MANUFACTURING: Welding Sector Mirrors Our Economy
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THE welding industry is a good reflection of the local economic situation. Last year South Africa was quite well insulated from negative global sentiment. Stainless steel apparent consumption was up and most players in the industry did not report a significant downturn. However, most manufacturers are feeling the pinch this year.
Jim Guild, executive director of SAIW says: “Up until the end of last year the industry was flying and then January was dead quiet. However, it seems to be picking up again in February.”
The outlook for structural steel looks better than stainless; this is due to the on-going infrastructure projects in the country. Many industry players are also counting on Eskom building its two coal power stations, Medupi and Kusile.
“Murray & Roberts cannot handle all the work coming its way from the first of the two coal power stations. M&R will probably be looking to offload some of the work. This three-year project alone will keep the South African industry in business,” says Guild.
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