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Construction boom makes Kingdom top VN steel buyer

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A building under construction near the Olympic Stadium complex. Heng Chivoan

Construction boom makes Kingdom top VN steel buyer

Growth in the Kingdom’s construction sector has led to Cambodia becoming the largest importer of Vietnamese steel, taking in nearly 40 per cent of what the neighbouring country has exported over the last seven months, data from Vietnam’s customs authority said.

It said data through July this year showed that Vietnam exported a total of 3.42 million tonnes of steel, valued at $2.53 billion. By weight, that marks a 40 per cent increase from the same period last year and a 56 per cent increase in terms of value.

The report from Vietnamese customs shows that 37 per cent of the total steel exports to international markets went to Cambodia.

Shipments of steel into the Kingdom reached 717,572 tonnes in the first seven months of the year, up 49 per cent compared to the same period last year. That steel was valued at $462.73 million, a 77.9 per cent jump.

Other major buyers of Vietnamese steel included the US, which took in 532,779 tonnes, Malaysia (391,607 tonnes) and Indonesia (372,514 tonnes), according to the report.

Cambodia Constructors Association general manager Chiv Sivpheng said the growth of high-rise building projects in the Kingdom was boosting the demand for steel.

“Steel use is growing in the construction sector and will continue to grow further in the near future, while there are large buildings being constructed,” he said.

Phou Sambath, the assistant to the president of residential developer Borey Phnom Penh Thmey, which is developing several homes in Phnom Penh, said economic growth and income increases have led to a higher demand for housing, office buildings and shopping malls.

“In the future, companies will need more steel,” he said.

A senior staff member at Vietnamese steel importer PEB Steel Buildings Co Ltd, who declined to be named, said it had increased imports by over 50 per cent year-on-year in the first half.

Steel prices are currently hovering at around $620 to $650 per tonne.

The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction spokesman Seng Laut declined to comment on the issue.

However, a report from the ministry said in the first six months of this year more than 1,643 construction projects were approved. They were valued at $2.15 billion in total.

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