Steel sale is yet to recover on the local market, despite domestic steel producers' efforts to boost consumption coinciding with the start of the construction season, according to the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA).

The association said construction steel sales in September declined 3.87 percent against August and 2.29 percent year-on-year to 353,792 tonnes.

Production in the same month also fell 9.46 percent from August and 7.43 percent against September 2012 to 347,780 tonnes.

However, in the first nine months of this year, the steel production reached 3.36 million tonnes, a marginal increase of 0.02 percent against the same period last year, while consumption rose 2.46 percent to 3.38 million tonnes.

The steel inventory reached 317,504 tonnes in the first nine months of this year, VSA figures showed, adding the inventory remained at a normal rate.

Producers had a steel ingot inventory of 520,000 tonnes, which was expected to meet production demand in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the selling price of construction steel in the north was reduced by 100,000-350,000 VND to 12.24-12.95 VND million per tonne in September, as producers sought to counter low demand, according to the domestic market management team under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

But the domestic market still sits precariously at the start of the season, because increased electric prices have pushed up steel production costs, making it even more difficult for suppliers to remain competitive.

The association said the building season got off to a slow start in September, as many storms and floods hampered projects.

The team expected steel prices to remain stable, while production and consumption would also see little change in months to come.

The association also reported that Vietnam's steel imports in the first eight months of 2013 had surged 26.22 percent in volume and 11.1 percent in value to 4.4 billion USD.

More encouragingly, Vietnam's steel export volume jumped 23.81 over the same period to 1.4 million tonnes, with value rising 15.26 percent to 1.2 billion USD.

The surge in exports had helped reduce consumption pressure on local steel producers, the association said.-VNA