The steel market in the first half of this year remained stagnant,with only 1.4 million tonnes produced, a decline of more than 11 percentyear-on-year, the ministry has reported.
Of the total, nearly 745,000 tonnes were produced by the Vietnam Steel Corporation.
In addition to the weak property market, the ministry attributed the decline in production to cheap imported steel.
Locally produced steel faces stiff competition from steel imports,which are low quality and inexpensive, according to the ministry.
The ministry said the shortage of high-quality iron ore had also caused a slowdown in production.
Prices have fallen by 2-5 percent compared to one month ago, the ministry said.
Steel bars are priced at about 13 million VND (620 USD) per tonne,while prices for rolling steel are now 12.7 million VND (604 USD) to13.6 million VND (647 USD) per tonne.
The ministry predictedthat steel production would continue to remain sluggish in the thirdquarter because of rainy weather in the southern region, which hasdelayed construction projects.
To help spur domestic steelproduction, the ministry has urged authorities to strengthen theirinvestigations into illegal steel imports and iron ore exports.
The ministry also plans to work more closely with associations todevelop more suitable production and sales plans for local companies.
In addition, the ministry advices companies to find ways to lower prices and improve competitiveness with imported steel.-VNA