The domestic cement market will remain sluggish in 2012 because of continuing difficulties in production and business this year, according to experts.

The Vietnam Cement Association estimated that the domestic market would need 55-56.5 million tonnes of cement and 4-4.5 million tonnes of clinker and cement for export next year.

The industry would still experience many difficulties in production and business because of high input costs related to electricity and coal prices, according to the association.

Tran Du Lich, a member of the National Assembly's Economic Committee, said that next year, the building material market would continue its slow growth due to the frozen property market, tightening credit policies and cuts in public construction project investment.

The loosening policy on credit would have little effect on the building material market, Lich said.

The domestic cement market has retained large stocks with capacity hitting 60 million tonnes on a demand of 50 million this year.

Nguyen Tran Nam , deputy minister of construction, said that production costs had been driven up, increasing the retail price of cement.

The industry was in need of modern technology to increase production and lower operational and logistical costs, Nam said.

Tran Van Huynh, chairman of the Vietnam Building Material Association, said that the Government and ministries should limit licensing wasteful cement factories with small capacity of between 350,000-600,000 tonnes per year.

The Vietnam Cement Industry Corporation should link with joint ventures to manage demand and supply on a monthly basis, Nam said.

The Ministry of Construction called on the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Market Watch Team to adjust selling prices for electricity, coal and petrol while ensuring sufficient supply towards the cement industry to ensure market stability, he added./.