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Steel sales plunge to two-year low

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Vietnam’s steel sales in October slid to a two-year low amid the woes faced by the real estate industry.

The country’s steel production topped two million tons in October, down 16% month-on-month and 29% year-on-year, while sales stood at around 1.9 million tons, a decline of 29% over the same period in 2021, the lowest since October 2020, the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA) reported.

Last month, Hoa Phat Group posted a year-on-year fall of 43% in raw steel production to 384,000 tons and 30% in sales of steel products to 443,000 tons. Of this, construction steel sales rose 20% over October but dipped 7% against the same period in 2021, while hot rolled coil sales slipped 12%.

Local steelmakers Nam Kim Steel Joint Stock Company and Hoa Sen Group reported the same. According to DSC Securities Joint Stock Company, the former’s steel sheet sales  plummeted 49% to over 131,000 tons in the third quarter, with exports diving 61% year-on-year.

Meanwhile, the latter saw a 44% slump in steel sales over the third quarter of 2021, at 313,000 tons, resulting from a 76% plunge in export volume and a 32% drop in domestic demand.

Though the VSA perceived the nation’s economy in the first 10 months to be stable, with a good macroeconomic balance and inflation under control, its figures demonstrate a gloomy picture of the industry and suggest hardships may linger until the second quarter of 2023.

Bureaucratic hurdles, a credit crunch and soaring inventory have delayed many housing and public investment projects, fueling the fall in domestic steel consumption, as the sector is the main steel buyer on the local market.

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