* Demand for steel in Saudi seen rising by 8 percent
* Consumption to reach 6.4 mln tonnes
* At full-capacity domestic steel plants produce 7.3 mln t
KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia, March 17 (Reuters) - Demand for steel in top oil exporter Saudi Arabia is expected to rise this year by 8 percent with consumption nearing 6.4 million tonnes, Saudi Arabian Basic Industries (SABIC) 2010.SE said on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabian authorities in 2008 imposed restrictions on exports of steel and scrap metal due to tight supply in the domestic market. [ID:nL6205199]
SABIC, which controls the kingdom’s biggest steel producer Hadeed, said on its website that total production capacity at local plants run at full tilt is about 7.3 million tonnes.
The firm is moving ahead with plans to raise annual capacity of long-steel products to 4 million tonnes by mid-2012, from 3.2 million tonnes currently, it added.
Saudi Arabia’s domestic steel production capacity will rise by at least 50 percent by 2012, a senior government official told Reuters in December.[ID:nLDE5BR0G9]
SABIC, the world’s biggest bulk chemicals firm by market accounts for about half of domestic production capacity with Hadeed.
The state-controlled company said last month it will raise prices of steel rebar and wire rod by 100 riyals ($26.7) per tonne due to higher iron ore and scrap metal costs. [ID:nLDE61R0EG] (Reporting by Reem Shamseddine, Editing by Anthony Barker)