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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 26/7 (27-07-2015)


KienLongBank reported its pre-tax profit of more than VND158 billion (US$7.25 million) in the first six months of this year, meeting 40.78% of the year`s target.  

KienLongBank`s H1 profit meets 41% of year`s target

KienLongBank reported its pre-tax profit of more than VND158 billion (US$7.25 million) in the first six months of this year, meeting 40.78% of the year`s target.

The bank said in a statement that capital mobilization had totaled VND20 trillion by the end of June, up 9.87% year-on-year and realizing 90.27% of the year`s goal. Of the total, capital mobilized from corporate and individual depositors accounted for around VND17.8 trillion, rising by 19.81% versus the same period last year.

The bank saw its outstanding loans exceeding VND14 trillion, increasing 7.89% year-on-year or 86.81% of the year`s target. Its bad debt ratio was curbed at 1.89%.

The bank`s assets totaled VND23.65 trillion (US$1.08 billion), up 8.04% from the same period of 2014.

The bank said it would focus on improving credit quality in the second half of this year, according to KienLongBank general director Vo Van Chau.

Chau said in the first six months of the year the bank lowered lending rates to retain customers and increased risk provisions.

The bank opened one new branch and six more transaction offices in the period, bringing the total number of its units nationwide to 103.

KienLongBank was the second bank to announce its earnings in the first half of 2015 after BIDV.

SCB, TPBank strike deal to improve customer services

Tien Phong Bank (TPBank) has clinched a cooperation agreement with Saigon Commercial Bank (SCB) to make it easy for its customers to use SCB`s transaction points to transfer cash to their accounts at TPBank.

SCB general director Vo Tan Hoang Van told the Daily on the sidelines of a signing ceremony in HCMC last week that SCB`s advantage is its extensive network in the southern region while TPBank has set up a strong presence in the northern region. He described the cooperation as a win-win deal for the lenders and TPBank customers who want to make money transfers via SCB`s network at lower fees.

TPBank general director Nguyen Hung said the deal was the first step of the two banks to strengthen their cooperation in multiple fields. He added that the two lenders had weathered tough times since their restructuring three years ago.

TPBank struck a bancassurance agreement with Bao Long Insurance Corporation under SCB to assist in selling the latter`s insurance products to its customers.

Bao Long general director Phan Quoc Dung said the partnership with TPBank will help expand the network it had established over the past 20 years after the non-life insurance enteprise signed bancassurance agreements with a number of banks.

Ca Mau calls for investment in industrial parks

The southernmost province of Ca Mau is calling for investment for its four industrial parks (IPs), namely Khanh An, Song Doc, Hoa Trung and Nam Can from 2015-2020, according to the provincial Department of Planning and Investment.

Covering nearly 150 hectares, the IPs have favourable geographical positions which are expected to facilitate investor operations.

Director of the Department of Planning and Investment Mai Huu Chinh said the province faced difficulties in attracting investment flows in the 2010-2013 period but it has seen more positive changes since 2014.

Apart from a number of central-level projects and high value foreign investments operating in the locality, Ca Mau has granted investment certificates to 173 smaller-scale projects with total registered capital of nearly 1 trillion VND (some 46 million USD) so far.

As part of efforts to draw more investors, local authorities have implemented a number of measures such as simplifying administrative procedures and offering tax incentives.

They are also paying due attention to building and upgrading infrastructure systems connecting Ca Mau city to its IPs while intensifying promotion activities to introduce the province`s potentials and strengths to possible investors.

Lam Dong exports oncidium orchid to Japan

The Hoa Mat Troi Limited Company in Duc Trong district of the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong has exported hundreds of thousands of oncidium orchid branches to Japan.

According to the company, some 200,000 oncidium orchid pots are being regularly harvested for export.

The company has already shipped 600,000 oncidium orchid branches to Japan, bringing home 6 billion VND (around 286,000 USD) since the beginning of this year.

Currently, the company and affiliated units have a total 27.4 hectares of land for planting oncidium orchid, with about 2.7 million pots. The flowers are planted using advanced technology and strict technical standards.

The company will continue to cooperate with local farming households to expand cultivation areas to 100 hectares for export, particularly to meet high demand in the Japanese market which imports about 100 million branches a year.

DFB Hanco Nutrition to build factory to spur growth

Dairy company DFB Hanco Nutrition will build a Codex -standard dairy and nutrition food factory that will produce 36,000 tonnes of products year, Pham Thi Kim Oanh, the company chairwoman, told a press conference in HCM City on July 21.

The global standard for food was established in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and WHO to protect consumers.

The plant in Dong Nai province will produce milk powder and fresh milk, yoghurt, food supplements, and cereal for both the domestic and export markets.

The 117,000sq.m plant will cost 400 billion VND (19.04 million USD) in the first phase, with construction starting early next year and wrapping up by end 2017.

Oanh said the company averages 13 percent annual growth now, but the factory would push that up to 30-40 percent.

The company plans to export to Asian countries like Laos and Myanmar besides Africa and Europe.

DFB Hanco Nutrition used to be known as Hancofood until it recently changed its name.

Made-in-Vietnam goods dominate Hanoi market

A high proportion of products from distribution channels in Hanoi are locally made, unveiled by the Steering Committee for the campaign “Vietnamese people prioritise Vietnamese goods” at a press conference in the city on July 21.

Specifically, 100 percent of commodities sold at the Vinatext Mart are made locally. The percentage at Saigon Coop Mart and Big C supermarkets are 93 percent and 90 percent, respectively.

Nearly 80 percent of goods sold in rural areas originate in Vietnam.

The municipal Department of Industry and Trade has launched a number of programmes to promote Vietnamese products at supermarkets and trade centres.

It also created a portal to manage e-commerce activities and encourage e-commerce businesses to sell locally-made products.

The campaigns have received a warm response from business players who proactively invest and apply new cutting-edge science and technology to cut production costs and improve product quality.

Moving forward, Hanoi will develop trade, stabilise the market and bring more Vietnamese goods to rural and remote areas as well as industrial and processing parks.

Market management staff will continue to control product prices and prevent low-quality or counterfeit commodities.

Foreign importers to visit Hanoi Gift Show

Around 600 importers from the US, the EU, Japan, Russia and others will attend the Hanoi Gift Show 2015, according to Tran Thi Phuong Lan, Deputy Director of the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade.

The fair will feature around 600 booths with more than 200 enterprises and manufacturing units from 30 provinces and cities all over the country.

The five major groups of products on display are: home décor and handicrafts, indoor and outdoor wood products, household textile and embroidery products, souvenirs and ethnic minority products, and jewellery and accessories.

The fair also includes a “One Village One Product” exhibition introducing products from Vietnamese villages and neighbouring countries at around 200 booths.

The fair will take place from July 27-30 at the Vietnam Exhibition Centre in Ba Dinh district, Hanoi.

Housing credit package disbursement pushed forwards

Over 22,200 households have signed borrowing contracts worth 10.1 trillion VND (466 million USD) with commercial banks under the Government`s 30 trillion VND (1.4 billion USD) housing credit stimulus scheme, said Head of the Department of Housing and Real Estate Market Management Nguyen Manh Ha.

Some 43 social housing projects also applied to borrow nearly 6 trillion VND (279 million USD). Of the total, 2.4 trillion VND (111.6 million USD) has been disbursed for 40 projects.

Ha said that the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) has become the leading bank, loaning to 7,581 households from the credit package with a total value of nearly 7.5 trillion VND (348.8 million USD).

BIDV also committed to provide loans worth 3.7 trillion VND (172 million USD) for 22 projects in line with current regulations, which include low-income housing projects in northern Hai Duong province, central Hue city and central Da Nang city.

In addition, the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank of Industry and Trade (VietinBank), the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) and the Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank) also made efforts to accelerate credit package implementation with committed loans of 4.7 trillion VND (218.6 million USD), 2.6 trillion VND (120.9 million USD) and 1 trillion VND (46.5 million USD), respectively.

Some small commercial banks such as Orient Commercial Joint Stock Bank (OCB), Tienphong Bank (TPBank) and Vietnam Export Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Eximbank) are also actively joining in lending activities under the package.

Chairman of the Vietnam Real Estate Association Nguyen Tran Nam said that the 30 trillion VND (1.4 billion USD) credit package aims to help labourers access housing, thereby stimulating the property market.

However, the credit scheme`s progress has not met expectations due to limitations on social housing project supply, project investor capacity and legal procedures on real estate contracts, among others.

According to experts, diversifying the housing supply as well as facilitating conditions for customers to access loans from banks will be useful to accelerate the housing stimulus package.

Launched in June 2013, the credit package offers loans with a maximum interest rate of 5 percent to individual borrowers for no longer than 15 years.

Inter-sector cooperation helps with tourism growth

Cooperation between the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Ministry of Transport has contributed to the development of Vietnamese tourism, the former`s Minister Hoang Tuan Anh said on July 22.

At a working session in Hanoi, Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Nguyen Van Tuan elaborated that the two ministries have closely coordinated in issuing and implementing a number of policies and legal normative documents to improve tourist transport services and attract investment in traffic infrastructure.

They also worked together to propose keeping in place unilateral visa exemptions for citizens of Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway and Finland and granting exemptions for people hailing from Germany, Italy, the UK, France and Spain on a trial basis.

The two ministries plan to coordinate in recommending unilateral visa exemptions for citizens from Australia, New Zealand, India and SNG countries.

Joint inspections have also been conducted to avoid overcharging at tourism hotspots, airports and ports and ensure the safety of traffic vehicles, Tuan added.

He said upgraded transport infrastructure has helped reduce travel time along with better-equipped rest stops that cater to tourists and advertise local delicacies as important initiatives.

According to Director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam Lai Xuan Thanh, 51 foreign airlines from 25 countries and territories are running 83 air routes to and from Vietnam.

Vietnamese airlines are operating 56 international routes to 32 cities of 17 countries and territories, he said, noting that Vietnam houses 21 airports with eight international facilities.

The authority has joined the tourism administration, the Vietnam Airlines Corporation and localities in tourism promotion campaigns both at home and abroad. It has also provided favourable conditions for domestic and foreign airlines to open new routes, especially those to key tourist destinations like Da Nang, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, Can Tho and Da Lat, Thanh added.

At the session, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh said his ministry will actively supply information and publications to transport companies for the purpose of tourism promotion, especially at airports and on flights. It will also seek solutions to improve tourism services.

Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang pledged efforts to upgrade traffic facilities in order to facilitate travel and urged close coordination between the two ministries in designing synchronous policies to foster long-term tourism development.

Barriers hit exports to Japan

Vietnamese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) sector, need to overcome technical barriers if they are to take full advantage of a bilateral agreement and boost exports to Japan, experts say.

At a seminar held in Hanoi on July 23, experts said strong tariff cuts under the agreement had opened up opportunities for domestic products to enter the Japanese market, especially agricultural produce, seafood and garments.

They said that most Vietnamese products, about 80 per cent, enjoyed preferential tariffs after the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (VJEPA) took effect in 2009, but exporters had not reaped due benefits.

The main reason for this was that the number of technical barriers had increased, they added.

The seminar dealt with special preferential import tariffs for implementing VJEPA in the 2015-2019 period and opportunities thereof for Vietnamese businesses.

As many as 2,586 tax lines were to be removed immediately by Japan after the agreement took effect in October 2009, or 28 per cent of the total 9,390 lines committed.

After 10 years (in 2019), an additional 3,717 tariff lines are to be scrapped, bringing the total to 6,302 lines or 67 per cent of committed lines.

On this side, Vietnam would, within 10 years, apply zero per cent taxes on 87 per cent of product value exported from Japan to Vietnam. It would also remove more than 8,873 tax lines at the end of the roadmap (in 2025), or some 96 per cent of the committed tax lines

It was said then that Vietnam would still protect products that it enjoys specific advantages in, and only import what it needs for domestic investment and production, especially machinery, equipment and technology.

Under 2015-2019 commitments, from April 1, 2015 as many as 150 tariffs lines were to be slashed to 0 per cent, bringing the total to 3,234 lines or 34.09 per cent committed lines.

Tariff lines for goods like computers, electronics items, garment and footwear would be slashed first, and go to zero per cent in the next phase.

Vietnamese businesses will face a stiff challenge as their products have to compete with Japanese products in particular, and that of other countries that are negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

Once import tariffs on more than 3,200 lines will go down to zero per cent, Japanese goods will flood the domestic market. The local preference for imported products would be a barrier for Vietnamese businesses having to compete in the domestic market.

Tran Dinh Thien, Director of the Vietnam Institute of Economics, said TTP members included developed countries like the US, Japan and Singapore who set high standards for imported products that Vietnamese firms would find difficult to meet.

In such a situation, local firms were forced to do business with countries that have less stringent requirements, the seminar heard.

Thien said domestic enterprises should focus on a product`s added value rather than productivity, and on developing products unique to Vietnam.

Echoing Thien`s opinion on improving product quality, Nguyen Son from the cross-sector Steering Committee for international economic integration stressed the need for domestic products to meet Japanese standards.

Do Van Dung, Chairman of the Vietnam-Japan enterprises association also said production methods and processes had to be improved so that Vietnamese products can satisfy Japanese quality and safety requirements.

Philippines, Vietnam cooperate in tuna industry

Vietnam will send a working group to the Philippines to learn tuna fishing and processing technologies, said Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam.

Tam revealed this plan after a recent fact-finding tour of General Santos, the largest producer of sashimi-grade tuna in the Philippines.

He said Vietnam and the Philippines have signed a fishery cooperation agreement and set up a hotline to deal with arising issues related to fishing at sea.

He added that the Philippines wants to learn aquaculture and fish processing technology from Vietnam while Vietnam should study tuna fishing and processing technology from the country.

According to a recent report from the Department of Capture Fisheries and Resources Protection, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa provinces possess 2,826 tuna fishing vessels. However, 30% of them are unprofitable.

Currently, the Vietnam oceanic tuna sector is facing numerous difficulties. Tuna output from the East Sea fishing ground dipped 30% due to climate change. Tuna exports by June 15 dropped 8.1% against the same period last year.

At a July 21 meeting to review the pilot project on tuna fishing, purchasing, processing and selling, participants proposed that the Vietnam tuna industry should improve the quality of fishing and processing, invest in building specialized fish ports, identify potential products and expand markets.

International cooperation is also considered a key measure to spur the development of Vietnam`s tuna industry, they said.

Credit growth ceiling increase raises concerns

Experts are concerned the State Bank of Viet Nam`s recent decision to raise credit growth ceiling for many lenders could raise serious risks in the coming years.

SBV raised the credit growth ceiling for 18 lenders this week to boost economic growth. The ceiling was raised to more than 30 per cent for some lenders.

The central bank`s decision has been supported by the lenders – whose profit mainly comes from lending activities – as they have already used the lending quota allowed earlier this year.

According to Dau tu chung khoan (Securities Investment) newspaper, experts said an increase in credit growth ceiling was necessary as the economy had become stable and was growing. However, a hike of more than 30 per cent could cause serious consequences such as high inflation, as it happened in 2009.

The leader of a bank, who declined to be named, told the newspaper that the lending of banks currently was not as easy as in previous years. Roughly 70 per cent of firms had failed to meet the banks` lending requirements so that the lenders must boost retail lending, especially consumer lending, he said.

However, Director of the Business Development Institute Le Xuan Nghia said lenders should not entertain any illusions about boosting consumer lending.

Nghia said only countries with a high per capita income of at least US$6,000 such as China could think about boosting consumer lending, as high incomes could help the domestic market become strong to ensure the nation gained an annual economic growth of more than 6 per cent. The nation could not boost consumer lending unless it also had exports as its main market, Nghia said.

Viet Nam`s per capita income was just a little more than $1,000, while the domestic market`s capacity was insignificant, Nghia said. Consumer loans, in fact, can flow into real estate and securities speculation.

The risks can not occur right at the end of this year, but in the next few years, as in 2009 when the country applied a loose currency policy with high credit growth. After that, the banking industry had to deal with a high bad debt ratio of roughly 17 per cent in 2012.

Statistics from the central bank said after the handling of VND311 trillion ($14.33 billion) of non-performing loans (NPLs), there remained VND214.9 trillion ($9.9 billion) NPLs at the end of last year or 4.83 per cent of the banks` total outstanding loans.

Property developers to receive awards

The first ever property awards followed by a gala dinner to honour the country`s top developers, finest current developments and resort destinations will be held at the Intercontinental Asiana Saigon Hotel in HCM City next month.

The Vietnam Property Awards 2015 will reward the leading real estate companies and art firms, most of them from Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City City where there has been a quick recovery by the property industry.

"It has been a very monumental year for Viet Nam`s property sector," said Terry Blackburn, CEO of Ensign Media, awards organiser and publisher of Asia`s industry-leading Property Report magazine.

"The Viet Nam market is back on track, with many expat residents and investors as well as local industry players applauding the introduction of legal reforms on foreign real estate ownership in the country."

The annual event also serves as a unique networking venue for professional realtors in Viet Nam to meet industry leaders and stay in touch with their peers.

The shortlist for the debut event from developers and real estate professionals who submitted nominations over the last six months has been announced.

Other major contenders are Keppel Land with three nominations including Best Office Development and Best Retail Development and Vina Capital, a two-time nominee in the resort sub-categories for Best Villa Development (Resort) and Best Condo Development (Resort).

The top winners at the Vietnam Property Awards will be eligible to compete with regional peers in the grand finale at the fifth annual South East Asia Property Awards to be held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore on October 15.

Presented by Property Report, the Awards will be promoted throughout the country and across Southeast Asia through media partners including Deluxe Magazine, Resort & Spa Vietnam Magazine, Viet Nam News, Ringier, Robb Report, Citizen K Vietnam, and Mua Ban Nha Dat.

Tickets for the gala dinner and awards presentation ceremony on August 14 are now available and can be bought at .

SSI reports solid results

Sai Gon Securities Inc, one of the country`s leading stock brokerages, has reported higher first half profits despite lower revenues.

It results announced on Tuesday show income was down 13 per cent year-on-year to VND761.6 billion (US$34.87 million). Profit after tax was VND554 billion ($25.3 million), 15 per cent higher than a year earlier.

Revenues plunged by 19 per cent in the second quarter to VND396.5 billion ($18.1 million) as proprietary trading and brokerage fell 36 per cent and 8 per cent respectively.

SSI remained the top securities company at both the HCM City and Hanoi exchanges with market shares of 13.52 per cent and 8.54 per cent.

It has won a slew of awards this year including for "Fund Management Company of the Year" from The Asset; "Best Broker" and "Best ECM House" from FinanceAsia; "Best Institutional Broker" from Alpha Southeast Asia; "Top 50 Best Listed Company" from Forbes Vietnam; and "Top 50 Most Effective Businesses in Viet Nam" from Nhip Cau Dau Tu magazine.

Rice farming reduction to make room for livestock feed materials, experts

Rice farming area has exceeded plan resulting in supply redundancy and low price while breeding industry has depended on import materials causing high-cost feed products to plague breeders. Therefore, experts have said that rice area should be reduced to make room for livestock feed material production, especially corn.

Millions of breeders have purchased import feed products at high prices for the last several years because Vietnam`s breeding industry has depended on import materials. Breeding is among the weakest industries nearly without export products.

Latest data from the General Department of Vietnam Customs shows that Vietnam spent US$3 billion on import feed last year. Maize import hit a record high output of 3.72 million tons and turnover of US$744 million in the first six months this year.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reported that Vietnam yielded US$2.95 billion from rice exports but spent up to US$3 billion on livestock feed and material imports every year. It touched US$4 billion if calculating maize, soybean and wheat.

Experts said that Vietnam had the advantage in rice farming but disadvantage in feed material production.

American feed provider Bunge Group predicted that Vietnam`s import demand on maize has increased to 3.5-4 million tons a year. Besides, the country has imported nearly 950,000 tons of soybeans worth US$438 million. It is expected to continue increasing in the upcoming time due to hot and muggy weather.

According to chairman of the Vietnam Animal Feed Association Le Ba Lich, Vietnam needs 12.5 million tons of livestock feed annually but imports up to 9-10 million tons of materials for production.

He has proposed the Government to reconsider of the plan on livestock feed material production, rebalance farming areas between rice and corn--the main feed material.

Deputy Head of the Department of Livestock Production Nguyen Xuan Duong said that feed accounted for 70 percent of breeding product prices while the breeding industry has been conditional on import materials. Therefore any fluctuation in the Vietnamese dong to US dollar exchange rate has greatly affected local breeding industry and food market.

In addition, the agricultural industry has been forced to tighten management over feed quality as the high import demand has unleashed low quality materials to enter domestic market, he added.

Minister Cao Duc Phat said it unacceptable that Vietnam`s feed prices are 15-20 percent higher than that in Thailand and other nations in the world.

Feed material farming development would reduce the dependence and help farmers lower cost prices to improve competitiveness and profit, he said.

In the breeding development strategy by 2020, the ministry targets to develop breeding into a main production industry, accounting for 42 percent of agricultural value structure, he added.

Experts said that in order to obtain the target, the ministry should set up policies, aiming to build and develop feed material source right now.

M&A activity forecast to grow strongly towards 2018

Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in Vietnam is projected to soar towards 2018 and its accumulated value could amount to US$20 billion, according to AVM Vietnam.

The company released the M&A value forecast at a media briefing held in Hanoi on July 16 to introduce the M&A Vietnam Forum 2015. The forum is scheduled to take place in HCMC on August 8.

According to AVM Vietnam, M&A deals in Vietnam totaled US$4.2 billion last year, up around 20% against 2013. Foreign enterprises got involved in big deals worth US$20-100 million.

Dang Xuan Minh, general director of AVM Vietnam, said the second wave of M&A would be greater than the first that peaked in 2012 when the market was valued at US$5 billion.

According to Minh, there are many favorable conditions for strong M&A activity in Vietnam. Vietnam will participate in a number of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements including the Trans-Pacific Partnership accord and the ASEAN Economic Community, and more foreign companies are investing in this market. The rise of big private enterprises and equitization of State-owned enterprises will also support the market.

Masataka Yoshida from Japan`s Recof Corporation said Japanese investors are keen to join M&A deals in Vietnam.

Nguyen Anh Tuan, editor-in-chief of Dau Tu newspaper, the organizer of the event, said M&A helps improve the performance of enterprises.

State-funded project owners still prefer imported machines

Many owners of State-funded projects still prefer imported machines and equipment to domestically-made products approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Huynh Dac Thang, deputy head of the Planning Department at the ministry, raised the issue at a seminar held in HCMC to review five years of implementing the Prime Minister`s directive on using locally made machines and equipment for State-financed projects.

Thang said many locally-made products are of good quality but project owners demand machines originate in Group of Seven (G7) nations, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand as one of the conditions for bidders. This condition prevents domestic producers from participating in tenders for such projects.

Thang said the Ministry of Planning and Investment has been asked to propose the Prime Minister amend Directive 494/CT-TTg issued in 2010 in a way that would forbid project owners to set conditions on the origin of machines and equipment and require contractors to create opportunities for domestic firms to join public tenders and prop up consumption of locally-made equipment.

Tran Thanh Trong, general director of Sang Ban Mai Joint Stock Co. which manufactures power generators in Binh Duong Province, said the preference for imported equipment in State-funded projects is still widespread.

A majority of tenders for generator supply in projects that receive funding from the State require bidders to use equipment imported from the G7 countries and China though domestic suppliers can meet quality standards.

Trong said project owners have not been fined though they have not abided by the directive, and this is why many still prefer imported machines and equipment.

At the seminar, the industry ministry announced a list of 215 machines and equipment manufactured by domestic enterprises for State-funded projects. The list publicized in 2010 contained 95 products.

Consumer price index on the increase in major cities

Consumer price index (CPI) for the month of July rose in the country`s two largest cities, Hanoi and HCM City, according to the statistics offices in these cities.

The July CPI in Hanoi grew by 0.18 per cent against the previous month`s level and 0.77 per cent over the same month last year, the statistics office of Hanoi reported on July 22.

Nine of the 11 groups of goods used to calculate the CPI reflected a rise in prices this month. Of these, the price for the group comprising restaurant and catering services showed a growth of 0.13 per cent due to a strong surge in food prices.

The price for the group of housing, electricity, tap water, fuel and building material increased by 0.32 per cent because of high demand for electricity and water from households during the hot weather period, said the office.

The prices also rose by 0.26 per cent for the group of beverages and tobacco; 0.47 per cent for the group of textile, garment, hat and footwear; 0.38 per cent for the group of home appliances; 0.13 per cent for the group of culture, entertainment and tourism services; 0.11 per cent for transport services; and 0.18 per cent for other kinds of goods and services. However, prices for the groups comprising education and post-telecom services remained unchanged at last month`s level.

The office said gold prices in July reduced by 3.75 per cent but the US dollar price registered a slight increase of 0.01 per cent against the previous month, the Ha Noi Moi newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, the HCM City Statistics Office yesterday reported that the city`s CPI rose by 0.11 per cent in July over the previous month and 0.77 per cent year-on-year.

Seven of 11 groups of goods used to calculate the CPI registered a rise in prices in the month of July. The highest increase in price was 1.36 per cent for the group of health care services.

The prices rose by 0.13 per cent for the group of restaurant and catering services due to a strong surge in food prices; 0.23 per cent for the group of garments, hats and footwear; and 0.09 per cent for the transport group.

The office said the two groups saw a fall in prices, including the group of housing, electricity, tap water and fuel (0.19 per cent) and the group of culture, entertainment and tourism (0.03 per cent) while price of education services remained unchanged at June level, the cafef.vn reported.

In HCM City, prices of gold and the US dollar fell by 1.49 per cent and 0.01 per cent, respectively.

Saigon Export Center opens in city

The investment and trade promotion agency of HCMC on July 21 inaugurated Saigon Export Center in District 1 for local enterprises to display their products for export and find potential importers.

Pho Nam Phuong, director of the HCMC Investment and Trade Promotion Center (ITPC), said exhibitors at the center at 92-96 Nguyen Hue Boulevard would be supported to promote their products and look for new export markets and importers.

They will be provided with free-of-charge updates about export markets and importers, who have asked Vietnamese trade agencies in foreign markets, diplomatic corps and trade promotion organizations for help to seek goods suppliers in Vietnam.

ITPC has opened a section at Saigon Export Center for business matching meetings between local and foreign enterprises.

Nearly 50 companies in and outside HCMC are showcasing foodstuff and food products, cosmetics, handcrafts, beverages, confectionery, apparel, tea and coffee, sauces, pharmaceuticals, healthcare products, home appliances, and electrical cables and wires, among others at the center.

SPCT aims high for car imports

Saigon Premier Container Terminal (SPCT) in HCMC is looking to become Vietnam`s biggest port in charge of handling imported completely built-up (CBU) autos after Vietnam Register launched a vehicle quality testing center at the terminal.

Nguyen Le Chon Tam, deputy general director of SPCT, was quoted by Vietnam News Agency as saying that to realize the target SPCT would be expanded by 10 hectares and have more piers to handle more imported cars.

Tam said the expanded area would help house more cars imported into Vietnam via the terminal from ASEAN markets, Europe and America as well as vehicles shipped from northern localities.

Tam said the volume of autos imported via SPCT in the first six months of this year surged 60% year-on-year on average with the figure in March climbing 314% to 1,442 units.

Nguyen To An, head of the vehicle quality management department at Vietnam Register, said over 7,300 out of the total vehicles imported into Vietnam in the first half went through SPCT.   

SPCT in Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park in the outlying district of Nha Be aims to handle 18,000-20,000 imported vehicles this year and 40,000-60,000 units in 2018.

Vietnam Register inaugurated the testing center for car quality to support the operation of SPCT and its customers and collect more taxes for HCMC. The annual import tax revenue from cars in the city is put at more than VND4 trillion (over US$183 million).

It takes around two days for cars imported via SPCT to go through the customs instead of seven days before the center was opened. The center helps importers of cars reduce the time for quality checks and customs clearance by 70% and costs by 50%.

Previously, importers of cars had to ask Vietnam Register officers to come to the terminal to conduct quality checks before they completed other necessary procedures for customs clearance.

Nguyen Sy Tung of Vietnam Register said the agency has deployed manpower and equipment to implement registration procedures and quality checks for autos of different types at the center.

Vingroup, Dofico partner to supply clean farm products

Vingroup Joint Stock Company (Vingroup) and Dong Nai Food Industrial Corporation (Dofico) have clinched a strategic partnership agreement on production and supply of clean farm and food products.

Vingroup and Dofico will cooperate in using high technologies to turn out farm products meeting VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards in line with the agreement they signed on Monday.

Nguyen Thi Le Hong, chairwoman and general director of Dofico, said in a statement that Dofico will distribute pork, chicken, thanh long (dragon fruit), rambutan and other agricultural products via Vingroup`s VinMart supermarkets and VinMart+ convenience stores nationwide.

The partnership with Dofico will enable Vingroup to boost supply of organic fruits and vegetables bearing its VinEco brand.

Vingroup vice chairman Le Khac Hiep said the partnership was part of the company`s strategy to accelerate its foray into agriculture.

Vingroup is one of the biggest private corporations in Vietnam in terms of market capitalization which had amounted to VND69.7 trillion (US$3.19 billion) by June 2015. The company has invested in many sectors, including real estate, retail, tourism, recreation, healthcare and agriculture.

Last April, Vingroup is spending VND500-700 billion on a hi-tech vegetable and fruit production project covering 500 hectares in the northern province of Vinh Phuc. The project is expected to supply 7,000-10,000 tons of products per crop to the local market.

Consumer confidence down

The ANZ-Roy Morgan Vietnam Consumer Confidence was down 4.5 percentage points to 138.6 percentage points in July. However, Vietnamese consumer confidence remains above its 2014 average of 133.3 percentage points and is 4.5 percentage points higher than in the same period last year, when it was 134.1 percentage points.

The fall in July is mainly due to reduced confidence in Vietnam`s economy over the next 12 months and the next five years. There were also fewer respondents who believe “now is a good time” to buy major household items.

In terms of personal finances, 34 per cent of respondents said their families are now “better off” financially than the same time last year, the lowest result recorded for this indicator since January. On the other hand, 21 per cent of respondents felt their families are “worse off” financially.

Sixty-three per cent of respondents expect their families to be “better off” financially this time in 2016, the highest result ever recorded for this indicator. At the same time, only 5 per cent of respondents expect to be “worse off” financially this time next year.

Fifty per cent of respondents expect Vietnam to have “good times” financially this time next year, the lowest result for this indicator since January. Meanwhile, 13 per cent expect “bad times” financially this time next year.

Over the longer term, 64 per cent of Vietnamese expect Vietnam to have “good times” economically over the next five years, while 7 per cent expect “bad times” economically.

Finally, 40 per cent of Vietnamese believe “now is a good time to buy” major household items, the lowest recorded for the indicator since December 2014, in contrast to 12 per cent who said “now is a bad time” to buy such items.

Commenting on the results, Mr. Glenn Maguire, Chief Economist of Asia-Pacific at ANZ, said that Vietnamese consumer confidence has come off its mid-year record high and continues to point to an economic recovery that is broadening and strengthening. The economy is becoming more balanced between the export-oriented sector and the domestic and household sector.

Moreover, the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor (VGLC) has proposed a 16-17 per cent increase in wages for 2016. If endorsed by the National Salary Council, the increase in the minimum wage will go a long way towards bolstering domestic demand and private consumption in what could be a more uncertain global backdrop. ANZ continues to remain optimistic about the strength and durability of the Vietnamese economic recovery, particularly the consumer components, as it looks into 2016, Mr. Maguire added.

Ba Ria Vung Tau fisheries center given green light

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has recently approved a proposal from the Ba Ria Vung Tau Provincial People`s Committee to build a fisheries center in the province to serve the south-eastern fishing grounds. The People`s Committee is to work with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to assemble plans for the project in accordance with the Law on Public Investment.

The Prime Minister also permitted the province to appoint contractors for the project`s planning and consultation, with MARD to research and guide the local government on project implementation.

A similar fisheries center in Khanh Hoa was given approval in June, with total capital of VND1.5 trillion ($72 million). The center will cover an area of 40 ha at Da Bac fishing port and serve the entire south-central and Truong Sa (Spratly Islands) fishing grounds.

Under the National Strategy for Fisheries Development to 2020, Vietnam is to build six fishing centers in major areas along its coastline, including in the south-central region, which spans Khanh Hoa, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan and Ba Ria Vung Tau provinces.




(source in Eximbank)
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