been weak since the country imposed a ban on most construction activity in May 2020, despite the rules of the ban being relaxed in September.
Market participants in Egypt now expect rebar prices to fall because of the weak demand, but prices have remained unchanged at E£13,350-13,654 ($853-873) per tonne ex-works including 14% VAT since December 27.
Egypt's use of rebar was almost halved in January 2021, with the country consuming just 308,000 tonnes of the construction material - a 46.53% year on year drop from January 2019's 576,000 tonnes.