Vietnam exported a total of 4.88 million tonnes of iron and steel worth US$3.61 billion during the five months of the year, with China emerging as the largest buyer, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
This figure represents a rise of 61.6% in volume and 117% in value compared to the same period from last year.
May alone saw Vietnam ship approximately 980,000 tonnes of iron and steel worth US$833 million to various international markets, marking a rise of 8.2% in value compared to April.
The EU, China, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Mexico all made up the largest importers of Vietnamese iron and steel throughout the reviewed period, with a sharp rise recorded in both volume and value.
But China topped the list of consumers of Vietnamese iron and steel over five months after purchasing roughly 1.1 million tonnes, double the figure compared to the same period from last year.
It was followed by the EU with 713,000 tonnes, representing a five-fold increase, and Mexico with 293,000 tonnes, an increase of 2.5 times.
Furthermore, slight export growth was recorded in markets such as Malaysia with 322,000 tonnes, up 12.8%, while exports to Cambodia fell by 1.5% to approximately 584,000 tonnes.
The robust export growth of local iron and steel can be considered a key reason that has made the price of these products escalate during the reviewed period, along with a rise in input material prices.
At present, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has proposed limiting the export of Vietnamese iron and steel products in order to allow continued supply sources and to stabilise prices for the domestic market amid high demand.
The vigorous growth of iron and steel exports recorded in major markets, especially the EU, can largely be attributed to the impact of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) that offers tariff incentives to businesses.
Meanwhile, Vietnam imported six million tonnes of iron and steel worth US$4.64 billion over the opening five months of the year, up 9.2% in volume and 37.9% in turnover compared to the same period from last year.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has denied rumours that it proposed the establishment of a State stabilisation fund to cope with the sudden increase in steel prices that has impacted many businesses.