Several local steel producers have set lower growth targets this year after a rosy 2016 that enjoyed an improved domestic economy, higher steel prices and application of anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel.
|The Vietnam Steel Association has forecast that the steel industry will grow at 12 per cent this year. ( Photo vinaonesteel.com)
Tran Dinh Long, Chairman of the Hoa Phat Group, a leading steel producer in the country, was quoted by enternews.vn as saying that the industry would continue to be fuelled by the recovery of the property market until 2018.
The Hoa Sen Group has also set lower gross profit growth target at 10% respectively for 2017, after a 130% growth rate last year.
Nguyen Ngoc Anh, chairman of steel distribution firm SMC Trading Investment Joint Stock Company, which has set its 2017 after-tax profit target at nearly half of last year, said that the local steel industry was still heavily dependent on global prices.
"Steel prices are on a downward trend, so local producers should be cautious,” Anh said.
According to the VSA, the price of construction steel in the local market has dropped by around VND600-VND800 per kilogram in the first quarter of this year and that of iron ore is forecast to drop to around US$74 per tonne by June from US$80.9 at the end of March. Scrap steel is also on a downward trend at around US$265-US$270 per tonne at present from US$315 in 2016.
The association said that the drops in price were caused by the letting out of inventories as well as competition among producers to maintain their market share.
Sua said that steel exports would continue to struggle in 2017 due to pressure from the investigation and application of trade defense instruments by import markets.
Many countries were enhancing application of trade defense instruments against Vietnamese steel, he said.
Statistics compiled by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) show that by the end of July 2016, out of 100 anti-dumping lawsuits, 20 related to the steel industry.
The Vietnam Steel Corporation has advised local producers to enhance competitiveness by improving production efficiency as well as market analysis.
It has also called on the Government to issue policies to prevent mass inflow of cheap steel, especially from China, as well as trade fraud.
In the first quarter of this year, steel output reached 4.6 million tonnes, up 18.8% over the same period last year. Sales rose 6.5% during this period to reach 3.76 million tones.
Vietnam imported finished steel products totalling 3.56 million tonnes worth US$2.2 billion in the first quarter, up 13% and 64% year-on-year, respectively.