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Building materials sales to rise

Sales of building materials, particularly steel, are expected to pick up in the remaining months of the year.

Steel sales in August increased by 50,000 tonnes to 410,000 tonnes against the previous month, said Nguyen Tien Nghi, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Steel Association (VSA).

That trend was expected to continue untill the end of the year, Nghi added.

However, he said the suspension or termination of a number of construction projects would dampen sales of building materials.

Experts said the recovery of the building materials market would depend on the rate of economic growth and macroeconomic policies.

Most steel producers plan to keep prices unchanged, while sales agents have been offering discounts.

Nguyen Thi Oanh, who owns a steel shop in Ha Noi’s Tu Liem District, said orders had dropped over the last few months.

Nghi added that many steel producers had cut production by half in the hope that the market would recover later in the year.

Cement sales have also been sluggish this year.

Doan Van Da, a cement agent in Ha Noi’s Phu Xuyen District, said sales had declined by 40-50 per cent to just one tonne per day.

In the first eight months of this year, 31.65 million tonnes of cement was produced – 58 per cent of the industry’s target, according to the Ministry of Construction.

Construction experts said sales of building materials had been hit by the cooling of the property market this year and a tightening in public spending.

To reduce stocks of steel and cement due to low domestic consumption, enterprises have increased exports.

The steel association said it expected 200,000 tonnes of steel to be exported this year, against 170,000 tonnes in 2010.

Meanwhile, the country exported 2.8 million tonnes of cement in the first eight months of this year.

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