Saudi scrap metal is hot to trot

Soaring metals prices have led to a dramatic rise in robberies from construction sites and even directly from the streets of Saudi Arabia.

Soaring metals prices have led to a dramatic rise in robberies from construction sites and even directly from the streets of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabic daily Okaz reported that there has been an epidemic of thefts, including of manhole covers, across the kingdom.

The latest incident involved a thief in Jeddah who was arrested with a truck-load of copper power cables and steel fencing.

Authorities said he had been stealing the material directly from the streets around the Red Sea city.

The man originally claimed he was simply picking up what he thought was discarded material, but admitted to the crime when cutting equipment and lengths of steel fencing were found in his truck.

Over the past year, steel and metal prices in the region have skyrocketed causing many contractors and developers to go bankrupt, with some even attempting to cancel projects.

The UAE government did away with import duty on steel in order to ease the strain on the construction sector. Even though the move did give a slight boost to the burdened sector, many steel experts said it did not make much of a difference and that a cap on the price of steel was a better solution.

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