By Andy Sambidge
Construction firms win $30.8bn Mideast orders as H1 deals are up 138%.
A rebound in fortunes in the Middle East construction industry has helped drive overseas orders won by South Korean builders to more than $40bn this year.
South Korean government officials said increased demand from customers in the Middle East amid an economic recovery was the main reason for the rise in orders.
According to data offered by the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, the nation's overseas construction orders have totalled $41.63bn so far this year, up 138.6 percent from the same period a year earlier, news agency WAM reported.
The sharp increase is attributed to brisk orders from the Middle East, where oil-rich countries have expanded investment for facilities.
By region, orders from the Middle East came to $30.8bn, which included $18.6bn worth of deals to build nuclear reactors in the UAE.
Asian countries came next with $8.5bn, followed by $1.2bn from Latin American nations.
South Korean officials forecast that the upward move in overseas orders will continue for the rest of 2010, with total awards likely to exceed $60bn.
The figure compares to $47.6bn and $49.1bn in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
South Korean construction firms have been heavily involved in some of the Gulf's biggest projects including Dubai Metro and a $18.6bn contract was awarded in December to Korea Electric Power Corp to build four nuclear plants in the UAE by 2020.
South Korea aims to secure $400bn in nuclear contracts by 2030 as demand for nuclear power increases, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in January.