Cement producers face multiple problems hinh anh 1Workers at a cement factory. Cement producers are facing difficulties in both the domestic and export markets due to Covid-19 epidemic. (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) - Cement producers in Vietnam are facing a double challenge with domestic demand falling due to a slowdown in the property market and delays in transport infrastructure works and exports declining due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Nguyen Quang Cung, chairman of the Vietnam Cement Association, was quoted as saying by Dau Tu Bat Dong San (Real-estate Investment) magazine that demand in 2020 was expected to be huge before the troubles began.

While demand is low, competition in the cement industry is fierce, exacerbating the difficulties, he said.

The forecast had been for exports of around 34 million tonnes this year, but the epidemic has put paid to those hopes since China used to be the main clinker importer, he said.

Domestic sales in the first two months of this year were down 40 percent year-on-year.

Cement and clinker exports in the period were down 30 percent.

Cung said that his association had petitioned the Government, State Bank of Vietnam and sectors for support to help the industry overcome the current difficulties.

It had sought cuts in taxes and bank lending interest rates, he said.

“In addition to the epidemic, the industry also faces many other challenges like high materials and energy costs and fierce competition.”

Last year the Ministry of Construction had forecast demand this year to be 103 million tonnes, with domestic consumption accounting for around 70 million tones, and it has yet to revise it.

Since the end of last year the industry has been struggling due to high costs, with many companies reporting a downtrend.

Bim Son Cement Joint Stock Company reported a 55 percent year-on-year fall in profits in the last quarter to 26.8 billion VND (1.2 million USD).

Vicem Hoang Mai Company reported an 11 percent fall in revenues and a 53 percent slump in profits.

Last year Vietnam exported nearly 34 million tonnes of cement and clinker worth 1.4 billion USD, according to a report by the Ministry of Industry and Trade./.