A Yên Bình Cement Co factory in Yên Bái Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Tiến Khánh
HÀ NỘI — The sale of Vietnamese cement products reached 70.7 million tonnes over the past eight months of 2021, up 4 per cent year-on-year amid the COVID-19 pandemic which had negative impacts on many other industries.
Of the total, export volume was 27.23 million tonnes, up 12 per cent thanks to buying rebound seen in many large export outlets such as the US, Canada and China, Lương Đức Long, General Secretary of the Việt Nam Cement Association (VNCA), said.
Long said demand for cement products in these markets had increased and cement prices there had a tendency to go up.
Meanwhile, domestic consumption saw a modest decline of 5 per cent to about 43.54 million tonnes in the period, according to the association.
Chairman of VNCA Nguyễn Quang Cung said the fourth wave of COVID-19 which broke out from the end of April, had suspended construction projects in Hà Nội and HCM City and 19 southern localities, resulting in a decline in demand for cement in recent months.
The southern region had the strongest increase in consumption in the country with a year-on-year increase rate of 12.2 per cent. Therefore, the prolonged social distancing in this region affected domestic cement consumption significantly, Cung explained.
However, Long said, the vaccination rollout was being accelerated in many localities in order to effectively control the pandemic and gradually relax social distancing to bring daily life back to a new normal.
Therefore, domestic cement consumption was expected to flourish again in later months as the peak construction season began, Long forecast.
According to experts, exports continued to be the growth engine of the cement industry in recent years. They attributed the strong increase in the country's cement exports to the fact that China has gradually closed cement factories, mainly for environmental purposes and increased imports from other countries, especially Việt Nam.
In the second quarter alone, China was the largest importer of Việt Nam’s cement and clinker with nearly 10.3 million tonnes, worth $368.6 million, accounting for 49.4 per cent of total export volume and 45.6 per cent of total turnover. It was followed by the Philippines with 3.85 million tonnes, worth $176 million, and Bangladesh with 1.93 million tonnes, valued at $65.4 million.
Experts said the advantage of sea routes had facilitated Việt Nam's exports of cement and clinker to China.
Việt Nam is currently the fifth biggest cement manufacturer in the world, after China, India, the US, and Russia. Its cement output has doubled within 10 years, from 45.5 million tonnes in 2009 to about 100 million tonnes, turning the country from a cement and clinker importer to the world’s largest exporter of these commodities.
Last year, the country shipped 101.5 million tonnes of these products to overseas markets, representing a rise of 1.5 per cent over 2019.
However, in order to maintain exports, cement producers should apply advanced technologies in production to enhance quality and added value while reducing environmental harm, which would significantly help boost competitiveness, experts suggested.
They should also monitor the cement market and adjust their production plans accordingly to keep prices from falling. In addition, cement firms should also work out long-term development strategies. — VNS