Vietnam exporters looking further afield

Vietnam exporters looking further afield
01 May 2024

Cement sales in Vietnam continue to struggle versus their year-ago levels. Sales were down 17 per cent YoY to 5.113Mt in March 2024, from 6.161Mt a year earlier, according to the Vietnam National Cement Association (VNCA). However, they did show a strong uptick from February, rising 130 per cent MoM. Of the total, VICEM companies saw sales down 23 per cent YoY to 1.625Mt. Other VNCA-affiliated companies report contractions of 12 per cent YoY to 1.077Mt. Non-VNCA members reported sales of 2.41Mt, down 17 per cent YoY.

Cement exports rose 10 per cent YoY to 1.712Mt while clinker exports were down 18 per cent YoY to 1.107Mt. VICEM cement exports were up 24 per cent YoY at 256,574t and clinker exports were up 73 per cent YoY to 146,127t. Other VNCA members reported a 296 per cent YoY increase in cement exports to 335,174t and clinker exports amounted to 22,328t from zero exports a year earlier. Non-VNCA members saw cement exports contract 12 per cent YoY to 1.12Mt, while clinker exports dropped 26 per cent YoY to 938,175t.

January-March 2024
In the year-to-date so far, total cement sales were 11.443Mt, down 18 per cent compared to the January-March period of 2023. VICEM companies reported a 16.5 per cent YoY contraction to 3.506Mt, other VCNA members saw an 11 per cent YoY fall to 2.338Mt, and non-members reported a 9.7 per cent YoY decline to 5.6Mt. 

Cement exports from Vietnam rose one per cent YoY in the first quarter of 2024, amounting to 4.619Mt, up from 4.554Mt a year earlier. Cement exports by VICEM companies fell nine per cent YoY to 642,833t, other VCNA-affiliated companies reported a 84 per cent YoY jump to 861,211t, and non-members saw cement exports decline eight per cent YoY to 3.115Mt.

Clinker exports increased 4.3 per cent to 3.43Mt from 3.288Mt in the first quarter of 2023. Clinker exports by VICEM companies rose 60 per cent YoY to 322,178t, other VCNA members saw clinker exports rise 475 per cent YoY to 112,152t, while non-member companies reported a two per cent YoY contraction to 2.996Mt.

Exports by country
The Philippines remains the key export destination for Vietnam cement despite a 0.4 per cent YoY decrease in the 3M24 to 1.595Mt. The USA is the second most important cement export market, with a jump of 13.8 per cent YoY to 985,890t. Closely followed by Australia, which reported a massive 757 per cent increase in cement exports in the first quarter, amounting to 951,252t. Cement exports to Singapore rose 104 per cent YoY to 591,644t. Exports to South Africa rose 8.9 per cent to 274,284t. Cement deliveries to Malaysia slipped 8.4 per cent to 172,618t, while sales to Papua New Guinea rose 32.9 per cent to 104,960t. Exports to Hong Kong and Taiwan fell below 100,000t, shrinking 34.4 per cent YoY and 53.7 per cent YoY, respectively. Exports to China declined 69.8 per cent YoY to just 44,600t, down from 147,869t in the first quarter 2023. 

The average export price of cement was US$42.77/t in the first quarter of 2024, down from US$46.13/t in the same period a year earlier.

Bangladesh was the key export market for Vietnamese clinker, amounting to 2.198Mt, an increase of 21.9 per cent YoY. The Philippines took over from Taiwan as the second most important market, with clinker exports rising 13.6 per cent YoY to 394,900t, while clinker exports to Taiwan fell 56.6 per cent YoY to 153,800t. Clinker sales to Malaysia rose 26 per cent YoY to 259,894t. Meanwhile, no clinker sales were reported to China, down from 158,600t in the 1Q23 and clinker exports to Hong Kong fell 9.1 per cent to 40,000t. 

The average export price of clinker was US$31.38/t in the 1Q24, down from US$38.56/t in the 1Q23.

Amid lingering domestic weakness, and despite a relatively weak start to the year for exports, foreign sales will bolster the Vietnam cement sector in 2024. Vietnam will remain the largest exporter of cement and clinker in the world. Diversification of export markets will drive growth. Vietnamese cement exporters are expected to continue to look further afield amid looming uncertainties in east Asia on the back of the Chinese real estate crisis. China was the most important destination for Vietnam clinker in 2021, amounting to 21.91Mt for the year and 4.57Mt in the 1Q21. This contrasts sharply with no sales in the 1Q24. China was also the second most important destination for Vietnam cement in 2021, amounting to 3.209Mt for the year. Thus far this year, sales have amounted to just over one per cent of that figure.

Lower cement and clinker prices will help boost demand for Vietnamese exports. The price of cement exports to Australia is almost US$10 less per tonne than last year and roughly US$5/t lower for the USA. Vietnam is well placed to continue increasing exports to the USA and Australia to take advantage of massive infrastructure projects there. Vietnam was the second most important cement importer to the USA, after Turkey, in the first month of 2024, according to the latest data from the US Geological Survey (USGS). The US government’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a US$1.2 trn spending package, while major infrastructure projects in Australia include extensions to the Sydney Metro, the suburban rail loop in Victoria and the Melbourne metro tunnel. 

Published under Cement News