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Steel production lacks mettle

2013-07-08 15:33:29

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The sluggish real estate market continues to seriously affect domestic steel production, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.


The steel market in the first half of this year remained stagnant, with only 1.4 million tonnes produced, a decline of more than 11 per cent year-on-year, the ministry has reported.


Of the total, nearly 745,000 tonnes were produced by the Viet Nam Steel Corporation.


In addition to the weak property market, the ministry attributed the decline in production to cheap imported steel.


Locally produced steel faces stiff competition from steel imports, which are low quality and inexpensive, according to the ministry.


The ministry said the shortage of high-quality iron ore had also caused a slowdown in production.


Prices have fallen by 2-5 per cent compared to one month ago, the ministry said.


Steel bars are priced at about VND13 million (US$620) per tonne, while prices for rolling steel are now VND12.7 million ($604) to VND13.6 million ($647) per tonne.


The ministry predicted that steel production would continue to remain sluggish in the third quarter because of rainy weather in the southern region, which has delayed construction projects.


To help spur domestic steel production, the ministry has urged authorities to strengthen their investigations into illegal steel imports and iron ore exports.


The ministry also plans to work more closely with associations to develop more suitable production and sales plans for local companies.


In addition, the ministry advices companies to find ways to lower prices and improve competitiveness with imported steel.