Cement consumption up, steel down

According to the Building Materials Department under the Ministry of Construction, consumption of cement in the first two months of this year reached 9.01 million tons, accounting for 103.9 percent of the same period last year and 12.5 percent of this year’s plan.

Cement consumption posted fairly high growth compared to the same period last year amid steady industrial manufacturing and domestic rising demand.

In order to balance supply and demand, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung recently agreed to eliminate five cement plants whose capacity is below 2,500 tons of clinker per day from the planning and delay 9 cement projects to after this year. It is expected that there will be only one cement production line to be put into operation this year so as to narrow the gap between supply and demand.

Meanwhile, the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA) said that steel consumption merely touched 300,000 tons in the first two months of this year, down 30.3 percent over the same period last year, whereas steel inventory rose 39.9 percent.

According to VSA, the country’s total steel manufacturing capacity was up to 22 million tons, two times higher than domestic steel demand. However, the country still has to import some kinds of steel that local producers are not able to produce, such as hot-rolled steel sheet and alloy steel.

VSA forecasts that demand for building steel will reach 5.97 million tons this year, up 8 percent compared to last year, steel tube 1.36 million tons, up 15 percent, plated steel sheet 3.25 million tons, up 15 percent, and cold-rolled steel sheet 3 million tons, up 15 percent.

It is forecast that in 2015 steel industry will post a growth of 11.8 percent compared to previous year.

In order to relieve difficulties for domestic steel industry in the future, VSA proposed relevant ministries and departments to continue to review steel projects and cancel ineffective projects so as to maintain balance of steel supply and demand.

By Lac Phong – Translated by Thuy Doan

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