Steel enterprises have boosted exports while facing difficulties in domestic consumption due to the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA).
The association said steel production in July reached nearly 2.4 million tonnes, down 6.48% compared to the previous month, while steel consumption was about 2.1 million tonnes, the same volume in June and up 7.4% year on year.
Of which, steel exports reached 658,207 tonnes, an increase of 5.96% month on month, and 55% year on year.
Trang Thu Ha, chief of VSA Administrative Office, said the domestic steel industry has faced difficulties in production and sales due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the weather.
Construction work was temporarily postponed in the first seven months of the year, leading to difficulties in the domestic steel market, especially in the southern region.
Construction steel sales in the first seven months increased by 6.4% year on year, of which, exports rose by 25.4%.
Meanwhile, hot rolled coil production reached more than 590,000 tonnes in July, down by 1.21% month on month but increased by 85.4% year on year. Consumption of this product reduced by 6.8% to 559,487 tonnes but this figure surged by 82.7% over the same period in 2020.
Consumption of colour-coated metal sheets in July reached 428,084 tonnes, down 6.58% month on month, though up 18.8% year on year. This figure included 300,404 tonnes for export, up 84.2% over the same period in 2020.
The Hoa Sen and Nam Kim groups were leading in steel consumption in the first seven months. Hoa Sen sold nearly 1.1 million tonnes, holding 36.7% of the domestic market share. Nam Kim sold more than 498,000 tonnes, ranking second with 16.8% of market share.
The Hoa Phat Group's galvanised sheet and steel pipe products also recorded a strong increase because of the recovery in demand of those products in the US and Europe.
Due to the difficulties in the steel product consumption in the domestic market, steel enterprises have promoted steel exports to maintain production.
Ha said that in 2020, the domestic steel production industry maintained operations due to good control of the pandemic.
However, with the complicated development of the outbreaks this year, many provinces and cities have been implementing social distancing measures and even had to stop temporarily many activities, weakening the domestic market demand in June and July.
“Therefore, the association forecasts that steel consumption in the third quarter will not be better. The business result in the fourth quarter will also depend on the pandemic prevention and control," Ha told the Vietnam News Agency.
With the complicated development of the pandemic in the southern provinces and cities, the association expects that steel production and consumption by year-end would continue to see difficulties, she said.
However, "domestic consumption and steel exports could recover further by the end of this year if the pandemic is controlled well at home and abroad," she said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has requested the association and enterprises producing and exporting iron ore, iron and steel to review input materials for reducing production costs and selling price in the process of stabilising steel production and the domestic steel market at present.