The steel industry is concerned about slow consumption in the domestic market despite a year-on-year rise of 7.22 percent in steel sales in July to over 423,600 tonnes.

The Vietnam Steel Association (VSA) said most of its members are facing difficulties in finding domestic customers. The prices of steel products have dropped slightly, by between 100,000-200,000 VND (USD) per tonne.

Sales agents are hoping that sales may pick up towards the end of the year, which is usually the construction season.

VSA Chairman Ho Nghia Dung was of the view that low steel consumption was due to the economic slowdown, which saw the real estate market freezing and many infrastructure projects suspended. In addition, the building of private homes also dropped remarkably.

At the same time, domestic producers are under pressure from cheap imports, which surpassed 7 million tonnes during the first seven months of this year.

VSA has urged steel manufacturers to restructure their production to reduce costs and invest more in product quality, so as to enhance their competitiveness on the market.

The association’s chairman also noted the need for legitimate and suitable technical barriers to encourage domestic production and prevent trade fraud.

The VSA has sent proposals to relevant State agencies asking for anti-dumping investigation of some imported steel products.

In early September, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has issued a decision to impose anti-dumping tariffs on stainless steel imported from China, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The decision was made based on results of investigations by the Vietnam Competition Authority launched at the request of Posco VST and Hoa Binh Inox last year.-VNA