Vietnam's demand for steel is expected to increase next year. (Source: vir.com.vn)

HCM City (VNA) – Steel demand in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam are expected to maintain a growth rate of 6 percent next year despite exposure to China’s steel exports, according to World Steel Association (WSA).

According to WSA, Vietnam is the biggest steel importer in ASEAN and is ranked seventh in world.

WSA said that infrastructure construction will increase steel consumption in the five ASEAN countries to 74.6 million tonnes in 2017.

In emerging and developing economies excluding China, WSA forecasts that steel demand would grow by 1.8 percent and 4.8 percent in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Steel demand in these economies will amount to 457.1 million tonnes next year, accounting for about 30 percent of the world’s steel demand.

Last year, Vietnam imported 11.3 million tonnes, mostly from China, the Vietnam Steel Association reported.

In the first four months of this year, the country imported 3.7 million tonnes of steel from China.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade revealed that steel imports in May increased by 32.4 percent in volume and 7.2 percent in value.

Growth in the first five months was 50.5 percent in volume and 1.6 percent in value.

The ministry said the steel industry had faced difficulties from the beginning of this year due to tough competition from foreign countries.

However, there are positive signs as the demand is recovering and the price is up.

Companies are increasing production to meet demand, according to the ministry.-VNA