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SAUDI STEEL FIRMS have accumulated around one million tonnes of steel products in their stocks due to an export ban and poor demand. The industry has urged the government to reconsider the decision to ban exports and has valued the surplus steel at US$533mn. Contractors have warned that removing the ban will result in spiralling costs.

According to Saudi Arabia's Al Watan daily, steel industry experts have told the government the current economic situation does not justify the ban anymore. "The continuation of the ban will result in heavy losses for producers," said an official from a leading steel plant. Restoring exports was being considered but no decision had been made yet said a government source,