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Low domestic demand and a depressed global market are taking their toll on SA’s steel sector — and no easy answers seem on hand to offer relief.As is the case with other sectors, steel’s woes have left a trail of job losses. Between 2007 and the second quarter of 2019, the metals and engineering industry lost about 49,000 jobs — 38,000 of those in the metals sector. Over five years, the metals sector has shed about 16,000 jobs, according to the Steel & Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa)."The job losses are a huge concern," says Seifsa chief economist Michael Ade, who believes companies need to start exploring markets beyond SA — and beyond Southern Africa."We are encouraging companies to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement [AfCFTA]," Ade says. "There is no demand locally because of various factors, including the constrained economic environment and fiscal consolidation."Ade believes the East African Community (Burundi, Kenya...

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