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Costs of construction materials plummet   2008-11-24 - VNA

Prices of building materials have fallen sharply recently, sales remain depressed.

Steel prices have halved from a record high of 21.5 million VND (1,313 USD) per tonne in July, after the price of imported steel ingots fell from 950 USD to 540 USD at the end of October.

But, the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA) said steel sales have slumped by 66 percent in the last four months.

Cement retailers, too, have seen stocks piling up and are offering a discount of 1,000-2,000 VND for a bag of 50 kg that costs around 70,000 VND.

Nguyen Minh Thanh, a retailer on Ly Thuong Kiet street in Ho Chi Minh City , said he used to sell at least 100 bags of cement every week a few months ago, but sales had fallen to 30-50 bags last month.

The prices of bricks, sand and macadam have all fallen 10 percent.

Luong Thi Hang Nga, public relations manager of Thien Thanh Building Material and Interior Decoration Centre, said the sluggish property market and the cutting off of credit by banks had dissuaded builders from launching new projects.

Dinh Huy Tam, general secretary of the VSA, said the rains had also been blamed for the slowing construction work.

Building material suppliers said they would have to send marketing staff to construction sites to offer discounts to promote sales.

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