Although the construction season had begun, the sale volume in April of almost all steel enterprises were lower than March's sale figure, the Vietnam Economic News said on May 19.

The frozen real estate market and the slow development of the construction market and the shipbuilding industry were some reasons that Vietnam Steel Association (VSA) Chairman Ho Nghia Dung told the media when mentioning difficulties of the steel industry. The low growth of infrastructure development was also a reason of the humble steel sales.

The main problem lied in the imbalanced relation between supply and demand on the steel market. According to the South East Asia Iron & Steel Institute (SEAISI)’s statistics, Vietnam ranked first among ASEAN countries in terms of numbers of new steel projects, with more than 30 new steel projects in 2013. Apart from the imbalanced relation between supply and demand, steel enterprises in Vietnam also have to face the pressure caused by cheap steel products from China.

VSA Chairman Ho Nghia Dung said that the steel market remains potential. Steel consumption per capita in Vietnam is 140 kilograms while that in Thailand is 270kg and the world average is 240kg.

While the market remains difficult, many steel businesses have been growing well, including the Hoa Sen Group, Vietnam-Australia Steel Joint Venture Company, the Vietnam-Japan steel joint venture company, and Hoa Phat Steel Joint Stock Company.

Vietnam Steel Corporation (VNSTEEL) General Director Nghiem Xuan Da said that VNSTEEL will restructure its working apparatus, provide support to the five loss making companies and give greater power to subsidiaries to operate more effectively and minimize losses in 2014 and the following years.

Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Department of Heavy Industry Director Nguyen Manh Quan said that steel businesses should reorganise their markets and restructure production to improve quality and competitiveness, and that they should be determined to create good quality, reasonable-price products and approach cost effective production.

VSA Chairman Ho Nghia Dung said that VSA has proposed that the government have solutions to develop the engineering industry to increase steel demand and sales.-VNA