Steel industry expected to recover this year

By Dat Nguyen   March 3, 2021 | 09:00 pm GMT+7
Steel industry expected to recover this year
A man checks steel quality at a plant in Hai Duong Province, northern Vietnam. Photo by Reuters/Kham.
Vietnam’s steel industry is expected to recover this year with rising export orders, thanks to improved global demand and surging domestic consumption.

Market leader Hoa Phat Group last month exported over 12,000 tonnes of products, mostly cold-galvanized steel, to North and South America.

This followed an export of 10,000 tonnes in January to Belgium and Spain.

The company targets producing 300,000-400,000 tonnes of steel products this year, 30-40 percent of which are likely to be exported.

Its competitor Hoa Sen Group last month set a new export record of 121,000 tonnes of galvanized steel worth more than $100 million. The group has a network of over 85 countries and territories, with main markets being the U.S, Mexico, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Vietnam’s steel industry is expected to see growth of 5-6 percent this year, with global demand set to rise by 4.1 percent thanks to recovery in developed markets, according to the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA).

Other drivers for growth include expectations of rising public investment in infrastructure, the recovery of the real estate market and more foreign direct investment, said VSA deputy chairman Trinh Khoi Nguyen.

The industry started 2021 strongly, with a 61 percent year-on-year rise in production volume to 2.65 million tonnes.

Domestic sales in the period rose 55 percent to 2.12 million tonnes, while exports rose 53 percent in value to $553 million.

These figures indicate robust recovery prospects this year after VSA saw half of its members reporting plunging revenues last year, especially in the first and second quarter, due to Covid-19 impacts.

However, trade officials have warned that rising safeguard measures could hurt the industry.

Last month, Indonesia imposed an anti-dumping duty of 3.01-49.2 percent on Vietnam cold steel sheets.

In January, Malaysia revised duties on cold-rolled coils of alloy and non-alloy steel from Vietnam to 7.42-33.7 percent for the period between January 24 and May 23.

The U.S. and Canada have also slapped anti-dumping duties on Vietnam’s steel products in recent years.

The Trade Remedies Authorities of Vietnam has advised local steelmakers to diversify their markets to avoid being punished with such duties.

Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry's (VCCI) WTO Center, said that steel producers need to prepare themselves with knowledge of regulations on international safeguard measures and cooperate with other countries’ trade authorities to resolve issues.

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