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The steel industry has maintained its growth momentum

14:55 | 19/11/2018

2018 is a relatively hard year for Vietnam steel industry because it faces a series of trade defense cases as well as fierce competition of foreign steel in the domestic market. However, overcoming the difficulties, for the whole year, this industry is still expected to achieve the growth rate of about 20% compared to 2017.

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In the coming time, steel enterprises need to improve their competitiveness and self-control of domestic raw materials. Photo: ST.

The production increased by 17.7%

According to the Vietnam Steel Association: Generally for the first 10 months, production of finished steel products reached more than 20 million tons, up 17.7% over the same period in 2017; Sales reached over 18 million tons, up 27.7% over the same period in 2017. Of which, steel exports reached over 3.9 million tons, up 31% over the same period in 2017.

Previously, construction steel products were one of the commodities with the best growth. Specifically, over the same period last year, construction steel production reached over 8.3 million tons, up 9.8%; Sales reached nearly 8.29 million tons, up 13.8%. Hoa Phat Group has been the leader in steel construction market share with 23.45%, followed by Vietnam Steel Corporation with 17.5%; Pomina with 9.97%; Posco SS accounts for 9.35% and Vinakyoei accounts for 8.38%.

Regarding steel prices, the Vietnam Steel Association stated that steel billets were at 505-507 USD/ton, down 15 USD/ton compared to early October and down about 20 USD/ton compared to early 2018. Therefore, the domestic steel prices remained relatively stable in October. In the north, the adjusted price decreased 100-200 VND/kg depending on the type of product and each company. Meanwhile, prices in the South remained unchanged. The price of construction steel in the North has ranged from 13,100 - 13,200 VND/kg and in the South from 13,200 - 13,250 VND/kg.

Generally evaluating the steel production and consumption from the beginning of the year, Mr. Nguyen Van Sua, Vice president and general secretary of Vietnam Steel Association, said: Production and sales of steel products have enjoyed good growth in the last 10 months. As for construction steel, Mr. Sua stressed: "Although the weather rained heavily in October, affecting the construction of buildings, the steel consumption in the whole country still increased. This proves that Vietnamese steel products are very competitive in the domestic market."

Continue to maintain the growth momentum

Around the story of the steel industry, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said: In fact, in the past few months, the steel industry has competed fiercely with imported steel in the Vietnam market and faced many dumping investigations from importing countries, which made steel export difficult. In which, the common markets in ASEAN such as Thailand and Malaysia have initiated anti-dumping lawsuits against some steel products originated or imported from China into Vietnam. This is a worrying situation.

Being clearly aware of this situation, but Mr Sua gave an optimistic view. Mr. Sua said: it is expected that steel consumption in big markets will continue to be strong at the end of the year if there are no major impact factors. In particular, the factors affecting world steel consumption may include: whether the US loosens tariffs with Turkey; China enforcing the cutting back of winter production; the effects from the collapse of the US-China trade dispute with the Chinese economy... Notably, European demand for steel was forecasted to increase 2.2% this year due to strong demand for automobiles and construction. Even in the farther future, an alternative infrastructure program in Europe will help stabilize steel demand next year. "For the domestic market, production and sales are on a high growth rate and are expected to continue to grow at the end of the year," said Mr. Sua.

From the viewpoint of enterprises, Hoa Phat Group also gave an optimistic forecast for steel consumption in the coming time. Particularly in October, Hoa Phat set a "double" record when it sold 250,000 tons of construction steel for the first time, in which the export volume reached the highest ever with 40,000 tons. The results achieved in October brought Hoa Phat's total construction steel consumption to over 1.9 million tons. It is expected that by 2018, the figure will be 2.3 million tons. In addition, Hoa Phat is concentrating on the completion of the Iron and Steel Complex in Dung Quat to achieve a total capacity of 4 million tons of construction steel by 2019 and 5 million tons of construction steel by 2020. As the project operates stably, Hoa Phat's steel market share is expected to account for at least 30% in the whole market.

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Based on the difficulties that Vietnam's steel industry has been facing, typically in trade remedy cases, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, in the coming time, the Ministry of Industry and Trade will continuously support enterprises in investigating cases. However, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce recommended that steel enterprises need to improve their competitiveness, self-control of their domestic raw materials sources; Make efforts from inputs to production to eliminate the origin from other countries to minimize the fact that other countries claim that Vietnam evades taxes.

By Uyen Nhu/ Ha Thanh