|Steel consumption in March climbed by nearly 80 per cent to 450,000 tonnes over the previous month, according to the Viet Nam Steel Association.—VNS File Photo
HCM CITY (VNS)— Steel consumption in March climbed by nearly 80 per cent to 450,000 tonnes over the previous month, according to the Viet Nam Steel Association (VSA).
The association told Viet Nam News yesterday that its members produced about 448,000 tonnes of steel in March.
"Some people say this is a good sign for the industry. We, however, do not agree," said Nguyen Tien Nghi, VSA deputy chairman.
Nghi said that sales in March last year was about 522,000 tonnes.
"Month-on-month, it jumped this year because February was a short month, with a long holiday for Lunar New Year," he said.
In addition, after a long period of stagnancy, many traders had decided to buy steel to increase their stockpile.
Other experts said consumption climbed in March thanks to a lower interest rate on bank loans, which fell by 1 percentage point to 11 per cent on March 26.
According to Nghi, about 27.4 per cent of sales came from State-owned companies, while 20.8 per cent were from joint-venture companies. Other companies purchased 51.8 per cent.
The VSA said that total production volume in the first quarter of this year was more than 1 million tonnes, while sales reached more than 1.1 million tonnes, equivalent to 96.8 per cent of the amount in the same quarter last year.
Meanwhile, the stockpile volume still stands at the same level as last year's.
By the end of March, the inventory volume was 285,000 tonnes, Nghi said.
Although a report on March exports has yet to be issued, Nghi said exports had been stable, with good growth in February.
Nghi predicted that it would be difficult for the steel industry to recover strongly in the second quarter.
"It may increase, but not by much," he said. — VNS