Vietnam: Vietnam's Ministry of Construction has announced that it will temporarily delay work on several approved cement projects in the country. The move was announced with the spectre of severe cement overcapacity looming over the country. In 2012 it is expected that the country will consume around 50Mt of cement, 10Mt short of its existing 60Mt/yr capacity, according to the Vietnam Cement Association (VCA).
The director of the ministry's Construction Materials Department, Le Van Toi, noted that many cement producers were facing losses due to decreasing consumption and high interest rates. "Many cement producers have had to borrow up to 80% of their total investment capital and that eats most of their profits while interest rates remain high," he said.
Toi said that the Thanh Liem Cement Plant in northern Ha Nam Province had to close its doors due to significant losses, although the plant has not yet declared bankruptcy. Many other plants have cut their capacity sharply. "If the situation continues, the number of cement plants that will have to shut down will surge in the near future," Toi warned.
VCA's chairman Nguyen Van Thien urged cement producers to boost their trade promotion and export heavily in 2012 to deal with the surplus. He expected that the producers could export more than 7Mt of cement in 2012, a massive increase over 2011, when the country exported 1.5Mt. Vietnamese cement is exported mainly to China, Indonesia and Bangladesh, as well as several African and southeast Asian countries.