Cement, steel prices rise sharply

Cement, steel prices rise sharply
Published: 01 June 2006

Cement and steel prices in the domestic market have increased sharply due to the arrival of the peak construction season in Mid-May. Major cement producers have raised prices to match soaring demand while steel manufacturers are struggling with increasing raw materials prices. 
Ha Tien 1 and 2 and Holcim cement manufacturers all increased cement prices last week. Ha Tien 1 hiked it by VND20,000 a ton to VND950,000 (US$60) and Ha Tien 2 by VND14,000 to VND935,000. Holcim cement rose to VND925,000, an increase of VND15,000. 
The Ministry of Construction forecasts cement demand to remain high next month at about 3.4Mt and called for measures to stabilise the market.   It urged producers to keep abreast of technological advances to increase output, lower costs, and smooth out the distribution network. 
Steel traders said prices had edged up by VND200-250 per kg both for rolled and bar steel, and attributed it to the rising costs of imported steel ingot.  Thai Nguyen Company’s bar steel has risen to VND8.15 million (US$510) a ton and Viet-UC’s to VND8.3 million (US$518) from VND7.8 million (US$487) last month. 
The ministry said that China, one of the major exporters of steel ingot, had cut down exports as the government had slapped on an export tax. This also sent prices rising sharply.  The price of ingot imported from Russia too had risen by US$15-20 a ton in April from US$395-405 a month earlier.