In spite of continuing economic difficulties, cement and clinker consumption next year will reach roughly between 71 million and 73 million tonnes, a four- to seven-percent year-on-year increase.

The Ministry of Construction made this prediction and added that of the total, about 52 million to 53 million tonnes would be consumed in the domestic market and the rest would be exported.

Domestic cement production currently meets demand. The country currently has 74 cement production lines with a total output of 77 million tonnes per year.

The ministry has required concerned agencies to scrutinise the investment and construction process of cement plants. It has also instructed cement producers to cut costs and streamline their trading networks to boost consumption.

In the first 10 months of 2014, cement producers sold 56.54 million tonnes of cement and clinker, meeting 88.2 percent of the industry's annual target.

The ministry estimated total cement consumption this year to reach 68 million tonnes, a three-percent year-on-year increase. Of the total, about 49 million tonnes will be consumed in the domestic market.

According to the Vietnam Cement Association, cement exports this year could earn as much as 1 billion USD via the export of 20 million to 21 million tonnes of cement and clinker, a 15-percent year-on-year increase in value.

Figures from the General Customs Department showed that the shipment of cement and clinker increased in both volume and value from January to October this year to nearly 18 million tonnes.

Tran Viet Thang, Director General of the Vietnam Cement Industry Corporation (Vicem), which provides 34 percent of the cement sector's output, said Vicem alone exported about 1.8 million tonnes of cement and clinker in the first three quarters of 2014 and planned to sell one million tonnes more in the last quarter of the year.-VNA