There is no doubt that the region’s construction industry has endured a difficult few years since the regional property collapse started in late 2008.
Billions of dollar-worth of projects have been cancelled or put on hold, thousands of people have lost their jobs, and construction companies have gone bust. Further down the supply chain, it has also not been easy for equipment suppliers as their customers downsize and cut costs.
While this may have seemed like a catastrophe for the smaller local equipment suppliers, for the big international players, the performance of the market was still robust when compared to other regions, notably Europe. Projects in the oil and gas sector, which were awarded to contractors in 2009 when construction costs were at record lows, still required large volumes of equipment, as did government-funded infrastructure schemes.
Looking forward, the Middle East is expected to continue to be stronger than most other global markets. After a difficult 2012, cash flow across the GCC will increase by 29 per cent from $5.5bn in January to $7.1bn in December in 2013 according to MEED Cost Indices. The best performing market will be Qatar with 76 per cent growth, followed by the UAE, with 37 per cent and Saudi Arabia with 21 per cent.
If those forecasts can be met then the region will offer strong growth for equipment suppliers. If they are not, then the region will still outperform the majority of global markets.