Vietnam’s steel imports dropped to 6.8mn mt in H1 (Jan-June 2020) down 5.4pc from the prior year period, according to Vietnam steel association (VSA). The lockdown restrictions imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 impacted manufacturing activities and domestic steel demand.
Imports of steel and iron into Vietnam totalled $4bn in H1. China, Japan and South Korea were among the top importer to Vietnam.
In June, the country imported nearly 1.3mn mt steel, up 20.4pc from the prior year. In term of value imported products totalled $670mn, down 6.9pc from the prior year.
In 2019, Vietnam imported 14.6mn mt of steel and iron, up 7.6pc from the prior year. Imports value for steel and iron totalled to $9.5bn, according to Vietnam’s General Statistics Office.
Vietnam’s finished steel output is expected to decline 5.9pc in 2020 to 14mn mt from a year ago, and apparent steel consumption may drop more substantially by 10.7pc to 21.7mn mt from the prior year, according VSA. In Jan-May period, Vietnam’s finished steel production reached 6mn mt and apparent steel consumption was 9mn mt.
Exports hits new high
Vietnamese steelmakers continued to focus on exports in June amid weak domestic demand. In H1 steel products exports rose by 6pc to 3.61mn mt. The rise in exports helped steelmakers offset dampened domestic demand. ASEAN countries were the major destinations for Vietnamese steel.
In June, export sales hit a new high of 600,000mt, up 22.4pc from the prior year, according to official data. Despite a sharp increase in June imports, total export volumes were still lower in H1 compared to last year.
Vietnam’s Hoa Phat Group recorded exports of construction steel to 160,000mt, up 50pc from the prior year while billet shipments reached 596,000mt, of which around 316,000mt was sold to China in Jan-May.