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2008 nbs Document Transcript

  • 1. Vietnam NewsAugust 5, 2008Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,492Banking & Finance:World Bank Arm to Help Vietnamese Firms Have Greater Access to LoansThe International Finance Corporation, a World Bank arm, and the Vietnamese Ministryof Justice have just signed an agreement to help improve the legal framework of the localfinancial market and access of Vietnamese private firms to loans, Vietnam News Agencysaid Tuesday.Under the agreement, IFC and the Vietnamese ministry will launch the second phase ofthe technical assistance valued at $540,000 from Aug this year to next Dec with an aim tosupport the National Registration Agency of Secured Transactions (NRAST), the agencysaid.“This project is very important because it helps NRAST facilitate the ministry to managesecure transaction registration, related legal documents and setting up electronic registrysystems,” Nguyen Thuy Hien, director of NRAST said.Currently, the lending environment heavily depends on collateral assets, and private firmsare restricted to use their assets like equipment, receivables and inventories as collateralto borrow loans, the Vietnam News said.Through the Mekong Private Sector Development Facility (MPDF)’s advising services,IFC has helped the government to expand the range of assets as collateral and simplifyprocedures. (Vietnam News Agency Aug 4, Vietnam News Aug 5 p4)Vietnam Remains ANZ’s Major MarketThe Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) still considers Vietnam as a keymarket in the region, said Alex Thursby, ANZs managing director Asia Pacific.Though Vietnam’s economy is facing difficulties, ANZ keeps confident in long-terminvestment opportunities in Vietnam, he said.The Government of Vietnam may accept a bit slower economic growth in 2008 so that itcan curb inflation quickly, he said.A nation with crowded population of 86 million has really huge demand for bankingproducts. At present, only 10% of population has banking accounts and the rate is about35% in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
  • 2. ANZ is also optimistic about Vietnam because its government has pledged to boosteconomic liberalization, which helped the economy expand 7.5% last year, Alex Thursbysaid.In coming time, ANZ will invest more in installing ATM, opening transaction offices andproviding more products and services in the country. (Vietnam Economic Times Aug 4p4)Hanoi Banks See Juls Deposits Up 1.59% to $23.4 BlnHanoi-based credit institutions reportedly raised total deposits of VND375 trillion ($23.4billion) as the end of July, up 1.59% from late last year and 2.06% from the previousmonth, the An Ninh Thu Do newspaper said.Of the total, deposits from residents rose 6.41%a and mobilized capitals from economicinstitutions were down 1.69% from late 2007.The citys lenders had total outstanding loans of VND228 trillion, growing 19.28%against the last year end and 0.38% on-month.Short-term outstanding loans were reported to increase by 17.03% and 0.2% while mid-and long-term ones were up 22.72% and 0.65%, respectively. (Capital Security Aug 5 p7)HSBC Okayed to Provide Credit Risk Swap ServiceThe State Bank of Vietnam has recently approved the Hanoi- and HCM City-basedbranches of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) Vietnam tocontinue providing credit risk swap service on a trial basis, state media reported.Customers of this service will be expanded to enterprises and investment fundsestablished under Vietnamese laws, the newswire www.vietstock.com.vn said.The SBV governor has also agreed on HSBC Vietnams supply of credit risk swapservice to bonds and valuable papers issued in Vietnam to customers who are enterprises,investment funds. (www.vietstock.com.vn Aug 4)Vietnam Detects Nearly $100 Mln Tax Frauds in H1Vietnam’s General Department of Taxation (GDT) said it has inspected tax and prices at27,408 businesses in the first six months and detected VND1.58 trillion of tax frauds, thestate-run Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper said.The department has recollected more than VND1 trillion of tax arrears, settled tax debtsworth VND43 billion and fined violations worth VND89 billion.
  • 3. The GDT has recently signed an agreement with the International Financial Corporation(IFC) to streamline taxation procedures for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) inVietnam. (Labor Aug5 p3)Trade:DOC Releases Preliminary Verdict on Vietnam Uncovered SpringsThe U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) July 31 announced preliminary determinationon the anti-dumping case against innerspring units imported from Vietnam, China andSouth Africa, state media reported.DOC said producers and exporters from the three nations have sold uncovered springsinto the U.S. market with prices lower than normal value with dumping bands of116.31% (Vietnam), 118.17%-234.51% (China) and 121.39% (South Africa).The dumping bands for Vietnam and South Africa are determined on the basis of adversefacts available as exporters from the two countries have not met DOC’s requirements onproviding information.A final decision on the case will be released by DOC this October.DOC officially launched an anti-dumping investigation into uncovered springs importedfrom the three countries on January 28.Eleven Vietnamese businesses, mostly in the southern region, are accused of dumpinguncovered innerspring units in the foreign market.In 2006, the U.S. imported an estimated $1.6 million worth of innersprings fromVietnam.The U.S. side used to accuse Vietnam of dumping tra and basa catfish to the foreignmarket. Vietnam lost the two cases. (Labor Online Aug 5)Vietnam Doubles Tax on Steel Exports to 20%Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance has decided to raise tax on steel exports to 20% from thecurrent 10% in order to prevent re-exports, state media reported.The new tariff, which applies to non-alloy steel, will officially take effect from August10, the ministry said.Earlier in late June, the ministry increased export duty on the product to 10% from 2%.In early July, the Vietnam Steel Corporation proposed raising the tax to 30% from 10% ina bid to limit exports of steel ingots.
  • 4. Vietnamese steel enterprises in May began importing and re-exporting steel products dueto a sharp drop on domestic demand.“We are forced to export and re-export steel products as we can not sell on the domesticmarket,” steel companies said, adding the government’s lowering of the targeted growthrate as part of the anti-inflation campaign has resulted in the delay of many constructionprojects.According to Pham Chi Cuong, chairman of the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA),Vietnam has exported $1.17 billion worth of steel products so far this year, including$720 million from export and re-export of steel ingots and hot rolled steel.VSA last month asked for government permission to allow members to raise steelproduct prices in line with the increasing cost of steel ingots.The association, representing more than 20 leading steelmakers in Vietnam, said prices offinished steel products should be raised to match regional and world levels to minimizelosses.VSA said its members sold only 26,000 tons of finished steel last month, 60,000 tons lessthan a month earlier.According to association, Vietnam will need four million tons of ingots this year.Domestic producers are forecast to supply only 50% of this amount, with the remainingcoming from imports. (Vietnam Economic Times Aug 5 p2, The People Aug 5 p7, LaborAug 5 p3, New Hanoi Aug 5 p2, HCMC Law Aug 5 p11, VNS Aug 5 p16)Vietnam Launches Automatic Import Licensing to Curb Trade DeficitThe Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade officially applied automatic importlicensing on a number of goods from August 1 in an effort to limit the country’s soaringtrade deficit, local media reported today [August 5].Under the ministry’s Decision 24/2008/QD-BCT, which will expire after December 31,2008, the targeted goods include vegetables, coffee, tea and spices, fat and vegetable oil,meat and fish products, sugar and confectionary, cereal and milk products, and drinks andalcohols.Automobiles, scooters, mobile phones, perfumes and cosmetics, plastics and plasticproducts, rubber and rubber products, garments and knitwear, porcelain, pottery and glassproducts, electric generators and equipment, watches, interior decorations, toys and sportequipment are also subject to the new decision.Eligible dossiers of application will be licensed automatically within 10 working daysafter the ministry gets the valid dossier sets.
  • 5. According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), Vietnam spent $51.88 billion on goodsimport in January-July, up 56.8% on-year.The country’s trade deficit of $15.01 billion during the seven months, up 2.67 times on-year.The ministry is targeting to keep monthly trade deficit under $1 billion in the second halfof this year in order to realize the target of reducing the year’s import value to $80.2billion in line with the Government’s requirement, $4.8 billion lower than initiallyplanned, said Deputy Minister Bui Xuan Khu.If the goal is realized, Vietnam’s trade deficit this year is expected to stand at $20 billion,equaling to around 30% of the export revenue. (Vietnam & World Economy Aug 5 p8,Vietnam Economic Times Aug 5 p2, Liberation Saigon Aug 5 p1, VNA Aug 4, GSO Jul2008, Vietpan)Vietnam Issue Border Markets’ Operation RegulationsThe Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade has recently promulgated regulations onoperation of markets near the country’s borderlines, at border gates and in border gateeconomic zones, said Minister Vu Huy Hoang.Under the regulations, eligible merchandisers consist of Vietnamese citizens living inborder areas and citizens from neighboring countries with valid border passes as well asbusinesses of Vietnam and neighbors.All of the eligible traders have to ink contracts with the market managing boards to rentbooths and kiosks, said the regulations, adding that the local departments of industry andtrade or agencies empowered by the departments are responsible for granting licenses forforeign traders.For markets in border gate economic zones, the zones’ managing boards will grant thelicenses.The ministry also regulated that traders at border markets must abide by Vietnam’s taxregulations including those on value-added tax, corporate tax, and special consumptiontax.Vietnam has set a target of fetching between $42 billion and $43 billion from goods andservices import and export via border economic zones in 2020, said the government.The country will have 30 border economic zones in localities bordering with Laos,Cambodia and China by 2020, including seven newly-established ones. (VNA Aug 4,Vietpan, Vietnam & World Economy Aug 5 p8)
  • 6. Industry:Vietnam: Commercial Power Output Reaches 37.93 Bln kWh in Jan-JulVietnam’s commercial electricity output reportedly reached over 37.93 billion kWh ofelectricity in the first seven months of this year, up 15.8% on-year, the state-ownedElectricity of Vietnam Group (EVN) said.Meanwhile, the country produced a total 42.76 billion kWh of power in the period, up13% from a year ago, EVN added.Though power shortage is forecast to be partly eased in early August, it still remainssevere due to high electricity demand-triggered hot weather, sluggish operations of CaMau 1 and Ca Mau 2 power plants and unstable operation of Uong Bi expanded powerplant, EVN stressed, elaborating that the country’s power system incurs a capacityshortage of between 30%-35%.To cope with the situation, EVN has encouraged individuals and institutions nationwideto continue implementing power-saving measures.The country is forecast to face a power shortfall of 8.6 billion kWh of electricity this yearand the figure will climb to 36 billion kWh in 2020 and 120 billion kWh in 2030. (SaigonLiberation Aug 5 p1)Vietnam Central Province Licenses $130-Mln Cement ProjectAuthorities in central Thua Thien-Hue province have licensed Vietnam Luks Cement Ltd.to build Luks cement factory - the fifth production line in the locality, the Tuoi Trenewspaper reported.The project will be carried out with total investment of $130 million, the newspaper said.When operational, the facility will have a capacity of 5,000 tons of clinker a day.The factory will be built in Huong Tra district’s Huong Van commune. (Youth Aug 5 p2)Agriculture:Denmark Funds $1.7 Mln to Help Vietnam Develop AgricultureThe Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) has granted $1.7 million to aproject to help ethnic minorities in six northern provinces implement agriculturalproduction in the 2006-2010 period, heard a meeting Aug 4 held in Hanoi to review itsprogress.The project, which was carried out in Hoa Binh, Son La, Lai Chau, Dien Bien, Nghe Anand Ha Tinh provinces, has helped 8,490 farmers master Integrated Pet Management
  • 7. (IPM) techniques in maize and vegetable growing, and proper use of fertilizer andpesticide to reduce costs and ensure environment after two-year implementation.Addressing the event, Vice President of the Vietnam Farmers Association (VFA), HaPhuc Mich, said the project has initially improved ethnic peoples awareness ofsustainable agricultural development.The VFA, the Agricultural Development Denmark Asia (ADDA), and the DANIDAorganized the meeting. (Vietnam & World Economy Aug 5 p1+9, VNA)Vietnam Becomes Russia’s 4th Biggest Seafood ExporterVietnam has become the 4th biggest seafood exporter to Russia with its seafood gainingfirmer foothold in the Russia market, according to the Vietnam Association of SeafoodExporters and Producers (VASEP).Biggest seafood exporters to Russia included Norway, China and Denmark, VASEP said.According to Russian Customs Department, the country imported $1.7 billion worth ofseafood in 2007, up 44% from previous year.Of the total, Vietnam exported around $113.8 million, some $1 million lower thanDenmark.Vietnam has fetched up to $90 million from seafood exports to Russia in the first sixmonths of 2008, up 35% on year.According to VASEP, besides the authorized agencies’ efforts to remove difficulties forproducers and exporters, the signing of a cooperation agreement between VASEP and theRussian Association of Seafood Traders and Processors has also helped boost results.Under the agreement, Vietnam and Russia cooperate in controlling and supervisingproduct quality based on international standards, assist their businesses in making directcontracts, and update a list of Russian importers that wish to contract with Vietnameseexporters.So far Russia has recognized 38 Vietnamese seafood exporters. (Vietnam EconomicTimes Aug 5 p4)Vietnam Agriculture Min Urges Provinces to Contain Diseases on PaddyThe Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has asked provinces nationwide tofocus on fighting diseases on paddy during August, especially brown plant hoppers andrice stunt-leaf diseases, the Saigon Liberation newspaper reported.
  • 8. Accordingly, Mekong Delta provinces will focus on destroying brown plant hoppers,which have crunched out 253,150 hectares of summer-autumn paddy, and rice leaf folder,which have damaged 71,240 hectares.Meanwhile, northern provinces, central and central highlands will give priority to curbingrice blast disease, rice grassy stunt disease, and rice leaf folder.The ministry also asked relevant bodies to tighten control over trading, quality and pricesof pesticide at domestic markets where the diseases are booming.Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has asked Ministry of Agriculture and RuralDevelopment to provide 28 tons of Aperlaur 100WP and 17 tons of Bassa 50 EC fromnational reserve to help localities speed up constraining the diseases.As of August 3, farmers in Mekong Delta provinces harvested more than 960,000hectares of summer-autumn paddy, with average output of 5 tons per hectare. (SaigonLiberation Aug 4 p3, Vietnam Economic Times Aug 5 p2)Southern Vietnam Striving to Boost Fruit ExportsExperts and farmers in southern Vietnam, the country’s fruit basket, are seeking ways toboost fruit production and exports, the Saigon Liberation newspaper reported.At recent workshop discussing fruit production and consumption in the region, theexperts said southern region now has more than 460,000 hectares of fruit, with totaloutput of four million tons yearly, and accounting for 59% of the country’s total fruitarea.The region is home to a number of specialty fruits with high economic value such as HoaLoc sweet mango, Cai Mon durian, Lo Ren star apple, and Nam Roi pomelo, but itsexport revenues are still modest.In the first five months of this year, southern provinces exported only $158,000 worth offruitsThe region set target to expand its fruit orchard area to 540,000 hectares, with total outputof 6.5 million tons, including 280,000 tons for export.The Plantation Department under Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said tomeet the target, the region should boost technological transfer and set up standards foreach kind of fruits.In addition, yield and quality need to be protected and farmer-oriented handling,processing and marketing techniques for fruit products need to be developed. (SaigonLiberation Aug 4 p3)
  • 9. Only 3.6% Of Poultry, Animal Abattoirs Meet Hygienic StandardsOnly 617 poultry and animal abattoirs, or 3.6%, out of total 17,129 in Vietnam meet foodsafety and hygiene standards, the Vietnam Economic Times reported.The Animal Health Department targeted to set up abattoir system in almost all of citiesand provinces nationwide in 2008, and to control safety and hygiene of 70% ofslaughtered poultry and animal before being consumed.To date only 13 out of 63 provinces have set up centralized poultry and animal abattoirs,and rate of controlled poultry and animal is only 42.51%.According to the Capital Security, 100% of abattoirs in Hanoi are slaughtering poultryand animal according to traditional method, failing to ensure food safety and hygienewhile causing environment pollution.Hanoi service of Agriculture and Rural Development said more than 3,000 pigs areslaughtered in the city daily, but only 1,000 of which, or more than 40%, are done by fourcentralized abattoirs, while the remainder, accounting for more than 50%, are done atprivate abattoirs.The service said Hanoi consumes more than 300 tons of poultry and animal meat daily,but the city’s supply can meet only 40%. (Vietnam Economic Times Aug 5 p2)Business:Supermarkets in HCM City Slash Consumer PricesA number of supermarkets in Ho Chi Minh City are reducing prices of consumer goods,pinning hopes for a slowdown of inflation, the state-run Nhan Dan (The People)newspaper said.Co.opMart with a chain of 19 supermarkets has decided to slash by 10%-15% prices of300 goods items from August 1 to 15.Thanks to good inventories, Co.opMart is cooperating with other supermarket chains tolaunch an annual promotion program in Sept in which it will reduce prices of thousandsof items, including foodstuffs, technology products and garments.Citimart, another big supermarket chain, also is cutting 10%-30% prices of 100commodity items.At the chains of Big C, prices of notebooks, stationeries, children uniforms and otherproducts fall between 10% and 25%.Ho Chi Minh City said its consumer price index rose slowly by 0.54% on month in July,lower than the 2.37% increase in June. (The People Aug 5 p1)
  • 10. Vietnam Mobile Phone Service Providers in Race to Reduce ChargesMajor mobile phone service providers in Vietnam, including Viettel, MobiFone,VinaPhone are in the race to attract customers by reducing call charges from August 1,state media has said.MobiFone and VinaPhone have reduced monthly charges for post-paid subscribers by8.3% and halved call charges during off-peak hours (from 23hrs to 6 hrs the next day andon holidays and Sundays).Notably, MobiFone is carrying out a program to install more than 2,500 basetransmission stations to boost their numbers to 8,000 nationwide, in a bid to improveconnecting quality, MobiFone’s Charge and Marketing Section Director Dinh Viet Hungsaid.Mobiphone, which currently has 13.4 million users, has been recognized the bestprovider of mobile services in Vietnam.Meanwhile, Vinaphone has offered new post-paid packages for businesses, organizationsand families.Military-run Viettel is also joining in the race to win subscribers. The country’s largestmobile operator, with 19.5 million subscribers, is dropping its international call costs by60%, from VND8,000 per minute to VND3,600. [$1=VND16,400]However, telecom experts warn that mobile phone service providers should invest morein improving the quality of services, which is a key point to attracting customers.Vietnam, which is now home to around 58 million phone subscribers has seven mobileoperators in Vietnam—MobiFone, VinaPhone, Viettel, S-Fone, HT Mobile, EVNTelecom, and new entrant GTel. (Vietnam & World Economy Aug 5 p17, VNA Aug 4)Spain to Grant EUR540,560 to Help SMEs in AgricultureThe Spanish Agency for Development Cooperation (AECI) will provide a non-refundableaid of EUR540,560 ($841,870) for the second phase of a project on building policies tohelp Vietnam develop small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) in the agricultural sector,the Sai Gon Giai Phong newspaper said Tuesday.Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem Aug 4 signed a document to enact PrimeMinister Nguyen Tan Dungs decision to approve the project, the paper said.Vietnam will also provide capital for the project through the Institute for AgriculturalDevelopment Policies and Strategies under the Ministry of Agriculture and RuralDevelopment. (Saigon Liberation Aug 5 p1, Thanh Nien Daily p2, VNA, The People p7)
  • 11. Foreign Investment:Korean Firm Licensed for $481.7 Mln Resort in Central VietnamSouth Korea-based D&C South Asia Company has just received an investment licensefrom central Thua Thien-Hue province’s authority to build a resort worth VND8.1 trillion($481.74 million) in the province, state media reported Tuesday.The South Asia Lang Co-Hue-Vietnam Resort Complex will be located on a 317-hectaresite at Chan May-Lang Co Economic Zone.The complex will house an international-standard 18-hole golf course, an entertainmentand cultural area, nine hotels and more than 1,000 villas.The company is scheduled to begin the first stage worth $118.5 million in January 2009and put it into operation in December 2010. The entire project will be built in four phasesuntil 2016.The Chan May-Lang Co Economic Zone in central Thua Thien-Hue province has to dateattracted 30 investment projects totaling VND27.47 trillion ($1.66 billion) as of mid-Julythis year, according to Vietnam News Agency.The zone, 70 kilometers southwest of Hue city, has a natural area of 27,108 hectares,covering Lang Co town and three communes of Loc Thuy, Loc Tien and Loc Vinh ofPhu Loc district with a population of 41,000. (Young People Aug 5 p2, Vietnam NewsAgency Aug 5, Vietpan Database)Tourism:Vietnam Pours $1.87 Mln into Tourism Development in 2008The Government of Vietnam has decided to invest VND30 billion ($1.87 million) intourism development this year in an effort to fulfill the whole year target of welcomingfive million international tourist arrivals, the Lao Dong newspaper reported Tuesday.The money will focus on tourism promotion in major European markets which have seenstrong drops in recent times, according to the Vietnam National Administration ofTourism.Other details of the tourism development plan have not been made available at themoment.Vietnam welcomed more than 2.7 million international tourist arrivals in the first sevenmonths of 2008, up 8.6% on year.The sun warm Southeastern Asian nation notably earned VND37 trillion ($2.3 billion) inrevenues in the first half of 2008.
  • 12. Vietnam is looking to total revenue of VND56 trillion, or $3.5 billion this year.The tourism sector now contributes 8% to Vietnam’s national GDP. (Labor Aug 5 p3)Vietnam Tourism Cities Attracting Realty InvestorsVietnam’s famous tourism cities are attracting a large influx of domestic and foreigninvestors due to growing demand for high-end resorts, according to real estate experts.The central coastal city of Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa province is now home to manyluxury tourism projects such as Phu Quy tourist zone, Nha Trang Diamond resort andDiamond Bay which are under construction.General Director of Sofitel Vinpearl Resort and Spa Michael Brabsche’, said that thecompany will continue to build the Hon Tre Isle in the province in the coming months,with plans for a restaurant, a 10,000-square meter spa resort and an entertainment areawith a golf course and high-grade villas.Meanwhile, the increasing demand of high-grade of resorts has also been seen in Danang,Phan Thiet, Vung Tau and Ha Long.In the southern coastal province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Construction Joint Stock CompanyNo. 1 (Cofico) is offering villas in the Sanctuary area starting at $580,000 a unit.In central Danang city, Kingdom Hotel Investment Group is selling the Raffles Resortproject with 140 hotel rooms and 138 apartments at prices ranging from $4,200 to$10,000 per square meter.Local Thien Hai Company has received an investment license from central Binh Thuanprovince’s authority to implement a tourism project costing $100 million at Long Sonquarter in Mui Ne of Phan Thiet City.Richard Leech, director of CB Richard Ellis, said many investors from Thailand andIndonesia are eyeing apartment and villas projects in Vietnam.The Ministry of Planning and Investment said that Vietnam reported over $45 billion inpledged foreign direct investment in the seven months this year, including $4 billion intourism property sector in Jan-Jun.The Southeast Asian country expects to welcome some 6 million foreign visitors and 25million domestic tourists by 2010. (Vietnam News Aug 5 p17)Politics & Law:Iran Sees Vietnam Growing Prestige in Asean Bloc-Diplomat Says
  • 13. Iran seas the growing role and prestige of Vietnam in the Asean bloc with rapid economicgrowth rates in recent years, heightened status on international arena as it becomes thenon-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, and holds a seat at NAMorganization, an Iranian senior diplomat said.Director of the East Asia-Pacific Department of Iranian Ministry’s Foreign AffairsNamatollah Ezadi made his remark on the occasion of the bilateral 35th-year diplomaticties Aug 4 in Iran.Speaking at the ceremony, Deputy Minister of Transport Mohammad Bokharaireaffirmed that Iran is willing to help transport Vietnamese goods to other countries in theMiddle East, Central Asia and Asean.Iranian Ambassador to Vietnam, Seyed Javad Ghavam Shahidi said that Iran is closelyfollowing achievements by Vietnam in the doi moi (renewal) process.In return, Chairman of the Vietnam Friendship Confederation Tran Trong Khanhreviewed the bilateral friendship ties and hailed the establishment of the Iran-VietnamFriendship Association for its contributions.In 1994, Vietnam and Iran set up an inter-governmental committee on the trade area, andthe two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on expanding and diversifyingthe economic and trade cooperation.The bilateral trade reached $80 million in 2007, up from $30 million in 2003. (VietnamNews Agency Aug 4)Vietnam Attends ASEAN Defense Chiefs’ MeetingA Vietnamese delegation led by Chief of General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army,Senior Lieutenant- General Nguyen Khac Nghien attended the sixth ASEAN Chiefs ofDefense Forces Informal Meeting (ACDFIM-6) held in Thailand’s Bangkok from July 31to August 3.The working trip was made at the invitation of the Supreme Commander of the ThaiRoyal Army, General Boonsrang Niumpradit.This year’s meeting focused its discussion on the implementation of mechanism onaddressing security challenges, boosting defense cooperation among member countries ofthe bloc.Next year, the ACDFIM-7 will take place in Vietnam.On the sidelines of the event, the Vietnamese delegation head had bilateral meetings withthe chiefs of defense forces of Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
  • 14. Nghien and his entourage paid a courtesy visit to Thai Premier-cum-Defense MinisterSamak Sundaravej. (Saigon Liberation Aug 5 p1, News p6)Health & Environment:Vietnam Detects 1,000 Cases of Inborn Metabolism Disorders AnnuallyVietnam, the world’s 13th most populous country with over 86.5 million people,identifies around 1,000 children contracting innate amino acid metabolism disordersyearly, according to a national conference on the disease held in Hanoi August 4.A survey conducted by Hanoi-based Central Pediatrics Hospital on 415 children with thedisease-suspected symptoms from 2005 to June this year showed that 11.9% of the totalwas affected by the disease.Of the patients, 74% suffered from disorders of organic substances, 18% and 8% withacid amine and lipid disorders, respectively.Most of children suffering from the disease die when they are less than 12 months old,said Dr Liem, Director of the hospital, adding that the disease’s death rate is still high at48%. (Pioneer Aug 5 p4, Capital Security Aug 5 p2, The People Aug 5 p7)Tropical Low Pressure at East Sea May Develop into StormA tropical low pressure Aug 4 was identified in the sea north of Luzon Island in thePhilippines, the Tin Tuc newspaper said, citing Vietnams National Center forHydrometeorological Forecasting (NCHMF) said Tuesday.This is the fifth tropical low pressure at the East Sea since the beginning of this year, theNCHMF said, adding that it is forecast to move west-north-westward at 10-15 kilometersper hour and may turn into a storm.The area close to the tropical low pressure system, in the northeastern are of the East Sea,will confront strong wind measuring seven or eight on the Beaufort scale (50 to 61kilometers per hour), the center noted.Meanwhile, the Se San, Serepok, Dong Nai, Ba, and Pmore Rivers in the country havebeen facing flood after heavy rains in the past three days.The Central Steering Committee for Flood instructed provincial authorities to map outmeasures to cope with the tropical low pressure. (News Aug 5 p3, Thanh Nien Daily p2)Culture & Society:Vietnam PM Urges Third-child Birthrate ReductionThe Vietnamese prime minister has asked provinces and cities nationwide to continueefforts to reduce birth rates and the third-child birthrate and over in order to reach the set
  • 15. target of the population development of 1.14% and the population scale of 88-89 millionin 2010.The move is in wake of the reportedly growing birth rates in 39 provinces and cities,posing a threat of population boom.The government leader has also requested the Ministry of Health to coordinate withrelevant ministries to form an overall plan on improving the country’s population qualityand submit it to the government this December.Additionally, the ministry was asked to join hands with others to build VietnamPopulation Strategy for the 2011-2020 period.Currently, Vietnam is the world’s 13th most populous country with 86.5 million people.Vietnam reports the world’s highest population density at 252 residents/km2 incomparison with the world average of 35-40, welcoming over one million newborns eachyear. (Pioneer Aug 5 p2, Vietpan)Vietnam Police Raze out Transnational Weapon Smuggling Ring-Thanh NienPolice in southern Vietnam have recently busted a transnational weapon smuggling ringand arrested an overseas Vietnam, Hung Viet Kieu, born in 1981, on charge of smugglingweapons from Cambodia, the state-run Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper saidTuesday.Using guns and any weapons are illegal and prohibited in Vietnam.Police forces in southern An Giang and Can Tho provinces issued an urgent arrest orderagainst Hung for involvement in the ring.Earlier, the local police captured Nguyen Thi Xuan Tram, a massage servicewoman, bornin 1987, on the way to circulating two guns, labeled K59, 15 bullets, and two electricrods, the paper said.Tran admitted that Hung hired her to buy those weapons from Cambodia to clear anothergang in Can Tho city.Violence cases involved in using weapons and guns are on the rise recently, state mediasaid. (Young People Aug 5 p4)Northern Police Uncover Nearly 4,000 Criminal CasesPolice forces in northern provinces and cities investigated 1,641 criminal cases, razed out297 gangs in the two rush months of struggling against crimes, heard at a conference heldAugust 4 by the Police Ministry.
  • 16. Participants were told acts of criminal gangs are more and more complicated, with theincrease of cheats, illegal usage of weapons as well as violence cases against police inlocalities.Over the past two months, the security forces uncovered 475 football betting cases, 118prostitution rings, and detected 325 economic wrongdoings and corruptions.They also exposed up to 1,387 drug trafficking and trading cases, revoking 7.4 kilos ofheroin and over 12,000 ecstasies. (The People Aug 5 p7, Pioneer p11)Stock Market:Thailand’s Seamicro Plans to Set up Securities Joint Venture in VietnamThai securities brokerage Seamicro is planning to form a joint venture with a Vietnamesepartner in order to expand its business to Indochina region, Vietnamese state media saidTuesday.Chaipatr Srivisavra, CEO of Seamicro, said his company will seek a partner which “mustbe financially strong and have investments in good assetsSeamicro is negotiating with Vietnamese brokerages and eyeing to buy a 50% stake in acompany from now to the end of this year, he said."Despite the sharp declines in share prices in the Vietnamese market, we still see stronggrowth opportunities in Vietnam," he said.Seamicro shares advanced more than 4% at the end of June, while brokerage operationsaccount for around 70% of its total revenues. (Capital Securities Aug 5 p2, People’sArmy Aug 5 p8)VinaCapital Pins High Hope on Vietnam Stock MarketVinacapitals Vietnam Opportunity Fund (VOF) Deputy Managing Director Nguyen VietCuong said Vietnams stock market is now offering good opportunity for investors tobuild up a medium and long-term solid investment portfolio.The market now is attractive compared to last year, with average P/E ratio of 11 andlisted companies still exposing impressive business results in the first half.We still remain positive on the medium and long-term prospects of Vietnams economy,he said."As an individual investor, I think the governments current policies have had a positiveimpact on the economy and there have been good signs with the macro-economic indexesin June and July" Cuong said.
  • 17. The stock market will remain stable from now to the end of this year, before resumingupward growth in the coming two years, the Young People newspaper said citing NguyenViet Cuong.Cuong suggested that stock investors should pour money in blue-chip companies with astrong competency in their sectors and which are able to overcome difficulties this year.Foreign investors remained the net buyers last week, pumping VND223 billion ($13.5million) into the market. (Young People Aug 5)Vietnam Leading Jewelry Firm to List 30 Mln Shares on HOSEPhu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company (PNJ), the leading jewelry retail company inVietnam, has submitted its proposal to Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange to list 30million shares, the stock exchange said Tuesday.PNJ, which has a registered capital of VND300 billion and specializes in gemstones,diamond, gold, silver and other jewelries, is seeking approval to list those shares with parvalue of VND10,000 with the advisor-the Dong A Securities Firm, the exchange said.In the first half this year, PNJ reported a pretax profit of VND69.1 billion, up 17% onyear and it targets VND150 billion this year. The HCM City-based gold trader isexpected to increase export revenues by 50% by expanding operations in three foreignmarkets including Denmark, Belgium and France.Last year, PNJ reported revenues of VND2.233 trillion and pretax profit of VND129.3billion.This year, PNJ is expected to raise its registered capital to VND825 billion from currentVND300 billion by issuing bonus shares to its existing shareholders, ATPvietnam, anewswire said.The jewelry firm now boasts a strong network with two jewelry factories, 13 branches, 85retail shops, and 3,000 wholesale customers nationwide. (ATPvietnam Aug 4, VietpanDatabase)Aug 5: Vietnam Shares Tumble on Higher Cost ConcernsVietnams shares ended lower Tuesday on local selling on concerns that companies willface higher operational costs as local prices of goods and services are surging across thecountry, following the gasoline price hike three weeks ago.“Profitability of listed companies will be lower in the third and fourth quarter becausethey will deal with surging input prices, driven by fuel prices,” a player with Kim LongSecurities said.
  • 18. Inflation is still a major concern, which is hurting investor sentiment, he said, adding thatbuying interest will remain weak this week.VN-Index today fell 9.15 points, or 2.08%, at 430.26.Market volume totaled 9.9 million shares valued at VND400.7 billion Tuesday, downfrom 11.5 million shares valued at VND461.9 billion Monday.HPG, today’s most active stock, dropped 1.8% at VND54,500 on 1.2 million shares, ofwhich foreign investors bought 491,150 shares and sold 4,560 shares.DPM, the second most active stock, shed 2.7% at VND55,000. Of total 838,520 shares,foreign players bought 255,310 shares and sold 48,790 shares.PVT dropped 2% at VND14,500 after trading 423,420 shares changing hands.FPT lost 3% to close at VND65,000 on 216,280 shares, with foreign investors buying109,870 shares and selling 9,490 shares.In the downside, BMC surged 2.7% at VND94,500 with 285,730 shares, of whichforeigners bought 58,680 shares and sold 111,870 shares.SHC jumped up 3% at VND34,400 on 142,870 shares.In total, 27 stocks closed higher, 117 lower, 10 unchanged and two untraded.All four fund certificates one closed lower. (HOSE Aug 5)Vietnam NewsAugust 4, 2008Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,494Banking & Finance:US Dollar to Depreciate 2% Against Vietnam Dong by Late 2008The U.S dollar is expected to depreciate less than 2% against Vietnam dong by the end of2008 as supply and supply of the greenback have become balanced, the Lao DongNewspaper reported Monday.Price of the dollar had surged after the government increased gasoline retail prices, but itthen dropped fast.In early last week (July 28), local banks sold a dollar at VND16,826. At the end of theweek, the greenback was sold at between VND16,780 and VND16,760.
  • 19. In the free market, price of a dollar fell from VNDVND16,830 in early last week toVND16,755 in the weekend. This is the second times over the half past month theexchange rate in the black market was lower than in the banking market.Experts said the supply of USD will be profuse by the end of 2008, with trade deficitslowing and FDI soaring. The registered FDI capital hit $45 billion in the first sevenmonths, equivalent to 50% of total FDI over the past 20 years.The disbursed FDI reached $7 billion by the end of July and is expected to increasefurther in the remaining months, which will help offset trade deficit.Plentiful sources of overseas remittance are expected to be sent to Vietnam in the end ofthe year, also helping stabilize local forex market. (Labor Aug 4)Trade:Vietnam PM to Clamp Down Any Goods Prices Hikes, HoardingVietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in an urgent dispatch Aug 3 demandedhard-lining any consumer prices hikes and hoarding as well as speculations in order tocurb inflation, the government of Vietnam said on its Web site.PM Nguyen requested provincial and municipal authorities to tighten patrol andscrutinizing prices of essential goods such as taxi charges, fertilizer, milk, medicines…byadopting serious fines even revoking business licenses or even start probes into.Mr Nguyen also asked the Ministries of Finance, Industry and Trade, Agriculture, Healthto send taskforces to inspect prices of the mentioned items in Hanoi and Ho Chi MinhCities. (Government’s Web site Aug 3)Vietnam Leads in Apparel Retail: Indian MediaVietnam tops the list of the most lucrative apparel retail destinations, the place India wasfive years ago, the Economic Times (India) said.“Ready to take off, Vietnam could challenge India’s dominant position,” the newspapersaid, adding Vietnam burst on to the textile scene about five years ago with low wagesand a strong consumer market receptive to global brands.On export front, cost competitiveness has given Vietnam an advantage over India, it said,citing Secretary General of Confederation of Indian Textile Industry D K Nair as sayingthat textile manufacturers are shifting base to the Southeast Asian country due to lowerproduction costs.
  • 20. Vietnam’s young population has increased consumer spending by more than 75%between 2000 and 2007, and is now attracting global brands to set shops there, thenewspaper added.The Southeast Asian nation’s apparel exports topped $5.09 billion in the first sevenmonths, up 20.5% on-year and are expected to be $9.5 billion for the full year. (VNAAug 4)Eighth Thai Products Exhibition to Open in Hanoi This WeekThe Thai Ministry of Trade and the Vietnam National Trade Fair and AdvertisingCompany (Vinexad) will co-organize the eighth Thai Products Exhibition at the HanoiFriendship Culture Palace from August 7 to 10, local media reported.Around 100 enterprises from Thailand and their sale agents in Vietnam will showcasetheir products at the annual event, which is part of the trade promotion program betweenVietnam and Thailand, said the organizers.The exhibition with 150 booths will feature a wide range of goods from machinery,industrial, electric and electronic products, auto, motorbike and bicycle spare parts, fruits,food, drinks, cosmetics, medical products, stationeries, products for children, jewellery tohandicraft items.A Thai art troupe and a delegation from the Tourism Authority of Thailand are expectedto participate in the event to promote tourism cooperation and cultural ties between thetwo countries.Two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and Thailand reached close to $5 billion lastyear and is expected to double by 2010. (Vietnam & World Economy Aug 4 p4, VNAAug 3)Auto Prices Surge $100-2,000/Unit in VietnamForeign-invested automobile assemblers in Vietnam have decided to raise retail prices ofnew cars by $100-$2,000 per unit from early August due to import tariff hikes of10%-15% by local government on auto spare parts, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.The increase was also attributed to the recently fluctuating VND/USD exchange rate andthe rising prices of material input such as steel and plastics, which have sent prices of aset of auto spare parts up by 10%, the paper said.Toyota Vietnam, the leading automaker in Vietnam, has announced to increase retailprices of almost all its products by $100-$1,000 each. The Camry 2.4 and 3.5 saw thehighest rises, up $1,000/unit. Innova went up by $500/unit, and Vios, $100/unit.
  • 21. Honda Vietnam, meanwhile, increased the price of the Civic generations by VND35million-VND39 million/unit.Car prices in Vietnam, which are predicted to keep rising soon as import tax will go upfurther, are considered among the highest in the world, about 60% higher than Europeand 30-40% higher than regional countries. (Labor Aug 4 p1, Youth Aug 4 p14, CapitalSecurity Aug 4 p7)Industry:PetroVietnam OKs Setup of Bio-fuel CompanyFour affiliates of the state-owned oil monopoly PetroVietnam group have decided toestablish PetroVietnam Bio-fuel Joint Stock Company operating in fields of producingand distributing bio-fuels, the Vietnam & World Economy newspaper reported.The founders include PetroVietnam Tourism Service and Services JS Corp (Petrosetco)with a 51% stake, Vietnam Oil Corporation (PV Oil) with 29%, Binh Son PetrochemicalOne-member Limited Company with 15% and PetroVietnam Finance Corporation(PVFC) with 5%.Headquartered in Binh Son commune of central Quang Ngai province, with a registeredcapital of VND45 billion ($2.72 million), the company will operate in fields of producingand distributing bio-fuels.The establishment is the premise for construction of a plant to produce cassava materials-sourced ethanol that is capable of mixing into petroleum to help the country lessendependence on fossil fuels as well as limit environmental pollution.In Nov last year, the government approved a bio-fuel development project until 2015with a vision through 2025 to produce different kinds of renewable energy and partlyreplace traditional fuels.As apart of the project, around 250,000 tons of ethanol and vegetable oil will be producedto meet one percent of the country’s petroleum demand by 2015. (Vietnam & WorldEconomy Aug 4 p8, Vietnam Economic Times Aug 4 p2)Vietnam Ministry Holds Seminar on Power Prices Calculating MethodsThe electricity-regulating department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade July 31held a seminar on seeking ways to calculate power generation prices and service powerrates, the Hanoimoi newspaper said.The department said that since the start of the year, the World Bank, joint venture ofMercados EMI, the Spanish consulting company of Soluziona and the U.S. legal advisingcompany of Duane Moris LLP have co-helped carry out a project to build a sample
  • 22. power selling-buying contract and regulations to settle disputes regarding competitivepower generation market.After the seminar, the department and advisors will complete the methodology tocalculate prices of power generation prices and service prices, which will be applied topower plants from 2010. (New Hanoi Aug 1 p7, Vietnam & World Report Aug 1 p1+9)Vietnamese, Mexican Shoe Enterprises Boost CooperationLeather shoe producers and exporters from Vietnam and Mexico gathered at a seminar inMexico City July 31 to discuss ways to boost bilateral cooperation, Vietnam NewsAgency reported.Participants, including representatives from 14 Vietnamese businesses and 20 localcompanies, looked into the possibility of jointly developing material sources in Mexico totake full advantage of its human resources, technology and tax incentives.They also aimed to increase Vietnam’s imports and exports of leather and shoes withMexico and the North American market as a whole.Present at the workshop, the first of its kind between the two countries, were ViceChairman of the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association Ngo Dai Quang andVietnamese Ambassador to Mexico Pham Van Que.Manuel Uribe, chairman of the Asia and Oceania Committee of the Mexican BusinessCouncil for Foreign Trade, Investment and Technology (COMCE) and Enrique Miche,chairman of the COMCE’s Mexico-Vietnam Business Cooperation Committee, alsoattended the event.Leather and footwear is now Vietnam’s third largest forex earner, behind crude oil andapparel. In the first seven months this year, the country earned an estimated exportturnover of $2.75 billion from the products, up 18.4% on-year. (VNA Aug 4, GSO July2008)Steel Imports from China Soar 58.8% On-year in Jan-JulVietnam imported 1.87 million tons of steel from China in the first seven months thisyear, increasing by 58.8% on-year, the Thanh Nien Daily reported, quoting the Ministryof Industry and Trade.The country’s total steel imports so far this year were 6.4 million tons. Local demand wasaround 2.3 million tons, an on-year rise of 4.7% but lower than expected, the newspapersaid.The ministry forecast the remaining 4.1 million tons would meet demand until earlyOctober.
  • 23. Demand was not as high as expected as building projects were slowing down due to highinput costs and lower state budgets for construction, the ministry said.But steel importers had rushed to import almost twice the amount as the same period lastyear as they expected higher economic growth and greater local demand for steel.The government’s policies to control inflation, which included slashing stateexpenditures in infrastructure and real estate projects, had caused the slump in local steeldemand.Lower demand resulted in lower local steel prices, the Thanh Nien Daily newspapercitied Lai Quang Trung, head of Vietnam Steel Corporation’s Export Import Department,as saying.However, steel prices worldwide are rising and Vietnamese steel importers re-exported togain from the gap.He said Vietnam exported about $2 billion worth of steel in the first half of this year.Last month, to discourage steel exports, the ministry applied quotas on steel exports andthe Ministry of Finance had earlier increased tax on steel exports from 2% to 10%.(Thanh Nien Daily Aug 4 p6)Agriculture:Vietnam to Export 400,000 tons of Rice in AugustVietnam will export around 400,000 tons of rice in August, down 50% on year, raising itstotal rice export volume in the first nine months of 2008 to 3.5 million tons, the NhanDan (People) newspaper reported.Currently, export prices of Vietnamese rice are averaging at between $620 and $630 aton, down nearly 50% from April this year and some $120 a ton lower than Thais rice.The Vietnam Food Association (VFA) said the low price of Vietnamese rice isunreasonable, blaming the price falls on rice export tax, and high lending rate.The VFA has officially suggested the government remove rice export tax, or increasefloor export rice price to be levied to $800-$900 a ton, instead of initial $600 a ton tax,and allow local exporting companies to borrow foreign currencies instead of Vietnamdong to buy paddy from farmers.VFA said high lending rate in Vietnam dong is preventing local companies from buyingrice for export, adding that with current lending rate, the companies have to payadditional $12-$15 a ton of exported rice.
  • 24. Meanwhile, local farmers are very worried when they have piled up paddy but failed tosell it even though paddy prices have dropped sharply to only around VND3,600-4,000 akilo.Truong Thanh Phong, chairman of VFA said if paddy prices decreased to belowVND5,000 a kilo, the government’s target to ensure 30%-40% in profit for farmers isunreachable.The Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper August 4 cited farmers in Mekong Delta provinces ofLong An, Dong Thap and An Giang as saying that many Cambodian traders have soughtto buy Vietnamese rice to re-sell to Thailand.Local farmers said Cambodian traders bought Vietnamese paddy at VND5,200-VND5,300 a kilo, and then sell to Thailand for VND6,000 a kilo. (The People Aug 4 p2,Saigon Liberation p7, The Youth p14)U.S. Okays to Import Vietnamese Blue-dragon FruitThe Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) under the U.S. Department ofAgriculture announced that it started to license importing blue-dragon fruit from Vietnamfrom July 30, the Saigon Liberation reported, citing the Vietnam Fruit and VegetableAssociation (Vinafruit).The Vinafruit said to penetrate into the U.S. market, Vietnamese blue-dragon fruit mustmeet a number of food safety and hygiene standards set by the APHIS.Almost all of Vietnamese blue-dragon fruit exported to the U.S. must be treated withradio element with minimum volume of 400 grayAdditionally, the APHIS asked Vietnamese fruit to be kept cool during the productionprocess, and be bar-coded when they are exported to the U.S. They must also becertificated by the Vietnam Plant Protection Department.In Vietnam, blue dragon fruit is now mainly grown in central Binh Thuan province onmore than 10,000 hectares, with annual output of 150,000 tons, and Mekong Deltaprovinces of Tien Giang and Long An, on 3,000 hectares each, with annual output of40,000 tons. (Saigon Liberation Aug 1 p1, Vietnam Agriculture Aug 4 p1)Vietnam to Import Fertilizer until 2020Vietnam will have to import fertilizer until 2020 as local supply can meet only 50% oftotal demand, the Vietnam News Agency reported, citing the Vietnam FertilizerAssociation (FVA).The FVA said the country will have to import more than 500,000 tons of fertilizer yearlyfrom now to 2010.
  • 25. It said rocketing prices of fertilizers and materials for fertilizer production at the globalmarket have affected Vietnam fertilizer market, pushing local fertilizer prices up by 30%from late 2007.The Ministry of Industry and Trade said nearly 3,000 fertilizer producing plants in thecountry can meet 50% of urea fertilizer demand, and 75% of phosphate demand, whilealmost all of DAP, SA, and Kali fertilizers are imports.The association said prices of phosphate fertilizer rose by 99.6%; organic fertilizer,30.8%; urea fertilizer, 76%, and NPK, 184%, from early this year, due to thin supplies,and high import prices.To ease fertilizer shortage in the coming months, the association has suggested thegovernment set up long-term urea fertilizer import plan by 2010.It also called for the government’s priority to phosphate fertilizer production, as well asNPK and DAP fertilizers.The Vietnam Chemical General Company (Vinachem) has also urged its affiliates tospeed up fertilizer projects like Dinh Vu DAP fertilizer plant in Hai Phong, and NinhBinh fertilizer plant while expanding Ha Bac fertilizer plant and Lao Cai supe phosphatefertilizer plant. (Vietnam & World Economy Aug 4 p1)Business:First Int’l Standard Golf Course Inaugurated in Central VietnamCentral Vietnam debuted the first golf course of international standard for world golftournaments last week [August 1], state media has said.The 18-hole golf course Montgomerie Links Vietnam covers 70 hectares in Dien Ngoccommune, Dien Ban district, central Quang Nam province.Nine holes of the golf course will be used in the first period while the remaining holeswill be put into use in the first quarter of next year.Apart from the golf course and entertainment services, a modern club and 54 villas havebeen built in the surrounding areas.The project, invested by Indochina Land Management Vietnam Co. Ltd. which belongsto the Indochina Capital Group, was estimated to cost over $60 million.Vietnam is currently home to 123 golf courses. Of the figure, southeast region has mostwith 27 golf courses, followed by Red River Delta with 25, northern mountainous regionwith 11, the Central Highlands with 11, northern central with 7 and southwestern with 6.
  • 26. The country’s rising popularity as a golf destination mirrors similar developments forVietnam on the world stage. (VOV, VietNamNet Aug 3)Vietnam Mulls to Set up Investment Fund for Southern Economic ZoneThe Government of Vietnam will consider establishing an investment fund for thesouthern key economic region, said Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai.From now till the end of this year, the government will coordinate to develop thesouthern key economic zone towards curbing inflation, stabilizing monetary market andmacro economy and ensure social welfare.The government will regulate industry structure among localities in order to boosteconomic development in the whole region, Hai said. (Saigon Liberation Aug 4 p1)Vietnam Central Province Looks for InvestorsThe province has issued a list of projects in which it is seeking investments in the areas ofagriculture, fisheries, industry, tourism, and construction, said Vu Hoang Ha, chairman ofthe provincial People’s Committee.The province offers incentives to investors including assistance to promote their brandnames and distribution, Ha said, adding that “The People’s Committee is reforming theadministration and adopting a “single door’ policy for registering businesses,”.Binh Dinh has seen a remarkable increase in foreign investment flow. It licensed onlythree foreign direct investment projects worth $20 million between 1992 and 2000, butsince 2001 it has attracted additional 28 foreign-owned projects valued at $352 million.The U.S., Japan, the Republic of Korea, China, Germany and Singapore are the biggestinvestors in the central locality.The province has two operating industrial parks, Phu Tai and Long Vy, and the Nhon HoiEconomic Zone.Binh Dinh is also home to 19 industrial clusters covering 445 hectares, with 11 of themhaving occupancy rates of 90-100%.The chairman said the province would soon start construction of the 272-hectare NhonHoa and 265-hectare Hoa Hoi industrial parks.It is also planning to build two more industrial parks, Cat Khanh and Cat Linh, he said.The local Quy Nhon deep-sea port is capable of handling roughly 4 million tons of cargoa year, the third highest in the country.
  • 27. The province’s key export commodities are wooden furniture, agricultural and forestryproduce, minerals and seafood.Under a plan approved by the government, Binh Dinh is aimed to become an industrial,trade, tourism, services and human resources training hub for the south-central region andthe Central Highlands regions by 2020. (Vietnam News Agency Aug 4)Foreign Investment:Foreign Investors Pledged $14 Bln in Vietnam Real Estate in H1Fully taking advantage of the government’s efforts in cutting public investment projectsand slow credit growth to 30% this year to curb inflation, foreign investors areaccelerating investment into the realty sector, the Tien Phong (Pioneer) newspaper saidMonday.In the first six months, foreign investors injected $14 billion into the sector, dominatingthe local ailing real estate developers because they are restricted to bank loans, thenewspaper said.“This is the golden chance for us [the Malaysian S.P Sertia Co] to become the number 1realty developer in Vietnam,” Teow Leong Seng, CEO of S.P Sertia said, pointing outthat many domestic realty companies are in critical situation.Unlike a year ago, a foreign company which wanted to invest $40 million in the SouthSaigon real project, was turned down, and now it only has paid $28 million.Besides, paperwork now gets easier, a CEO of a Malaysian firm said.“We see no reasons to hesitate to invest into Vietnam’s real estate field because almostall the worldwide prestigious real developers arrived in Vietnam, if we do not invest now,it’ll be later to wait until Vietnam’s economy is to recover in the next four years,” Mr TanHai Hsin, CEO of the Malaysia Henry Butche group said. (Pioneer Aug 4 p5)Infrastructure:Vietnam Disburses VND26.4 Tln in Fundamental Construction Projects in Jan-JulState treasuries across Vietnam had disbursed VND26.4 trillion ($1.6 billion) in the keyfundamental construction projects in the first seven months this year, the Dau Tu(Investment) newspaper said Monday.The newspaper did not disclose the comparative figure, but the government-run GeneralStatistics Offices said that VND47.6 trillion of state budget was implemented during thetime, and the Transport Ministry took the lead with VND2.457 trillion disbursed intotransport projects.
  • 28. The capital city of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City were rated the leaders with VND2.6trillion and VND3.973 trillion spent.The Ministry of Planning and Investment said so far the government has cut a totalVND45 trillion to curb inflation. (Investment Aug 4 p2, www.dddn.com.vn Jul 31)Vietnam Ministry Proposes Adding $300 mln for Transport WorksThe Vietnamese Ministry of Transport has recently suggested that the World Bank add$300 million to help finalize construction of the remaining roads and bridges of the ruralroad improvement network project (WB4).The ministry has had a meeting with the WB’s officials who recently arrived in Vietnamto scrutinize the project.The ministry said it will direct roads developers and advisors to give out a list of specificroads and bridges to be completed within the time of the initial credit agreementsprotracted and new agreements valid until December of 2011.It will send an official letter to inform the bank of the project implementation and thepremier. (Transport Aug 1 p1)Vinashin to Build Industrial Park in Central ProvinceThe Vinashin Business Group has submitted its plan to the People’s Committee of centralKhanh Hoa province on setting up an industrial park in the South of Cam Ranh Town,state media reported Monday.The total investment capital for the 1,400-hectare park can reach hundreds of millions ofdollar, the Pioneer newspaper said.According to Vietnam News Agency, Vinashin will build factories to produce blocks,internal parts, engines, deck’s facilities, and steel structure of ships in the park.It will also open plants for manufacturing steel plates, cranes and diesel-fueled powerengines here, the news agency said.Vinashin has invested in a shipyard in Cam Ranh with capacity of building ships of50,000 DWT. The shipyard’s the first phase worth VND598 billion ($35.1 million)became operational this year’s first quarter.The group plans to expand the shipyard with an estimated investment of VND3 trillion($176.4 million) by 2010.Vinashin has gained total revenues of VND8.7 trillion ($543.7 million) in the first sixmonths of this year, up 82.7% on-year, said CEO Pham Thanh Binh.
  • 29. The firm will expand its operations to real estate, metallurgy, and enhance heavy shipbuilding and repairing, Binh said, noting that it will invest $4 billion for its businessexpansions from now to 2010. (Pioneer Aug 4 p13, Vietnam News Agency Aug 1,Vietpan Database)Politics & Law:Vietnam PM OKs to Hire Foreign Consultants for Hanoi City ExpansionVietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has turned green light to select foreignconsultants to plan Hanoi city expansion, state media said Monday.Japan-based Arata Isozaki, Netherlands-based Metropolitan Architecture and SouthKorean Posco E&C, Jina Architect, the U.S.’s Perkins Eastman and Architects DesignersPlanners Engineers presented their urban planning ideas at the meeting with PremierNguyen, Vietnam News said.Those foreign consulting agencies are picked out of 12 firms from the U.K, U.S., France,Germany, Australia, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea and Singapore.Deputy Construction Minister Tran Ngoc Chinh said based on the presentations, PMNguyen will appoint the international consultant with idea best suited for the city.The capital city will require VND300 trillion to plan transport development projects fromnow till 2020 with the public transport means to meet 35%-45% of the transport demandand reduce private-owned motorbikes to 30%.The Hanoi expanded city now has a total area of 334,470 hectares and 6.23 millionpeople, being listed among biggest capital cities in the world behind Beijing and Paris,and bigger than London, Moscow, Washington and Tokyo. (Vietnam News Aug 4 p1,Vietpan Databse)Swiss President Pays Visit to Vietnam for Closer TiesPresident of Switzerland Pascal Couchepin and his wife arrived in Hanoi July 3 to starthis first official visit to Vietnam at the invitation of the host Nguyen Minh Triet.He is being accompanied by Ambassador Pierre Combernous, director of the politicaldepartment II for Asia, Mr Thierry Regenass, Diplomatic Advisor of Swiss President andMr Jean-Marc Crevoisier, spokesman for the President.The four-day visit is to assess the actual situation and explore future avenues of potentialcooperation between the two countries, the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) cited thePresident at an interview in Geneva July 28 prior to the trip.
  • 30. “This is a strong political sign of support from a friend to a friend in difficult times,” hetold the VNA correspondent.The Swiss leader has spoken highly of the Vietnam-Switzerland relations and affirmedthat his country prioritizes Vietnam in its cooperation policies.President Pascal also affirmed that his country will continue to stand by Vietnam duringthe rough times, adding that he is convinced the Vietnamese government has chosen theright action to tackle momentous difficulties and he is glad to hear the government isconcentrating on fighting inflation.So far, Switzerland has disbursed $95.6 million in ODA for Vietnam, accounting for 65%of the total sum the European country earmarked for the Mekong region..The bilateral two-way trade reached $1.25 billion last year, surpassing far from the figureof $781 million in 2006.In the first six months of this year, the trade value reached $1.84 billion.The 7.5-million-people country has so far invested a total 50 projects worth $750 millionin Vietnam, ranking the fifth among European investors and the 19th out of 81 nations andterritories.In term of cooperative potentials, President Pascal particularly expressed the cooperationin training, research and higher education.Around 15% of the visas granted by the Swiss Embassy in Hanoi are for professors,teachers and students, the president said.During his stay in Vietnam, the president is scheduled to witness the signing of acooperation agreement by the Institute of Technology from Lausanne and the Universityof Technology of Ho Chi Minh City and the other by University of Geneva and the HanoiNational University. (VNA Jul 31, Website of CPV Jul 30, Vietnam News Aug 4 p1)VID 2009: Improving Responsibility, Transparency to Combat CorruptionDeputy General Inspector Mai Quoc Binh Jul 28 chaired a meeting to poll VietnamInnovation Day 2009 with the title: “Increasing Responsibility and transparency,combating corruption,” with participation of Ministries of Culture, Sports, and Tourism,Police, and Foreign Affairs, and others.VID 2009 is regarded a small fair devoted to innovative ideas to help address challengesfaced by the community.
  • 31. VID 2009 will be co-held by AusAids, the Danish, Finnish Embassy, the U.K. Agencyfor International Development, the Swiss and New Zealand Agencies for InternationalDevelopment.At the VID 2009, at least $15,000 15 prizes are expected to be granted to participantswho are state agencies, legal bodies and individuals in Vietnam, except for inspectors,army forces and police.The government inspectorate and the World Bank will co-launch VID 2009 from Sep thisyear and complete next March. (Inspectorate Jul 29 p1+2)Labor & Education:First “Vietnamese Workers’ Day” Held in South KoreaAlmost 1,000 Vietnamese guest workers from over 4,000 businesses in South Koreaflocked to capital Seoul August 3 for a get-together hosted by the Vietnamese Embassyand the Shinhan Bank, state media has said.The event was evidence of the government’s special attention to the guest workers’community abroad. It would promote mutual understanding and boost cooperationbetween the two nations, Minister of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA)Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said.South Korea is a potential labor market with massive employment opportunities forVietnamese workers, Ngan added, calling on Vietnamese guest workers to work harder,abide by the resident country’s law, adapt the industrial working style and draw moreprofessional experiences and skills useful to their work and the nation back home.In return, Head of the Labor Policy Department under the Ministry of Labor of SouthKorea, Lee Jae-Kap, said Vietnamese guest workers have become part of the localcommunity and contributed considerably to the economic development of South Korea.Vietnamese guest workers’ industriousness, skillfulness and smartness in masteringtechnology and sciences have been recognized by South Korean enterprises, putting themat the top of the list of foreign immigrants receiving Korean working visas under theEmployment Permit System, he added.On this occasion, Vietnamese Ambassador Pham Tien Van presented certificates of meritto 10 best Vietnamese guest workers and handed over letters of thanks to five SouthKorean enterprises hiring a large number of Vietnamese guest workers.The Vietnamese guest worker community in South Korea reached close to 55,000 so far.The first seven months of this year saw 8,000 guest workers receive working visas intothe foreign country.
  • 32. Vietnamese laborers have mostly worked in the production sector, engineering andconstruction in South Korea. A small number of them have been employed foragricultural production and aquaculture.In 2007, Vietnamese guest-workers in South Korea remitted home $500 million out of$1.7 billion remittances by the entire overseas Vietnamese guest workers community.(Labor & Society Aug 4 p1, New Hanoi Aug 4 p8)Health & Environment:Vietnam Targets to Lower Blindness Rate to under 0.3% in 2020Vietnam, which reported high rate of blindness in the region at 0.47% in 2007, is tryingto reduce the rate to below 0.4% in 2012 and below 0.3% in 2020, said a three-daynational conference on blindness prevention opened in Hanoi August 1.To realize the goals, Vietnam will take a number of measures to control blindness-causedpreventive diseases such as cataract, trachoma, xerophthalmia and refractive defects.From now until 2012, the country will conduct between 170,000 to 200,000 cataractsurgeries each year and eliminate xerophthalmia.Currently, Vietnam reports about 370,640 blind people and 1.58 million people with poorvision, including 572,757 men and 1,007,019 women. It also identifies an additional170,000 people suffering from cataract-related eye diseases annually.According to a recent survey conducted by the Central Ophthalmology Hospital, cataractis still the leading cause of blindness in Vietnam and just 51% of the surveyedVietnamese knew their eyesight situation and nearly 30% of them never took eye check-ups. (Youth Aug 4 p6, Family & Society Aug 4 p7, VNS Aug 4 p3)Communication Forum on Bio-diversity Preservation Held in HCMCOver 100 representatives from 15 national parks and southern preservation zones Aug 2attended a forum on bio-diversity preservation in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam NewsAgency said Monday.The forum focused on discussing the role of communication and education programs inpreserving bio-diversity.Addressing the event, Hoang Nghia Son, director of the Institute of Tropical Biology(ITB) said that Vietnams 10-million-hectare-natural forests have been shrinking rapidlybecause of overexploitation.Son called on scientists, preservation zones to join hands to protect genes and raiseawareness of dwellers in forests and nearby of protecting forests.
  • 33. Participants also visited an exhibition of photos about research activities in preservingbio-diversity. (VNA, New Hanoi Aug 4 p3)WB-funded Project Help HCMC to Reduce Water Leakage Rate to 26% by 2010-OfficialThe World Bank-financed water leakage reduction project will help Ho Chi Minh Citycut water leakage rate to 26% by 2010, Vuong Quang Sang, director of the projectmanagement board told the Saigon Giai Phong (Saigon Liberation) newspaper.The project will be deployed in Districts 1, 3, 5, 10 belong to region 1 this year and willbe implemented in Districts 11, Tan Binh, Tan Phu (region 2). The city’s water supplynetwork is divided into 6 regions.The Philippines Manila Water contractor has arrived at HCMC and started to surveywater loss situation in district 3 at first.Manila Water helped reduce effectively the water leakage to 20% from 60% in thePhilippines. (Saigon Liberation Jul 29)Most of IZs in Southern Vietnam Have No Wastewater Treatment SystemsOnly nine out of 21 operational industrial zones (IZs) in southern Dong Nai provincehave built concentrated waste water treatment systems, Vietnam News Agency said.The 21 IZs discharged 68,000 cubic meters of wastewater a day and two thirds of whichare poured directly into the environment, the paper said.To prevent pollution caused by wastewater from the IZs, the managing board of IZsannounced that it will not be licensed for operation to IZs lacking wastewater treatmentsystems from January 1, 2009.Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, Ao Van Thinh said that localauthorities will assist IZ developers in building concentrated wastewater treatmentsystems and dealing with obstacles in ground clearance as well as capital and otherissues.The province’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment is taking samplesfrom local IZs and will announce pollution levels in the mass media. (VNA, VietNamNetBridge Aug 2)Culture & Society:ADB, AFD Fund $3 Mln for Rural Development Projects in Central Vietnam
  • 34. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Agency of French Development (AFD)have granted nearly $3 million to traffic and reservoir projects in central Quang Namprovince, the Thanh Nien newspaper said Monday.Work starts on the projects July 28, the provincial authorities said.Of the sum, $988,000 will be spent to improve the traffic route between the communes ofTam An and Tam Thanh in the district of Phu Ninh.A further $1.97 million will be used to repair and upgrade the Phu Loc reservoir in DuyXuyen District.Earlier, the ADB has donated $2 million to help ethnic people, who were affected by the4 Bung River Hydroelectricity Plant. (Young People Aug 4 p2)Intel, WWF Plant Trees in Southern VietnamIntel Products Vietnam Co has recently cooperated with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)and southern Dong Nai province to launch a tree planting program at Vinh Cuu NaturalReserve, the Thanh Nien newspaper said Monday.“The program is part of our long-term engagement to support the Vinh Cuu NaturalReserve and raise public awareness of protecting the forest,” General Manager of IntelProducts Vietnam, Rick Howarth said.Under the 700-hour voluntary program, over 1.8 hectares of vacant land in the reservewill be covered with trees, the company said.Vietnam increased its forest acreage to 11.3 million hectares in 2000 and 12.87 millionhectares in 2007 from 9.3 million hectares in 1995.Earlier, the country has approved an $8.7 million forest plantation project from now up to2010. (Tuoi Tre Online Aug 4, Young People p2)Stock Market:Vietnam Delays Privatization of Numerous Large Firms Till 2009The privatization of a series of big names, including BIDV, Vietinbank, VMS Mobifoneand Vietnam Airlines, will be completed in 2009, in stead of 2008 as pervious projection,says the government’s Steering Committee for Enterprises Reform and Development.Although allowed to conduct privatization process since 2006, the mobile phone operatorVMS Mobifone has just finished selecting advisor for evaluating assets by the end ofJuly.Vinaphone, meanwhile, is seeking approval for equitization.
  • 35. This year may see the privatization of the Mekong Delta Housing Development Bank(MHB), but two other big state-owned lenders, Vietnam Bank for Industry and Trade(Vietinbank) and Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), may delaytheir privatization till 2009.Vietnam Airlines, the national air carrier, will probably postpone its IPO till early 2009.It is now negotiating with foreign strategic investors and privatization advisor for theshare sale.Vietnam has earlier planned to sell shares in a total 400 companies in 2008, including 45corporations, but only 10 corporations may completed its privatization process this year.The national insurer Bao Viet also said it may postpone its listing plan this year after theshare prices tumbled more than 50% against the IPO price. (Vietnam Economic TimesAug 4, Business Forum Aug 1)Vietnam to Auction VND1 Tln g-Bonds Aug 8The State Treasury will auction VND1 trillion ($60.6 million) worth of governmentbonds at the Hanoi Securities Trading Center (HASTC) this Friday [August 8], theVietnam Economic Times reported.This is the ninth tranche the treasury has auctioned the bonds via the bourse.The bonds include VND500 billion ($30.3 million) of two-year bonds and anotherVND500 billion of five-year bonds, which will be issued August 12.They will be offered at par value under the book-entry form and then listed on HASTC.Interested tenders should submit document before 14pm August 8.Currently, long-term bonds fail to attract investors as bank deposit interest rates have stillremained high at 17%-18%, and the stock market has slightly rallied.Major investors of government bonds are now commercial banks which buy bonds astrading tool on the open market. (HASTC, Vietnam Economic Times Aug 1)Vietnam: Only 40 Securities Brokerages to Survive in 2009Acting General Director of An Binh Securities Company (ABS) Nguyen Hong Quan saidthat only 40 securities firms will be operating in Vietnam by the end of 2009 instead ofover 90 ones currently due to the strong merge and acquisition in the sector.The countrys macro economy and the stock market have experienced great difficultiesthis year, putting many securities companies at risk of bankruptcy, except for those with
  • 36. good capital plans and backing from strategic partners and founding shareholders, hesaid.Revenues from securities brokerage and other services have sharply decreased whileoperating costs have inconsiderably reduced.Quan said M&A activities in securities sector will boom in the second half of 2009. Inthe short term, stock brokers will try to seek foreign strategic partners who will help themstrengthen financial capacity.So far, some small-sized firms have sold shares to their partners, such as GatewaySecurities, Click & Call Securities, Vietnam Securities Corporation (VSEC), and Au LacSecurities.In the first half of this year, three big securities firms suffered losses, including SaigonSecurities Incorporation (SSI), Bao Viet Securities (BVS) and Hai Phong Securities Co.(HPC). (Investment Aug 4 p6, Vietpan)Aug 4: Vietnam Shares Fall on Price Hike ConcernsVietnams shares closed lower Monday for a second straight day after state media saidretailers start to increase prices of many commodities from August, raising concernsamong investors over higher inflation in coming months.“Market participants share the view that companies will face weakened profitability dueto lower local consumption, resulting from high inflation,” a trader with AuVietSecurities said.“Though macroeconomic situation has become temporarily stable, investors are waitingto see how the economy runs in coming months,” he said.Sentiment will be weak in near term, the trader predicted.VN-Index today dropped 7.7 points, or 1.72%, at 439.41.Market volume was 11.5 million shares valued at VND461.9 billion Monday, up from11.1 million shares valued at VND383.8 billion last Friday.HPG, the most active stock today, fell 1.8% at VND55,500 on a trade of 2.9 millionshares, of which foreign investors bought 421,500 shares and sold 55,100 shares.REE, the second most active stock, rose 1.8% at VND34,600 after trading 815,370 shareschanging hands.PET tumbled 2.8% to close at VND24,100 with 652,690 shares traed, with foreigninvestors buying 364,000 shares and selling 15,600 shares.
  • 37. DPM dived 2.6% at VND56,500 after trading 589,540 shares, of which foreign investorsbought 146,500 shares and sold 7,300 shares.TRC is the biggest decliner, falling 3% at VND65,000.TCT, meanwhile, is the most advancer with a rise of 3% at VND51,500.In total, 97 stocks closed lower, 49 higher and 10 unchanged.All four fund certificates one closed lower. (HOSE Aug 4)Vietnam NewsAugust 1, 2008Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,496Banking & Finance:Vietnam Remains Attractive M&A Market, PWCVietnam is still an attractive market for merger and acquisition activities despitedifficulties of the macro economy, said PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).Vietnam witnessed 48 M&A transactions worth $347 million in the first six months, PwCsaid in an updated report July 29.Several typical M&A cases are the 25% stake acquisition by Swiss Re over Vinare inJanuary with value of $81.9 million, the Russian Kamaz Inc.’s purchase of a 12.5% stakeinto VMIC in February and Morgan Stanley’s buying a 48.33% stake into VietgateSecurities.In addition, Franklin Resources Inc bought a 49% stake in Vietcombank FundManagement Co. in February, Malaysia’s Berhard purchased a 15% stake in An BinhBank in March, Carlsberg bought a 16% stake and becomes Habeco’s strategic investorin May.The value of M&A transactions the first half of 2008 is smaller than that of the sameperiod last year, but the number of M&A increased by one case. In the first six months of2007, Vietnam saw 47 M&A cases worth $736 million.PwC experts said that it is too soon to say number of M&A will fall or not.PwC’s data show that the M&A transactions in the second half of 2007 were valued at$1.13 billion, much higher than the first quarter. Therefore, the transactions in the secondquarter this year may continue to increase.
  • 38. Merger and acquisition in banking and finance sector, especially among securitiescompanies, will increase in coming months, PwC forecast.Foreign investors are also interested into several other sectors in Vietnam, such astelecom, retail sale, distribution and construction materials.The loosen regulations on foreigners working in Vietnam will also help boost M&Amarket in the country. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 31)Deutsche Bank Expects Vietnam to Extend Lending Growth to 40% This YearThe State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), or central bank, will be likely to extend this year’scredit growth target to 40% from the current 30%, Deutsche Bank said in its report aboutVietnam released late July.Because Vietnamese banks have so far already used up two thirds of the targeted 30%credit expansion this year, the credit growth will slow more sharply in the second half ifthe central bank does not raise the target, the German bank explained.“Such a sharp fall in credit growth - to the slowest since the financial crisis in 1997-1998- would mean an even sharper slowdown in GDP growth in the second half, which wethink the authorities are not prepared to accept,” the report said.“Hence, we expect the SBV to not only cut rates but also increase the credit growthtarget, likely to 40% from 30%.”Deutsche Bank also forecast that the Government of Vietnam will put more efforts infiscal tightening to counterbalance the monetary easing. (VnEconomy Jul 31 p5, DBSource)Vietcombank Honored Best Vietnam Cash Management BankThe Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) has been named by Asiamoneyas the 2008 Best Cash Management Bank for Corporates in Vietnam, the Thoi Bao KinhTe Vietnam reported August 1.It is the 18th year Asiamoney, the leading financial magazine in Asia, has held cashmanagement poll which are voted by Corporates and Financial Institutions, the papersaid.In order to select the best cash management bank award voted by Corporates, Asiamoneyhas sent its questionnaires to 5,500 financial managers of listed and unlisted companies,multinational corporations, and small- and medium-sized enterprises across Asia-Pacificregion.
  • 39. Sixty-five out of 3,000 reported answers came from Vietnamese enterprises, which isconsidered a firm base for the award of Vietcombank, the largest forex bank in theSoutheast Asian country.Recently, Vietcombank has also been recognized by Asiamoney as the best domesticbank.It marks the first time Asiamoney has selected Vietnam in its list, beside Australia,China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan,Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.The end of June this year, Vietcombanks total assets had risen 3% to VND203 trillion($12.3 billion) from the end of 2007, and $5.3 billion of which were in foreign currencyfunds. (Vietnam Economic Times Aug 1 p3)Rubber Finance Co Okayed to Raise Chartered Capital to VND1 TlnThe State Bank of Vietnam has officially allowed the Rubber Finance Company, anaffiliate of Vietnam Rubber Corporation, to raise its chartered capital by VND200 billionto VND1,000 billion ($60.97 million), state media reported.Rubber Finance Co. is a financial arm of the Vietnam Rubber Corporation. The firm wasestablished in 1998 to help the corporation to expand the growing areas of rubber trees,develop latex industry and other investment projects.It has also operated as an instrument for the Vietnam Rubber Corp to distributereasonably this source of finance among its affiliates.This is the second time so far this year the company has been allowed to raise its equitycapital. It got permission to scale up registered capital from VND250 billion to VND800billion in January 2008. (Vietnam Economic Times Aug 1 p3)Gold Prices Drop Hits One-Month Bottom in VietnamGold prices were transacted at around VND18.62 million-VND18.68 million per tael inVietnam on the morning of July 31, the lowest level over the past one month, the Sai GonGiai Phong newspaper reported.By 9am, 24-K gold at Bao Tin Minh Chau Gold, Silver and Gem Stone Company inHanoi traded at VND18.6 million-VND18.75 million per tael with the buying and sellingprices decreasing by VND100,000 per tael compared with transactions on the previousday.Domestic gold prices fell due to a decline in the world’s gold prices. The gold price inNew York was traded at $905.4/ounce on July 30 after it had dropped to $894.5/ounce,the lowest level over the past one month.
  • 40. Based on some positive signs of the American economy, many people hoped that theprice of oil would also decrease.The US Federal Reserve System FED announced on July 30 several steps to enhance theeffectiveness of its existing liquidity facilities, including the introduction of longer termsto maturity in its Term Auction Facility loans.In association with this change, the European Central Bank ECB and the Swiss NationalBank are adapting the maturity of their operations.Besides, the U.S. dollars are appreciating to the highest level compared with EURO priceafter one month. In particular, a recent report from the US government showed that theUS economy in the second quarter of this year had reached the highest growth rate sinceSeptember 2007. (Liberated Saigon Jul 31 p2, People Jul 31 p8)Trade:Vietnam to Boost Exports to Middle East, AfricaThe Vietnamese government will focus on expanding exports to the Middle East andAfrica, potential markets this year in a government effort to narrow trade deficit, theMinistry of Industry and Trade emphasized at a conference held in Ho Chi Minh City Jul13.“The Middle East, western and southern Asian countries are potential markets Vietnamhas signed bilateral trade, technology and economic agreements and protocols with,”Nguyen Cong Hien, vice head of the ministry’s department for African, Western andSouthern Asian Markets said.Vietnam’s two-way trade with the Middle East region reached $1.19 billion last year, up21% from a year ago, and from $15.5 million in 1991. Vietnam reported robust exportgrowth with UAE, Turkey, Israel, and Arab Saudi, the agency said.In early Dec this year, the ministry will lead a businessmen trip to survey the Arab Saudimarket, hold a business conference to seek partners.So far, Vietnam has set up diplomatic ties with 44 African countries [out of 54 in total]and signed bilateral trade agreements with 15 including 13 pacts mentioning mostfavored nation status.In the first seven months, Vietnam recorded hefty trade deficit of $15.01 billion.(Vietnam News Agency Jul 31)Electronics Exports Up 29.4% to $1.44 Bln in Jan-Jul
  • 41. Vietnam earned $1.44 billion from exporting electronic goods and computer componentsin the first seven months this year, an on-year increase of 29.4%, reported the GeneralStatistics Office.The electronics export turnover has increased sharply in recent years, from $166 millionin 2002 to $2.15 billion in 2007. It is forecast to reach $3 billion this year, the VietnamNews Agency said.The country is shipping electronic goods and computer components to 40 countries andterritories worldwide, especially to the E.U. market.Export of the products to the bloc hit nearly $170 million in the first five months of thisyear, increasing by 38.6% on-year and holding 17% of the country’s total exportturnover.Other markets like Thailand, Japan and China also saw high growth rate of the products’export turnover.The Ministry of Industry and Trade said the increase in electronic exports to foreignmarkets is attributed to the rise in the number of foreign investment projects, includinglarge-scale projects, in the electronics industry.With their current growth, electronic products and computer components are included inthe list of the country’s export staples from 2006-2010, with their export turnoverexpected to reach $5 billion by 2010.The ministry asked businesses to focus on producing electronic products for informatics,telecommunications, health and industry. It also requested enterprises to improve productquality and samples and reduce the prices of civil electronic products to increase shares inthe domestic market. (VNA Aug 1, GSO July 2008)State Media Criticize Squandering Habit by VietnameseThe state-run newspaper today [Aug 1] strongly reprimanded the squandering habit by anumber of Vietnamese groups, which are partly blamed for the country’s trade deficit andhinder the inflation battle.In the first six months this year, Vietnam reportedly imported billions of dollars of luxuryitems including automobile, wine, mobile phones and cosmetics for consumption whichworsened trade deficit and harbored land for inflation to rise more.The value of luxury goods imported into Vietnam reached billion dollars including luxurycars and wine, $30 million of high-end cosmetics and $600 million mobile phones, theVietnam Financial Times newspaper published by the Ministry of Finance condemned.
  • 42. “It is time to raise arouse patriotism among local consumers,” the newspaper highlighted,because the government, provinces and cities are struggling to cut more than 3,000projects valued at over VND35 trillion, VND9.3 trillion of g-bonds, or 25% of the totaland VND2.5 trillion of regular state budget expenditures.Consumer goods prices rocketed to 27% in July from a year ago and the trade deficitwidened to $15.01 billion in the first seven months.The government of Vietnam has recently announced that it will increase import tax onluxury goods including automobile and gold. (Vietnam Financial Times Aug 1 p6)Industry:PV South Gas Starts Building Biggest LPG Store in Southern VietnamPetroVietnam Southern Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Trading Joint Stock Company(PV South Gas) July 31 kicked off construction of a LPG store with a storage capacity of6,000 tons in southern Dong Nai province, the People newspaper reported, citing thecompany sources.The 10-hectare facility to be equipped with world modern technology is the biggest of itskind in southern Vietnam, a PV South Gas official said.The store costing VND215 billion ($13.03 million) includes three basins with a storagecapacity of 2,000 tons each and a system of pipeline and port to receive ships withminimal tonnage of 50,000 DWT.The Go Dau A store, which is located in local Go Dau A industrial park in Long Thanhdistrict, is expected for operation in September next year.Dr. Nguyen Si Thang, CEO of PV South Gas, said that the facility will collect, receiveand process LPG and natural gas under state-owned oil monopoly PetroVietnam group’splan to collect 70,000 tons of LPG and 100,000 cubic meters of natural gas.Vietnam’s biggest LPG gas store with a storage capacity of 10,000 tons is underconstruction in northern Haiphong port city with a total investment of VND400 billion($25 million). (The People Aug 1 p2, Youth Aug 1 p14, Vietpan)Vietnam Demands Speedier Construction of Son La Hydropower PlantVietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has recently requested state-ownedElectricity of Vietnam Group (EVN) to speed up construction of the country’s biggesthydropower project Son La so as to meet its set schedule, state media reported, citing thegovernment sources.Under the project’s approved schedule, the first phase of Son La 500-kV station, 550-kVline linking the plant with the Son La station, Son La-Hoa Binh-Nho Quan 500-kV line
  • 43. and 500-kV expanded stations in Hoa Binh and Nho Quan must be completed in August2010.Meanwhile, the second phase of the Son La 500-kV station, Son La-Hiep Hoa 500-kVline and 500-kV Hiep Hoa station should be accomplished in the first quarter of 2011.The six-turbine Son La hydropower plant is also the world’s tenth biggest with thedesigned capacity of 2,400 MW.Kicked off in 2005, the VND36.93 trillion ($2.33 billion) plant is due for completion in2012, to generate 10.2 billion kWh of electricity annually. The plant’s first turbine isexpected to start operating by December 2010.Vietnam is estimated to lack 8.6 billion kWh of power this year. The figure will climb to36 billion kWh in 2020 and 120 billion kWh in 2030. (Labor Aug 1 p3, News Aug 1 p2,Vietpan)Vietnam Northern Province to Operate 127 Hydropower Plants by 2020Northwestern mountainous Son La province has planned to operate 127 hydropowerplants with a combined capacity of 3,509 MW by 2020, the Economic Times newspaperreported, citing the provincial sources.With 3,509 megawatts to be added to the country’s power grid by then, the power sectoris expected to meet the rising power demand in the coming years.Of the projects, 2,400-MW Son La, 520-MW Huoi Quang, 200-MW Nam Chien 1 and32-MW Nam Chien 2 are under construction with expected completion between 2010and 2011.The rest of 45 medium- and small-sized hydro power plants with a combined capacity of246 MW have received investment licenses.Meanwhile, the province is mulling over building 78 other small- and medium-sizedhydropower projects with a combined capacity of 33 MW.The projects are expected to not only ease the country’s current electricity shortage, butalso boost socio-economic development in the province and the surroundings.The country plans to raise the total capacity of hydropower generation projects to morethan 18,000 MW and the annual output of over 80 billion kWh by 2015, under thenational power development plan through 2015 and span to 2025, or plan VI. (EconomicTimes Aug 1 p3, People Aug 1 p7, Peoples Deputy Daily Aug 1 p3)
  • 44. Agriculture:PetroVietnam to Fix Fertilizer Prices NationwidePetroVietnam announced it will sell Phu My fertilizer at one fixed listed price by agentsof Petro Vietnam Fertilizer and Chemicals Corporation, or Phu My Fertilizer (DPM)beginning Aug. 1, the Pioneer reported.The Phu My Fertilizer set up four companies, including Northern Fertilizer Co., Centraland Central Highlands Fertilizer Co., Southeastern Fertilizer Co., and SouthwesternFertilizer Co., that take responsible for distributing Phu My fertilizer productionsnationwide.The companies have signed contracts with 35 agents with 1,300 shops nationwide toensure that Phu My fertilizers are available for local farmers.Phu My Fertilizer’s total output is 740,000 tons per annum. The company planned toimport 250,000 tons of fertilizer to ensure sufficiency for domestic demand in 2008.In the first six months, Phu My Fertilizer produced about 346,000 tons of fertilizer andimported another 153,000 tons.Phu My Fertilizer Co., has so far raised prices of fertilizer eight times since early 2008from VND8,500 a kilo to VND8,700 a kilo. The price was VND5,500 a kilo late 2007.(Pioneer July 31 p13, Vietnam Economic Times July 31 p1)Vietnam Targets to Export over $722 Mln Catfish in H2Vietnam expects to notch up around $722.43 million from exporting 331,070 tons of traand basa catfish in the second half of 2008, the Vietnam Trade Information Center(VTIC) reported on its website.The figures will increase the country’s total revenues from catfish exports in 2008 tomore than $1.33 billion, with total volume of 591,070 tons.In the first half, the country exported 260,000 tons of tra and basa catfish worth $610million.Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said local catfishmaterial supply for processing is very rich and able to meet local companies by lateOctober.Currently, tra and basa catfish are selling for around VND13,800-VND14,200 a kilo atMekong Delta provinces.
  • 45. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said it will announce its overallprogram on catfish development and set up market information system that will helplocal breeders to adjust output in line with market demand.The ministry also considered setting up the Mekong Delta Catfish Association. (VinanetAug 1, Vietnam & World Economy July 30 p6)Govt Asks Localities to Fulfill 5 Mln Hectare Afforestation by 2010Ministries and localities nationwide should consider the five million hectare afforestationproject in the 2006-2010 period a mandatory target, the Vietnam News Agency reported,citing the Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai.Deputy PM Hoang Trung Hai made the instruction at a meeting in Hanoi on July 30 withthe Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and relevant agencies to review andspeed up the implementation of the 5 million ha afforestation project.The Deputy PM asked localities to continue rearranging State-owned plantations, takingineffective land areas back and stepping up the delivery of land and forests for economicsectors, households and community organizations.The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development must pay attention to boostingtechnical transfer and breeding management, he said.Localities were urged to balance the budget to focus on priority objectives and encourageeconomic sectors to involve in the work of afforestation.Since the program started in 2006, the country has delivered 2.3 million hectares of forestland, regreened over 1 million hectares and afforested over 581,000 hectares each yearwith an annual investment capital of nearly VND 5 trillion ($294 million). (VNA July 31,Vietnam Economic Times Aug 1 p2, Vietnam & World Economy Aug 1 p4)Business:HCM City Seeking Investment for Hi-tech, Green ProjectsHo Chi Minh City is calling for investment in hi-tech, environmentally-friendly projectsto meet development demand in the next two years, said the city’s Planning andInvestment Department.Accordingly the city will prioritize projects in the areas of hardware, softwaredevelopment and production of electronic parts.The southern hub will also seek funds for new roads, bridges and electricity and watersupplies to meet economic growth.
  • 46. The city will raise capitals from different sources for the projects, including privateinvestors. In the 2008-2010 period, it will boost economic restructuring with a focus onhigh-tech industry and services, and prevention of environment pollution.The municipal Department of Planning and Investment will closely coordinate with theTrade and Investment Promotion Center to promote investments in industrial productionand hi-tech sectors such as electronics, information technology, precision engineering,chemicals and food processing.Between January and July this year, HCM City licensed 172 foreign direct investment(FDI) projects totaling $7.9 billion, up 12 times on-year.To date, the city is home to 2,908 FDI projects worth $24.91 billion. (Vietnam News Aug1 p16)IATA to Investigate Mechanical Problem on Vietnam Airlines’ Boeing 777The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that it will investigatereasons for mechanical problem with Vietnam Airlines’ Boeing 777 that smoke whilelanding at Narita Airport, Japan, the Youth reported.An official from the Vietnam Airlines said the IATA will verify the place and time theproblem took place and inspect the airplane’s technical issues like maintenance, safetyand security.The association will also ask Vietnam Airlines to provide detailed document on theairplane.The airline July 31 appointed two mechanics to investigate reasons for the problem inaddition to Japanese experts and representatives of Boeing Company.Vietnam Airlines’ official said almost all of loss, which is estimated at millions of USdollars, will be paid by an insurance company.Vietnam Airlines said the crew on flight VN950 from Ho Chi Minh City to Tokyo, JapanJuly 29 was advised by the airport tower controller that smoke was coming from the righthand engine during landing. After procedural technical operations, the crew taxied to thegate and passengers safely disembarked.After the airplane had landed, fire that had ignited in the right hand engine wasextinguished by fire fighters at the Narita Airport. All 264 passengers and 13 crew weresafe.At present, the plane is being kept at the Narita Airport for investigation and repairs. (TheYouth August 1 p2)
  • 47. Foreign Investment:Vietnamese Mobile Operator to Enter Poland Late AugustThe Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), Vietnams largest telecomoperator, is planning to further expand operations in CEE and Poland by the end ofAugust, state media said.“Poland will be a potential market where the mobile market is booming,” a VNPTofficial said.This might interfere with plans of at least three Polish mobile phone brands offeringspecial services for national minorities, he added.VNPT has entered the Czech Republic. The company’s offer is mainly directed at thelarge Vietnamese community living in the Czech Republic, said Radovan Mihalik of themanagement of VNPT-Global Communication.The country’s largest telecommunications group finished the equitization process of its20 affiliates during 2005-2007, raising its total number of equitized entities to 39.It plans to push ahead the equitization of its key affiliates this year.VNPT group secured net revenues of VND45.3 trillion ($2.8 billion) in 2007, a year-on-year increase of 14% against those of 2006. Sixty per cent of these revenues came fromits two mobile operators, MobiFone and VinaPhone. (Website Vietnam Business FinanceJuly 31)Filipino Enterprises Eye Vietnam’s Construction MarketTwo construction companies of the Philippines are mulling over setting up productionbases in Vietnam with an aim to meet the increasing demand for construction materialshere, according to the Philippines’ media.The companies, namely Icoast Manufacturing and GT Stoneworks, highly spoke ofbusiness potential in Vietnam after they took part in an international exhibition on civilengineering, building and home decoration, Vietbuild 2008.GT Stoneworks’ director in charge of export said production expansion to Vietnam willbe a competitive choice.The media also evaluated that foreign companies participating in the exhibition havesuccessful when joining hands with Vietnamese partners. (VNA Aug 1)Infrastructure:AFD Funds EUR22.8 Mln to Develop Rural Infrastructure in Northern Vietnam
  • 48. The French Development Agency (AFD) has financed EUR22.8 million for the ruralinfrastructure development project in northern Lao Cai province, the Thoi Bao Kinh Tenewspaper said Friday.The Vietnamese Ministry of Finance and the AFD August 1 signed the contract in Hanoi.The project is part of the AFD-aided program to develop infrastructure and eco-tourismwith the aims of reducing poverty and improving environment in four mountainousdistricts of the province, the paper added.The Vietnamese government, the AFD and the French Global Environment Fund willcarry out the EUR27.68 million program.The program will help upgrade 305 kilometers of earthed and gravel roads, build a solidwaste treatment plant for Sa Pa, Lao Cai and Bat Xat, develop eco-tourism and raisemanagement capacity for Hoang Lien National Park. (Vietnam Economic Times Aug 1p1, Vietnam & World Economy p7, Peoples Army p8, People’s Police p15, Economy &Urban p4)Tourism:Vietnam Travel Agency Named Indochina’s BestCITE, an event organization center in Vietnam, has been awarded the title of Best TravelAgency in Indochina 2008 by Travel Weekly magazine, the Thanh Nien newspaperreported Friday.CITE is among 60 entrepreneurs, travel agencies, hotels, destination management units,airlines and so on in Asia chosen by the owner of Travel Weekly Industry Awards 2008.CITE is also one of the 15 Asian agencies selected together with China Travel Service,American Express Business Travel India, JTB Corporation (Japan).“We are proud of the award, as it is one of the most prestigious annual travel awards inthe world,” CITE’s director, Le Hoang Yen, said, adding that the center has receivedaround 500-600 tourists a month and most of them are MICE visitors.CITE is under Ben Thanh Tourist Company.The headquarters of Travel Weekly magazine is in Singapore. It is issued by Travel &Meetings Group. (Young People Aug 1 p2)Politics & Law:Vietnam Fulfills Double Role at UNSC
  • 49. Vietnam has so far made active contributions to the UN Security Council (UNSC) as anon-permanent member and particularly undertaken well the rotational presidency inJuly, Representative of Vietnam at the UNSC Ambassador Le Luong Minh said.Minh was cited by Vietnam News Agency as saying that Vietnam’s successfulperformance at the council is attributed to the country’s careful preparations in terms ofpersonnel, knowledge and experiences.Along with close co-ordination between representative agencies in foreign countries,Vietnam has accomplished the heavy workload in July, including important and sensitiveissues like nuclear issue in Iran and dispute between Thailand and Cambodia, theambassador expressed.Under an unofficial statistics, the council held in July 40 ambassador-level meetings andadopted six resolutions, including those to extend UN missions’ mandate in Coted’Ivoire, Darfur and Nepal.The UNSC discussed issues related to operations of UN missions in Cote d’Ivoire, theCentral African Republic and Chad, West Africa, Sudan, Darfur, Ethiopia and Eritrea,Georgia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Nepal.The council also organized during this month two open debates on children and armedconflicts and the Middle East issue at Vietnam’s initiatives, which was lauded by membercountries and public opinion.During the month, the UNSC chair was required to prepare the council’s annual reportfor submission to the upcoming session of the UN General Assembly.The council also adopted the UNSC Chair’s statements on children and armed conflicts,attacks on the joint United Nations-African Union Mission in Dafur and the situation inAfghanistan.It also adopted five press releases on attacks on diplomatic agencies, civilians, peace-keeping soldiers, UN employees and humanitarian workers. (Website of Government Jul3, New Hanoi Aug 1 p8)Health & Environment:Vietnam among Southeast Asian Nations with High Dengue Fever InfectionsVietnam has been named among countries reporting the highest number of dengue feverpatients in Southeast Asia over the past 25 years, with a combined figure of 1.3 millionpatients and 25,000 fatalities, said a conference held July 31.In July, the mosquito-borne disease stroke 27 provinces and cities across Vietnam,affecting 7,606 people and killing eight, said the Ministry of Health.
  • 50. The figure has raised the country’s total number of sufferers to 30,000 with 24 deaths sofar this year, down 30% on-year, the ministry noted, adding that up to 90% of patientswere reported in the southern region.Currently, dengue fever is developing rapidly in southern provinces, especially theMekong Delta region, where sticky weather and a large number of home water containershave proved conducive to mosquito.The disease will become more complicated and can reach its peak in August andSeptember, said the ministry.It is estimated that dengue fever will affect 100,000 Vietnamese people this year.(Liberated Saigon Aug 1 p2, News Aug 1 p5, Young People Aug 1 p2)National Odento-Maxillo-Facial Conference Opens in HanoiThe National Odento-Maxillo-Facial Conference and Exhibition was held in Hanoi July31 with the attendance of around 1,500 domestic and foreign dentists, Vietnam NewsAgency reported.More than 30 world-leading companies specializing in dental facilities and materialsintroduced their products and services at the event.The latest in advanced dental technologies was also introduced at the conference.Vietnam, the world’s 13th most populous country with over 86.5 million people, hasranked first worldwide in terms of dental diseases as up to 99.4% of its population areincurring dental problems, said the National Odento-Maxillo-Facial Institute (NIOS).The institute’s latest statistics showed that the number of patients with decayed teethincreases in line with growing age brackets with 87.5% of people under 18 having 2.84decayed teeth per person on average and 83.2% of adults aged between 33 and 44 with4.7 decayed ones.The figure climbs to 8.43 for 89.5% of people aged over 45.Lack of knowledge about dental care, low flour concentration of 0.4ppm (less than one-half of international standards) in water in Vietnam were mainly blamed for the situation.(VNA Jul 31, Pioneer Aug 1 p2, Peoples Army Aug 1 p1)Most Dumping Sites in Vietnam Fail to Meet Hygienic StandardsOnly 17 dumpsites out of 91 in Vietnam are meeting the hygienic standards, heard aconference on mapping out a master plan on solid waste management in Vietnams urbanareas and industrial zones by 2020, the Vietnam News Agency said Friday.
  • 51. The country has discharged 15 million tons of waste a year, including 12.8 million tonsof domestic waste and 2.7 million tons of industrial waste, Dr Pham Sy Liem from theVietnam Construction Federation said.Every year, the medical sector generates 21,000 tons of waste, the industrial sectordumped 130,000 tons and the agricultural sector disposed 45,000 tons including toxicchemicals, the paper said.Vietnam has mainly buried solid waste over the past decade. However, the problem isstill serous in rural areas, being threatened by waste from 1,450 craft villages.The country is forecast to face 23 million tons of waste by 2010 with the increasingvolume of harmful waste.Vietnam plans to build three factories to treat harmful solid wastes by using 1% of itsGDP value. (Vietnam & World Economy Aug 1 p6+7, News August 1 p5)15 Vietnamese Students Become Bayer Environmental Envoys This YearFifteen Vietnamese students from different universities nationwide have been chosen totake part in a four day eco-camp in central highland Lam Dong province from Aug 11 to14 after wining in the Bayer Young Environmental Envoy Vietnam program this year, theThanh Nien newspaper said.Each student will receive the title of environmental envoy and VND2 million ($119)from the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET), the paper added.During the camp, the envoys will discuss environmental protection issues with specialistsand share their ideas on how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.Two of the 15 envoys will be chosen to represent Vietnam at field trip to Leverkusencity, Germany from November 2 to 7 with the participants of students from 17 othercountries.Bayer Vietnam Ltd, the MoET, the Ho Chi Minh City Communist Youth Union and theHCMC Environmental Protection Agency joined hands to launch the program in March.(Young People July 31 p9)Culture & Society:Japanese Firm to Design National Historical MuseumVietnamese Prime Minister has given a nod to Nikken Sekkei, a Japanese architecturalfirm, to plan and design the proposed National Museum of History, the governmentannounced on its website.
  • 52. PM Dung asked the Construction Ministry to negotiate and sign a contract with theJapanese design firm and requested the ministry to invest in building technicalinfrastructure for the Huu Nghi (Friendship) park where the museum will be located.The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is assigned to collect objects and materialsfor museum display and plans for layout and design of the displays. The ministry willalso collect advice from professionals during the design and implementation phases.The Ministry of Planning and Investment will coordinate with the Finance Ministry toallocate capital following the approved capital plan and the Hanoi People’s Committeewill continue overseeing site clearance in order to prepare the site before October thisyear.The museum is expected to be built on a 10 hectare zone in the west of West Lake urbanarea in Tay Ho and Cau Giay districts.Construction of the National Museum of History was originally scheduled to start in 2007and finish in 2012. The project was delayed due to inflation. (Website of Government Jul24)Work Starts on Thai-funded $620,000 School for Disabled Children in VietnamThailands SCG Industrial Corp July 31 kicked off construction of a $620,000 school fordisabled children in Ba Ria town, southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, the Tien Phongnewspaper said Friday.The project is one of the large charity programs of SCG in Vietnam so far, the paperadded.It is scheduled to be completed in August 2009.Earlier, the corporation has granted 350 scholarships worth VND700 million ($42,400) tostudents in seven provinces of the southeastern region. (Investment Aug 1 p3, Pioneer p6)Vietnam’s Southern City Alerts Increase of Foreign-related ViolationsThe number of law violations involved in foreigners is sharply increasing in Ho Chi MinhCity, the country’s southern economic hub, according to the city’s Entry and ExitManagement Agency (PA18).PA18 said they have dealt with 310 cases during last year and the first six months of2008 and expelled 216 people.Up to half of cases are African and Middle East nationalities, the PA18 officials said.
  • 53. According to a report of the city’s police, there had been over 4,000 African nationalitiesimmigrated into the country in 2007, mainly for tourism and work, but almost of themthen not obey the purposes registered in their visa application.PA18 Head Pham Ngoc Tien said that the punishment for violations faces manydifficulties because Vietnam’s regulations on management over unlawful actions byforeign residents are loose.“We merely gave administrative punishments over the offenders because they had nomoney or any identity papers,” said he. (Youth Aug 1 p5)Stock Market:Commercial Banks Invest VND3.5 Tln in G-bonds in H1Commercial joint stock banks in Hanoi have poured over VND3.5 trillion ($212.2million) in government bonds in the first six months of this year, the Labor newspaperreported.Since March, joint stock banks have sharply increased their investment portfolios in g-bonds through re-buying from foreign banks branches, and state-owned banks, not viadirect auctions in a bid to raise their accessibility to capital on the open market.Facing difficulties in liquidity due to the governments tightened monetary policy sinceearly this year, local banks have sometime found hard to draw short-term dong depositsfrom individuals, institutions and other lenders.Buying bonds, though offering thin profits, have still helped commercial joint stocklenders raise cash in emergency.Meanwhile, the borrowing interest rate ranging from 9% to 14% per annum on the openmarket is also much lower than the rate of up to 30% per annum on the inter-bankmarket, the newspaper said.Under the current regulation of the central bank, only government bonds, treasury bills,bonds issued by Vietnam Development Bank, and Hanoi and HCM Citys municipalbonds are traded on the open market. (Labor Jul 30)FPT, S.Koreas STIC May Set up Joint FundThe Financing and Promoting Technology Group (FPT) and one of the South Koreaslargest private companies STIC Investments Inc. clinched a memorandum ofunderstanding (MoU) in the filed of venture investment July 31, the Saigon EconomicTimes reported.The two sides may establish a joint fund or joint venture to boost investments in theVietnamese market.
  • 54. FPT Chairman Truong Gia Binh said FPT and STIC will jointly invest in S.Koreaprojects in Vietnam in technology sector.STIC General Director Kevin Lim said thanks to FPTs wide network and IT businessexperience, the cooperation will help strengthen both capacities and develop otherenterprises in Vietnam and S.Korea.Currently, STIC is managing $1.2 billion and investing in more than 282 enterprises invarious fields in S.Korea. It has also successfully carried out 48 IPO transactions, and147 corporate M&A.STIC will open offices in HCM City and Tokyo by the end of this year to promoteinvestments in the region.Vietnams leading IT firm, FPT, joined the financial sector by setting up FPT FundManagement Co. (FPT Capital) which is managing Vietnam-Japan Fund with capital of$100 million. (Vietnam Economic Times Aug 1 p4, Saigon Economic Times, Vietstock,CafeF Aug 1)Maritime Bank to Foreclose Bach Tuyet Cotton AssetsBach Tuyet Cotton Joint Stock Company (BBT) has agreed to let Maritime CommercialBank to foreclose its assets as the firm cant seek any fund to settle due and overduedebts, said BBT Deputy General Director Pham Tam Anh.The management board of Bach Tuyet Cotton had an urgent meeting July 31 to seeksolutions to the issue after Maritime Bank sent it debts report, but the state shareholderGia Dinh Textile & Garment Corp. didn’t attend.BBT had total debts of VND21.4 billion as the end of July, including VND6.39 worth ofoverdue debts and VND318.12 million worth of interest.In the lending contract, the cotton maker mortgaged the value of 16,000 square meters ofland and factory in Vinh Loc Industrial Park and tampon and cotton production lines.The HOSE-listed company has also borrowed over VND42.8 billion from other creditinstitutions and companies.BBT is facing the risk of trading suspension on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange.(Laborer, Vietstock Aug 1, News Aug 1 p2)Aug 1: Vietnam Shares Slide on Goods Price Concerns
  • 55. Vietnams shares ended lower Friday as local investors were selling on worries thatinflation will continue to rise in the second half after the government allows retailers toraise prices from August.“Many retail companies will increase prices of goods from today [August 1], as permittedby the government, in order to offset impact of gasoline price hike last week,” a marketparticipant said.Investors felt jittered that inflation will hit new peak again after the consumer pricesrocketed more than 27% in July, he said.“Several listed companies have reported losses in the second quarter due in part to risingproduction costs and this concern would be bigger for the third and fourth quarter,” hesaid.VN-Index today fell 4.25 points, or 0.94%, at 447.11.Market volume was more than 11 million shares valued at VND383.8 billion Friday,down from 12.3 million shares valued at VND453.6 billion Thursday.STB, the most active stock today, dropped nearly 3% at VND22,900 on 2.9 millionshares changing hands.DPM, the second most active stock, rose 0.9% at VND58,000 after trading 1.6 millionshares, of which foreign investors bought 412,360 shares and sold 2,100 shares.SAM lost 2.9% to close at VND20,200 with a trade of 298,130 shares, with foreigninvestors buying 4,340 shares and selling 128,200 shares.PVD, the biggest decliner, tumbled 3% at VND97,000 with 278,640 shares changinghand, of which foreign players bought 155,320 shares and 70,270 shares.PAC, meanwhile, is the most advancer with a rise of 3% at VND41,200 on 65,820 sharestraded.In total, 85 stocks closed lower, 63 higher and eight unchanged.All four fund certificates one closed lower. (HOSE Aug 1)Vietnam NewsJuly 31, 2008Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,495
  • 56. Banking & Finance:Vietnam Reinforcing to Curb InflationThe government of Vietnam is enforcing its efforts to curb soaring inflation by adoptingcomprehensive measures to increase essential goods supply, reduce costs and stabilizemonetary market, Vietnamese state media said Thursday.To tame soaring consumer prices, particularly after the Ministry of Finance hiked 31% ofgasoline prices to VND19,000/liter, the Ministry of Industry and Trade is requesting allprovinces, cities and companies to quote selling prices.The Ministry of Finance today issued an urgent dispatch to ask municipal and provincialbodies to double efforts to control consumer prices, and remove any potential goodshoarding and speculation causing market turmoil based on any incidents such as naturalcalamity or epidemics, the Thoi Bao Kinh Te said.The government also pledged that it will increase loans for farmers and fishermen tomaintain effective existing production activities, particularly those in the Mekong Delta,the country’s rice bowl, which will make significant contribution to the fight againstinflation.Because food and foodstuff account for more than 40% of Vietnam’s basket of goodsbased on which its CPI index is calculated. Besides, the government will increase importtax on luxury goods including automobile and gold to reduce trade deficit.The Ministry of Health is asked to tighten state control over prices of medicines byrequesting pharmacy firms to quote medicine prices and clamping down any illegal priceshikes, state media said.Party Chief Nong Duc Manh Jul 30 had a meeting with Vietinbank, one of Vietnam’sleading state-owned banks, calling on the banking sector to shoulder burdens with thegovernment to curb inflation.Recently, big banks such as Agribank, BIDV and several others started to reduceborrowing costs for local production firms to enrich essential goods supply, a pivotalfactor to successfully tame high inflation, which rocketed to 27% in July on year, statemedia said.“Market and prices management is a key tool to curb inflation,” PhD Vu Dinh Anh, deanof the Institute for Market Research and Prices Research said.“The Vietnamese government should carefully list to economists in terms of economicrestructuring with priority given to effective projects and tighten control on indirectforeign investment funds in order to avert any financial bubble bursting,” Tran AnhVuong, vice chairman of the Hanoi Young Entrepreneurs Association said.
  • 57. Alain Cany, chairman of the EuroCham said that despite European business community’soptimism about Vietnam’s economic prospect, they are really concerned about inflationby monetary factors.Michael J.Peace, chairman of AmCham also worried about inflation by hiked salaries,which are harming the local business climate. Meanwhile, Martin Rama, Acting CountryDirector of World Bank said the entire world is facing inflation.Nguyen Tien Thoa, head of the Ministry of Finance’s Price Management Departmentforecast that 31% hikes of gasoline prices will push CPI to rise by 0.62%. CPI is forecastto soar 1.8%-2% on month in Aug this year.So far the government of Vietnam has cut VND41 trillion of public investment projectsto curb inflation.Vietnam has lowered its GDP growth rate to 7% this year from the set 8.5%-9%.(Newspaper of Industry and Trade Jul 31 p2, Thoi Bao Kinh Te Jul 31 p1, IndustryMagazine July, Vietpan Database)Party Leader Asks Banks to Play Key Role in Inflation BattleThe banking sector should a key player to help fight inflation successfully, theCommunist Party’s General Secretary Nong Duc Manh said during the visit toVietinbank July 30 on the occasion of its 20th establishment anniversary.In the country’s general efforts to curb inflation, the planning and implementation ofmonetary policy and management and development of credit activity is a core task, hesaid.The banking system in general, and Vietinbank in particular, should pioneer in containinginflation, stabilizing macro economy, maintaining growth and ensuring social welfare,Manh said.During the visit, Manh praised Vietinbank’s 20-year development to become one of theleading commercial banks which makes an average annual growth rate of 30%.However, the party leader urged that Vietinbank should boost its efficiency,competitiveness and contributions to the country’s industrialization and modernization tomatch with its advantages and the State’s support. (Chinhphu Jul 31, Vietnam & WorldEconomy Jul 31 p1, Vietnam Agriculture Jul 31 p2, Peoples Army Jul 31)Vietnam to Maintain Base Interest Rate at 14% in AugustThe State Bank of Vietnam, or central bank, will continue to keep the base interest ratefor Vietnam dong at 14% per annum in August, unchanged from June 11.
  • 58. The re-financing interest rate for credit institutions is maintained at 15% per annum andthe discount rate kept at 13%.The central bank has raised the base interest rate three times so far this year in an effort tocurtail the rising inflation.However, the rate is expected to be lowered by the end of this year amidst positivesignals of inflation.As reported by the General Statistics Office, Vietnam’s consumer price index (CPI) rose1.13% in July from June, the slowest rise in a single month so far this year.The state-owner lender BIDV has also decided to cut lending interest rates, the secondreduction within a month. Its highest interest rate for Vietnam dong is reduced to 20.4%.(Labor Jul 31 p3, Youth Jul 31 p2, Saigon Liberation Jul 31 p2)Vietnam Expects $8 Bln Overseas Remittances This Year-ReportVietnam is expected receive $8 billion of overseas remittances this year, up 42.8% onyear, the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper said Thursday.Unlike before when overseas Vietnamese, or Viet Kieu, particularly from the U.S.,Australia and Europe remitted their moneys as allowances back to their relatives at home,now workers, particularly who from Asean and Middle East countries mainly contributeto the robust growth, Nguyen Thu Ha, vice CEO of the Bank for Foreign Trade ofVietnam said.Besides, Viet Kieu now tend to send greenback to homeland for different businesses suchas investing into realty, securities or contributing cash to running a business at home, Haadded.A senior official of a commercial joint stock bank predicted that Vietnam will likely astrong increase in overseas remittances in the coming months, the paper said.The Dong A Overseas Remittance Co said that in the first six months this year,Vietnamese workers sent back homeland $631 million via it, and $420 million throughSacombank , and $730 million via Vietinbank.Vietnam has 3.5 million Viet Kieu who settle in 90 countries and territories, the lateststatistics by the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Overseas Vietnamese Committee showed.(Youth Jul 31 p15)BIDV Further Cut Lending Interest Rates
  • 59. The Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) will continue loweringinterest rates on Vietnam dong and U.S. dollar loans from August 1, state media reported,citing BIDV’s sources.It is the second time BIDV has cut lending interest rates in July. The first was on July 9.At a press conference held on July 30, BIDV announced that its annual short-termlending rate for Vietnamese dong loans would be cut by an additional 0.4 percentagepoint to 20.4% for all clients.The Hanoi-based lender said it will also offer a new annual lending rate of 19.5% forclients with feasible business plans and stable export markets and contracts. The clientshave agreed to sell foreign currencies they earn from exports to BIDV and use the bank’sservices.An annual lending rate of 19.8% will be applied to groups and corporations of alleconomic sectors that directly manufacture products and involve in stabilizing theeconomy’s major balances such as petrol, energy, steel, coal, cement, medicine andfertilizer.BIDV’s annual lending rate for U.S. dollar loans, meanwhile, will be cut by 1-1.3percentage point depending on each term.Apart from cutting lending interest rates, BIDV also plans to provide VND20 trillion forexport activities and in capital assistance to groups and corporations which directly createmacro balances and involve in programs to curb inflation and stabilize the macroeconomy.Chairman of the BIDV Board of Directors Tran Bac Ha affirmed that lowering lendingrates does not mean reduction of deposit rates.Ha believed that his bank will not suffer losses although its turnover is reduced by almostVND500 billion due to the reduction of lending rates.BIDV reported its services turnover of VND1.35 trillion in the first seven months of thisyear, up VND460 billion from last year. The figure is expected to hit VND1.8 billion thisyear, Ha said.Earlier, on July 9, the bank announced to cut annual lending rate for Vietnamese dongloans by between 0.2-0.6 percentage point, and for U.S. dollar loans by between 1-2percentage points.Its decision was followed by a series of big banks in the country, including the Bank forAgriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam (Agribank), the Bank for Foreign Tradeof Vietnam (Vietcombank) and the Vietnam Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank).
  • 60. (People Jul 31 p2, Youth Jul 31 p2, Vietnam & World Economy Jul 31 p5, VietnamEconomic Times Jul 31 p2)Habubank Reports H1 Profit of $15.5 Mln, Equal 40% Yearly TargetHanoi Housing Development Joint Stock Bank (Habubank) reported Wednesday that itsprofit reached VND248.7 billion ($15.5 million) in the first six months, equal to 40% ofthe full year target.Habubank made VND1.52 trillion in revenues from core business, a rise of 37.7% onyear.The bank sees deposit growth of 37.3% and outstanding loan growth of 22.6% from thebeginning of this year.In the first six months, the bank’s equity totaled VND3.3 trillion, or 64.6% higher than itsregistered capital.Habubank paid out dividend of 8% for the first half of 2008. (Cafef Jul 31)Trade:Vietnam Retail Market Workshop Opens in HanoiThe Vietnam Retailer Association and the European Market Department under theMinistry of Industry and Trade co-chaired an international workshop “Vietnam retailmarket – real situation and solutions for the near future” in Hanoi July 30, local mediareported.Speaking at the event, Dinh Thi My Loan, the association’s General Secretary said thatthe country’s retail market has seen positive changes and boasts great potential.With a population of 86.5 million, ranking 13th worldwide, Vietnam has been becomethe most attractive emerging market for retail investment, lifting from the fourth in 2007,said the 2008 Global Retail Development Index (GRDI), an annual study conducted byAT Kearney of retail investment attractiveness among 30 emerging markets.Additionally, Vietnamese consumers are among the youngest in Asia, with 79 millionunder 65, and increased their consumer spending by more than 75% during the2000-2007 period, the study noted.The annual average expenditure for goods and services per capita of Vietnam doubledover the past five years, surging from VND3.5 million ($218,750) to VND6.9 million($431,250), the General Statistics Office (GSO) reported last year.
  • 61. Despite the growing trends of goods prices, Vietnam’s consumer confidence still ranksthe fifth globally, Mrs Loan added.The country’s annual retail sales growth averaged 20% in recent years, which makesVietnam a very attractive land for foreign retail businesses.Vietnam has great retail market potential with strong competitors such as giantdistribution groups like BigC, Metro Cash & Carry, Parkson, Co.op Mart and MaxiMark.Competition among retailers is forecast to be fiercer after January 1, 2009 when thecountry completely opens its distribution market for foreign partners in compliance to theWTO commitments.Vietnam’s total retail sales of goods and services are estimated at VND527.5 trillion ($33billion) in the first seven months of 2008, representing a growth of 30% on year, the GSOreported July 28. (Young People Jul 31 p2, New Hanoi Jul 31 p4, Capital Security Jul 31,Vietpan)Vietnam Exports $1.17 Bln of Steel in Jan-JulVietnam has exported $1.17 billion worth of steel products so far this year, the Tuoi Trenewspaper reported, citing Pham Chi Cuong, chairman of the Vietnam Steel Association.Of the total value, $720 million comes from export and re-export of steel ingots and hotrolled steel, Cuong added.In the period, production enterprises exported only 60,000 tons of ingots while re-exported up to 319,000 tons of ingots.Enterprises also shipped abroad roughly 400,000 tons of hot rolled steel that is used tomake steel pipes and galvanized corrugated iron.Meanwhile, the country is estimated to import 6.42 million tons of iron and steel, valuedat $5.01 billion, in the first seven months this year, up 52.7% in volume and 96.6% invalue on-year.Of the total figure, steel ingot accounts for 1.868 million tons worth $1.31 billion, an on-year rise of 58.8% in volume and 136.6% in value. (Youth Jul 31 p14, GSO July 2008)Vietnam to Triple Car Registration Tax to Curb InflationVietnam will triple car registration taxes in Aug this year from current 5% in an effort tocurb galloping inflation and reduce traffic congestion, the Thanh Nien newspaperreported July 31.
  • 62. Under the Decree No.80/2008/NĐ-CP signed by the prime minister July 29, cars withless than 10 seats will be charged with registration fees of 10%-15% instead of 5%, whileregistration fees of cars with 10 seats and more, trucks and motorbikes will remainunchanged, at 2%-5%.Local authorities will set suitable registration fee levels for their localities, according tothe decree, which will become valid 15 days after appearing in the official gazette.Coupled with import tariff increase to 83% from 70%, local car traders will much likelyface a hard time, the paper said, citing dealers.Huynh Du An, general director of Euro Auto, the distributor of BMW brand name cars,said a 5-seat BMW 320i now has the sale price at $79,900/unit. With the new registrationfee, clients in Hanoi and HCM City will have to spend nearly $12,000 for the BMW 320i,or $8,000 more than currently.Meanwhile, buyers registering cars in other localities will have to pay $8,000/unit or$4,000 more than currently, he said.Similarly, clients in Hanoi and HCM City will have to pay a registration fee of$7,500/unit for a 2.2L Santa Fe, oil engine CRDi, 7 seats, which is now selling at$50,000, while clients in other localities will have to pay $5,000 instead of $1,000.As for locally-made cars, a Honda Civic 2.0AT i-VTEC, which has the sale price ofVND611.7 million, will have the registration fee of VND91.7 million or VND60 millionmore than the current level, if registered in Hanoi or HCM City; and VND61,170,000more if registered in other localities, VND50 million more than the current level.Vietnam’s car imports in the first seven months surged 199.4% to $1.83 billion, with thevolume of fully assembled vehicles jumping 265.1% to 43,500 units, government figuresshow. (Young People Jul 31 p2, Vietnam Economic Times Jul 31 p2)Industry:Vinashin Launches 13,500-Ton Oil Tanker in HaiphongNam Trieu Shipbuilding Industrial Corporation, NASICO, a member of the VietnamShipbuilding Industry Group (Vinashin), July 30 successfully launched an oil tanker withloading capacity of 13,500 tons in northern Haiphong city, the Labor newspaper reported,citing the Vinashins sources.The $20-million vessel is designed with 145 meters in length, 20.8 meters in width, 11.2meters in height, and 15,000 cubic meters in tank capacity.The ship equipped with MAN B&W main engine was built under Japanese registrationagency NKs supervision, the sources said.
  • 63. Vinashin, which has recently signed big contracts to build ships for foreign partners, isnow planning to invest in power plants, which seems to have no close links with theshipbuilding industry.Vinashin has submitted to the Ministry of Industry and Trade the report on its plan tomake investment in power plants with the total capacity of 8,000 MW. (Labor Jul 31 p3,Vietpan)Agriculture:Vietnam Loses Golden Chance in Exporting Rice: AnalystsWhen rice prices are sharply falling, many analysts said Vietnam has lost the goldenchance in exporting rice as it stopped the export when the prices hit roof, local mediareported.In late April and May 2008 when export rice prices hit record at $1,200 a ton, theVietnamese government banned local companies to sign new contract for fear that themassive rice export would have threatened the national food security.At that time, Thais companies won a number of contracts to export their rice for morethan $1,000 a ton.Export prices of Vietnamese rice are now dropping to around $600 a ton, down from$725 a ton a week earlier, and from $750 a ton from the previous week.At local market, paddy prices decreased to only VND4,200 a kilo, but a few companieswant to collect it for export because they thought the prices will continue falling.Rich supply of paddy thanks to bumper summer-autumn crop in Mekong Delta, anddecreased prices at the world market, are the two main reasons for the drops of paddy inVietnam, the analysts said.Phan Nhut Ai, director of the Agriculture and Rural Development Service of Vinh Longprovince said the low paddy prices are hitting local farmers, who have recently rushed tochop down sugarcane, cajuput and fruit orchards to expand paddy cultivation area.Ai said farmers only accept VND4,600 a kilo at least because of increased fertilizer, fueland pesticide prices.But local rice traders said the government’s decision to impose rice export tax alsoattributed to the rice price shrink.The Vietnam Food Association said it will suggest the government increase threshold ofrice export price to be taxed or remove the tax to help ease difficulties faced by both localfarmers and exporters. (Saigon Liberation July 31 p3, Vietnam Agriculture p3)
  • 64. Vietnam PM Urges Simpler Procedures to Help Fishermen Get Aid EasilyPrime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has asked provincial authorities to simplify proceduresfor giving aid to fishermen who cannot afford to go fishing because of the recent 31%fuel increase, local media reported.The Vietnam News Agency said the PM made the request in a massage sent to localgovernments July 30 stating that the number of fishermen receiving Government fuelsubsidies was still small.This meant few boats had put to sea because of “red tape” involved in procedures toreceive the grants, resulting in the fact that fishermen were still suffering losses.In his massage, Dung partially attributed the situation to cumbersome proceduresfishermen have to complete before getting a subsidy.He said some localities have even set up their own extra conditions and forced fishermento complete extra duties.PM Dung asked the Ministry of Finance to coordinate with the Ministry of Agricultureand Rural Development and cities and provinces to get the job done.The government has recently decided to provide financial assistance to fishermen whoare owners of fishing ships or ships that supply services for fishing activities.Specifically, fishermen who are owners of fishing vessels of 90 CV and more will besupported with VND8 million to VND10 million for a fishing trip and they will receivethe assistance for a maximum of three times a year.For vessels of 40 CV to under 90 CV, the support is VND5 million to VND6.5 millionfor a fishing trip and be provided for a maximum of four times a year.Those ships of under 40 CV, their owners will be provided with VND3 million to VND4million for a fishing trip and the support will be granted for a maximum of five times ayear.According to the Investment newspaper, high fuel prices forced up to 34% of fishingvessels to stay at port.In the first seven months of 2008, Vietnamese fishing vessels caught 1.234 million tonsof aquatic products, down 0.3% against the same period of last year. (VNS July 31 p3,New Hanoi p1, Saigon Liberation p7)Vietnam to Boost Safe Vegetable Production
  • 65. Vietnam will speed up a program to produce safe vegetable, fruit and tea meetinginternational standards of food safety and hygiene by 2015, the government of Vietnamsaid on its Web site.Under the program approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, 100% of safevegetable, fruit orchard and tea area will be in line with Vietnam Good AgriculturalPractices (VietGap); and 100% of total vegetable, fruit, and tea for both local domesticmarket and export will also meet VietGap and HACCP standards.The state budget will help set up transport, irrigation and pumping stations, whileprovincial budget will support building wholesale markets, storages, trade promotion, andtransfer of technologies in growing safe vegetable, fruit and tea.Organizations and individuals investing in the production will get preferential policies inhiring land, while farmers are encouraged to cooperate with companies in producing,processing and consuming safe vegetable, fruit and tea.Vietnam raked in $212 million from exporting vegetable and fruit, and $$79 million fromexporting tea in the first seven months of 2008, up 17.5% and 32.6%, respectively,against the same period of last year. (Chinhphu July 30)One More Big Aquatic Feed Plant to Run in Vietnam Mekong ProvinceThe People’s Committee of Mekong Delta Dong Thap province has licensed theDOMYFEED Co. Ltd. to build a big aquaculture feed plant here, the Vietnam & WorldEconomy reported.Covering 40,000 square meters in Sa Dec town, the plant has a total investment ofVND81.5 billion ($4.9 million).Once operational in Dec this year, the plant will be able to churn out 60,000 tons ofaquatic feed yearly.Earlier, the province also gave a license to the Domenal Joint Stock Company to build aVND144 billion ($8.6 million) mill to produce feed for aquaculture at the Phong MyIndustrial Zone.Designed to have an output of 60,000 tons of products per annum, the facility willbecome operational in October.The Mekong Delta province currently houses 27 aquaculture feed processing projectswith a combined output of more than 2 million tons. (Vietnam & World Economy July 31p4)
  • 66. Business:Week for Small and Medium Enterprises to Open in NovThe Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Ocean Group will joinhands to hold this year’s National Week for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises(SMEs) in mid-Nov this year, Vietnam News Agency reported Thursday.The SME Week, part of a scheme approved by the Prime Minister to develop SMEs in2006-2010, will take in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and a number of localities.The week is a chance for local SMEs to join business forums, TV talk shows and trainingcourses which are expected to attract policy makers and representatives from ministries,agencies, SME assistance organizations and businesses to exchange views, shareexperiences and propose solutions for business development.The event will also include an exhibition in Hanoi to help SMEs to introduce productsand services and seek partners.This is the first time the event is organized throughout the country and will be organizedannually from this year.According to a recent report by Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corp (HSBC), up to67% of 300 SMEs in Vietnam said they strongly believed in the current economic growthrate or at higher pace.As many as 54% of the 300 Vietnamese SMEs said they will expand their investment and41% of them said they will keep investment plans unchanged from now till the end of theyear, the report said.Vietnam now has more than 260,000 non-state companies totaling VND600 trillion. Thefigure is forecast to jump to 500,000 non-state firms by 2010. (Vietnam News Agency Jul30, Vietpan Database)Vinashin Pha Rung Corp. Made DebutHaiphong-based Pha Rung Shipbuilding Company under Vinashin Business Group hasbecome a corporation from today [July 31], the Vietnam Economic Times said.The Vinashin Pha Rung Corporation, which is wholly invested by Vinashin BusinessGroup, will have 27 members.The corporation will directly carry out business and investment activities and contributecapital to other companies.On the same day, the corporation launched a 34,000-DWT ship, the biggest-ever it hasbuilt for far.
  • 67. The vessel, named San Felice, is 180 meters long, 30 meters width and can travel at 14nautical miles per hour.This is the fifth ship Vinashin Pha Rung built for the U.K.’s Graig Investments. (VietnamEconomic Times Jul 31 p1 &3)Foreign Investment:U.S. Electronic Firm to Build $35-Mln Factory in Northern VietnamThe U.S.’s Tyco Electronics Group July 30 received an investment license from northernBac Ninh province’s authority to build a $35-million plant in Que Vo Industrial Park, alocal official said Thursday.He said the plant will produce electronic equipment and passive electronic components toserve Tyco Electronics clients in Vietnam and Asia.The official added that the province has granted 6.5 hectares for Tyco’s project and mayprovide an additional 28 hectares for the firm’s investment expansion to some $500million after 2010.Construction on the factory is scheduled to begin in early August. When operational in2009, it is expected to create 2,000 jobs.The provincial authority has pledged to offer favorable conditions for Tyco to carry outthe project, he said.According to the official, Bac Ninh is listed in the country’s top ten localities in attractingforeign investors with $1.2 billion, including big names such as Samsung, Canon andFoxconn which have built plants to produce mobile phones and electronics for export.The province, 40 kilometers north of Hanoi, Bac Ninh has four operational IPs, namelyTien Son, Que Vo I, Dai Dong-Hoan Son, and Yen Phong.Tyco Electronics is one of the leading electronic component providers with turnover of$13 billion in 2007. The company now has sale agents in 150 countries and territoriesAccording to a report from the German-based international market research institute,GfK, Vietnamese people spent $1.34 billion buying household electronic and IT productslast year, up 43% against 2006.Of the sum, household electronics products accounted for $641 million and IT productsheld the rest of $700 million, GfK said.Vietnam targets export revenues of electronic products of $6 billion by 2010 from current$3 billion. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 30)
  • 68. Infrastructure:Vietnam Needs $3.44 Bln to Upgrade Noi Bai International AirportsVietnam will need around VND56.8 trillion ($3.44 billion) to upgrade Noi BaiInternational Airport, the New Hanoi reported, quoting the Northern Airport Authority’splan.Under the plan announced July 30, Noi Bai airport will cover 696.8 hectares in 2020.After 2020, the airport will be expanded towards the south with a new landing road and anew terminal in order to be able to handle 50 million passengers yearly.From now to 2020, the country will have to pour VND13 trillion into the airport’supgrade. Investment for the upgrade will be sourced from the state budget, the state-owned companies and private companies.Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai in May 2008 ratified the upgrade plan for theNoi Bai airport by 2020, under which the airport will have capacity of handling between20 and 25 million passengers, and 260,000 tons of cargo yearly. (New Hanoi July 31 p4)Tourism:Number of Vietnam Hotels Up 147% in Three YearsThe total numbers of hotels in Vietnam have increased 147% and hotel rooms, 210%over the past three years, according to Grant Thornton Vietnam Ltd.The latest report by Grant Thornton Vietnam on its survey of the hotel service sector in2007 said that the hotel room occupation rate rose by 142% in the period from 2003 to2007 and hotel room prices also rose 37% on average in the 2006-2007. Meanwhile, thenumber of hotel clients for the business purpose increase by 5.26% compared to twoyears ago.The survey also showed that most of hotel clients in five-star hotels are businesspeople.These guests represented 39.59% of five-star hotels’ total turnover. Meanwhile, touristswho bought tours of travel companies represent 39.59% of four-star hotels’ clients.The average price of hotel rooms is highest in Hanoi and lowest in Da Lat. Fivedestinations surveyed are Hanoi, HCM City, Phan Thiet, Hoi An and Danang.Vietnam is now home to around 8,556 hotels with 170,551 rooms. Of them, there are 25five-star, 65 four-star, 141 three-star hotels and the remaining are 1-2 star hotels.The sun warm Southeastern Asian nation welcomes more than 2.7 million internationaltourist arrivals in the first seven months of 2008, up 8.6% on year and earns totalrevenues of VND41 trillion ($2.56 billion).
  • 69. Most of the international arrivals come from Thailand, the U.S., Japan, the Republic ofKorea, the Philippines, China, France, Singapore and Malaysia. Notably, the numbers ofvisitors from the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore increase by 55%, 41.6% and 27.5%respectively. However, those coming from China, the Republic of Korea and Japan see aslight decline.The country is looking to 4.4 million foreign visitors and 19 million-20 million domestictourists with total revenue of VND56 trillion, or $3.5 billion this year. (Saigon LiberationJuly 31 p2, Youth July 31 p14, Young People July 31 p2, Vietnam Economic Times July31 p4, Vietnam Banking Times July 31 p15)Politics & Law:U.S. Deputy Secretary: Vietnam, U.S. Enter New Chapter of RelationshipThe U.S.-Vietnam relationship has entered a new chapter, which is symbolized byPresident Bush’s visit to Vietnam in 2006 and Premier Nguyen’s visit to the U.S. in Junethis year, Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said at the Brookings InstitutionJuly 29.The two countries now enjoy significant and expanding trade and economic ties, anemerging military-to-military relationship, fruitful cooperation on health anddevelopment issues as well as growing cultural and educational links, John Negropontenoted.Vietnam has followed a path to growth familiar to many of its successful neighbors suchas encouraging private firms, setting up legal institutions and opening itself to globaltrade via its membership in APEC and WTO, the U.S. diplomat added.The Asean country’s remarkable growth has lifted millions of its citizens from povertyover the past 15 years, he is deeply impressed.During the visit by Mr Nguyen to the U.S. for the first time as the prime ministershipfrom June 23 to 26, he and Bush discussed a range of issues and agreed to heighten thebilateral comprehensive relationship. On this occasion, Bush reiterated his support forVietnam’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.Since normalization of the diplomatic ties in 1995, the bilateral trade has been keepingsoaring, reaching $12 billion last year, and the U.S. is the biggest importer of Vietnam.This year, the bilateral trade value is expected to surpass $15 billion this year. In the firstfive months this year, Vietnam shipped $4.39 billion of goods to the U.S.Now there are 1,000 U.S. firms doing business in Vietnam. (Vietnam News Agency Jul31, Vietpan Databse)
  • 70. Forum on Pan-Tonkin gulf Economic Cooperation OpensA forum on Pan-Tonkin gulf economic cooperation was launched July 30 in Beihai, acoastal city in south Chinas Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, drawing over 400delegates from Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippine, Singapore, Thailandand Vietnam.The Vietnamese delegation was led by Nguyen Xuan Thang, vice president of theVietnam Academy of Social Sciences.The two-day event, the third of its kind, focuses on three main issues, including Pan-Tonkin Gulf economic cooperation amid an uncertain world economy; focal points,difficulties and prospects in Pan-Tonkin Gulf sub-regional cooperation, and the openingand development of the Tonkin Gulf Economic Zone and Pan-Tonkin Gulf economiccooperation.In term of issues related to waters delineation of Tonkin Gulf, Vietnam and China agreedto keep the situation in the East Sea stable by maintaining peaceful negotiations on watersissues.During the visit to Beijing by the Vietnamese party chief Nong Duc Manh early June atthe invitation of his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, the two administrations pledged tocontinue efforts to implement Tonkin Gulf Demarcation agreement and pact on fisheriescooperation, carry out joint patrols as well as accelerate implementation of theFramework Agreement on Oil and Natural Gas Cooperation in Agreed Zones in TonkinGulf. (New Hanoi Jul 31 p8, VNA Jul 30)UNDP Funds $2 Mln for Vietnam’s Development StrategyThe UN Development Program (UNDP) has pledged to give a $2 million aid to theVietnamese government to work out the country’s socioeconomic development strategyin the period of 2011-2020, local media said.The two-and-a-half year project, signed in Hanoi July 30, is the second of its kindfinanced by the UN body after the first designed for the 2001-2010 period.The sum will be used to assist the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s DevelopmentStrategy Institute (DSI) in conducting necessary research and approaching internationalexperiences.UNDP Deputy Country Director in Vietnam, Christophe Bahuet said apart fromachievements after 20 years of renewal, Vietnam is facing emerging challenges thatrequire proper choices to further promote its socio-economic development.
  • 71. The project, thus, is expected to back Vietnam’s access to high-quality expertise andpractices to serve the formulation of the national development strategy, he said at thesigning. (Labor Jul 31 p2, Saigon Liberation p1)Health & Environment:Vietnamese Children’s Height 5 Centimeters Shorter than World AverageAlthough the average height of Vietnamese children under two in 2007 rose by fivecentimeters compared to the past two decades, it is five centimeters shorter than theworld average set by the World Health Organization, said a forum held in Ho Chi MinhCity July 30.Currently, Vietnam has over 2.6 million children suffering from height malnutrition andthe number of underweight children is also estimated at more than two million, said theNational Nutrition Institute.A recent research conducted by the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) showedthat, the child malnutrition rate in Vietnam was 33.9% in 2007, compared to 10% and19% in China and Thailand, respectively.The milk use rate of Vietnamese is also at the bottom of the world list with the averagerate of six liters/person/year while the respective rates in Thailand and China stand at 22and 26.According to the latest statistics released at the forum, one percent of malnutrition cancost $20 million for a country per year, and Vietnam is losing nearly $700 million due themalnutrition. (Liberation Saigon Jul 31 p3, baomoi.com Jul 31)15% of Vietnamese Affected by HypertensionNearly 15% of Vietnam’s population, mainly people aged more than 50 reportedlydevelop blood hypertension, the National Heart Institute was citied by the Ha Noi Moinewspaper as saying Thursday.Meanwhile, the figure is higher than 10% in Europe and lower than 15%-20% in Africa,the institute noted.The blood hypertension was caused by habit of smoking, heart disease, obese, anddiabetes and may lead to heart failure, kidney malfunction and paralytic.To prevent the disease, the institute doctors recommended people do exercises, eatvegetables, fruits, not to smoke and eat less fat and salt. (New Hanoi July 30 p7,VietNamNet)Meeting on Discussing Water Resources Management Held in Hanoi
  • 72. Deputy Prime Minster Hoang Trung Hai has recently chaired a meeting in Hanoi to workout solutions to increase effectiveness in managing water resources, the Nong NghiepViet Nam (Vietnam Agriculture) newspaper said.Participants at the event discussed water resources indexes and management measures inthe country.Deputy PM called on the National Water Resources Council (NWRC) to raise capacity ofwater resources management agencies and asked the Ministry of Natural Resources andEnvironment to complete a plan for water resources assessment, protection and use.The event pointed out shortcomings including poor public awareness of this vitalresource and the water is not considered as a rare resource and a type of commodity,Vietnam News Agency said.Vietnam’s total water resources are forecast to decrease to 807 billion cubic meters in2025 from 843 billion cubic meters in 2000.Meanwhile, water demand is estimated to rise to 107 billion cubic meters in 2010, and to125 billion cubic meters in 2020.The country has been warned of water shortages in the future without using inefficientlywater resources. (VNA Jul 30, Vietnam Agriculture July 29, Vietpan database)Rare Bird Found at Southern Vietnams National ParkRare birds listed in Vietnams Red Book of endangered plant and animal species havebeen found at the U Minh Thuong National Park in southern Kien Giang province whilethey are nesting to lay eggs, the Tin Tuc (News) newspaper said Thursday.The Park Management Board said that it is now feeding two precious birds, Gia Day Javascientifical name of Leptotiplos Javanicus, weighing 1.5-2 kg each.The birds are friendly with people and are aware of signals for food, the board said,adding that the appearance of the wildlife proves that the environment at the park hasbeen improved markedly.The park is now home to hundreds of thousands of birds belonging to 100 species, withthe most crowded being wild ducks, storks and herons. (News July 31 p5, VNA)Culture & Society:Yahoo! Accused of Violating Vietnamese Laws
  • 73. The Vietnam Software Association (Vinasa) and the Game and Digital Content BusinessClub have complained to the Ministry of Information and Communications about theillegal operations of Yahoo! in Vietnam, The Lao Dong newspaper said Wednesday.According to Decision 27, all organizations must have a license of the VietnameseMinistry of Information and Communications to provide information on the Internet andhave their own information websites. However, websites of Yahoo! in Vietnamese whichhave .vn domain names are operating without licenses, Vinasa said.According to Vinasa, Yahoo! is providing Yahoo! Mail in Vietnamese, Yahoo!Messenger in Vietnamese, Yahoo! Ask and Answer in Vietnamese, as well as Yahoo!Music in Vietnamese at Yahoo.com.vn though it does not have an OSP license.Yahoo!’s license to set up a representative office in Vietnam does not allow therepresentative office to conduct business activities or any lucrative activities in Vietnam,the association also added.Yet, Yahoo! has announced that four companies in Vietnam, Admax, FPT OnlineAdvertising, GapIT and Golden, are Yahoo!’s authorized advertising agents in Vietnam.These partners will advertise and sell Yahoo’s online advertising products to companiesin Vietnam and exploit advertising sale services in Vietnam.Yahoo!’s above activities and similar activities of other foreign firms are worryingVietnamese game and digital content service providers, who are trying to overcomedifficulties and strictly obey the Vietnamese laws but have to compete against foreignrivals who are playing unfairly, Le Hong Minh, Vice Chairman of the Game and DigitalContent Business Club, said.Yahoo!’s representative office opened in HCM City in August 2007 and in a short periodof time after that Yahoo! began providing various services targeting the Vietnamesemarket.In response, Director General of Yahoo! Southeast Asia in Vietnam, Vu Minh Tri said,rejected the denunciation, adding that all operations of Yahoo! are in line with Vietnamlaws.There has been no final decision on the dispute. (Labor July 30 p1, Pioneer July 30 p10)U.S. to Grant $30,000 to Help Vietnam Province Preserve Ancient ArtifactsThe U.S. Embassy in Vietnam has just decided to grant $30,000 to help the Vietnamesenorthern province of Nam Dinh preserve a collection of ancient worshiping artifacts aged17th century and 19th century, the Phap Luat Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh newspaper said.The fund will be spent on lengthening lifespan of and beautifying 57 artifacts whichinclude five wooden-painted pictures and 52 others artifacts, the paper said.
  • 74. Local artisans will coordinate with museums to jointly preserve them. (HCMC Law Jul31 p2)216 Ancient Tombs Found in Central VietnamCentral Thua Thien-Hue province has recently unearthed 216 ancient tombs and foundout 200 Sa Huynh-age jars at the Con Rang relics in Huong Tra district, the Tin Tuc(News) newspaper said, citing the result of the third excavation.This is the biggest archaeological discovery in the region so far, said archaeologists fromthe Vietnam Institute of Archaeology and the provincial Revolutionary-HistoricalMuseum.Director of the museum Van Dinh Thanh said the tombs with four different shapes wereburied in a vertical position with different distances and depths.Archaeologists also found 1,319 artifacts made of iron, bronze, stone, glass and porcelainat the two previous excavations in the relics. (News July 31 p8, VNA)Stock Market:Dragon Keen on Vietnam Consumer, Drug StocksDragon Capital will increase its investment capital on food, pharmaceutical and otherconsumption stocks such as beverages in Vietnam market for the rest of the year, theYoung People newspaper said, citing the funds Director Dominic Scriven.The countrys stock market is now not a hugely liquid market, he said, noting that it iswise to focus on predictable and visible earnings-growth companies.There will be a time to invest in asset-based businesses, banks and real estate companies.But the investment will be not attractive until the end of this year, even early next year.The key stock index once plummeted below the level of 400 in the first half. However,the improved macro picture enticed a lot of retail investors back to the market, DominicScriven said.The corporate earning results, although lower than expectation, were still above lastyears level.Although Dragon Capital looks for positive net profit growth, it still predicts a decline inEPS growth of 8%-9% for the whole this year. (Young People Jul 30 p13)Vietnam Largest Insurer Earns $18.93 Mln in H1 Pre-Tax Profits
  • 75. Bao Viet Insurance Group, Vietnam’s biggest insurer, has reportedly made its pre-taxprofits of over VND312.4 billion ($18.93 million) in the first half this year, theVnEconomy online newspaper reported.The state-run insurer also gained total revenues of VND4.62 trillion ($279.82 million) inthe period, of which insurance premiums were VND3.55 trillion ($215.15 million),financial investments VND1.05 trillion, and others VND19.43 billion.No comparative figures have been announced.Shares of Bao Viet are currently available on the over the-counter market only, havingnot yet been listed on the official stock exchange.“The business results will directly impact the share’s price on the stock market,” saidNguyen Tien Dung, an independent securities analyst.The results would have helped even more if the firm had listed during the first half of theyear, Dung added.General Director of Bao Viet Insurance, Nguyen Thi Phuc Lam, said that the companydidn’t want to officially list yet as share-holders risked losses, Lam said that the listingwould take place at a suitable time that limited stakeholder loss.Lam said that the firm has asked the Finance Ministry for a listing schedule which wouldprotect its stockholders. (VnEconomy Jul 30)Vietnam Leading Stock Broker Suffers Loss of VND141.6 Bln in Q2Vietnams top stock broker Saigon Securities Incorporation (SSI) announced that it lostVND141.6 billion ($8.6 million) of net profit in the second quarter of 2008, bring itsfirst-half loss of VND27.2 billion.It grossed revenues of VND251 billion from securities services and investment profits inthe second quarter while its costs totaled VND352 billion.Of the total costs, SSI spent VND266 billion for provision of securities price reduction.The HCM City-based firm has dismissed its chief accountant from July 30, right before itreleased business results, which is stirring concern among investors.Earlier, two other securities companies have also reported big losses in the secondquarter, including Bao Viet Securities losing VND349.3 billion and Hai Phong SecuritiesVND365 million.
  • 76. Despite unsatisfactory earnings, two SSIs foreign strategic partners including JapansDaiwa Securities and Australias ANZ Bank have recently bought in additional sevenmillion SSI shares to boost their stake in the firm. (CafeF Jul 31)Phu My Fertilizer Earns Record High Profit in H1Phu My Fertilizer Joint Stock Company (DPM), a PetroVietnam subsidiary and thebiggest fertilizer producer in Vietnam, has announced a net profit of VND1.1 trillion($66.7 million) in the first half, the highest level among listed firms so far.DPMs revenues hit VND3.13 trillion ($189.8 million) during the period. The firmsurpassed the profit target of this year, and finished 71% of the revenues plan.Under the plan, the fertilizer producer expects a pretax profit of VND1.19 trillion andtotal revenues of VND4.4 trillion.In the first six months, Phu My Fertilizer produced about 346,000 tons of fertilizer andimported another 153,000 tons to meet domestic demand and to stabilize the localmarket.Fertilizer prices have escalated to the highest level in the past 35 years. Since early 2008,DPM has raised its fertilizer prices by 58.2%, at current VND8,700 a kilo.DPM is now the largest listed firm on the countrys major exchange, with market value ofVND21.2 trillion July 30. Its shares closed up 3% to VND57,500 on 2.1 million sharesThursday. (CafeF Jul 31)Vietnam BBT Rejected with Share IssueThe HOSE-listed Bach Tuyet Cotton Joint Stock Company (BBT) will not be able toissue shares to strategic investors to raise capital for its production due to objection byGia Dinh Garment and Textile Corporation, state media said.Gia Dinh Corp., a state shareholder with a 30% stake in BBT, still opposed the shareissue plan, said BBT General Director Ta Xuan Tho.No solutions were found at the meeting with leaders of HCM City and Gia Dinh Corp. tobail the company out of the hot water to keep its business in the coming time, he said.Tho said the city leaders asked BBT management board to audit again, defineresponsibility for unclear business results of BBT in the last two years, try to maintainmanufacture and cut losses.They also asked BBT to meet with Gia Dinh Corp. to clarify the share issuance planagain.
  • 77. The cotton producer could only maintain production for at least a couple of months dueto a severe shortage of operating capital, Tho noted.“If BBT doesn’t have more capital, the firm will surely suffer loss this year,” Tho said.Maritime Bank has also just announced that if BBT is not able to settle its loans to thebank before August 5, it will be sued. (Saigon Times Daily Jul 30 p4, VNN Jul 31)Jul 31: Vietnam Shares End Up on Local Buying in Blue ChipsVietnams shares closed up Thursday as local players continued to buy blue chips,including DPM, after many companies announce solid earnings in the first half, traderssaid.“Buying sentiment remains strong after PetroVietnam Fertilizer and Chemical Company(DPM) reports huge profit of VND1,103 billion in the first half, fulfilling its full yearearning target,” a trader with Dong A Securities said.“The good performance of the market heavyweight DPM and some other big playerssuch as Vinamilk (coded VNM), Sacombank (STB), PV Drilling (PVD) and Hoa PhatGroup (HPG) implies that listed companies still have good health against despite surginginflation,” he said.“The blue chips are actively supporting the key index, but 450 may be resistance becauseinvestors are closely overseeing prices of goods after the recent gasoline price hike.”VN-Index today rose 3.09 points, or 0.69%, at 451.36.Market volume totaled 12.3 million shares valued at VND453.6 billion Thursday, downfrom 19 million shares valued at VND664.6 billion Wednesday.DPM, today’s most active stock, shot up 2.7% at VND57,500 after trading 2.1 millionshares, of which foreign investors bought 567,800 shares and sold 7,530 shares.STB, the second most active stock, edged up 0.4% at VND23,600 on 1.8 million shareschanging hands.PVD hit VND100,000 after rising 2.6% with a trade of 422,530 shares, with foreigninvestors buying 357,190 shares and selling 4,300 shares.HPG climbed up 2.8% at VND55,000 on 287,780 shares, including 57,900 shares boughtand 4,100 shares sold by foreigners.In the downside, VTO fell 2.5% at VND15,500 on 243,640 shares traded.
  • 78. SAM tumbled 2.8% at VND20,800 on 202,610 shares, of which foreign players bought14,950 shares and sold 126,910 shares.In total, 64 stocks closed higher, 84 lower and eight unchanged.Among four fund certificates, one closed lower, two lower and one unchanged. (HOSEJuly 31)Vietnam NewsJuly 30, 2008Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,497Economic Indicators:Vietnam’s CPI Forecast to Rise 2% in AugVietnam’s consumer price index (CPI) may rise between 1.8%-2% on month in August,higher than the 1.13% rise in July because many goods and services will have impacts ofgasoline price hike, said the Market Management Group.Several essential goods will see the input cost increase, such as coal estimated to rise2.93%, cement 2.24%, steel 0.61%, electricity 0.8%, waterway transport 6.5%-7%,railway transport 4%-5%, gasoline-run automobile 12-14%, and diesel-run automobile5-7%.High transport costs will push up prices of many other commodities in the market.The group suggested that localities should control prices of food and foodstuff, whichholds greatest proportion of CPI basket, and that ministries and agencies shouldreorganize and develop distribution system.According to the General Statistics Office, Vietnam’s CPI rose 1.13% in July from June,and 27.04% one year ago. (Vietnam & World Economy Jul 30 p2)Banking & Finance:WB Signs $150 Mln Deal to Help Vietnam EconomyActing Country Director of the World Bank in Vietnam, Martin Rama and Governor ofthe State Bank of Vietnam, Nguyen Van Giau July 29 signed a $150 million creditagreement to support Vietnam’s economy and its poverty reduction program, Vietnamesestate media said Wednesday.The long-term credit is of great importance to Vietnam at this difficult time as its tradedeficit remained widened and ups and downs at the global market, Martin Rama said atthe signing ceremony in Hanoi.
  • 79. The credit agreement will be valid for 40 years and 10 years of grace with zero interest,which is part of a soft loan package of $370 million to be funded by 12 other donors suchas the Asian Development Bank, Japan, EC, France, Germany, the U.K., Australia,Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Spain and the Netherlands.Launched early this year, the poverty reduction support credit program 7 will focus onbusiness development, social integration, natural resources management, andadministration governance.The WB also pledged $5 billion for Vietnam through the International DevelopmentAgency (IDA) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)in the next three years. (The People, People’s Army Jul 30 p8, News Jul 30 p4, VietnamNews Jul 30 p1, Economy & Urban Jul 30 p3, Family & Society Jul 30 p4, Vietnam &World Report Jul 30 p8, Thanh Nien Daily Jul 30 p2, Labor Jul 30 p7, Thoi Bao Kinh TeJul 30 p1, Pioneer Jul 30 p13, )Vietnam Disburses $3 Bln from State Budget in Jan-JulVietnam has disbursed VND47.7 trillion ($3 billion) from the state budget for investmentin the first seven months, representing 48.6% of the year’s set target.Of total, central administration agencies disbursed VND14.3 trillion, accounting for43.2% of their annual plan, localities implemented VND33.4 trillion capital, or 51.3% ofthe plan.The Ministry of Transport is the biggest spender with the disbursement of VND2.4trillion, finishing 39.1% of its yearly plan, followed by the Ministry of Agriculture andRural Development with more than VND1 trillion, seeing the highest fulfillment rate of60.5%.The Ministry of Construction spent only VND69.5 billion of the state budget,representing 19.8% of the annual disbursement plan as the ministry has cut a lot ofprojects to help lower inflation.Among localities, Ho Chi Minh City is the leader in disbursement volume, with spendingof nearly VND4 trillion, followed by Hanoi with VND2.6 trillion and Danang withVND1.5 trillion.Many ministries and localities see low disbursement due to surging prices of inputs sincethe beginning of this year. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 30 p1, GSO Jul 2008)Foreigners Must Have $10 Bln Assets to Establish Financial Firm in VietnamForeign institutions are required to have total assets of at least $10 billion if they want toestablish joint venture or 100% foreign-owned financial companies in Vietnam,
  • 80. according to the amended decree on organization and operation of financial companiesapproved by the Government July 29.Under the decree, a wholly foreign-owned financial company is established and ownedby one or several foreign credit institutions, which must have assets of more than $10billion at the end of the year before asking for establishment application.A financial joint venture company is set up in Vietnam, of which foreign partners holdless than 49% stake.These companies are allowed to provide consumer credit, card, issue bonds, certificatesof deposit and valuable papers. (Chinhphu.vn Jul 30, VnEconomy Jul 30)Vietnam Banks Face Stagnant Inflow of DepositorsThe flow of deposits into commercial banks is turning out more stagnant, which isblamed on negative interest rate although institutions have sought to raise interest as highas possible, bankers said.Banks in HCM City drew a total VND537.7 trillion deposits in the first half of this year,increasing 10% from early this year and averaging out at a monthly mobilization growthrate of 1.67%, the lowest rate in the past five years.Last year, the average growth rate in mobilization was 3%-4% a month.The flow is even dwindling lately, said an official with the State Bank of Vietnams HCMCity branch, adding that July mobilization of banks in the city was estimated to increaseonly 0.7% against the previous month.At a seminar on providing finance for small and medium enterprises in the city last week,Pham Huy Hung, chairman of Vietnam Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank), saidthat public capital do not flow much to banks despite high rates."VietinBank with three main transaction offices, 140 branches, and 165 transaction sitesnationwide has widened working hours but the banks mobilization in the first half thisyear grew only 5% from late 2007, compared to annual growth of 10-15% in previousyears," the banks chairman said.In fact, mobilization in Vietnam dong of VietinBank in January-June this year evendecreased by VND354 billion, providing a difficult time in mobilization at banks, hestressed.Hung, who also serves as chairman of the Vietnam Banks Association, said that manybanks were facing the same problem as VietinBank.
  • 81. He explained that due to high inflation rate, many people have bought the U.S. dollarsand gold as safe havens.Furthermore, many enterprises and citizens also tended to make payment transactionsoutside the banking system due to difficulties in obtaining bank loans in Vietnam dong.Hung cited a survey of the World Bank that 35% of total amount of money has flown outof banking system and 50% of total payment was not made via banks.An executive with the HCM City branch of Bank for Investment and Development ofVietnam (BIDV) said that his branch had seen hundreds of billions of dong moving out inthe last one month because institutional customers withdraw capital.Since early this year, the branch had no new institutional depositor because BIDVsinterest rates were lower than others, he said. In July, the branchs mobilized fund wasforecast to fall by 0.5% from the previous month.Meanwhile, the general director of a small bank in HCM City said that in February andMarch mobilized funds at his bank increased by over 30% from late 2007. The growth,however, gradually decelerated and the amount of mobilization barely increased in recentmonths. (Saigon Economic Times Jul 28)Sacombank Opens First After-hours Transaction OfficeSaigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank), Vietnam’s secondbiggest listed bank by assets, has officially inaugurated its first after-hours transactionoffice under Binh Tay branch in HCM City.The Cay Go transaction office, addressed at No. 129A Minh Phung, Ward 9 of District 6,operates between 8am to 8pm from Monday to Saturday every week.It will do business in all financial and banking services like receiving Vietnamese dong,U.S. dollar, and gold deposits with attractive interest rates, providing loans with quickprocedures, transferring money domestically and internationally via its network of nearly233 transaction sites nationwide and others.On the occasion, the Cay Go office launched a promotion program, including freeissuance of domestic payment cards, 50% reduction in service fees relating to "Overseasstudy support" product, and 50%-100% discount in money transfer fee.In the first six months, Sacombank reportedly gained profit of VND754 billion, up 23%on year, but it accounts for only 37.7% of the yearly plan.As the end of June, its total assets reached VND74.9 trillion, up 95% on-year, depositstotaled VND64.2 trillion and outstanding loans amounted at VND38.3 trillion.(http://www.hanoimoi.com.vn/vn/42/175301/ Jul 28)
  • 82. Third Gold Trading Center Opens in HanoiVNS Securities JS Company and Wall Street Gold JS Company have put a gold tradingfloor into operation in Hanoi, marking it as the third facility in the city so far, the HanoiMoi newspaper reported.The VNS Wall Street Gold Trading Center, addressed at 9 Dao Duy Anh street, isequipped with modern technologies, bringing convenience to different types ofcustomers, especially free traders.Daily operation time of the center will be from 8.00 am to 16.30 p.m. The minimumtrading volume is limited to five gold taels per transaction.Only gold produced by SJC and Bao Tin Minh Chau is allowed to trade at the center.(New Hanoi Jul 28)Trade:Vietnam, India Hold Conference to Boost TradeThe Vietnamese general consul in Mumbai and the India Chamber of Commerce andIndustry Jul 20 co-held a conference to further boost the bilateral trade in the comingyears, Vietnam News Agency said.General Consul Nguyen Viet Hung said that this is a chance for Vietnamese firms toexchange market information with Indian .The bilateral trade reached $1.54 billion last year, up from $1.02 billion with Vietnamreporting trade deficit due to many factors including import tax on goods imposed byIndia higher than by Vietnam, Counselor Nguyen Tuan Quang said.At the event, Indian companies valued Vietnam’s political stability and high economicgrowth rates; however they said they need more information about Vietnam’s market, theagency said.The conference is part of the week-long outbound working trip by the Vietnamese inter-ministerial delegation led by the Department of Import-Export Pham The Dung to Indiafrom Jul 24. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 29, Vietpan Database)Switzerland Funds $2.4 Mln to Improve Trade CapacityThe Swiss government has provided a financial assistance of $2.42 million to a project onimproving competitive edge for key export sectors of Vietnam in the second phase fromnow up to 2010, the Vietnam News Agency said.
  • 83. The project is also aimed at promoting exports of safe and clean products from Vietnamas part of the government of Vietnam’s efforts to boost exports to narrow trade deficit,Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Tran Quoc Thang said.The project is part of the common cooperation program between the Vietnamesegovernment and 14 UN organizations.It will help related authorities to successfully carry out its WTO commitments, said Jean-Hubert Lebet, Ambassador of Switzerland to Vietnam.The Directorate for Standards and Quality of the Ministry of Science and Technologywill be in charge of implementing the project with the technical assistance of the UnitedNations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). (VNA, Labor July 30 p7)Vietnam Cannot Cut Petrol Prices at This MomentVietnam cannot slash retail petroleum prices at this moment despite a considerable fall inthe global crude oil price in recent days as both Vietnamese government and petroltraders need more time to recover after long-endured losses, said Vuong Thai Dung,deputy general director of Vietnam National Petroleum Corp (Petrolimex).Only after the price of petrol has decreased for a long time and stayed at a low level for acertain period could Vietnam consider lowering the retail petrol price, Dung was cited bystate media as saying Wednesday.Before July 21, 2008 when the decision on raising the retail petrol price was announced,the retail petrol price had been lower than the cost price; and importers suffered the lossof VND4,000 ($0.24) for every liter of oil.Importers have been making a profit of VND200/liter of gasoline in the last few days,while they are still losing VND3,000/liter of oil, Dung attributed.As Petrolimex had to sell petrol at prices lower than the import prices, it incurred the lossof over VND5 trillion ($303.03 million) in the first six months of the year, includingVND950 billion ($57.57 million) for petrol sale, and VND4.2 trillion ($254.54 million)for oil.Even if the global price decreases, the Vietnamese government would still be unable torecover its losses of VND11 trillion ($687.5 million) of subsidizing domestic petroleumimporters due to the soar in the world oil price predicted at $140 this year against $70 lastyear, the official elaborated.“We are really looking forward to lower sale prices, but we do not think that relevantagencies will dare to order the lowering of retail prices in the near future, because thiswould be burdensome on the state budget,” Dung added.
  • 84. Currently, gasoline A92 is priced at VND19,000 ($1.15) per liter in Vietnam while a literof diesel 0.05S is sold at VND15,950 ($0.96), paraffin oil at VND20,000 ($1.21), andmazut at VND13,000 ($0.78).Vietnam is forecast to lose VND44,772 billion ($2.71 billion) in the second half of thisyear if it did not apply petrol price hike in the circumstance of global crude oil prices tohit $140 per barrel, brining total loss for this year to VND60 trillion ($3.6 billion).(Pioneer Online Jul 29, VietNamNet Jul 29, Vietpan)Vietnam Consumes 13.5 Bln Liters of Petrol YearlyVietnam is estimated to consume up to 13.5 billion liters of petroleum per annum, saidVuong Thai Dung, deputy general director of Vietnam National Petroleum Corp(Petrolomex).On average, the country uses 12.5 million liters of gasoline and 25 million liters of oil perday; and the figures reach 375 million liters of gasoline and 750 million liters of oilmonthly, VTC News quoted Mr. Dung as saying.Petrolimex is now selling 7.5 million liters of gasoline and 15 million liters of oil per day,accounting for 60% of Vietnamese market share, the official said.Vo Van Quyen, deputy head of the Department of Domestic Market Policy under theMinistry of Industry and Trade said that Vietnam’s compulsory petroleum productreserves must be enough for at least 20 days.Vietnam still cannot slash retail petroleum prices at this moment despite a considerablefall in the global crude oil price in recent days as both the Vietnamese government andpetrol traders need more time to gain back after long-endured losses, Dung said recently.Currently, gasoline A92 is priced at VND19,000 ($1.15) per liter in Vietnam while a literof diesel 0.05S is sold at VND15,950 ($0.96), paraffin oil at VND20,000 ($1.21), andmazut at VND13,000 ($0.78). (VTC News Jul 29, Vietpan)Vietnam: Retail Gas Price May Fall Sharply in AugMany gas traders in Vietnam are considering cutting retail price by VND20,000 per 12-kilogram canister in August this year in the wake of recent fall in the global gas price, theSaigon Liberation newspaper reported July 30.Decreasing global crude oil price has lead to a reduction in the world gas price by $90 perton to drop to only $837 per ton July 29, gas traders said.If the global gas price stands at the aforementioned rate until August 31 this year, theretail gas price in Vietnam is expected to drop to VND275,000 per 12-kg cylinder fromcurrent VND271,000, the trader noted.
  • 85. In addition, global demand for gas is forecast to tumble next month to pull down theretail price, market watchdogs said.Vietnam now has around 100 gas trading companies, including 10 bid companies thatimport and distribute LPG in the domestic market.Currently, foreign-led joint venture companies hold over 50% of the market. Theyusually adjust selling price monthly. (Saigon Liberation Jul 30 p1)Industry:EVN Takes Drastic Measures to Ensure Power Supply in 2008State-owned Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVN) has taken some drastic measures toensure power supply for the whole nation this year, including raising electricity output,mobilizing all available power sources, and boosting power purchases from BOT and IPPplants and neighboring China, said General Director Pham Le Thanh.To keep up with national increasing demand for electricity, EVN has planned to generatea total 80 billion kWh of power this year, up 15.82% against 2007, Thanh said.Of the total, EVN will produce and buy 77.2 billion kWh, up 15.62% on year, and ensurecommercial electricity output of 68.1 billion kWh, up 16.97% on year, the officialattributed.In a bid to prepare for the dry season this year lasting from January 1 to May 31, EVNexpected power output for the period at 31.7 billion kWh, up 4.8 billion kWh or 18.11%compared to the same period last year, Thanh noted.The group has mapped out a plan to mobilize all available power sources includinghydroelectricity, coal-fired power plants, and gas and oil-fuelled facilities in addition toaccelerating power purchases from BOT and IPP power plants and from China, he said.However, power shortfall is still happening in Vietnam, and the situation seems to beworse against the estimation to hit between 10 million and 15 million kWh per day due tosevere weather, breakdowns at some power plants, unstable operation of new powersources and sluggish execution of many power projects, EVN leader explained.Vietnam needs synchronic measures to deal with current severe power thirst, includingimproving power supply, operating current power sources at their peak capacities,boosting power purchases from China, speeding up repair at broken-down power plants,accelerating operation of new power plants, and drawing out policies to attract moreinvestment in power projects, Thanh added.Power-thirsting Vietnam is estimated to lack between 2,000 MW and 2,500 MW ofpower daily in July and the power shortfall will prolong until mid-August.
  • 86. The country is forecast to face a power shortfall of 8.6 billion kWh of electricity this yearand the figure will climb to 36 billion kWh in 2020 and 120 billion kWh in 2030. (ThePeople Jul 30 p1&2, Vietpan)PV Power to Build 18.6-MW Geothermal Power Plant in Central VietnamAuthorities in central Quang Ngai province July 29 approved the PetroVietnam PowerCorporation (PV Power) to build a geothermal power plant with a total capacity of 18.6MW in the locality, the Young People newspaper reported, citing the provincial sources.PV Power intends to locate the plant in local Thanh Tru village, Duc Lan commune, MoDuc district, the sources said, without mentioning estimated investment and the time forthe start of the project.ORMAT Group of the U.S., a leading geothermal power company in the world, isexpected to become a technical partner to help PV Power implement the project.PV Power has also carried out a survey of geothermal power flow at the Nghia ThangHot Spring in local Tu Nghia district in order to construct another geothermal powerplant with capacity of 18.3 MW.Vietnam is forecast to lack 8.6 billion kWh of electricity this year and 36 billion kWh in2020 and 120 billion kWh in 2030; therefore, the country is seeking ways to generatemore electricity to fuel the national fast-growing economy, including building new powerplants. (Young People Jul 30 p2, Vietpan)Vietnam Sets Ambitious Plans for Apparel Sector Next Two YearsThe Vietnamese government is targeting 16%-18% annual growth in textile and garmentproduction and 20% growth in exports over the next two years under a developmentblueprint for the industry, the Thanh Nien Daily newspaper reported.The sector is expected to achieve revenues of $14.8 billion in 2010, and $31 billion in2020.It also targets exports of $12 billion in 2010 and $25 billion in 2020 against $7.8 billionlast year.To reach the goals, the government will focus on more local raw materials, seeking moreinvestment, improving quality, expanding markets, and intensifying human resourcedevelopment.It is encouraging cotton production to meet the domestic demand.
  • 87. The output is expected to rise to 20,000 tons in 2010 and 60,000 tons in 2020 from just8,000 tons two years ago.The government also plans to build textile and garment industrial parks and seek morelocal and foreign investment in the industry, especially in dyeing, weaving and producingcotton, synthetic fibers and other materials.It is focusing on improving designs, promoting trademarks both at home and abroad,applying advanced technologies, intensifying quality control, and overcoming exportbarriers.The government is building a quality system in line with international standards, helpingtextile firms with quality control and technical barriers, and setting up a database.The government announced it would expand traditional markets like the U.S., theEuropean Union and Japan, and find new ones.To develop human resources, it is setting up more training courses in fashion design,fabric analysis and production and sales management, and sending experts and studentsabroad to attend refresher courses.It is also simplifying tax and customs procedures, intensifying market surveillance andcracking down on smuggling.Apparel exports have topped $5.09 billion in the first seven months and are expected tobe $9.5 billion for the full year, according to the General Statistics Office. (Thanh NienDaily Jul 29)Agriculture:VFA to Suggest Removing Rice Export TaxThe Vietnam Food Association (VFA) will suggest the government raise initial riceexport prices to be taxed or remove the rice export tax to help ease local farmers’difficulties, the Youth reported, citing an official from the association.Truong Thanh Phong, chairman of the VFA, said the government should impose exporttax on rice selling for above $800 a ton instead of current $600.Phong said the time the government to levy tax on rice export is not appropriate, addingthat rice export prices have dropped while rice production costs are sharply rising.The chairman noted that farmers are the hardest hit people by rice export tax.“Local companies are now not keen on buying paddy and rice from the farmers for fearlosses because rice export prices have been falling.” Phong said, adding that they are alsowaiting for the government’s introductions on rice export tax.
  • 88. “Local farmers are now very upset as paddy has been piled up but a few buys it,” headded.Currently, paddy prices stay at very low level in Mekong Delta region, averaging atVND4,200-VND4,300 a kilo. Phong said with paddy production prices hittingVND3,500 a kilo, the selling paddy prices should be VND5,000 a kilo at least.Export prices of Vietnamese rice are now $620-$630 a ton of 5% broken rice, down by14.5% from the floor export price set by the VFA a week earlier.The Vietnamese government decided to impose tax on rice export, ranging fromVND500,000 to VND2.9 million for rice selling for from $600 to $1,300 a ton, free ofboard.Vietnamese companies have signed contracts to export 3.4 million tons of rice for thefirst three quarters of 2009, around 100,000 tons lower than target set by the government.Vietnam raked in $1.81 billion from exporting 2.79 million tons of rice in the first sevenmonths of 2008, but had to spend $1.1 billion on importing 2.32 million tons offertilizers, and $323 million on pesticide imports, according to the General StatisticsOffice (GSO).Rice export revenues increased by 87.6% against the same period of last year, butfertilizer import turnover rose by 118.9%, the GSO said. (The Youth July 30 p14, GSOJuly Edition)Uruguay Sees Vietnam as Potential Market for Forestry ProductsVietnam is emerging as a key importer of Uruguay’s forest products, according tostatistics by the Association of Forestry Producers of Uruguay.Vietnam ranked fourth among importers of sawn timber with the value making up 9% ofthe South American country’s sawn timber export earning in the first six months of theyear, behind the U.S. with 27%; Spain, 17%; and Belgium, 11%.The Southeast Asian country, meanwhile, took the lead in importing sandal-wood formaking paper pulp.Uruguay had earned $450 million from forest export in the first six months of 2008, anincrease of 40% as compared with the same period last year, according to the association.(VNA July 29)Expanded Hanoi to Prioritize High-tech Agriculture
  • 89. Expanded Hanoi city will give priority to developing high technology agriculture, theCountryside Today reported, quoting a draft prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture andRural Development (MARD).Under the draft on agricultural development in new Hanoi, the MARD said Hanoi willhave more than 192,000 hectares of agricultural land, accounting for 57.4% of totalnatural land, of which 160,000 hectares will be dedicated to agriculture production.The ministry said the city will set up five high-tech agricultural zones in the 2010-2020period, including the Tu Liem High-tech Agro Zone focusing on fruit, vegetable andflower production; and four others in Gia Lam, Dong Anh, Thuong Tin and Phuc Thodistricts.Hanoi planned to shift 3,329 hectares of agricultural land into non-agricultural land in thenext two years, raising total area of shifted agricultural land in the 2006-2010 period to6,000 hectares.Currently, neighboring Ha Tay and Vinh Phuc provinces are the two main suppliers ofvegetables and other kinds of farm produce to Hanoi. (Countryside Today July 29 p4)Business:Calpis Pins Hope on Vietnam Beverage MarketThe Japanese big beverage company Calpis has said that it is to prepare to launch its keycanned beverage products in Vietnam market, the Vietnam & World Economy newspaperreported.The company will firstly offer its canned coffee in Ho Chi Minh city, and from 2010 willmake the product in Vietnam.Calpis said it will sell its Birdy coffee for VND6,000 per can, 10%-20% higher than thesame type available in Vietnam.ASEAN region is the key market targeted by the Calpis, with Vietnam raking thirdbehind Thailand and Indonesia.The company said its investment in the plant in Vietnam may reach several billionJapanese yen, which will produce many kinds of beverage.Seeing Vietnam a very big potential market, a number of Japanese companies haveentered the country.Yakult started its operation in Vietnam from April 2008, while Asahi planning to open ajoint venture in the near month. (Vietnam & World Economy July 30 p10)
  • 90. PNJ Reports Revenue of $121Mln in H1Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company (PNJ), the leading jewelry retail company inVietnam, has announced its total revenues of VND1,950 billion (nearly $118.1 million)in the first half of 2008, up 40% on-year, the Dau Tu newspaper reported.PNJs pretax profit was VND69.1 billion in the period, up 17% on-year, the paper said,citing sources from the company.The HCM City-based gold trader targets 2008s pre-tax profit of VND150 billion,including VND45 billion from financial investments.It also expects to increase export revenues by 50% this year by expanding operation inthree new markets of Denmark, Belgium, and France.PNJ, which has already raised its chartered capital to VND825 billion ($51.6 million),now boasts a strong network with two jewelry factories, 13 branches, 85 retail shops, and3,000 wholesale customers nationwide. (Investment Jul 30 p7)Vietjet Air Delays Flight Plan due to High Fuel PricesVietjet Air, the first private airline in Vietnam, announced it will delay its first flight forfour months due to high fuel prices, the vnexpress reported.The airline expected to launch its first commercial flight in April 2009.Having got license in December 2007, Vietjet Air planned to run its first fight betweenHanoi and HCM city late 2008, and several others to Bangkok, Hong Kong andSingapore.At the time the carrier set flight plan, jet fuel was traded at around $70 a barrel. Now, theprices hit more than $122 per barrel.“With fuel accounting for 65% of total airline’s operation cost, we can not pursue ourinitial plan because if we continue, we will lose,” Vietjet Air’s general director, NguyenDuc Tam, said.Vietjet Air has also postponed signing contract with the GE Commercial AviationServices (GECAS) to hire two Boeing 737-700s. (vnexpress July 30)Foreign Investment:Chinese Groups Plan to Pour $2 Bln into Vietnam Northern Province
  • 91. Three Chinese corporations plan a $2 billion project to develop the Vietnamese northernThai Nguyen province into an eco-industrial city, said an official from the provincialPlanning and Investment Department.A document to this effect was signed between local authorities and representatives ofShan Shan, Sun Khun and Honghui groups, said the department director Nguyen DucMinh.Under the Memorandum of Understanding, the Chinese investors are committed tosubmitting the feasibility study to the province for consideration by Oct at the earliest.Minh said the targeted eco-industrial city of 1,500-2,000 hectares will house a hi-techexperimental research area, scientific-technological area, a physical architectural area, amanufacturing area, a traditional industrial park, a trading and entertainment centre, andvillas.The province will support and create favorable conditions for the companies to start theproject early, the official added.He noted that Chinese companies have to date injected some $18 million into 13 projectsin Thai Nguyen with 10 projects put into operation and the others are waiting for siteclearance.The Chinese investment mostly concentrates on mineral processing, fertilizer and drinksproduction, and entertainment services.Thai Nguyen, an economic locomotive of the northern mountainous region, possessesmany advantages for industrial production, especially steel production, with an annualcapacity of more than 800,000 tons. It also boasts famous high-quality tea products, withover 70,000 tons capacity per year.Thai Nguyen is also well known for the Nui Coc Lake ecological tourism site and teabrands such as Tan Cuong, Trai Ca and La Bang.The province expects to welcome 750,000 tourists and earn over VND300 billion ($18.75million) from travel and hotel services in 2007. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 29, VietpanDatabase)Laos Prioritizes Licensing for Vietnamese ProjectsThe Lao Government will continue to prioritize licensing Vietnamese projects,particularly in the fields of power, mining and rubber plantation, said Lao DeputyMinister of Planning and Investment, Thongmy Phomvisay.Vietnamese investors have to date poured $757.6 million in 142 projects in Laos,Phomvisay said at a conference in Vientiane on July 29.
  • 92. At the conference, the third for Vietnamese investors in Laos, Vietnamese companies andLao authorized agencies discussed issues for projects’ implementation and bilateral trade.They also agreed to propose the two governments to adopt more policies to boostinvestment cooperation in the near future.Two-way trade value between Vietnam and Laos reached $312 million in 2007, up 20%on year.In the first five months of this year, the figure hit $192 million and was estimated at $240million in the first half, up 58% against the same period of 2007. (Vietnam News AgencyJul 30, Vietpan Database)Tourism:Int’l Tourist Arrivals to Vietnam Capital Up 21.5% in Jan-JulyHanoi, the capital city of Vietnam welcomed more than 757,700 international touristarrivals in the first seven months of this year, reporting an on-year increase of 21.5%, theNhan Dan newspaper reported Wednesday.The figure accounts for nearly 20.5% of the total number of tourists to the city in thereviewed period, the newspaper added.The markets with largest number of tourists to the city come from China, Thailand, theU.S. and Australia, the local tourism department said.Hanoi also reports tourism revenues of VND5.56 trillion ($347.5) and hotel roomoccupancy of over 75% in the seven-month span, it added.The municipal People’s Committee plans to build high-end tourist areas and adoptmechanisms and policies for businesses and investors to execute tourism projects.Currently, Hanoi boasts 34 3-5 stars hotels, which meet only 70% of international touristdemand during this “hot” tourism season.Hanoi is not only the tourism center but also tourist distribution center for Vietnam. Atpresent, the number of foreign tourists to Hanoi accounts for 33% of that of the wholecountry. (The People July 30 p1, Capital Security July 30 p6)Politics & Law:Vietnam, China Close 28th Border Negotiation Round in BeijingVietnam and China have just completed the 28th-chair-level meeting of the Vietnam-China joint committee for land border demarcation in Beijing with pledges to solve
  • 93. remaining issues to finish the land border demarcation and border marker planting thisyear, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.The two sides are unanimous in instructing border demarcation teams to immediatelyimplement the consensus reached at the meeting, Vietnam News Agency said.The Chinese and Vietnamese sides will re-sit for 29th chair-level meeting in Vietnam inAug this year, the agency said.Recently, Beijing pressured Exxon Mobile Corp to stop a project in the East Sea, or theSouth China Sea, heating the Sino-Vietnam ties and Hanoi had kept silent for a couple ofdays before Le Dung spokesman of the Foreign Ministry Jul 25 confirmed with Reutersthat cooperative projects lie within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zones and continentalshelf.In early June this year, Vietnamese and Chinese communists agreed in a 9-pointstatement on the occasion of recent visit by party chief Nong Duc Manh to China thatthey will beef up the comprehensive ties and to complete the border land demarcation thisyear, accelerate implementation of the framework agreement on oil and gas cooperationin agreed waters zones of Tonkin Gulf.Hanoi reiterated many times its stance to support one-China policy of Beijing, and itshosting worldwide-famous Beijing Olympic 2008. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 29,Foreign Ministry’s Web site, Vietpan Database)Labor & Education:Labor Ministry Seeks Gov’t Approval for Minimum Salary HikeThe Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) is going to submit aplan to raise minimum salary to the government for approval, the Dau Tu newspaperreported Wednesday.The plan is part of the national minimum salary reform for the 2008-2012 period inwhich minimum salary will be adjusted every September.Details of the plan have not made available at the moment.If the plan is approved, the new salary hike will be effective from January 1, 2009.The Vietnamese government raised minimum salary by 13%-38% for workers indomestic and foreign-invested enterprises in January 1, 2008.Since 2003, the government has raised the minimum salary four times. However,laborers’ needs are not met.Vietnam plans to apply a standard minimum wage for all sectors by 2010. (InvestmentJuly 30 p2, Vietnam Panorama)
  • 94. Vietnam, U.S. Universities Boost IT Education TiesThe Vietnam Software Engineering Group (SEG Vietnam), an alliance betweenVietnamese and U.S. universities, is preparing to launch its first IT training course thisOctober, the Thoi Bao Kinh Te newspaper reported Tuesday.With majors in software engineering and information system, the curriculum will includefour-year university courses and short-term classes for businessmen.Established last June, SEG Vietnam is a group of five Vietnamese universities andinstitutes and the U.S.’s Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) which aims to offer the mostprofessional software technology training in Vietnam as well as in the Asian region.Vietnam’s IT human resource training and exports are welcomed in many countries, theGeneral Secretary of the Vietnam Software Association, Pham Tan Cong, said.In the U.S., Vietnam ranks 20th among 25 countries which are attractive in softwareengineering and was Japan’s most favored IT partner last year. The UK and Denmarkhave also pledged to ensure jobs for trained Vietnamese IT workers.The Ministry of Information and Communication said that Vietnam now has 18,000students in 93 universities, 156 colleges and 60 training centers studying informationtechnology.The country will need between 12,000 and 15,000 IT engineers in the 2008-2010 periodand 20,000-25,000 in the 2011-2015.The country will spend at least 2% of the state budget on high-tech development in theupcoming time. (Vietnam Economic Times July 29 p4, Pioneer July 29 p13)Health & Environment:Vietnam Reports 4,143 Acute Diarrhea Patients in Jan-JulVietnam has witnessed 4,143 acute diarrhea cases, including 649 cholera patients sinceearly this year, the An Ninh Thu Do newspaper said, citing the statistics of the Ministryof Health (MoH).In July, the country identified 441 residents contracting acute diarrhea in 18 provincesand cities, 67 of them were tested positive to cholera virus, but no death was reported.Dr Nguyen Huy Nga, head of the Health Provision and Environment Department underthe MoH, said the country saw a sharply increasing number of acute diarrhea cases withrising food poisoning cases in northern Ha Nam, Nam Dinh, Hung Yen provinces in July.
  • 95. Bad food hygiene and safety, germs from the relapsed disease were blamed for the mainreasons of the outbreaks, Nga added.The ministry also said that Vietnam had 20,000 cases of dengue fever in the first sevenmonths of this year. Of those, the southern region recorded the highest number of caseswith 16,000, including 20 fatalities. (Capital Security Jul 30 p6, Pioneer Jul 29 p2, YoungPeople July 29 p1 & 17, Laborer July 29 p15, The People Jul 29)AES Corp Starts Work on $2.2 Mln Sewage Treatment Plant in Central VietnamU.S.-based AES Corp, INTIMEX Cos Manioc Starch Factory July 28 kicked off theconstruction of a $2.2 million sewage treatment plant in central Nghe An province, theThoi Bao Kinh Te newspaper said Wednesday.The plant will help treat wastewater from the factory with a daily capacity of 200 tonsand collect used gas from product-drying and processing activities to save energy, thepaper said.It is expected to be operated in September 2008. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 30 p4)JBIC Continues Helping Southern Vietnam Improve EnvironmentThe Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) will set up a credit fund to helpimprove environment in southern Binh Duong province, the banks representative wascitied by the Vietnam News Agency as saying Wednesday.The province has invested 1.6% of its total budget to protect environment in the2007-2008 period, Tran Thi Kim Van, vice chairman of the provincial PeoplesCommittee said on the occasion of her recent meeting with JBICs representative.JBIC has granted a preferential loan of JPY7.7 billion ($66.7 million) to build a $78.4million wastewater treatment plant with a daily capacity of 17,650 cubic meters in a bidto improve water environment of an area between the Dong Nai and Sai Gon Rivers inthe province. (Vietnam & World Economy Jul 30 p2, VNA)Culture & Society:Vietnam Enhances Communication Role in Child ProtectionAwareness of laws and skills to protect children from being abused and subjected toviolence is still low, mainly attributed to the ineffective and loose coordination amongauthorities, a conference was told July 29.The conference, held in Hanoi by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, wasaimed to strengthen the communication’s role in preventing children from being abusedand to support street children and those having to work under unhealthy and dangerousconditions.
  • 96. “Many social organizations have taken actions to help solve the problem, but they havenot cooperated well. Campaigns are only carried out in a formal manner and efforts tosupport specific cases have not been seen,” Dang Hoa Nam, deputy director of thechildren’s department told the workshop.Nam also added that financial issues also posed difficulties for local offices to carry outcommunication campaigns on the problem.The conference heard that over the past three years, there have been 450 cases of childabuse reported in Hanoi and 200 cases in Ho Chi Minh City.Mass media bodies have run some 565 articles in newspapers, televised over 2,600 newsshows and broadcast 202 programs on radio and television on the issue. (Vietnam NewsJul 30 p3, The People p7)Stock Market:Vietnam Airlines May Delay Share SaleThe national air carrier - Vietnam Airlines- will probably postpone its plan to sellbetween 10% and 20% of its stake to foreign strategic partners until next year due to thedomestic fuel price hike and stock market fall, the Times newspaper said.The sale may be delayed further if the Vietnamese economy continues to decline.The countrys economy has seen many difficulties since early this year, with CPI rise of27.04% from a year ago and trade deficit estimated at $15.01 billion in Jan-Jul. Thegovernments tightened monetary policy has aimed to curb soaring inflation, but createdgreat challenge for local enterprises.Vietnam Airlines suffered from a loss of VND83 billion (some $5 million) in the first sixmonths of this year due to the price hike of oil, state media reported.The carrier has adjusted its flight schedule since early this year, which helped it save3,000 tons of fuel worth VND90 billion, including 2,000 tons in June. Its plan to launchits direct flight to the U.S has also likely been postponed again.Vietnams government has recently raised retail petrol price by more than 30%, makinggreat hindrance for transport sector.The stock market, meanwhile, has lost over 50% so far this year, making many sharesales and IPOs fail. Fund managers with significant portfolio exposures to Vietnam saythat the past few months have been dreadful, the Times said.(http://business.timesonline.co.uk Jul 28, www.impactpub.com.au Jul 29, Stock News Jul29)
  • 97. PetroVietnam to Continue Buying Stake in GP BankThe Vietnam Oil & Gas Group (PetroVietnam) said it would continue acquiringadditional stake in the Global Petroleum Commercial Joint Stock Bank (GP-Bank) after itofficially announced Tuesday to withdraw from Hong Viet Bank.The group, which is holding a 9.5% stake in GP Bank, will buy extra shares in the banksnext share sale to increase its registered capital, the Labor newspaper reported."Our move complies with the two sides strategic cooperation contract signed in 2006 thatframed clear roadmap for PVN to increase stake in the lender," the group said.PetroVietnam added that the decision to divest capital in Hong Viet Bank is to help curbinflation and slash public investments in line with the governments requirements. So, theprocedures to set up and operate Hong Viet Bank will be decided by other shareholders.Previously, PVN contributed VND1 trillion to Hong Viet Bank out of total VND2.5trillion from all founding shareholders. Hoa Phat Group then pulled out its VND300billion from the establishment. (Labor Jul 30, Vnexpress Jul 30)SaigonTel Stakes 51% to Establish Communication FirmThe Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HOSE) announced that SaigonTelecommunication and Technologies Corp (SaigonTel, coded SGT) would contribute a51% stake to setting up VTC-SaigonTel Communication Corporation (VSM Corp).VSM has a registered capital of VND160 billion ($9.7 million) with three foundingshareholders including SGT, Vietnam Multimedia Corporation (VTC) with a 29.8% stakeand Kinh Bac Urban Development Joint Stock Company (KBC) with a 19.2% stake.The new firm will specialize in producing 24/24h television programs related to domesticand international economic information, financial analysis, stock market andentertainment on VTCs analog channel.Currently, the total advertisement costs on Vietnams television system are estimated at$400 million per year, SaigonTel said, expecting VSM will bring added value to itsshareholders.SGT, the HCMC-based IT developer and Internet service provider, now has a registeredcapital of VND450 billion. It has recently joined hands with Taiwanese Teco Group tobuild $1.2 billion Software Park in HCM City.In 2007, its revenue soared 13 folds and its net profit was up 8 folds on year. (VietnamEconomic Times Jul 29 p8, CafeF Jul 29)
  • 98. Jul 30: Vietnam Shares Climb Up on Buying in Blue ChipsVietnams shares ended higher Wednesday for a third day in a row on local buying inblue chips amid optimism that inflation would not rise fast in the coming months asglobal crude oil prices are falling.“Local players continue to buy shares with expectation that the government will be ableto restrain inflation because it is making further efforts to control domestic prices,” aHanoi-based player said.Sentiment is also boosted after state media said prices of paddy in Mekong Delta aredecreasing, he added.“Many investors agree with a brokerage firm when it recently forecast the key index atbetween 560 and 600 at the end of this year,” the trader said.VN-Index today rose 3.87 points, or 0.87%, at 448.27.Market volume was 19 million shares valued at VND664.6 billion Wednesday, up from13 million shares valued at VND369.6 billion Tuesday.STB, the most active stock today, fell 0.4% at VND23,500 on 4.3 million shareschanging hands.DPM, the second most active stock, rose 1.8% at VND56,000 after trading 2.9 millionshares, of which foreign investors bought 951,140 shares and sold 7,400 shares.PET jumped up 2.6% to close at VND23,400 on 758,460 shares, including 129,630shares bought and 500 shares sold by foreigners.REE gained 2.9% at VND32,200 on 622,970 shares, with foreign investors buying40,420 shares.DHA is the most advancer, rising 3% at VND27,600 on 198,360 shares.SSI, meanwhile, fell 3% at VND42,200 on 610,680 shares, of which foreign playersbought 18,970 shares and sold 13,610 shares.In total, 63 stocks closed higher, 83 lower and nine unchanged.All four fund certificates closed lower. (HOSE July 30)Vietnam NewsJuly 29, 2008Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,498
  • 99. Banking & Finance:Toyota Vietnam Allowed to Set up Financial ArmJapan’s Toyota Vietnam has received a license from the State Bank of Vietnam to set upa one-member liability financial company in the country.The company, namely Toyota Finance Services Vietnam Company Limited (TFSVN),has a registered capital of VND300 billion ($18.8 million) and lifespan of 50 years.The Ho Chi Minh City-based company is allowed to issue bills, bonds, certificates ofdeposits and other valuable papers to raise funds from domestic and foreign individualsand organizations.TFSVN will also provide credit for individuals and agents to buy cars of Toyota andconsumer guarantee services.Toyota Motor Vietnam has been operating in Vietnam for 13 years and become theleading automaker in the country now. The firm announced the sale of its 100,000thvehicle in May 2008. (SBV Jul 29, VnEconomy Jul 28)Australian Audit Firm Opens Rep Office in HanoiCPA Australia, the worlds sixth biggest professional accounting body, has recentlyinaugurated a representative office in Hanoi to start official operation in Vietnam nextmonth, state media reported.The move is in response to membership growth and increasing demand for qualifiedaccountants in Vietnam, said PA Australia President Alex Malley at the inauguratingceremony on July 26.CPA Australia will be working closely with local professional bodies and regulatoryagencies, such as the Ministry of Finance to build the capacity, competence andindependence of the accounting profession in Vietnam.More than 100 CPA Australia members have been working in Vietnam but the numberneeded to increase significantly if the accounting profession was to keep pace withVietnams expanding economy, Malley said.CPA has also been licensed to open a representative office in Ho Chi Minh City, he said,adding the Business Development Manager will be working there from early August.(Labor Jul 28 p7, Vietnam Economic Times Jul 28 p4)Vietnam Fulfills 66.7% State Budget Revenue Target
  • 100. Vietnam’s state budget revenues are estimated to reach 66.7% of the yearly projection asof mid July, reported the General Statistics Office (GSO).Collection from domestic taxes accounted for 61.9% of the annual plan, from crude oilfor 71.2% and from import-export taxes for 75.8%.Among domestic revenues, collection from the state-owned economic sector fulfilled59% of the yearly estimate, from the foreign invested sector, excluding crude oil, 52.7%;from the non-state industrial and trade sector 59.7%, from personal income tax 75.5%,from gasoline fees 53.2% and other fees and charges 55.4%.The state budget expenditure is estimated to represent 56.8% of the annual estimate.Spending for development investment made up 48.7% of the whole year plan, forinfrastructure development 47.5%, for development of socio-economy, national securityand administration 57.5% and for debt and assistance payment 57.7%.Vietnam’s National Assembly late last year approved the plans to collect state budgetrevenues of VND323 trillion ($20.187 billion) and expenditures of VND398.98 trillion($24.93 billion) this year. (GSO Jul 28)Vietnam Learns about India’s Export Credit Insurance ExperiencesThe Vietnamese inter-ministerial delegation led by Head of the Export-ImportDepartment Pham The Dung has paid a week-long visit to India started July 24 to studyexport credit insurance, the Nhan Dan (People) newspaper reported.During the stay, the delegation has worked with the Indian Industry and Trade Ministry,the Union of Export Organizations, the Export Credit Insurance Organization, the CentralBank, the India Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and many organizations andenterprises at New Delhi and Mumbai.Vietnam is a stable market and most enterprises ensure payment on time to maintain theirprestige. For the past five years, only two Vietnamese-related cases were dealt by theExport Credit Insurance Organization, noted Indian organizations and businesses.Apart from exchanging experiences in export credit insurance, the two sides alsodiscussed trade. Indian businesses said they wish to be provided with more informationon Vietnam’s politics and economy.Indian businesses, especially those who are doing their business in Vietnam, showedinterest in measures the Vietnamese government has taken to curb inflation, stabilize theeconomy and maintain a healthy investment environment for foreign investors.
  • 101. The Ministries of Industry, Trade and Finance are working on a plan to set up a companyto provide credit insurance in order to help exporters and banks mitigate risks fromunpredictable fluctuation of major currencies commonly used in international trade.Statistics from the MoFs Insurance Department showed that local enterprises havebought export credit insurance for only 3%-5% of their exports. (The People Jul 29 p7,VNA Jul 28)Vietnam Intl Bank Launches New E-banking ServicesVietnam International Bank (VIB Bank) on July 28 launched new e-banking servicescalled VIB4U, targeting customers who are connected to the internet, the Tuoi Trenewspaper reported today.VIB Bank’s www.vib4u.com.vn and www.vib.com.vn websites now offer externalnetwork payments, regular money transfers, international money transfer, opening andadjusting L/C, debt clearing and proposals for account disbursement.“E-banking is the common development trend of Vietnamese banks and VIB aims tobring optimal e-banking services to its customers,” VIB bank’s Deputy General DirectorDuong Quang Khanh said at the launching ceremony.The services will be made available to customers in Vietnam’s five major cities,including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.VIB Bank is guaranteeing super security in its e-bank services, which they say apply themost advanced e-banking technology available worldwide.VIB Bank also plans to launch e-lending services and cooperate with other webcompanies to operate online shopping. (Youth Jul 29 p15, Economy & Urban Jul 29 p5)Trade:Vietnam’s Retail Sales Surge 29.8% to $33 Bln in Jan-JulVietnam’s total retail sales of goods and services are estimated at VND527.5 trillion ($33billion) in the first seven months of 2008, representing a growth of 30% on year, theGeneral Statistics Office (GSO) reported Monday.Per capita spending in the period was VND886,000 a month on average, doubling theVND438,000 monthly spending in 2007.The trade sector made the greatest contribution in retail sales with revenues of VND434.8trillion, or 82.4% of total, up 30.2% on year.
  • 102. The hotel and restaurant sectors saw a sale growth at 24.9% to VND59.5 trillion, theservice sector at 30% to VND26 trillion, and the tourism sector posted the highest growthat 47.6% to VND7.2 trillion.The individual economic sector is the biggest seller with revenues of VND295.7 trillion,making up 56% of total and representing an increase of 32.9% on year.The runners-up are the private sector with sales of VND153.5 trillion, the state-ownedsector with VND59.9 trillion, the foreign-invested sector with VND12.9 trillion, and thecollective sector with VND5.5 trillion. They witnessed an on-year growth of 35%, 6.2%,32.1% and 34.5%, respectively.The high growth of retail sales is mainly attributed to the surging prices of goods andservices.The country’s consumer price index (CPI) is estimated to rise 19.78% in July from thebeginning of this year. (GSO Jul 2008)Vietnam, Chile Want to Sign Free Trade Agreement ShortlyVietnam attaches an importance to negotiations of bilateral free trade agreement withChile and wants to learn experiences of the Latin American country in internationaleconomic integration process, the Vietnam National Assembly’s official said July 28.National Assembly Vice Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong received a delegation of Chileanparliamentarians led by Vice President of Chamber of Deputies, Jorge Ulloa in Hanoi.Speaking with the guests, the chairwoman affirmed the Vietnamese NA supports theestablishment of a joint government committee and hoped the two sides would soon holdthe first meeting of the committee to boost economic, trade and investment relations andfind out cooperation fields.The Chilean legislator, in return, said Vietnam is one among Asian dynamic economiesand a gate for Chilean exporters to ship their goods to the region.Chile is willing to work as a bridge for Vietnam to enter the Latin American market, andin return, wants Vietnam to help Chile open the Asian market’s door, he said.They agreed that the two legislative bodies should boost the exchange of delegations aswell as increase the mutual coordination at the Inter-Parliamentary Union and regionalinter-parliamentary forums.During the visit to Vietnam from July 25-31, the Chilean guests plan to have workingsessions with leaders of some Vietnamese ministries and sectors and visit a number oflocalities.
  • 103. The bilateral trade between Vietnam and Chile has constantly increased over the pastthree years, hitting $161 million in 2006. The figure is predicted to reach $300 million in2010. (VNA Jul 28, Youth Jul 29 p1, New Hanoi p8)Germany Becomes Vietnam Second Biggest Coffee ImporterGermany has become the second biggest coffee importer of Vietnam, the Dau Tu TaiChinh (Financial Investment) newspaper said.Last year, the western European country imported 234,000 tons of Vietnamese coffee outof 1.1 million tons it imported. The newspaper did disclose the comparative figure.Vietnam is targeting $2 billion coffee export revenues this year, Luong Van Tu, chairmanof the Vietnam Cocoa and Coffee Association (Vicofa) said, adding the global coffeedemand will increase by two million 60-kilogram bags a year.In the seven months this year, Vietnam shipped abroad 662,000 tons of coffee, or 11million 60-kg bags of coffee valued at $1.383 billion, down 26% on year in terms ofvolume but up 3.8% in terms of value, General Statistics Office said.Currently, Vietnamese 5% broken robusta coffee of class 2 is trading at $2,145-$2,150/ton, FOB, for spot delivery contracts.Vietnam now has around 500,000 hectares under coffee cultivation, exporting 850,000tons of coffee to 70 countries and territories worldwide yearly. (Financial Investment Jul28 p15, Vietpan Database)Vietnam Imports $1.83 Bln of Autos & Spare Parts in Jan-JulVietnam is estimated to have spent $1.83 billion importing automobiles and auto spareparts in the first seven months of this year, up 199.4% on-year, the government statisticsshowed.The country bought 43,000 finished automobiles worth of $812 million from January toJuly, up 290.1% in volume and 265.1% in value on-year, according to the statistics.Concerns about further increases in imported duties saw domestic car traders rush toimport autos, pushing the volume of imported vehicles up sharply in January-July period,The tax on imported new cars was increased twice in April, from 60% to 70% and then to83%.Higher auto import taxes combined with sky-high lending interest rates have bitten theauto business this year, leaving dealers with packed showrooms but few customers. (GSOJuly Edition, Vietpan)
  • 104. Vietnam to Launch Foreign Market Portal in AugThe Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) will officially inaugurate theforeign market portal at www.thitruongnuocngoai in late August, Vietnam EconomicTimes newspaper reported.The move aims to help domestic enterprises have more access to information on foreigncountries and territories worldwide, said the ministry, adding that it will also help toboost the country’s export turnover.Around 60 Vietnam Trade Offices abroad will upload market-related information on theportal.Vietnam is estimated to earn $36.87 billion from exports in the first seven months of thisyear, up 37.7% on-year, and imports $51.88 billion worth of commodities, up 56.8%.The nation’s imports are forecast to increase 31% on-year to $80.2 billion this year, lowerthan $85.7 billion target set by the government, while the country will attain an on-yearexport growth of 26% to $61.2 billion, said the ministry. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul29 p3, GSO Jul 2008)Industry:Vietnam’s Crude Oil Production Down 6% to 8.56 Mln Tons in Jan-JulVietnam is estimated to have produced 8.56 million metric tons of crude oil in the firstseven months of this year, down 6% on year, said the General Statistics Office (GSO).In July, the country’s crude oil production is forecast to reach 1.21 million tons, down5.1% on year, the office said.The fall in crude oil volume is mainly due to lower production at Bach Ho, the countrysbiggest oilfield, a source from the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade said.Between January-July, Vietnam is estimated to produce 4.43 billion cubic meters ofnatural gas and 145,000 tons of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), down 0.2% and 18.7% onyear, respectively, the GSO said.GSO said that Vietnam is the third largest crude oil producer in Asia, exporting 7.8million metric tons of crude oil valued at $6.8 billion in the first seven months of thisyear, up 52.2% on year in value and down 12.1% on year in volume. (GSO Jul 2008)Vietnam Industrial Production Up 16.4% to VND382.34 Tln in Jan-Jul
  • 105. Vietnam is estimated to make total industrial production value of VND382.34 trillion($23.17 billion) in the first seven months this year, up 16.4% on-year, reported theGeneral Statistics Office (GSO).July’s industrial production is VND56.42 trillion, a rise of 16.1% on-year, the office said.Of the total value, the state-owned sector contributes VND86.78 trillion, up 6.7% on-year; the private sector VND136.88 trillion, an on-year increase of 22.2%; and foreign-invested enterprises VND158.67 trillion, up 17.3% on-year.Industrial production has faced many difficulties in the period, especially the soaringinput costs due to the price hikes of materials and fuels.However, many industries obtain high growth in the seven-month span. For example,lorry makers generate an on-year growth of 96.2%, passenger car 78.6%, washingmachine 54.2% and powdered milk 36.6%.Meanwhile, the leatherette footwear industry sees the sharpest reduction at -40.6%,followed by LPG at -18.7% and crude oil -6%.All big cities and provinces, except southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, reportedly enjoya positive industrial growth in the January-July period.Northern Vinh Phuc province takes the lead with growth of 30.9%, followed by thenorthern province of Ha Tay with 25.4% and southern Binh Duong province ranks thirdwith 24.4%.The country’s two biggest cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City achieve growths of14.7% and 13%, respectively. (GSO July 2008)WB Funds $6 Mln for Rural Energy Project in Vietnam Central ProvinceThe World Bank has recently funded $6 million for central Binh Dinh province to carryout Rural Energy Project Phase II (REII), the Vietnam Economic Times newspaperreported July 29.The WB has approved 26 communes in the province that have downgraded power gridsto join the REII.RE II, which spans between 2008 and 2009, costs a total of $327.8 million, including$220 million from the WB, and $5.25 million from the Global Environment Fund.RE II will benefit 1,200 communes in 30 cities and provinces across Vietnam, which isexpected to reduce the power leakage rate in rural areas from current between 20% and30% to 10%.
  • 106. The bank has committed to provide $800 million a year to Vietnam over the next fiveyears. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 29 p3)Indian Firm to Provide Equipment for Nam Chien Hydropower PlantIndian Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) July 28 clinched a deal with aVietnamese firm to provide electro-mechanical equipment for 200-MW Nam Chienhydropower plant, said Nguyen Van Quan, general director of Nam Chien HydropowerJoint Stock Company.BHEL will also help the Vietnamese partner train technicians for the hydropower project,the official said.The two-turbine hydropower plant is under construction on the Chien Stream in NgocChien and Chieng Muon communes, Muong La district of northern Son La province.Broken ground in the late of 2007, the plant with a total investment of VND4.1 trillion($248.48 million) is expected to generate 814 million kWh of power per annum oncefully operational.BHEL is willing to join hands with other Vietnamese state-owned companies to set upjoint ventures for producing boilers and hydropower equipment in Vietnam.The Indian government signed an agreement early this year to provide a credit packageworth $45 million to help Vietnam build the plant.Vietnam plans to raise the total capacity of hydropower generation projects to more than18,000 MW and the annual output of over 80 billion kWh by 2015, under the nationalpower development plan through 2015 and span to 2025, or plan VI. (Vietnam & WorldEconomy Jul 29 p1, Vietpan)Agriculture:Cashew Exports Up 50% to $490 Mln in Jan-JulVietnam is estimated to have fetched out $490 million from exporting 81,000 tons ofcashew nuts in the first seven months of 2008, up 50.1% on year in value despite a veryslight rise of 2.2% in volume, a report of the General Statistics Office (GSO) showed.However, Vietnamese cashew nut processing and exporting companies thought they willnot be able to fulfill their target at $825 million export revenues in 2008 as almost all ofthem are seriously lacking material, according to the Vietnam Trade Information Center.Decreased cashew output due to unfavorable weather in southern and central highlandsprovinces will hit local processing companies, the Vietnam Cashew Association(Vinacas) said, adding that the serious shortage will occur in the fourth quarter of 2008,and early 2009.
  • 107. To ease the shortage, local companies had to import around 150,000 tons of cashew nutsfrom Cambodia and Africa countries in the first six months of this year. But increasedcashew import prices also worries the companies.Nguyen Duc Thanh, acting chairman of the Vinacas, said cashew import prices soaredfrom $820 a ton late May to $900-$1,300 a ton early June.“Quality of imported cashew is much lower than Vietnamese,” Thanh noted.Thanh added that Vietnamese companies are now facing with difficulties caused byincrease of dollar value, and high lending rates.He said production costs rose 40%, of which material cost soaring 40%, labor, 30%-35%,and other costs rising 30% to 35%, but cashew export prices surged only 25%-30%.(Vinanet July 28)Vietnam Exports $2.343 Bln Seafood in Jan-JulVietnam is estimated to have exported $2.343 billion worth of seafood products in thefirst seven months of 2008, an on year rise of 17.7%, according to latest report of theGeneral Statistics Office (GSO).The GSO said in July, the country’s export revenue from seafood was $430 million, upfrom $380 million in June.The report showed that in July 2008, Vietnam’s aquatic product output was around427,500 tons, up 15% against the same month of last year. The total included 251,000tons from aquaculture farms, up 21.5%; and 176,500 tons from fishing vessels, up 2.7%.The figures brought the country’s total aquatic product output in the first seven months of2008 to more than 2.55 million tons, up 11.4% on year, including 1.986 million tons offish (+14.1%), and 231,600 tons of shrimp (+1.5%).Of the total, aquaculture farms contributed 1.296 million tons, up 25%, while fishingvessels contributing 1.255 million tons, up 0.1% from the first seven months of 2007.According to the report, Vietnamese fishery sector is now facing with difficultiesresulting from increased aquatic feed prices, but decreased seafood export prices, andsoared fuel prices.Currently, total volume of fish unmarketable in Mekong Delta provinces are still big,including 25,000 tons in An Giang, 27,000 tons in Dong Thap, 12,000 tons in Can Tho,and 11,000 tons in Kien Giang.
  • 108. Meanwhile, hundreds of fishing vessels in the Mekong Delta are idle because of recentpetrol hikes. Oil prices for fishing ships on July 21 went up VND2,000 a liter toVND20,000 a liter. (GSO July Edition)Mekong Delta Introduces 9 Good Paddy VarietiesAgricultural experts in Mekong Delta region have selected nine good paddy varieties outof total 132 that are expected to help increase paddy quality and productivity inVietnam’s granary, the Vietnam Agriculture reported.The varieties, cultivated in the 2007-2008 summer-autumn crop, include OM6073,OM5199, OM5451, OM6072, OM5464, OM5472, OM5453, OM4088 and OM2474.They will replace current varieties like IR50404 that are weak at resisting pest insects.As of middle July, localities nationwide have cultivated 988,400 hectares of paddy,including 836,200 hectares in the north, and 152,200 hectares in the south.Southern region have cultivated more than 1.93 million hectares of summer-autumn crop,up 5.5% on year, including 1.69 million hectares in Mekong Delta provinces.But according to the Plant Protection Department, brown planthoppers have damagednearly 220,000 hectares of paddy in the region, including 192,000 hectares of summer-autumn crop.Meanwhile, more than 2,500 hectares are getting stun-leave disease.In the first seven months of this year, Vietnam imported $323 million worth of pesticide,up 48.5% from the same period of 2007, according to the General Statistics Office(GSO). (Vietnam Agriculture July 29 p11, GSO July Edition)Japan Helps Recover Mangrove Forests in Central VietnamForty specialists of the Japan Action for Mangrove Reforestation (ACTMANG) attendedthe Japan-Vietnam afforestation program from July 25 to 27 to help recover four hectaresof mangrove forests in central coastal Khanh Hoa province, the Vietnam News Agencysaid.The program was carried out by the ACTMANG, Tokio Marine Co, the Center forResearch of Environment and Natural Resources under the Hanoi National Universityand Khanh Hoa province.The program aims to recover mangrove forests in countries coping with risks of salineintrusion into the mainland.
  • 109. It has helped grow over 2,500 ha of mangrove forests in Vietnam since 1992, including20 ha in Khanh Hoa province. (Vietnam & World Economy Jul 29 p4)Business:Sacom Breaks Ground on $134-Mln Resort in Central HighlandsThe Cable and Telecommunication Materials Corporation (Sacom Corp.) under theVietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) July 28 started construction on a$134-million resort in Central Highlands Lam Dong province, state media said.Sacom, headquartered in Bien Hoa Industrial Park 1 in southern Dong Nai province, willbuild the resort on a site of 270.88 hectares at Dalat town’s Tuyen Lam Lake TouristPark, the Young People newspaper reported.The company will build an 18-hole golf course, a 400-room five-star hotel, a 150-roomfour-star hotel, the paper said.The resort will also house 400 villas and entertainment facilities, golf and yacht clubs, atrade centre and a water park area.According to Sacom General Director Do Van Trac, the villas and the golf courses areexpected to begin operation in late 2010, while work on the entire projects is due to becompleted at the end of 2011.He added that Sacom’s project will be the largest among 32 registered projects in LamDong so far.Lam Dong province has to date licensed 32 projects valued at VND5.5 trillion ($327.8million) to invest in the Tuyen Lam Lake Tourist Park, located six kilometers from Dalattown.The province, 308 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City, has great potentials for tourismdevelopment with a convenient climate, together with splendid landscapes and culturalresources.The number of visitors to the province is estimated to reach 700.000-800.000 per year,including 10% foreigners. Hotels and guest houses see a capacity of 20.000 visitors perday. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 28, Thanh Nien Daily Jul 29 p6, Vietpan Database)High Demand Continues Pulling Paper Prices UpPrices of papers will continue soaring next year due to high demand of domestic market,the Vietnam Trade Information Center (VTIC) said on its Web site, citing the VietnamPulp and Paper Association (VPPA).
  • 110. The association said at a meeting it is seeking way to reduce paper shortage in theremaining months of this year that Vietnam needs around 130,000 tons of printing paperin 2008, but domestic supply can meet only 54%.The VPPA said prices of writing paper and notebook will continue surging, calling onlocal companies to boot imports in order to ensure sufficiency for growing domesticdemand in the upcoming school year.The Vietnam Paper General Company promised to offer 70,000 tons of paper, while TanMai Paper JSC pledging to provide 42,000 tons of printing paper and 25,000 tons ofwriting paper to the market from now to the end of 2008.The association forecast Vietnam’s demand for printing paper will rise by 30% in 2009,to around 165,000 tons, of which 60,000-80,000 tons will be imported. The country’sdemand for writing paper will be 461,000 tons, with 380,000 tons will be locallyproduced.Vietnamese paper companies said it will have to raise paper prices, but promising to keepthe prices some 10% lower than imports’.In the first seven months of 2008, Vietnamese companies spent $472 million importing585,000 tons of papers, up 40.6% on year in value and 23.7% in volume, according to theGeneral Statistics Office (GSO). (Vinanet July 29, GSO July Edition)Vietnam Fashion Fair 2008 to Open in HCMCMore than 100 local and international clothing companies will take part in VietnamFashion Fair 2008 in Ho Chi Minh City tomorrow [July 29], the Vietnam News Agencyreported.The Vietnam National Textile & Garment Group (Vinatex), the Vietnam Textile &Apparel Association (Vitas) and Hong Kong Company CP Exhibition will jointlyorganize the event which will feature 240 stalls displaying the latest industry wares.They hope the four-day fair will encourage local garment companies to develop newpartnerships and create promotional and marketing options at home and abroad.The event’s theme is Integrating and Developing in the Global Economy, said NguyenHuu Binh, Vinatex deputy director.Vietnam Fashion Fair 2008 is expected to bring together Vietnamese and foreignbusinessmen, and provide them with more opportunities to understand each other andfurther business relationships, he said.
  • 111. More than 60 international commercial delegations from import markets, such asAustralia, China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Russia and the U.S., will participate inthe fair.Binh said this year the fair will include 14 local companies from the Vietnam Leather &Footwear Association (Lefaso) displaying new materials and production lines infootwear.“Both garment and footwear industries are facing difficulties to develop their business inforeign markets. Through the fair, we can work together and find new chances,” saidLefaso secretary general Nguyen Van Khanh.One of the fair’s highlights is a fashion show and dinner gala to premiere the latestcollections from seven young designers working for industry leaders in Hanoi and HCMCity, including Viet Tien, Viet Thang, Hanosimex, Toan Thinh, HG. Victory, PhuongDong and MAY 10.The organizers expect to draw 70,000 visitors. The fair will open at 9 am on Wednesday,at 446-518 Hoang Van Thu Street, Tan Binh District. (VNA Jul 29)Honda Vietnam Rolls Out its 5 Millionth BikeHonda Vietnam has recently rolled out its five millionth motorbike at its plant in thenorthern province of Vinh Phuc after twelve years of production, the Vietnam NewsAgency reported.The Japanese-invested firm, which produces motorbikes, scooters, and sedans inVietnam, last year pumped $60 million to its second factory to specialize in producingscooters.The $290-million company, a joint venture between Honda Motor of Japan, Asian Motorof Thailand and the Vietnam Engineering and Agricultural Machinery Corporation, sold600,000 motorbikes in the first half of this year.Honda Vietnam expects to sell 1.3 million motorcycles in Vietnam this year, up from 1.1million units last year.Honda Vietnam remains the largest motorbike manufacturer in Vietnam. It held 38% ofmarket share in 2007.It plans to put into operation the second motorbike manufacturing plant with an annualcapacity of 500,000 units late this year.The company now has 365 authorized sale agencies nationwide. (VNS Jul 29 p16)
  • 112. Thousands of Vietnam Websites Hacked Last WeekendMore than 10,000 websites with the domain “.vn” have been out of action for more than aday after the hosting company’s websites were hacked last weekend, the Thanh Niennewspaper reported Tuesday.Most of the websites were believed to belong to associations and enterprises in Vietnamthat subscribed to the domain via PA Vietnam, the country’s second biggest provider ofhosting, server and co-location services.People trying to access the PA Vietnam websites (pavietnam.net and pavietnam.com)were forwarded to or were directed to international search engines.According to technicians from PA Vietnam, the company’s websites had been hijacked,with the administration of the websites transferred to www.onlineic.com.“It is believed the hackers broke in through a hole in DNS to control the administration,”said VNCERT Technican Branch Chief Do Ngoc Duy Trac, adding that the hackers hadmodified all domain name systems (DNS) of the websites, which crashed the websitesthat used the company’s DNS services.All crashed websites may have lost important information, said the Vietnam ComputerEmergency Response Team (VNCERT), recommending Vietnam Internet NetworkInformation Center (VNNIC) and other internet service providers (ISPs) assist therecovery work.PA Vietnam Ltd, which is affiliated to the Ministry of Information and Communications’National Domain Center, is one of the companies that provide the “.vn” domain.Statistics from VNNIC showed PA Vietnam was hosting more than 9,700 activedomains, accounting for 14.39% of the domestic market.Last month, more than 2,600 computer viruses new to Vietnam attacked around 5.5million computers in the country.In 2007, about 90,000 computers in Vietnam were infected with a virus each day, causingthe country’s computer users a total loss of VND2.4 trillion ($150 million). (Youth July29 p2, Young People July 29 p3, Pioneer July 29 p1, Thanh Nien Daily July 29 p3)Politics & Law:France Proposes Closer Ties with Vietnam in Global Food, Energy CrisisVietnam and France need to further boost cooperation in addressing global challenges,particularly food and energy crisis, French Senator President Christian Poncelet has madethe call during the meeting with Vietnamese national assembly speaker.
  • 113. Vietnam, the second biggest rice exporter in the world, and France, also a big cerealshipper in EU, should deepen cooperation in ensuring food security, Vietnam NewsAgency said Monday.France highly appreciates the role of non-permanent United Nations Security Council andclear stance on anti-nuclear activities for military aims, the French Senator President said,highlighting that the European country wants to beef up ties in health, clean water, andchild adoption.France as EU presidency will convince the bloc to recognize Vietnam’s market economy,he said.President Poncelet recommended that with great hydropower potentials, Vietnam shoulddiversify energy sources such as wind-to-power, solar power to meet its rapidlyincreasing demand.In return, the Vietnamese national assembly speaker said that Vietnam wants to learnexperience and high technology from France in environmentally-friendly production,governance, finance, banking, stock market and anti-inflation.Recently, EU member-countries have reached a common consensus in Brussels to endthe Generalized Systems of Preferences for Vietnamese shoes effective from early nextyear to 2011.Vietnam expects to export $10.4 billion worth commodities to the European Union (EU)this year, an on-year rise of 23.5% this year, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said.(Vietnam News Agency Jul 28, Vietpan Database)Vietnamese Deputy PM Meets with Malaysian Trade MinisterVietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai July 28 received MalaysianMinister of Industry and Trade Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin at the Government Office toshare experience and boost bilateral cooperation ties, local media reported.Two-way trade has increased 10 folds over the past decade, Hai said, adding thatMalaysia, which leads ASEAN countries in investments in Vietnam, has great potentialfor cooperation with Vietnam in the fields of petrol and oil, manufacturing and energy.Mr Hai hoped that Vietnam and Malaysia will further exchange experience in shifting theindustrial structure.For his part, Mr Yassin said he was impressed by Vietnam’s recent socio-economicachievements, especially in the fields of agriculture, industry and internationalintegration.
  • 114. While focusing on strengthening educational establishments to provide high-skilledworkers for industries, especially high-tech ones, Malaysia also wants to promotecooperation with Vietnam in the industrial and commercial fields, he added.Vietnam has incurred trade deficit with Malaysia for years, said the Ministry of Industryand Trade, adding that its major imports from the ASEAN country include chemicals,electronic products, iron and steel products, transport equipment, textile and clothing.The country earned $627.86 million from goods exports to Malaysia in the first fourmonths of this year, said the ministry. (The People Jul 29 p1, Vietnam & World EconomyJul 29 p2, VOV Jul 28, Vinanet)Labor & Education:EU, ILO Help Vietnam Develop Human ResourcesThe European Union and the International Labor Organization (ILO) will contribute themajority of $18.3 million project to develop human resources in Vietnam by 2010, theCong An Nhan Dan newspaper reported.The project will focus on strengthening local capacity in labor market planning,improving information sources, addressing localities’ demands and training lecturers.Branching out into vocational training schools and employment centers in 15 provincesand cities, the project will approach local job hunters and seek recruitment information inorder to profile the country’s labor supply and demand, and provide consultancy invocational training.It will also conduct research on the labor demands of trades and economic sectors.The 15 provinces and cities benefiting from the project are Hanoi, Hai Duong, Bac Ninh,Phu Tho and Ninh Binh provinces in the north, Ha Tinh, Lam Dong, Dak Lak, QuangNgai and Danang in the central, and Ho Chi Minh City, Long An, Can Tho, Dong Naiand Ben Tre provinces in the south.“Vietnam’s human resources have been increasingly improving with 35% of theworkforce having received training. However, there have been physical and intellectuallimitations in the workforce,” Minister of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs NguyenThi Kim Ngan said at the project launching.In response, Director of the Vietnam ILO office, Rie Vejs-Kjeldgaard, said that just likeother Asian economies, Vietnam has a major challenge in narrowing the gap betweenprofessional skills needed by enterprises and those provided by the educational system.Vietnam now has more than 2,000 vocational training centers which have been activelyreforming their curriculum and opening courses in new trades to meet business demands.
  • 115. The country plans to earmark VND7.6 trillion ($475 million) from the state budget forthe development of vocational training by 2020 with the ambition to increase the ratio oftrained workforce to 55%. (People’s Police July 29 p14, The People July 29 p8, VietnamEconomic Times July 29 p1, News July 29 p5)800 Taxi Drivers Strike in Hanoi After Gasoline Price HikesNearly 800 taxi drivers of the Hanoi Tax Company went on strike July 27 and 28 as theylose VND40,000 per 100 kilometers due to unfair profit sharing after gasoline pricessoared 31% to VND19,000 from Jul 21, the Ministry of Information and Communication-run VietnamNet newswire said Tuesday.“We charge VND500,000 per 100 kilometers on average, however, receive onlyVND160,000 with the 35%/65%-sharing profit ratio, which means that we loseVND40,000 because our tax company owner calculate a taxi consumes only eight litersof gasoline, but in fact it needs 10-12 liters to run,” Lam Hoang Anh, a taxi driver said.They also said that they did not receive a 2% petrol allowance as pledged by thecompany, the newswire said.Meanwhile, Le Duc Trung, vice director of the firm refused to comment.So far ten taxi companies said they have increased 10%-15% of taxi charges while otherssaid they will raise the charges from early August.The Hanoi Taxi Association said that the capital city has 38 taxi firms which operate2,592 taxis and employ 4,403 drivers, the Dan Tri (People’s Intellect) newswire said.(vietnamnet.vn Jul 28, dantri.com.vn)Health & Environment:Vietnam Reports 600,000 Hospital Infections AnnuallyUp to 600,000 patients or 8% of the total hospitalized patients in Vietnam contractedbacteria at hospitals annually, said a conference held the Ministry of Health in Hanoi July28.The infections make patients’ treatment at hospitals last between 9.4 and 24.3 days longerwith additional treatment fees by VND2 million-VND32.3 million.They also cause multi-anti-drug and antibiotic abuse, said the conference.Digestion, operation and respiration infections are very popular at Vietnam’s hospitals.With a population of 86.5 million, the world’s 13th most populous country has a highdemand for drugs, with the country’s per capita medicine consumption rising from$11.23 in 2001 to $13.4 in 2007.
  • 116. The figure is estimated to reach $15.2 this year. (Liberation Saigon Jul 29 p1, The PeopleJul 29 p5, Pioneer Jul 29 p2)Work Begins on $233 Mln Sewage Treatment Plant in HanoiThe Hanoi City Peoples Committee July 28 granted a license for Malaysias GamudaLand LLC to build the $233 million Yen So Park sewage treatment plant, six km south ofHanoi, the Vietnam News Agency said Tuesday.The 8.8 ha plant with a daily capacity of 200,000 cubic meters will service 1.2million-1.5 million Hanoians, the agency said.Work on the new plant will begin after dredging and clean-up operations in five heavilypolluted lakes in the Yen So Park are completed.It is scheduled to be finished in October 2010 to mark the 1,000 Year-Thang Long-HanoiFestival.The plant is part of the 327 ha Yen So Park project to help reduce pollution and improveenvironment in the inner city, Chief Representative Officer of Gamuda Land in Vietnam,Steven Chu said. (Vietnam Law Jul 29 p10, Vietnam Economic Times Jul 29 p1, NewHanoi Jul 29 p1, VNA)Floods, Landslides Kill 12 in Northwestern VietnamFloods and landslides triggered by heavy rains have killed 12 and 3 missing and causedgreat losses in northwestern Vietnam over the past few days, the Thoi Bao Kinh Tenewspaper said Tuesday.Preliminary statistics showed that torrential floods from July 26 to 27 swept away oneperson, injured 10 others and collapsed 19 houses in Xin Man district, northernmountainous Ha Giang province.The natural disaster washed away a concrete bridge, seriously damaged irrigational worksand blocked traffic in six communes in the district with losses estimated at VND13billion ($787,800), the paper said.Meanwhile, landslides have also disrupted traffic means, particularly trains in Lao Caiprovince, leaving thousands of passengers stranded at local railway stations.Torrential rains also stroke Dien Bien, Tuyen Quang, Yen Bai and Son La provincescausing great human and property losses.
  • 117. The National Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Control askedlocalities authorities to promptly implement measures to prevent the floods. (VietnamEconomic Times Jul 29 p1, VOV)Culture & Society:Vietnam Receives $100 Mln Grants from NGOs in H1Vietnam has disbursed $100 million grants from non-governmental organizations(NGOs) in the first half of this year, the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations(VUFO) was citied by the Phu Nu Viet Nam newspaper as saying Monday.The NGOs-funded projects focused on education, health and community development,the paper said.Some of NGOs continued providing their support to Vietnam in terms of democracy,human rights, religion and Vietnamese AO/dioxin victims’ lawsuit against U.S. chemicalcompanies which supplied AO/dioxin to the U.S. armed forces during the Vietnam War.The union has to date approved 43 news NGOs, licensed 30 NGO offices and protractedoperation licenses for 107 organizations.The new organizations will help Vietnam implement effectively the communitydevelopment projects in the impoverished localities, the union said.This year, the foreign NGOs will dole out around $250 million to help Vietnam reducepoverty and handle social issues, the Vietnam News Agency said.Vietnam has established relations with 600 foreign NGOs, 500 of which have long-termcommitment and regular activities in the country.Last year, the ASEAN country had disbursed more than $220 million worth of assistancefrom international NGOs. (Vietnam Women Jul 28 p4, VNA)Australia Pledges $92,000 for Vietnams Social ProjectsThe Australian Embassy in Hanoi has pledged to fund AUD97,000 ($92,000) forVietnam to carry out small-scale social development projects from now until June nextyear, state media reported Tuesday.The projects, aimed to help disadvantaged communities from Thua Thien-Hue tonorthward provinces with the focus on the areas of health, education and environmentwill be funded through the embassy’s Direct Aid Program (DAP).DAP funding is available to individuals, communities groups and no-governmentalorganizations engaged in development activities, in Vietnam, on a not-for profit basis.
  • 118. DAP assisted small-scale development projects in Hanoi and the provinces of Bac Giang,Bac Ninh, Hai Duong, Ha Tay, Thai Binh, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh,Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue in the 2007-2008 fiscal year, according to the VietnamNews Agency.The news agency said, besides DAP funding, Australia will grant an estimated AUD104million in official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam in the 2008-2009 fiscalyear.Vietnam is now one of the biggest ODA recipients of Australia. Australia aids in theSoutheast Asian country concentrate on some priority fields such as human resourcedevelopment, agricultural and rural development, health, state management efficiencyand support in integration into the world economy.In the period of 2006-07, the Australian government gave Vietnam a total amount of$70.6 million. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 28, Vietnam Law Jul 29 p14)Stock Market:Vietnam Still Attractive to Investors-French Economic AnalystMartin Hutchinson, an international market and economic analyst, said that investorsshould not underestimate Vietnam’s advantages and that the market remains attractivedespite the global economic slowdown.Vietnam’s stock market has lost 61% of its value, compared to its peak period more thana year ago, which makes investors unsure about the advantages of investing in thecountry, Hutchinson wrote in an article on French newspaper Le Monde July 26.The national economy, however, is not as gloomy as investors thought, according to theanalyst.The countrys recent petrol price hike of 31% is predicted to drive inflation up by 27% bythe end of the year. He quoted statistics, saying that Vietnams trade deficit made up 30%of its GDP in the first half, but foreign investment accounted for 65% of the GDP.Even though the government has had to slash down public spending and raise bankinterest rates, so there are some grounds for optimism rather than pessimism.The situation in Vietnam is not as gloomy as in Eastern European countries, he said,noting that the nation has 85 million consumers and all its economic sectors have highcompetitive capabilities.The high inflows of foreign investment have helped Vietnam create more jobs over thepast years, Hutchinson said. The state spending has been generally safe.
  • 119. The central bank is trying to keep the exchange rate stable to avoid creating a “bubble”phenomenon in the property market. While foreign investors still find that the productioncosts in Vietnam are low.All these factors are helping Vietnam avoid crisis, the analyst concluded.(www.cpv.org.vn Jul 28, VOV News Jul 28, Economy & Urban Area Jul 29)Securities Remains Attractive Investment Channel-AnalystVietnam’s stock market is seen the most attractive for investors in comparison with otherinvestment channels of gold, U.S. dollar and property, MA Dinh The Hien, a financialand independent investment expert said.Hien made the affirmation in the seminar "Analysis of Investment Features andOpportunities from Realty, Gold, Foreign Currency and Securities in Current Situation"held by Vincom SC in HCM City.Securities investors often have various options to choose stocks based on their financialcapacity and companies performance, Hien said.Shares on HOSE and HASTC are quite cheap for buying as their value have lost50%-60% so far.Meanwhile, gold and U.S. dollar are not effective investment channels as they are onlygood reserve hedges against high inflation and depreciation of Vietnam dong, he noted.The property market also offers fewer opportunities for individual investors.Recently, Bao Viet Securities Company has also released an analysis, saying that petrolprice hike is a good signal for the economy in the long-term, which will help boost thestock market in the second half of this year. The VN-index closed up 2.2% to 444.4 today[July 29]. (Securities Investment Jul 28 p6)Agribank Jewelry Co. to Offer 3.8 Mln Shares for AuctionAgribank Jewelry Trading Company (AJC) will sell 3.8 million shares via the (HASTC)in its IPO on August 21.This is the first affiliate of the Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam,the country’s largest lender, to go public.AJC will sell the shares at the initial price of VND10,200 each.The Hanoi-based company has a regisetered capital of VND206 billion, specializing intrading, importing and exporting of gold, jewleries and precious stones.AJC is a domestic prestigious company, with staff of more than 500 people, one jewel
  • 120. manufacturing factory, a gold bar produce factory, five branches, mroe than 20 centersand five agent for gold bar with 3 A-grade.AJC is one of two companies opening bonded warehouses in Vietnam, beside SaigonJewlery Company (SJC). (VnEconomy Jul 29)Jul 29: Vietnam Shares Rise on Lower Fuel Price HopesVietnams shares ended lower Tuesday for a second straight day as local investors boughton hopes that the government will lower domestic gasoline prices, closely following theglobal trend.Oil prices are forecast to drop to $70-$80/barrel in the coming months if dollar is toappreciate and Iran tension is solved, state media said.“Many market participants share the view that the government will reduce fuel pricessooner or later because prices of oil in global markets are falling,” a player withPVSecurities said.“Investors continue to return to market because they have eased concerns about surginginflation in coming months resulting from oil hike,” he said.VN-Index today gained 9.76 points, or 2.25%, at 444.4.Market volume was 13 million shares valued at VND369.6 billion Tuesday, down from13.4 million shares valued at VND387.6 billion Monday.SSI, the most active stock today, closed up 2.8% at VND43,500 on nearly 2 millionshares, including 113,360 shares sold by foreign investors.SAM, the second most active stock, fell 2.7% at VND22,000 after trading 1.2 millionshares, of which foreign investors bought 7,920 shares and sold 509,000 shares.PVT slid 2.6% to close at VND14,800 on a trade of 569,320 shares, including 700 sharesbought and 417,520 shares sold by foreigners.VTO shot up 16.3% at VND15,900 on 556,560 shares, with foreign investors selling130,000 shares.IMP topped the advancers, rising 3% at VND103,000.TCR diluted 12.6% at VND11,100 on ex-right date.The taxi operator Vinasun (VNS) hit the bourse today at VND48,000 with 6,080 sharestraded.
  • 121. In total, 109 stocks closed higher, 42 lower and five unchanged.Among four fund certificates, one closed higher and three lower. (HOSE July 29)Vietnam NewsJune 28, 2008Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,496Banking & Finance:Vietnam Central Bank Declines to Lower Compulsory ReserveThe State Bank of Vietnam, the country’s central bank, will not lower the compulsoryreserve ratio in coming months, Governor of SBV Nguyen Van Giau affirmed at ameeting session with commercial banks in Ho Chi Minh City last weekend.Several banks at the session proposed the SBV to reduce compulsory reserve, but itdeclined the reduction.The SBV was also proposed to extend refinance time and encourage other banks toreduce deposit rates.Giau said that interest rates will fall gradually following the slowdown of inflation.Commercial banks should negotiate to fix interest rate for different terms, he suggested.(Vietnam Economic Times Jul 28 p1)Techcombank Boosts Foreign Currency SupplyVietnam Technology and Commerce Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) has recentlyannounced that the bank will strengthen its foreign currency supply to the market, theHanoi Moi newspaper reported.The foreign exchange rate in the free market tends to increase strongly and quickly fromJuly 21 due to psychology factor. Banks in general and Techcombank in particular, havebeen satisfying quite well the forex demand under listed rates, said Techcombank.Techcombank recommended customers, especially those who have legitimate purpose onbuying foreign currency should buy foreign currency at official forex systems such ascommercial banks instead of in the "black market".On July 28, Techcombank offered to buy the dollars at VND16,700/$1 while the forexrate in the free market was ranged at between VND16,900 and VND16,960.(http://www.hanoimoi.com.vn/vn/42/174912/ Jul 24)
  • 122. Money Laundering Not Yet Found in Vietnam: Central BankAnti-money laundering center under the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has not found anysigns of money laundering in banking transactions since its establishment in March lastyear, a seminar in Hanoi heard July 25.The center had investigated 20 transactions suspected of laundering money but found notrace of the crime, Pham Mai Phuong from the center said at the anti-money launderingseminar.Phuong, however, alerted that Vietnam will deal with the crime in a more sophisticatedmanner in the future as its World Trade Organization membership provides a fertileground for this activity.Vietnam has adopted regulations mandating the fight against money laundering, notablyArticle 251 of the 1999 Penal Code, Article 19 of the 1997 Law on Credit Organizationsand the Governmental decree on the combat of money laundering issued in 2005.Advisor to the Vietnam-based UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Ric Power,said Vietnamese law enforcement agencies have not yet interpreted the regulations intotheir operations and thus failed to perform effectively in the fight against the launderingof money.The UNODC official also recommended the nationwide deployment of measures tocombat money laundering in line with international standards.He outlined the need to formulate an anti-money laundering system to aid the fightagainst corruption and crime.The UNODC has to date helped concerned Vietnamese agencies to improve theirworking capability and build the anti-money laundering system.In November, experts of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) will cometo Vietnam to enquire into and assess the country’s anti-money laundering activities.According to the anti-money laundering decree issued by the Government in June, 2005,financial institutions are obligated to report to the SBV’s anti-money laundering center ofsuspicious transactions, deals in cash or foreign currencies and gold worth more thanVND200 million and saving deposits of VND500 million upward for investigations onmoney laundering. (Vietnam Post Jul 28 p2)TienPhongBank Licensed for Forex ServicesThe State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), or the countrys central bank, has allowed the TienPhong Joint Stock Commercial Bank provide foreign currency services, the SBV websitereported July 25.
  • 123. Under the Document No.6703/NHNN-CNH dated July 23, 2008, the newly-establishedTienPhongBank was affirmed by the SBV to meet all terms to involve in the services.The TienphongBank has come into operation since mid-2008 with a registered capital ofVND1 trillion and three foundation shareholders of FPT, Vinare and VMS Mobifone.Within this year, TienphongBank will expand its network in big cities such as Hanoi, HoChi Minh City, Danang, Haiphong and Can Tho.The TienphongBank will be the first Vietnamese lender to apply ISO 9001:2000 standardfrom the beginning of operation. With advantages in technology from FPT, the banktargets to provide e-transactions for customers everywhere. (www.sbv.gov.vn Jul 25)Dong A Bank to Install Additional 1,000 ATMsDong A Commercial Joint Stock Bank is planning to install an additional 1,000automated telling machines in Ho Chi Minh City and some other provinces by the end of2009, said the bank general director Tran Phuong Binh.DongABank will invest about $2 million in the project to facilitate companies in payingsalary for their employees, Binh said.The bank will increase the number of ATMs to 2,000. (Liberated Saigon Jul 27)Trade:HCM City to Promote Trade in AustraliaThe Ho Chi Minh City Investment and Trade Promotion Center (ITPC) will conduct amarket survey in Australia next month, said Director Truong Trong Nghia.The trip aims to survey Kinnears complex and research distribution networks andcustomer demand in order to serve for the establishment of Vietnam Trade Center inAustralia, Nghia noted.Currently, Australia is the seventh largest trade partner and fourth biggest importer ofVietnam.Bilateral trade between the two nations reached nearly $9 billion in 2007.Vietnam mainly exported crude oil, seafood, cashew nut, woodwork products,handicrafts, coffee, rice, rubber, garments and textiles and footwear to the foreign countryand imported pharmaceutical products, grain, foodstuff processing machines, electricequipment, metal, steel, foodstuff and chemicals. (Laborer Online Jul 27, Vietpan)
  • 124. Vietnam High-quality Products & Exports Fair to Open in CambodiaThe Ho Chi Minh City Investment and Trade Promotion Center (ITPC), SaigonMarketing newspaper and the Vietnam high-quality producers club will co-organize theVietnam High-quality Products & Exports Fair 2008 in Cambodia from September 18 to22 in Phnom Penh.This will be a good chance for Vietnamese high-quality producers and Ho Chi MinhCity’s exporters introduce and promote their products and seek more partners.During the five-day event, many cultural exchange activities will take place.Apart from the fair, the organizers will also hold market surveys in Phnom Penh, SiemRiep, Battambang, and Thailand’s northeastern area.Bilateral trade between Vietnam and Cambodia is expected to reach $2.45 billion in 2010and will increase to $7 billion in 2015.The ambitious goal has been set as part of the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade(MoIT)’s plan to accelerate trade and investment with its neighbors from now until 2015which was announced at a meeting on the issue in Ho Chi Minh City May 4.In 2006, two-way trade reached $940 million, up 35.6% on-year, including $770 millionworth of Vietnam’s exports. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 28 p4, Vietpan)Steel Prices Sharply Rise after Petrol Price HikeSteel prices in Ho Chi Minh City have soared after the Ministry of Finance July 21 hiked31% of retail price of gasoline to VND4,500 per liter, Vietnam News Agency reportedMonday.Ø 6-8 steel increased by VND700-VND2,000 per kilogram July 23 while Pomina andVina Kyoei steel have now climbed VND23 million-VND24 million from VND21million last week.South steel is now being priced at VND21.7 million-VND22 million per ton. Ø 16 & 18steel bars increases to VND396,000-VND495,000/bar (excluding transport fees).In addition, fees for steel transportation have also increased rapidly. (Vietnam & WorldEconomy Jul 28 p17)Industry:Vietnam Okays $140.6 Mln for Bio-diesel Production PlanThe Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has recently approved aplan worth VND2.32 trillion ($140.6 million) to plant Japotra curcas trees to supply
  • 125. material for bio-diesel production, the Vietnam Economic Times newspaper reported July28.Under the plan, Vietnam intends to grow 30,000 hectares of the tree to trial producing30,000 tons of bio crude oil by 2010, the ministry said.The acreage will be expanded to 300,000 ha by 2015 and 520,000 ha by 2025 when thecountry will build a bio-diesel production plant with a designed capacity of one milliontons per year, it elaborated.The tree has been present in Vietnam since the 14th century and is able to grow inimpoverished soil and bald hills, the source said.Oil extracted from the tree can be directly blended to diesel of oilfields in accordancewith the proportion of 0.5% to 20% in order to create bio-diesel that has betterperformance and can reduce oil effects on the environment.Vietnam in particular and the world in general are warned of facing energy crisis;therefore, people are looking for various methods of producing renewable and alternativeenergy sources. The country is encouraging bio-fuel development such as biogas, bio-diesel, ethanol to ease its current power lack.The power-thirsting country plans to turn out 250,000 tons of ethanol and vegetable oil tofuel 1% of the national gasoline demand by 2015. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 28 p3,Vietpan)Hoan Vu JOC Starts Oil Production at Ca Ngu Vang OilfieldHoan Vu Joint Operating Company has recently started oil production at Ca Ngu Vangoilfield offshore southern Vietnam, the Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper reported July 28.The oilfield located at Block 09-2 in the Cuu Long basin is estimated to have an output of221.6 million barrels, or 30.24 million tons of oil and 11.03 billion cubic meters ofnatural gas at 2P level.Hoan Vu JOC invested $286 million in the oilfield to operate it within 20 years.It was founded by in 2002 Vietnam’s state-owned oil monopoly PetroVietnam group,Soco International of the U.K., and PTT Exploration and Production Plc (PTTEP) ofThailand.Hoan Vu JOC aims to produce 400,000-500,000 million tons of oil in 2008.Recently, PetroVietnam CEO Dinh La Thang said the group has planned to operate fivenew oilfields sooner than scheduled in a bid to fulfill its set target to produce between
  • 126. 15.5 million and 16 million tons of crude oil this year regardless of current difficulties inproduction.The oilfields include Su Tu Vang, Ca Ngu Vang, Phuong Dong, Song Doc and BungaOrkid, which have a combined production output of about 100,000 barrels a day.(Investment Jul 28 p14)Boiler B Run Trial at Dung Quat Oil RefineryThe management board of Vietnams first oil refinery Dung Quat has recently joinedhands with contractor Technip to run trial boiler B at the plant, the Investment newspaperreported.The facility is one among four boilers A, B, C, D, with each having capacity of 196 tonsof super high-pressure steam an hour at the refinery.They are functioned to supply steam to run four power-generating turbines, each has acapacity of 27MW, thus ensuring safe power supply to the operation of Dung Quat oilrefinery.The board has imported 5,000 tons of diesel oil in order to prepare for the boiler’s trialrun. It plans to import an additional 6,000 ton of oil to feed trial run of the remainingthree boilers in the coming time.The contractor Technip has also completed installing single-point mooring system (SPM)and diesel oil importing system at the refinery.The state-owned oil monopoly PetroVietnam group, the oil refinerys investor, plans tooperate the refinery February 25 of 2009 in a bid to ease the country’s burgeoningpetroleum imports.The underway $2.5-billion oil refinery, with expected products of propylene, liquefiedpetroleum gas (LPG), lead-free petrol, diesel and fuel oil, will meet 33% of the country’sentire demand for petrol and oil.Vietnam spent $7.75 billion importing 8.29 million metric tons of petroleum products inthe first seven months of 2008, up 90.7% on year and 11.4%, respectively, due to the lackof major oil refineries. (Vietnam Net Jul 27, VNA Jul 26)Work Begins on Vietnam’s Largest Alumina PlantConstruction of a $466-million alumina plant, the largest of its kind in Vietnam, waskicked off in central highland Lam Dong province July 26, state media reported.
  • 127. The plant is part of the $687-million Lam Dong bauxite and aluminum complex which isinvested by the Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin). Thecomplex is set to cover 2,297 hectares of land.The China Aluminum International Engineering Co. (Chalieco) won the contract buildthe plant within two years.Initially, the alumina plant is set to turn out annually 600,000 tons of alumina, a whitepowder for producing aluminum.The plant is scheduled to go on stream late 2010 to make total revenues of VND3.5trillion ($212.12 million) in 2011.“The plant is the start-up of the aluminum industry in Vietnam. It is important to thealuminum industry in particular and the country’s industrial sector in general in nextdecades” said Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai at the breaking-groundceremony.The alumina plant is expected to help boost socio-economic development in the centralhighlands, he added.According to Vinacomin, the facility will use raw material - bauxite ore - at the Tay TanRai Mine in Lam Dong province, which has an estimated reserves at 67 million tons.Vinacomin also plans to build an aluminum hydrate plant with a capacity of400,000-600,000 tons annually in Di Linh district. (Investment Jul 28 p3, News Jul 28p5, People’s Army Jul 28 p1)Vietnam to Import 1.87 Mln Tons of Clinker in H2Vietnam will have to import 1.87 million tons of clinker in the second half this year tosupply materials to the domestic cement production, the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaperreported.In the six-month span, the country is estimated to need 19 million-20 million tons ofcement, the newspaper said.In the first half this year, Vietnamese cement makers imported 2.12 million tons ofclinker.The Ministry of Construction forecast that the national demand for cement this year willincrease by between 10% and 14% compared to last year.Vietnam’s total cement output is estimated to reach 40 million tons this year as 11cement plants are set to go on stream in 2008. (Youth Jul 28 p14)
  • 128. EVN Requested to Keep Power Price Unchanged This YearVietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has recently demanded the state-owned Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVN) to maintain power price stable this year atthe expense of the power price hike roadmap approved by the government in order to fuelthe national efforts to curb bourgeoning inflation, the Hanoinet daily reported.The Vietnamese government will help EVN boost investment and speed up constructionpaces of power projects scheduled for operation this year to ease current power thirst,regardless of national efforts to tame inflation by tightening control over currency andnarrowing investment in construction projects, Hai said.The government official has asked state-owned commercial banks to ensure sufficientloans for power projects, and set up three inspection teams to securitize EVNsdisbursement for sluggish power projects.With current average power price of VND842 (5-6 U.S. cents) per kilowatt-hour, EVNsprofit is estimated at between 3% and 5% per annum, which is rather modest against theminimal 12% yearly to ensure normal operation of a power company, the daily said.EVN is put in a dilemma as it is responsible for ensuring power supply for all localitiesnationwide at any situations, a source from the group said.Unchanged power price is preventing investors to pumping capital in the electricitysector, which is partially blamed for current severe power shortfall in Vietnam, EVNnoted.Under an electricity price roadmap approved by the Vietnamese Government fromJanuary 1, 2007, average retail power prices rose by 7.6% to VND842 (5-6 U.S. cents)per kWh and will again be bumped up by 4.5% to VND890 (5.56 US cents) per kWh byJuly 1, 2008.EVN has recently proposed to raise the power retail prices to VND917 ($5.73 U.S. cents)instead of VND890 ($5.56) to apply from July 1 this year; however, the proposal wasturn down to facilitate inflation curbing. (HCM City Law Jul 28 p13, Urban Labor Jul 28p3, Hanoinet Jul 27, Vietpan)Vietnam to Build 13 Power Plants in South by 2015Vietnam plans to build an additional 13 power plants with a combined capacity ofbetween 3,700 MW and 5,000 MW in the southern key economic area by 2015,according to the national power development plan through 2015 and span to 2025, orplan VI.The move is aimed at meeting the region’s increasing power demand that is estimated togrow 18.21% per annum, the Saigon Liberation newspaper reported.
  • 129. Meanwhile, its power capacity is forecast to increase by 16.98% yearly from current6,040 MW, the source said.Vietnam intends to build 12 more thermal power plants with a combined capacity ofbetween 6,300 MW and 7,000 MW in the northern key economic area by 2015.The country is forecast to lack 8.6 billion kWh of electricity this year and 36 billion kWhin 2020 and 120 billion kWh in 2030. (Saigon Liberation Jul 28 p2)Agriculture:PetroVietnam Starts Work on Vietnam’s Biggest Fertilizer PlantThe Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) and Chinese contractors –Wuhuan Engineering Corporation (WEC) and the China National Machinery Import andExport Corporation (CMC) July 26 kicked off construction of the Ca Mau FertilizerPlant, local media reported.The plant with total investment of $900 million will produce around 800,000 tons offertilizer a year once operational in 2012.Ca Mau Fertilizer Plant is the largest project in the manufacture of fertilizer that has everbeen undertaken.“The plant is of importance to agricultural production, helping stabilize fertilizer pricesand ensure national food security, boosting industrialization and modernization,” PrimeMinister Nguyen Tan Dung said at the ground-breaking ceremony.Dung also asked the investors to do their best to keep the project on schedule and meetsafety and quality standards.The Ca Mau Fertilizer Plant will be built on 52 hectares in U Minh district’s Khanh Ancommune, southernmost Ca Mau province. It is scheduled for completion in 42 monthsand is expected to create more than 600 jobs.General Manager of Petrol Viet Nam, Mr Tran Ngoc Canh said that this project is a partof its large-scale project named “Ca Mau Gas-Power – Fertilizer” invested by Petrol VietNam. (Saigon Liberatioin July 26, Vietnam & World Economy July 28 p1, VNA July 27)Fertilizer Imports Up more than 100% in Jan-JulVietnam is estimated to have spent $1.105 billion importing 2.327 million tons offertilizers in the first seven months of 2008, representing sharp on year rise of 118.9% invalue despite a slight rise of only 10.7% in volume, latest report of the General StatisticsOffice (GSO) showed.
  • 130. Of the total, the country imported 575,000 tons of urea fertilizer worth $223 million, up60.4% on year in volume and 138.3% in value.The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said Vietnam needsaround 430,000 tons of fertilizer for summer-autumn crop from Jun to Sept this year,including 170,000 tons for the north, 310,000 tons for the central and 200,000 tons for thesouth.The ministry said with stockpile of 120,000 tons, and local production of 240,000 tonsfrom July to Sept, the country will have to import at least 120,000 tons by September, orbetween 50,000 and 70,000 tons monthly, to meet domestic demand.The MARD added that total demand for 2008-2009 winter-spring crop from late Sept2008 to Mar 2009 will reach 870,000 tons, adding that the country will have to import100,000 tons of fertilizer a month by the time. (GSO July Edition, Vietnam & WorldEconomy July 28 p17)Vietnam Expects $125 Mln Seafood Exports to Australia in 2008Vietnam is expected to rake in $125 million from exporting 30,000 tons of seafood toAustralia in 2008, up from 25,070 tons worth nearly $123 million last year, the VietnamTrade Information Center (VTIC) said on its Web site.VTIC said in the first half of this year Vietnam exported 10,750 tons of seafood toAustralia, notching up $55.54 million, up 19% in volume and 20% in value, against thesame period of last year.Tra and basa catfish, and frozen shrimp are key Vietnamese seafood items most preferredin Australia. Catfish exports accounted for more than 56% in volume and nearly 39% invalue during the January-May 2008, while frozen shrimp accounting for 25.4% and47.78%, respectively.Vietnamese catfish was selling for around $3-$3.1 a kilo, while export prices of frozenshrimp were $9.4-$9.8 a kilo.According to the VTIC, seafood has been the second biggest earnings of Vietnam fromAustralia during the past five year, behind crude oil.In 2006, seafood exports to Australia hit $126.3 million, accounting for 3.45% ofVietnam’s total export value from country.Vietnam’s seafood exports to Australia kept rising from 2004, hitting $77.1 million inrevenues in 2004, and $96.23 million in 2007. (Vinanet July 28)
  • 131. Business:ADB to Grant Additional $1.1 Mln to Help Vietnamese Small, Medium CompaniesThe Asian Development Bank and the State Bank of Vietnam Jul 25 signed two technicalassistance deals worth $1.1 million in grant to help improve professional skills for smalland medium enterprises and business climate in Vietnam, Vietnam News Agency saidMonday.The grant is directly to be funded by the Japanese government, the agency said.The first $500,000 technical assistance will focus on improving the local business climatein the 2008-2010 period and the second $600,000 technical assistance is aimed atbettering professional skills for SMEs in service and industrial sectors. (Vietnam NewsAgency Jul 28 p7)$93.75-Mln Trade Complex Kicked off in HanoiThe Military Petrochemical Joint Stock Company July 27 started construction on a trade-office-apartment complex worth VND1.5 trillion ($93.75 million) in Vietnam’s capitalcity of Hanoi, local media reported.The project consists of two apartment buildings with 27 storeys each and a 20-storeyoffice building with the first five floors being trade center.The internationally-standardized complex located at 229 Tay Son Street, Dong Dadistrict, is slated for completion in 2010.By mid-2007, the capital city had three trade centers and 43 supermarkets, said the HanoiIndustry and Trade Department. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 28 p3, Investment Jul 28p2, Labor Jul 28 p7)Vietnamese Firms Invest $17.5 Mln in Binh Long Rubber IZVietnamese companies July 25 broke ground construction of the Minh Hung III-BinhLong Rubber Industrial Park, with total investment of VND289 billion ($17.5 million),state media said.Eight companies invested in the park, with the Binh Long Rubber JSC being the biggest.The park covers more than 291 hectares in Minh Hung commune, Chon Thanh district ofsouthern Binh Phuoc province, including 180 hectares for construction of plants, and 28hectares for services.After the ground breading ceremony, DONGWHA group from the Republic of Korea,and the NDFVRG Vietnam signed a contract to invest $125 million in building a woodmill with total capacity of 300,000 cubic meters a year. (Vietnam Agriculture July 28 p6)
  • 132. Jetstar Increases Sydney-HCM City FlightsAustralia’s low cost carrier Jetstar announced it will operate five flights on Sydney-Darwin-Ho Chi Minh City route on Airbus A320, instead of the current Sydney-Ho ChiMinh City flights from September 2 this year, Vietnam News Agency said.Jetstar Group Commercial General Manager Bruce Buchanan said the new route will helplink Australia’s southern states with Darwin city, aiming to turn the city into a northernhub for international flights.The carrier will also open direct domestic flights from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbaneevery week and Adelaide to Darwin and weekly international return services fromDarwin to Southeast Asian destinations such as Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City afterSeptember 2.Jestar plans to launch a Perth-Denpasar (Bali) route with three or four fights per week onAirbus A320 from October 27 and three-time weekly A320 services between Perth andJakarta from October 28. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 26)Malaysian Retailer Parkson Opens Third Outlet in HCM CityParkson Group, a leading Malaysian shopping mall operator, July 26 inaugurated its thirdoutlet in Ho Chi Minh City, the fifth of its kind in Vietnam, the Labor newspaperreported.The $3-million Parkson C.T Plaza, located at the gateway of Tan Son Nhat InternationalAirport covers 31,1700 square meters.Apart from this 11-storey outlet, Parkson is now operating four others, including two inHo Chi Minh City, one in Hanoi and another in Haiphong.Parkson, first operated in Vietnam in 2004, is set to build more four or five stores inHanoi, said Tham Tuck Choy, general director of Parkson Hanoi.Parkson is owned by Malaysian Lion Group, a huge conglomerate comprising variouscompanies trading in steel, computer hardware and farm items, and with interests inretail, property, and education. (Labor Jul 28 p7, Vietpan)SimEx-Iwerks Provides Facilities for Vietnam 4-D CinemaThe Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange-listed Tan Binh Culture Joint Stock Co Jul 26made debut the 4-D cinema using Turbo Ride technology by the U.S. SimEx-Iwerksgroup at the Alta Plaza building in Ho Chi Minh City, the first and most modern inVietnam, Vietnam News Agency said.
  • 133. The movie house is equipped with high-end electric seat systems that can move differentways to create strong sensation for viewers with broad silver screen and 5-D audiosystems, the agency said.The 120-seat cinematheque is the most modern in Asean. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 28)Foreign Investment:Vietnam Reports Pledged FDI $45.28 Bln in Jan-Jul-MinistryThe Ministry of Planning and Investments Foreign Investment Department said thatVietnam has licensed $45.49 billion worth of registered FDI capital in the first sevenmonth this year, much higher than $21.3 billion for the whole last yearOf the pledged sum, 654 new foreign-invested projects registered $43.7 billion and 188existing projects added $788 million to their operation, the MPI said.All the foreign-invested projects reported to have disbursed $6 billion between Januaryand July, up 42.9% on year, the MPI noted.The foreign companies are estimated to have revenues of $25.35 billion in the sevenmonths, up 34% on year, and they paid tax of $1.18 billion during the period.During the phase, the FDI sector posted export value of $13.77 billion and imported$16.39 billion worth of goods, up 29.4% and 32% on-year respectively.The service sector lured $22.84 billion, accounting for 51.34%, followed by the industryand construction sectors with $21.45 billion, or 48.2% of the total while agro, forestryand fisheries sector attracted only 0.5%, Vietnam News Agency said.Taiwan takes the lead with 82 projects valued at $8.4 billion, followed by Japan with 65projects worth $7.2 billion, Malaysia 28 projects valued at $5.07 billion, Brunei with 14projects costing $4.3 billion and Canada with 4 projects totaling $4.2 billion.Projects of note licensed in the seven-month span included the $7.9 billion Hung NghiepFormosa steel plant in central Ha Tinh province, the $6.2 billion Nghi Son oil refineryand the $4.23 billion tourism complex in southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province.The ministry added that the new record made by Vietnam in FDI attraction showedforeign investors’ trust in the country’s investment environment despite its high inflation.(Investment Jul 28 p4, Vietnam News Agency Jul 26)Tourism:Int’l Tourist Arrivals to Vietnam Soar 8.6% on Year in Jan-July
  • 134. Vietnam, the sun warm Southeastern Asian nation welcomes more than 2.7 millioninternational tourist arrivals in the first seven months of 2008, representing an on-yearincrease of 8.6%, the Cong An Nhan Dan newspaper reported Monday.The markets with largest number of tourists to the city in the period come from China,Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Laos, and Taiwan, according to the Ministry ofPlanning and Investment.In July, the communist country greets around 380,000 foreign visitors, up 10.7%. Thestrong increase in the month is attributed to the higher flow of travelers from Europe,including Sweden (46%), Norway (16%), Germany (15%) and the UK (10%).Vietnam notably welcomed 2.5 million foreign tourists and earned VND37 trillion ($2.3billion) in revenues in the first half of this year.The country is looking to 4.4 million foreign visitors and 20 million domestic touristswith total revenue of VND56 trillion, or $3.5 billion this year.The tourism sector now contributes 8% to Vietnam’s national GDP. (People’s Police July28 p4, Vietnam Panorama)Politics & Law:Vietnam, DPRK Vow to Enhance TiesVietnam and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) will boost further theexchange of delegations at all levels, reviewing signed agreements and encouragebusinesses from both sides to increase investment, economic and commercialcooperation, the two foreign ministers agreed July 26.Deputy PM and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Gia Khiem welcomed North Koreancounterpart Pak Ui Chun in Hanoi on his first visit to Vietnam, saying he believed thevisit would positively contribute to promoting the two countries’ friendship andcooperation.The two diplomats pledged to accelerate their ministries’ bilateral cooperation inaccordance with an agreement signed in May 2007, and expand the two countries’ mutualcooperation and coordination at multilateral forums such as the UN, the Non-AlignedMovement and ARF.Minister Pak invited Khiem to visit the DPRK in the near time.On the same day, the North Korean FM met with Party chief Nong Duc Manh. Theforeign minister said he was proud of the traditional friendly cooperative ties withVietnam, which have been continually developed and promoted, especially after a visit tothe DPRK by General Secretary Manh in last October.
  • 135. The host, in reply, praised efforts made by the two Koreas to achieve peaceful unificationof the Korean peninsula on the basis of independence and national self-determination inaccordance with the joint communiqués signed by the two sides June 2000, and October2007. Manh also congratulated the DPRK on the signing of the Treaty of Amity andCooperation (TAC). (Vietnam News Jul 28 p2, New Hanoi p1)Labor & Education:Vietnam Aims to Offer Training to 21% of Female Workers by 2010The Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU) has set the target of providing vocational trainingfor 21% of female laborers by 2010, the Hanoimoi newspaper reported Monday.This is part of a VWU project on vocational training for women in the 2009-2015 period.The ratio of trained laborers of the female workforce will be further raised by 3% eachyear after that, according to the project.The organization plans to hold vocational training courses for 50,000 female laborersnationwide every year from next year.The project, approved by the organization in Ho Chi Minh City July 25, will give priorityto women in rural and isolated areas as well as the disabled and ethnic minorities.The VWU over the past five years has given vocational training for over 900,000 people,93% of whom are women and created jobs for 670,000 women.Females now accounts for around 1.5 % of Vietnams population. (New Hanoi July 28p2, Vietnam Panorama)Japan Funds JPY441 Mln for Vietnam’s Resource DevelopmentThe Japanese Government will grant JPY441-million (over $4 million) in non-refundableaid for Vietnam in the 2009 fiscal year and the next three years to help the countrydevelop postgraduate training, Vietnam Economic Times reported Monday.The Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resource Development Scholarship (JDS) project forVietnam was inked by Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Nguyen ThienNhan and Japanese Foreign Minister Komura Masahiko July 25.Under the project, Vietnamese young workers in state-owned agencies will be offeredscholarships to join postgraduate training in economics, business, law, agriculture andtechnology in Japan.Vietnam and Japan established diplomatic ties in 1973. After 1975, the relationship hasgradually been expanded. Since 1992, the two countries ties saw substantial developmentin many fields, including education and training.
  • 136. Japan is emerging as a favorite destination for Vietnamese students. At present, morethan 2,580 Vietnamese students are studying in Japan, accounting for around 8% of thetotal Vietnamese living in the country. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 28 p4)Vietnam Named among Top-five at 39th Int’l Physics OlympiadVietnam, the host country of the 39th International Physics Olympiad is listed among top-five countries by winning four gold medals and one bronze, the Thanh Nien newspaperreported Monday.This has been the best result since the country firstly joined the IPhO in 1982.Gold medal winners are Nguyen Duc Minh from Amsterdam High School for GiftedStudents, Do Hoang Anh from Hanoi National University, Huynh Minh Toan fromDanang-based Le Quy Don High School, and Nguyen Tat Nghia from Nghe An-basedPhan Boi Chau High School.Tran Anh Vu from Hanoi-based Dao Duy Tu High School snatched bronze medal.The 39th International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) was held in Vietnam for the first timefrom July 21-28, drawing the participation of more than 650 students and experts from 85countries and territories.The IPhO 2008 is not only a significant educational event but also one of the biggesttourism events of the year. This year’s event also boasts the largest number ofparticipating countries and territories in its history.Last year at the 38th International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) in Iran, Vietnamese studentsreaped fruitful results at the event by taking two gold medals, two silvers and oneencouragement prize. (Young People July 28 p1, Saigon Liberation July 28 p1, YouthJuly 28 p2, New Hanoi July 28 p1, The People July 28 p1, Labor July 28 p1, Pioneer July28 p1, People’s Army July 28 p7)Health & Environment:Vietnam Actively Preparing to Fight Typhoon Fung-WongVietnamese authorities sent an urgent message to ask coastal provinces and cities topromptly implement measures to prevent the impacts of the Typhoon Fung Wong, theNhan Dan newspaper said.The National Center for Hydrometeorological Forecasting (NCHMF) said that the waterlevels on rivers in northern Vietnam rose rapidly due to heavy rain over the past fewdays.
  • 137. The water level on the Red River in Hanoi July 27 was measured at 9.34 meters, 0.16meter below the first danger level and is expected to rise to 9.5 m today while water levelon Thai Binh River will be 4.2 meters.The northeastern area of the East Sea will brace winds measured seven or eight on theBeaufort scale of 51-75 kilometers per hour, the NCHMF said.The center also warned that boats and ships should not go near the affected area due tothe influence of Typhoon Fung Wong, which is heading toward Chinas Zhejiangprovince with winds of 120 kph and above. (The People Jul 28 p8, Vietnam Law Jul 28p3, Thanh Nien Daily Jul 28 p2)Vietnamese Prof Wins Intl Cosmos PrizeHonorary Professor of the Hanoi National University, Phan Nguyen Hong, has won theInternational Cosmos Prize 2008, a top award in ecology, Vietnam News Agency saidMonday.Prof Hong, a pioneer in research activities to restore and preserve mangrove forests insouthern Vietnam, was bestowed the award for his achievements in biologicalclassification and ecology of tropical mangrove forests.Hong’s researches play important roles in protecting bio-diversification and preventingthe earth’s warming process.The award ceremony is scheduled to be held in November 4 in Osaka, Japan.Prof. Hong will be presented with a certificate of merit and award money of JPY40million ($380,000). (VNA, Labor Jul 28 p2, New Hanoi Jul 28 p8, News Jul 28 p16)5-Ton Whale Drift to Southern VietnamFishermen in southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province July 26 found a dead five-ton whale onthe coast of Vung Tau town, the Nhan Dan (the People) newspaper said.Locals July 27 completed procedures to transport the corpse of the whale to Phan Thiettown in central Binh Thuan province for a special burial service, the paper added.An anonymous boss of the seafood processing firm in Ward 6 paid nearly VND10million ($594) for the burial service.Local fishermen said the whale may have been hurt by screw of a big ship. (The PeopleJul 28 p8, Youth Jul 28 p5, Young People Jul 28 p2)
  • 138. Culture & Society:3.5 Mln Overseas Vietnamese Living in 90 Countries: ReportThe number of overseas Vietnamese, Viet Kieu, has increased to 3.5 million who aresettling in around 90 nations and territories, the latest statistics by the Foreign AffairsMinistry’s Overseas Vietnamese Committee showed.The committee, however, said that the census of overseas Vietnamese is still facing somedifficulties, including lacks of expenses and staff.In addition, Vietnam has not yet set up diplomatic offices in some nations and territories,which causes difficulties in making statistics and promoting the community work.Oversea remittance sent by overseas Vietnamese still remains a key resource to developeconomy.Last year, the Southeast Asian country pulled in $5.6 billion of overseas remittances. Thefigure is expected to hit $6 billion this year. (Great Union Jul 28 p10, Vietpan)Vietnam Takes Lead in Foreign Brands Love in Asia-Grey GroupVietnamese people take the lead in terms of western brands preference in Asia with 77%of surveyed Vietnamese saying they like, much higher than 40% in other Asian nations,the global communications firm Grey Group said Monday.Grey Group has just finished a survey named “the Eye on Asia 2008” in 16 Asiancountries, Vietnam Investment Review newspaper published by the Ministry of Planningand Investment said.Many Vietnamese consumers said they are big fans of high-end consumer goods, GreyGroup said, citing a local consumer as noting “Today luxury is not so much what I havebut how much I enjoy it.”Vietnamese also scored the highest marks for their optimism about life and their futureswith 90% believing that the future is likely to be better than the past, much higher than76% on average of other Asian nations, the survey said.Most Vietnamese think money is the answer to their problems, many are optimistic abouthaving a big house, a car and a happy family in the future, the group said.Vietnamese were also found to believe that they lead balanced lives while other Asianneighbors are stressed out.However, the Vietnamese people are among those who have become less conformist,pursue individual lifestyle and not fulfilled at work. Only 30% of Vietnamese see work asa source of pleasure, compared with 70% of Indonesians and 66% of New Zealanders.
  • 139. State media said Vietnam ranks the 13th in terms of population with 85 million peopleand 60% of them age less 30 years. (Vietnam Investment Review Jul 28 p5, VietpanDatabase)Vietnam Reports 6,462 Traffic Accidents in H1, Down 16% on YearVietnam witnessed 6,462 traffic accidents in the first half of this year, down 16% on year,the Thoi Bao Kinh Te newspaper said, citing the National Traffic Safety Committee.The traffic accidents killed 5,900, down 989 people against the same period of 2007,heard a conference July 26 held in Vung Tau city.Southern Ca Mau province saw the strongest reduction of 53% in terms of traffic accidentdeaths, followed by central Nghe An province with 49% and southern Bac Lieu provincewith 48%.The agency attributed improvements to people’s improved awareness and respect oftraffic law as reflected in observance of helmet wearing rules.It presented 500 helmets to pupils of kindergartens in southern Ba Ria-Vung Tauprovince. (Vietnam Economic Times July 28 p2, VNA)Stock Market:Vietnam Stock Market Help Raise VND5 Tln in H1Vietnam’s stock market helped local firms mobilize only VND5 trillion ($303.2 million)from 41 securities issues to public in the first half, according to the Management Board ofSecurities Issuance under the State Securities Commission (SSC).The figure is too modest in comparison with 200 securities issues in 2007 with the fundof nearly VND60 trillion. The small capital inflow was resulted from the sharp decreaseof 60% of the market value due to investors falling demand.Listed companies on both HOSE and HASTC raised 48.1% of their total capital in offer,while unlisted firms sold VND2.6 trillion.Among total number of firms selling shares to public, there are 13 enterprises inproduction and processing industry, 11 ones in trade and services, and 11 ones inconstruction and property sectors.In the first six months, only 15 state-owned enterprises carried out their initial publicofferings (IPOs) with total proceeds of VND6 trillion from selling only 51.87% of totalshares offered in auctions.
  • 140. The local key stock index has fallen over 50% so far due to domestic economicdifficulties. The index is expected to rise in the remaining months of this year, the BaoViet Securities Company said. (Securities Investment Jul 28 p5)Vietnam Bank to Auction VND600 Bln Long-term BondsThe state-owned Vietnam Development Bank (VDB) will offer VND600 billion ($36.4million) of government bonds in its fourth auction via the Hanoi Securities TradingCenter July 31, the center announced.The bank will call bidders for five-year, 10-year, and 15-year bonds, with VND200billion ($12.1million) for each. These bonds will be issued August 4.VDB will offer the bonds at par value under the book-entry form and then listed onHASTC. Investors are suggested to submit bidding document as of July 31 to attend theauction.In the third auction July 16, VDB sold VND7 billion in 15-year bonds at yield of 15% perannum, out of VND500 billion of 10-year and 15-year bonds offered.VDB, one of the countrys two policy lending banks, is set up on the target of helpingreduce poverty through loans to irrigation construction, rural transport, infrastructureconstruction for trade villages and remote areas, and export support. (HASTC, Labor Jul28, Vneconomy Jul 26)Fund Managers Raise $3.2 Bln for Securities InvestmentThe State Securities Commission (SSC) announced that fund management companiesmobilized and managed more than VND51.4 trillion ($3.2 billion) as the end of May.So far, 34 operating fund mangers have set up four public securities investment funds, 16member funds, and attracted hundreds of customers.All four funds are listed on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange, including VFMVF1,VFMVF4, Manulife Progressive Fund (MAFPF1) and Prudential Fund (PRUBF1).The SSC said it would raise establishment criteria of fund management funds in thecoming months to ensure their strong competence in asset management amidstdifficulties of the stock market.The commission will also encourage the diversification of securities funds and newinvestment products to create more choices and opportunities for investors. (SecuritiesInvestment Jul 28 p5)Sacombank Plans to Lower 2008 Profit Target
  • 141. The Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank), Vietnam’s secondbiggest listed bank by assets, is planning to lower this year’s profit target by 25% toVND1.5 trillion ($90.9 million).Sacombank is seeking opinions from the shareholders for the plan, as the bank saidVietnam’s banking and financial market is facing difficulties and threats this year.In the original plan, Sacombank targets pretax profit of VND2 trillion this year, depositsof VND80 trillion, outstanding loans of VND46 trillion, total assets of VND93 trillionand dividend payout of 14-16%.In the first six months, the bank gained profit of VND754 billion, up 23% on year, but itaccounts for only 37.7% of the yearly plan.As the end of June, its total assets reached VND74.9 trillion, up 95% on-year, depositstotaled VND64.2 trillion and outstanding loans amounted at VND38.3 trillion. (VietnamEconomic Times Jul 28 p8)PPC Sees Profit Up 1.5% in H1 to VND571.4 BlnPha Lai Thermal Power Joint Stock Co. (PPC), Vietnams largest listed power company,said its first-half profit rose 1.5% to VND571.4 billion ($34 million) as it generated moreelectricity to meet demand.During the period, the firm raised output by 37 million kilowatt hours to 3.82 billionkilowatt hours, said Le The Son, PPC head of the Financing and Accounting Department.It operates two coal-fired power plants in the northern province of Hai Duong.PPCs revenues were VND2.1 trillion during the time, up 4.06% on year, the companysaid.Pha Lai, which generates almost 9% of Vietnams annual electricity output, benefitedfrom a shortage of power amid rising demand.The Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) said in April that it plans to buy 3.5 billion kilowattshours of electricity from China this year as hydroelectric power generation declines in thedry season. (CafeF, Stock News Jul 25)Jul 28: Vietnam Shares End Up on Buying in Blue ChipsVietnams stock market index rebounded Monday, after falling in six straight sessions, aslocal investors returned to buy blue-chip stocks on hopes that more companies will reportgood performance for the first half.
  • 142. More than 50 companies out of total 299 listed firms have released their second-quarterfinancial reports, and some announced huge profits, such as Hoa Phat Group (HPG) andTechno Agricultural Supplying (TSC).“More investors are returning to the market with expectation that more companies willrelease solid results this week,” a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said.Buying sentiment is also supported after Bao Viet Securities Co. made a forecast lastweek that the key index may hit 600 at the end of this year, he said.VN-Index today rose 5.18 points, or 1.21%, at 434.64.Market volume totaled 13.4 million shares valued at VND387.6 billion Monday, up from8.9 million shares valued at VND328 billion last Friday.STB, today’s most actively traded stock, gained 2.7% at VND23,000 on a trade of 3.2million shares.VTO, the second most active stock, fell 1.2% at VND15,900 after trading 956,270 shares,of which foreign investors bought 3,100 shares and sold 180,700 shares.PPC climbed up 2.9% at VND28,200 on 602,690 shares, including 227,450 sharesbought and 147,540 shares sold by foreigners.Some other blue chips also closed higher, such as PVD up 2.8%, DPM up 2.9% andVNM up 2%.SSI plummeted 3% to close at VND42,300 on 280,160 shares, including 30,080 sharesbought by foreigners.ICF is the most advancer, rising 3% at VND10,300 on 86,100 shares.TDH topped the decliners, falling 3% at VND48,500 on 65,810 shares, including 5,980shares bought and 46,020 shares sold by foreigners.Construction and Material Trading Co. (CNT) made debut today at VND36,000 on 1,420shares changing hands.In total, 85 stocks closed higher, 65 lower and five unchanged.Among four fund certificates, one closed higher and three lower. (HOSE July 28)Vietnam NewsJuly 25, 2008
  • 143. Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,495Banking & Finance:Singapore UOB Allowed to Buy Extra 5% Stake in Vietnam’s Southern BankThe State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), or central bank, has given approval to Singapore’sUnited Overseas Bank (UOB) to buy an additional 5% stake in Southern CommercialJoint Stock Bank, raising its ownership in the local lender to 15%.Southern Bank is allowed to increase its registered capital following the Singapore bank’sacquisition.In December 2007, Southern Bank sold a 10% stake to UOB, for VND480 billion ($30million), to increase its capital to VND1.43 trillion from VND1.29 trillion.Southern Bank was set up in 1993 with an initial registered capital of VND10 billion. Thebank now has a network of 84 branches and transaction offices with total assets of morethan VND18 trillion.The HCM City-based bank plans to double its chartered capital to VND3 trillion ($187.5million) this year.Meanwhile, UOB is Singapore’s leading bank and provides diversified financial servicesvia 524 branches and subsidiaries in 18 nations worldwide.Many Vietnamese banks, including Southern Bank, have sold shares to foreign partnersas they seek for expertise and capital. (SBV Jul 24, VnEconomy Jul 25)Dollar Lending Rates Still High Despite Recent ReductionCurrent interest rates on U.S. dollar loans offered by local commercial banks remain highand unreasonable despite declines in recent weeks, a newspaper published by theVietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry reported July 25.The paper also quoted analysts as saying that the rates are higher based on the sufferingstrength of enterprises and the relation between domestic and international monetarymarkets.While the worlds average U.S. dollar lending rate is about 5%, Vietnamese companiesstill suffer 8%-10% per annum, even 12%, the analysts said.On July 9, Libor interest rate for the 12-month term was recorded at 3.22% per annumand six months at 3.0975% per annum while six-month Sibor interest rate was 3.274%.In line with international and local norms, US lending rates of Vietnamese banks equaledto Libor and Sibor rates with the same term, adding a free of 1.5%-2.5% a year.
  • 144. However, the final lending rate that borrowers have to suffer is too high, which hasaffected strongly to companies business and production operation, especially importantprojects in need of huge U.S. dollar volume to import machines and equipments.In a move to lower U.S. dollar lending rates, local commercial banks have proposed theState Bank of Vietnam to reduce compulsory reserve ratio of U.S. dollar deposits. But theproposal was rejected due to foreign currency lending growth is still high.From July 14, South-Eastern Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank reduced the U.S. dollardeposit rate with a term of seven months from 7%-8% per annum down to 6.0% a year.Meanwhile, some other commercial banks have tendency to continue lowering by 0.2-0.5percentage point per annum slightly in coming days. (Business Forum Jul 25 p6)HSBC, Bao Viet Provide Cargo Insurance ServiceThe Hong Kong-Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) and the Bao Viet InsuranceCorporation will co-provide a marine cargo insurance service for businesses in Vietnam,the Vietnam News Agency reported July 25.The cooperation has made HSBC one of the first among foreign banks to distribute suchan insurance service in Vietnam and helped strengthen the strategic cooperation betweenHSBC and Bao Viet Corp.Marine Cargo Insurance is designed to insure goods against unforeseen losses duringshipment by sea, air or land. With the service, corporate customers can feel secure abouttheir operations, even in the event of lost or damaged cargo.HSBC is now the largest foreign bank in Vietnam while Bao Viet is taking the lead in theVietnamese insurance market.Under an agreement signed between HSBC and Bao Viet late last year, insuranceproducts from the leading Vietnamese insurer started supplying the service throughHSBC distribution channels in Hanoi and HCM City from January 1, 2008.The agreement follows a strategic alliance formed by HSBC and Bao Viet last Septemberthrough which HSBC purchased a 10% stake in Bao Viet, becoming the sole foreignpartner of Vietnam’s leading non-life insurance provider. (Vietnam & World EconomyJul 25 p4, Vietnam Economic Times Jul 25 p4)Song Da Finance Co Makes DebutSong Da Finance Joint Stock Company (SDFC) started its operation July 23 in Hanoiamidst the increasing demand of state-owned groups and corporations to set up banks andfinance firms, the Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper reported.
  • 145. The company has a registered capital of VND500 billion ($30.3 million), with threefounding shareholders including Song Da Corporation, Military Bank, and Bao MinhJoint Stock Corporation.SDFC is allowed to operate in capital mobilization, credit services, issues of bonds, CDsand bills, discount and some other services.Recently, the central bank has also given operation license to the EVN Finance Companyto help the power industry raise fund for its projects.The Vietnams central bank is currently managing 14 finance companies. (Pioneer Jul 25p13, Young People Jul 24 p7)Navibank Launches Credit-Debit CardsNam Viet Joint Stock Commercial Bank (Navibank) has officially issued domestic creditand debit cards, the Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper reported July 24.With NaviCard-Credit, users can spend money first by the banks capital in the limitationof from VND10 million to VND100 million.As for NaviCard-Debit, customers can spend money directly on their accounts but theystill get the interest rates.Recently, Navibank signed a contract with the Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam(Vietcombank)s Smartlink Co to join the Smartlink organisation including over 20membership banks. (Young People Jul 24 p7)Trade:U.S. Importers, Retailers Oppose Monitoring Mechanism on Vietnam ApparelsA group of big U.S. importers and retailers have raised their voice to oppose the U.S.Department of Commerce (DOC)’s continuation to apply the monitoring mechanism onVietnamese textile and garment imports, state media reported.The protesters, including the Shoe and Clothing Association, the National RetailFederation, the Association of Retail Industry Leaders and the Association of ApparelImporters, have jointly sent a letter to leaders of the U.S House of Representatives’Budget Allocation Committee, expressing their strong objection to the committee’sproposal to the DOC to extend the monitoring mechanism on apparel imports fromVietnam and China.U.S. retailers confirmed there was no basis for executing the supervision mechanism aswell as analyzing prices just focusing on some products selected from some countries,rather than all imported products.
  • 146. The letter said “the proposal of the committee is a wrongdoing and hurts the U.S.economy.”The letter stressed that during 18 months of implementing the monitoring program onVietnamese apparel imports into the U.S. market, authorities did not find any evidenceand there was not any clothing company complaining about damages caused byVietnamese textile and garment imports. The U.S government also considered twice butfound no dumping evidence.At present, prices of Vietnam-made apparels are the second highest on the U.S. market, at$2.93/sq.m on average, just behind Sri Lanka at $3.64/sq.m, according to the VietnameseMinistry of Industry and Trade.Prices of Vietnamese textiles and garments shipped to the U.S. also strongly grow, up26% on-year.Vietnam is now the fourth biggest textile and garment exporter to the U.S. market with aturnover of $2.4 billion in the first half, accounting for 57% of the Asian country’s totalexport value of the product.This year, Vietnam is expected to ship $5.4 billion worth of textiles and garments to theU.S. market to secure second place behind China in the export of these products stateside.(Baomoi.com Jul 25, Vietnam & World Economy Jul 25 p10)Techmart Hanoi 2008 to Open in SepHanoi Technology and Equipment Mart 2008 “Techmart Hanoi 2008” will take place atVietnam Exhibition and Fair Center from September 18 to 21, said local media.The event will introduce and trade new technology and equipment with the focus ontechnology and services in the fields of biology, information, electronics andtelecommunications, automation, planning, architecture, construction, traffic,environments and cutting-edge industries.Techmart 2008 will have between 250-300 pavilions with 50 of foreign companies,which are ready to transfer technologies, software and other products to customers.There will also be booths for students and young scientists who would like to introducetheir own research.Seminars on bio-technology, electronics & telecom, and business exchanges will also beorganized during the four-day event. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 25 p2, Vietnam &World Economy Jul 25 p5, VOV Jul 24)
  • 147. Industry:Vietsovpetro Produces 174 Mln Tons of Crude Oil So FarVietnam-Russia Oil and Gas Joint Venture (Vietsovpetro) has to date produced nearly174 million tons of crude oil and brought ashore 19 billion cubic meters of natural gas,the Saigon Liberation newspaper reported, citing the company figures.The company has so far attained revenues of $42.1 billion and contributed $26.73 billionto the Vietnamese state budget, a Vietsovpetro official said at a meeting July 24 insouthern Ba Ria – Vung Tau province.Vietsovpetro has targeted to produce 7.65 million tons of oil this year, up 550,000 tons or7.74% against its earlier annual plan.To reach the target, the joint venture plans to raise its output by putting four more wellsinto operation and resumes operation of the Ba Vi oil tanker.In the first half of this year, Vietsovpetro had produced 4.56 million tons of oil andcontributed $2.74 billion to the state budget, up $1.1 billion or 67.07% compared to thesame period last year.Last year, Vietsovpetro produced up to 8.6 million tons of oil, brought ashore 1.36 billioncubic meters of associated gas, and obtained revenues of $4.8 billion. (The People Jul 25p8, Pioneer Jul 25 p13, VNA Jul 24)Vietnam Buys 9.47 Bln kWh of Power from China in H1Vietnam had purchased a total 9.47 billion kWh of electricity from China in the first sixmonths of this year, much higher than the 3.8 billion kWh set by the government, theVietnam Economic Times newspaper reported July 25.Volume of power buying from the neighboring country is estimated to continue rising inthe coming, experts said at a recent meeting on the matter in central Danang city.The two sides will together take technical measures to ensure better power transmissionin the near future, they noted.Earlier, Vietnam planned to buy only 3.8 billion kWh of power from China this year, up52% on year.Vietnam and China have built three 220-kV power transmission lines and three 110-kVpower lines to transmit electricity from the later to the former.China began selling electricity to Vietnam from September 2004 and the two neighboringcountries plan for connection through a 500-kV line. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 25p3, Vietpan)
  • 148. Nhon Trach 1 Power Plant to Officially Run Turbine 2 Jul 26Vietnamese relevant authorities July 23 run trial a 150-megawatt turbine 2 of Nhon Trach1 power plant to prepare for its official operation July 26 this year, the Investmentnewspaper reported, citing state-owned oil monopoly PetroVietnam sources.A 150-MW turbine 1 of the plant in Nhon Trach district of southern Dong Nai provincewas operated June 20 this year, the company said.The 450-MW Nhon Trach 1 power plant has two gas-fuelled turbines and a steam-fueledturbine; and costs a total VND6.45 trillion ($403.1 million).The plant, which is part of the 1,200-MW Nhon Trach power project worth $1 billionwith the investment from PetroVietnam, is expected for full operation in March 2009.Power-thirsting Vietnam is estimated to lack between 2,000 MW and 2,500 MW ofpower daily in July and the power shortfall will prolong until August, an EVN leader saidrecently.The country is forecast to lack 8.6 billion kWh of electricity this year and the figure willclimb to 36 billion kWh in 2020 and 120 billion kWh in 2030. (Investment Jul 25 p3, ThePeople Online Jul 25, Vietpan)Garment Exports Rise 20.5% On-year to $5.09 Bln in Jan-JulVietnam is estimated to bag $930 million from apparel exports in July, raising the totalfigure to $5.09 billion in the first seven months this year, up 20.5% on-year, the GeneralStatistics Office reported.In the period, the apparel sector has been facing many difficulties, especially input costrise, labor shortage and high bank loan interest rate.Textile and garment exports to foreign markets in general and to the U.S. in particularalso face challenges.Currently, the industry is working hard to reach the set target of $9.5 billion exports thisyear, compared with $7.8 billion last year. (New Hanoi Jul 25 p4, GSO July 2008)Agriculture:Prices of Vietnamese Rice Slightly FallingBoth export and domestic prices of Vietnamese rice have slightly decreased during thepast week due to high supplies, local media reported.
  • 149. The Vietnam Trade Information Center said on its Web site that export prices ofVietnamese rice decreased by 3.3%, from $750 a ton of 5% broken rice, free on board, aweek earlier, to only $725 a ton.Rice traders in Mekong Delta predict that the prices are unlikely to drop further asVietnamese government raised petrol prices by 31%.“It is also very difficult to forecast rice export prices in August and September,” a tradersaid.At local market, prices of summer-autumn paddy dropped to only VND4,500-VND4,800a kilo. Prices of rice material for 5% broken rice production are around VND6,300 a kilo.Vietnamese companies are now selling 5% broken rice for VND7,800 a kilo of summer-autumn rice, free alongside ship, while winter-spring rice prices are VND8,800 a kilo.Prices of 15% broken rice are VND7,500-VND7,700 a kilo, and prices of 25% brokenrice are VND7,400-VND7,500 a kilo.Vietnam is estimated to have exported 2.794 million tons of rice in the first seven monthsof 2008, raking in $1.811 billion, down 6.8% on year in volume but up 87.6% in value,according to the General Statistics Office (GSO). (vinanet July 25, Vietnam EconomicTimes July 25 p2, GSO July Edition)Sugar Output Meets Domestic DemandsVietnam will have sufficient sugar for consumption and food production by the end ofthis year, despite difficulties faced by local sugar industry, the state media reported, citingan official from the Vietnam Sugarcane and Sugar Association (VSSA).Nearly 1.25 million tons produced by local sugar refineries nationwide in the 2007-2008crop, together with a reserve of 94,000 tons and imports of 58,000 tons under WTOcommitments, will help ensure sufficiency at domestic market, said VSSA Chairman, VoThanh Dang.The chairman said locally made sugar, however, is now facing with unfair competition bysmuggled sugar from southwestern border gates.At the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) conference July 24,delegates said though the industry this year is enjoying its fourth high-yield crop, illegalsugar imports are affecting consumption of domestically-produced sugar in the country.Illegally-imported sugar made local companies’ sales decrease by 30,000-50,000 tonsmonthly in May and June 2008. Total sugar volume stockpiled in local factories as of lateJune was 320,000 tons, up by 40,000 tons on year.
  • 150. The high increase of materials prices has also diminished the economical efficiency ofsugarcane plantations and processing, leading to many growers considering a change toother crops. This threatens to create a flow-on effect to the sugar plants who will thenface a shortage of materials for production in future years.While the World Sugar Research Organization’s experts forecast the increase of sugarprice on the global market due to the decreased supply, Vietnam’s sugarcane acreage forthe 2008-09 is expected to reduce by 17,000 hectares to about 290,000 hectares.The conference reported that this will make the output staying at 1.25 million tons as thiscrop despite the increase in productivity. (Vietnam Agriculture July 25 p6, Vietnam &World Economy July 25 p6, The Labor p3)Animal Feed Imports Up 78% in Jan-JulVietnam is estimated to have spent $1.182 billion on animal feed imports in the firstseven months of 2008, a sharp rise of 78.3% against the same period of last year,according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).In July, the country has imported $170 million worth of animal feeds, up from $160million in June, the GSO’s report showed.The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said heavy dependence onimported animal feed and animal feed material, which prices have sharply soared, ishitting local animal husbandry industry.Local importers complained that cumbersome import procedures also hinder them.The MARD has recently suggested listing materials and animal feed to the list ofimported necessities and slashing import tariff for materials for animal feed to 0%, with aview to help the industry get rid of difficulties.The ministry said the customs should simplify administrative procedures upon customsclearance and seaports to increase handling capacity. (GSO July Edition, Investment July23 p7)Business:Vietnamese Petrol Firms Still Lose $6.06 Mln A Day despite Recent Price HikePetroleum businesses in Vietnam are forecast to still lose VND100 billion ($6.06 million)a day despite of a sharp rise in petrol price some days ago, said Bui Ngoc Bao, generaldirector of the Vietnam National Petroleum Corporation (Petrolimex).Bao attributed the increase of 31.05% in gasoline price, and 43.9%, 36.8% and 14.7% inkerosene, mazut and diesel, respectively, to long agglomerate time for the priceadjustment.
  • 151. "If petrol price in Vietnam fluctuates daily as foreign exchange rates, people will see therecent surge in petrol price is not too high," the official elaborated.He noted that Vietnam would have applied regular petrol price adjustments since fiveyears ago in order to ease pressure from State budget.Vietnam will adjust petroleum price in accordance with market mechanism and global oilprice fluctuations in the coming time, Bao attributed.The Vietnamese Ministry of Finance July 21 raised retail price of A92 gasoline toVND19,000 ($1.15)/liter, up VND4,500 ($0.27).Together with the gasoline price soar, a liter of diesel 0.05S is sold at VND15,950($0.96), up from VND13,950 ($0.84); paraffin oil at VND20,000 ($1.21), up fromVND13,900 ($0.84); and mazut at VND13,000 ($0.78), up from VND9,500 ($0.57).Before adjusting petrol prices, the Vietnamese government had subsidized VND11trillion ($687.5 million) for domestic petroleum importers in the circumstance of ongoingglobal oil price soar in the first six months of this year. (Labor Jul 25 p1, Vietpan)Vietnam’s Biggest Island Pulls in $1.8 Bln InvestmentPhu Quoc in southern Kien Giang province, the biggest island in Vietnam, has to dateattracted 21 investment projects totaling $1.8 billion, said a provincial official.Pham Vu Hong, chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said the investmentmostly focused on the areas of tourism and real estate.The province has also agreed in principle to 154 other projects, covering a 5,647-hectaresite and worth $889 million.He also added that Kien Giang is speeding up the construction of routes in the island, AnThoi Port and Duong To Airport to lure more investors.Phu Quoc is an unspoiled tropical island in the Gulf of Thailand that is just a short flightaway from almost all Southeast Asia Cities metropolises. About 70% of the 567 square-kilometer island is blanketed by rain forests and crisscross rivers and streams.Phu Quoc expects to welcome 300,000 - three million visitors a year in the 2010-2020span. Among them, the number of international arrivals makes up 30%-40% of the total.Revenue from the hospitality sector during the period will also reach $45 million-$771million.Vietnam plans to develop the island into a tourist island that will attract between two andthree million visitors per year by 2020. (Youth Jul 25 p14)
  • 152. Foreign Investment:Sony Vietnam to Close Factory in SeptSony Vietnam will close its only factory that produces cathode ray tube technology-basedtelevision sets in September this year to stop 14-year operation as part of its changedbusiness expansion strategy in Vietnam, state media reported Friday, citing a Sonyoficial.“Sony Vietnam factory closure is within the global business strategy by Sony, notbecause of bankruptcy or other difficulties,” Pham Xuan Anh Thy, communicationrepresentative of Sony Vietnam said.“Sony has decided to stop manufacturing TV light bulbs in almost countries around theworld, and this time we will stop making TV sets of such technology in Vietnam becauseour partners have halted providing spare parts due to local shrinking demand,” Thy noted.Instead, Sony will continue investing in Vietnam by setting up a 100% foreign owned –named as Sony Electronics Vietnam Co Ltd -- which will expand its business in hi-techproducts, LCD TV, software products to meeting increasing local demand, the Sonyofficial emphasized.Under the WTO commitments, Vietnam will allow foreign investors to get directlyinvolved in retailing sector from Jan 1 next year, and this business shift reflects greatexpectation of Sony in the local market with 85 million people, 60% of whom age lessthan 30 years, she said.Sony Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City-based factory, a joint venture between VietnameseViettronics Tan Binh and Sony, which is employing 440 workers, will be turned into awarranty center of Sony.So far, Sony has invested $16.6 million in Vietnam.LCD TVs are most preferred in Vietnam with labels of Samsung, LG.Vietnam targets export revenues of electronic products of $6 billion by 2010 from current$3 billion. (Saigon Economic Times Jul 25, Young People Jul 25 p6, Pioneer Jul 25 p1)Infrastructure:Vietnam Lawmakers Discuss Establishment of Road Maintenance FundThe Vietnamese National Assembly’s Standing Committee has discussed theestablishment of a road maintenance fund in Vietnam as many roads are beingdowngraded, state media reported.
  • 153. At the meeting, Transport Minister Ho Nghia Dung said the country has invested up toVND2 trillion ($125 million) into road maintenance and management a year, however,this meets just 40%-50% for national highways and 25%-36% for each locality.The transport officials said, therefore, the road maintenance fund should be established toimprove the situation, adding that the effective spending one dollar for road maintenancewill help Vietnam save three dollars in transport expenses.Delegates said the fund should beset up at a central level. The government will specifythe establishment, management and use of the fund.Tran Dinh Dan, director of the assembly office, said “it doesn’t work to form the fund atthe central level and then allocate the money to provinces”.“It wastes time and causes ask-and-give mechanisms”, he said, recommending that thegovernment should fund directly to provinces to manage and maintain their roads.The transport ministry said that Vietnam needs $48 billion to build roughly 6,000kilometers of national highways from now to 2020.Vietnam has a 17,000 kilometer network of road with 732 bridges being downgraded,meeting 50% of the transport demand. (Youth Jul 25 p2, Saigon Liberation Jul 25 p11,Vietnam News Jul 25 p1)Tourism:$400 Mln Tourism Complex to Be Built in Central VietnamCentral Binh Thuan province has granted a license to Deltza-Valley Ltd., Co to build a$400 million tourism complex in the locality, the Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper saidFriday.The Delta-Valley Binh Thuan project will cover 1,000 hectares. It will be home to golfcourse, spa resorts, car parks and other entertainment facilities.This is one of the biggest foreign-invested projects in Binh Thuan.Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on a recent visit to Binh Thuan has pledged favorableconditions for the locality to tap potential to become a large tourism center in the country.In the first six months of the year, the province welcomed more than one million visitors,a year-on-year increase of 12.8%.Over the past year, Binh Thuan licensed 38 projects to build large-scale tourist sites anddevelop new tourism types. Of these, eight projects have been completed and have comeinto operation.
  • 154. The province is now home to eight four-star resorts and hotels, excluding the just-completed Sea Lion. It targets more than 20 operational properties of four to five-starratings by 2010. (Investment July 25 p13, Saigon Liberation July 25 p11)Politics & Law:Spokesman: Oil, Gas Projects Within Vietnam Sovereignty, WatersSpokesman of the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Le Dung confirmed Vietnam’ssovereignty over sea areas where it is conducting oil and gas projects with its foreignpartners, Vietnam News Agency said Friday.“It must be affirmed that cooperative projects between Vietnam and foreign partners inthe oil and gas field, all lie within the country’s exclusive economic zones andcontinental shelf,” Le Dung emphasized at a press conference July 24.Dung made his confirmation when Reuters asked questions concerning cooperationagreements in oil and gas field between PetroVietnam and foreign partners after Chinarecently pressured Exxon Mobile Corp to withdraw in a small project in the East Sea.“They fall totally under Vietnam’s sovereignty and jurisdiction in accordance with the1982 United Nations” Convention on the Law of the Sea as well as multilateral andbilateral agreements Vietnam has signed,” the Vietnamese spokesman added.Vietnam guarantees benefits of foreign investors, the spokesman noted.“We welcome and create favorable conditions for foreign partners, including Chinesepartners,” he added.In 2007, China had pressured foreign oil companies, including Britains BP PLC, to stoptheir oil and natural-gas exploration contracts with Vietnam in the South China Sea.China, a giant awaken dragon, is trying to abate its hunger for oil and gas to maintainhighest GDP growth rate by pushing up exploration and exploitation in the world,particularly in Kazakhstan, Russia, Venezuela, Sudan, West Africa, Iran, Saudi Arabiaand Canada and now South China Sea waters.With 1.3 billion people, the Peoples Republic of China is the worlds most populouscountry and the second largest oil consumer, behind the U.S. (Vietnam News Agency Jul25 p3, Vietpan Database)Swiss President to Visit Vietnam Early AugPresident of Switzerland Pascal Couchepin and his wife will pay an official visit toVietnam early this August at the invitation of the host President Nguyen Minh Triet, theMinistry of Foreign Affairs announced July 24.
  • 155. Vietnam and Switzerland officially set up diplomatic ties in 1971.The two nations signed an economic and trade cooperation agreement in 1993. In 1994,Switzerland listed Vietnam in a group of countries for preferential treatment in trade.However, the two-way trade still remains modest.Bilateral trade between Vietnam and Switzerland in the first four months of this yearreached $185.1 million, up 18.36% on-year.Switzerland had 46 valid investment projects capitalized at $720.86 million in Vietnamby late 2007, ranking 18th among foreign investors in the country. (Saigon Liberation Jul25 p1)Vietnam Welcomes North Korean FMForeign Affairs Minister of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) Pak UiChun will arrive in Vietnam today to start a two-day visit at the invitation of hisVietnamese counterpart Pham Gia Khiem, the Saigon Giai Phong newspaper reported.The two foreign ministers just attended the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)’s 15thmeeting held July 24 in Singapore, in which member countries jointly discussed issues ofcommon concern like the Korean peninsular, the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iraq and Irannuclearization.Also at the gathering, ASEAN Foreign Ministers and the Democratic Peoples Republicof Korea (DPRK) also signed documents on the DPRK’s participation to the Treaty ofAmity and Cooperation (TAC).Also on the same day, Singapores Foreign Minister George Yeo handed overchairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) StandingCommittee (ASC) to Thailands Deputy Prime Minister Sahat Banditkul.Vietnam was accredited as the ASEAN vice presidency and the vice chairmanship of theASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) for the next term.The turnover of the ASC chairmanship came at the end of a series of annual ASEANforeign ministers meetings which included the 41st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, the PostMinisterial Conferences (PMC) and the 15th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) whichconcluded just this afternoon. (Saigon Liberation Jul 25 p12)Labor & Education:Vietnam Youths to Get More Help in Job Placement
  • 156. Young people will be provided with loans and consultancy for vocational training, start-up business and working abroad as guest workers, under a scheme approved by the PrimeMinister on July 21.The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee’s scheme, lasts from2008 to 2015, is also set to improve capacity for ten key job placement and vocationalcenters of the Youth Union between now and 2010.It projects to train 60,000 vocational and employment consultants to ensure that 50 and75% of young people have access to job information by 2010 and 2015, respectively, andall young people who want to start business are provided with basic knowledge for theirpurpose.Under the scheme, the Youth Union Central Committee also draws up and implementsprojects on raising public awareness of apprenticeship, especially young people.Youth development is Vietnam’s top priority as well as the rest of the worlds. Peoplebetween the ages of 14 and 25 are the largest population group, accounting for 24.5% ofthe population.However, the country’s youth unemployment rate of 10% remains high. (SaigonLiberation July 25 p1, Vietnam Agriculture July 25 p2)Health & Environment:Vietnam to Invest $1.46 Mln in Pharmaceutical Chemistry This YearVietnam will pour VND23.5 billion ($1.46 million) into pharmaceutical chemistryindustry this year, said a seminar chaired by Deputy Prime Minster Hoang Trung HaiJuly 23 discussing measures to boost research and development of the sector.The money will go to scientific technological research programs such as antibiotic semi-synthetization technology and excipient production from cenlunoza.Currently, the industry is only able to produce popular and low-tech pharmaceuticalchemistry products with the majority of inorganic chemicals and pharmaceuticalchemistry products from herbals, said the meeting gathering representatives from theMinistries of Industry and Trade, Health, Finance, Science and Technology and relatedenterprises.Vietnam is targeting hi-tech programs for the industry like projects on producing 300tons of antibiotic, 10,000 tons of sorbitol, 150 tons of high-grade excipient yearly.At the event, the deputy PM asked the ministries of Industry and Trade and Health andthe Pharmaceutical Chemistry Office to speed up the establishment of a laboratoryspecializing in pharmaceutical chemistry soon.
  • 157. Hai also suggested that chemical and pharmaceutical corporations should co-operate withforeign partners for consultation and project construction. (VNS Jul 24 p2, VietnamEconomic Times Jul 25 p3)First IVF babies Born in Vietnam’s Central Provincial HospitalHue Central Hospital in the central province of Thua Thien Hue has welcomed its firstsix in-vitro fertilization (IVF) babies, the hospital announced this information at a pressbriefing July 24.The hospital is the first in Vietnam’s central region to apply IVF method from lastNovember with the support from the Ho Chi Minh City Infertility and ObstetricAssociation that specializes infertility treatment.Hue Central Hospital is expected to welcome an additional 15 IVF babies by year-end,said the facility.By mid January 2006, Vietnam had welcomed 2,815 IVF babies. Of the sum, 2,154 wereconceived at the Tu Du hospital, and the other 661 at the Central Obstetrics Hospital inHanoi.According to statistics from the Health Ministry, approximately one million Vietnamesecouples encounter difficulties conceiving children naturally. (Labor Jul 25 p2, The PeopleJul 25 p8, TN Daily Jul 25 p2)Southern Vietnam Operates Australia-funded Water Treatment PlantThe Australian Consul General to Ho Chi Minh City, Mal Skelly, July 24 inaugurated theAustralian government-funded water treatment plant in Bac Lieu town of the MekongDelta province of Bac Lieu, the Thoi Bao Kinh Te newspaper said.“The Australian government has pledged to help Vietnamese people gain access to cleanwater and sanitation service, particularly the poor and disadvantaged people, " Mal Skellysaid.The plant is part of the AUD80 million ($76.5 million) water supply and sanitationproject funded by Australia to benefit 280,000 residents in Mekong Delta towns of BacLieu, Sa Dec and Ha Tien.The Australian government allocated AUD48.9 million ($46.7 million) through theAustralian Agency for International Development (AusAID). (VietNamNet, VietnamEconomic Times Jul 25 p4, www.cpv.org.vn, Vietnam Agriculture July 25 p2)Culture & Society:WB Funds $75 Mln to Land Management Projects in 9 Vietnam Provinces
  • 158. The State Bank of Vietnam has authorized the Vietnam Bank for Industry and Trade(Vietinbank) to carry out the World Bank-funded $75 million land management systemmodernization and complete it from now to 2013, Vietnamese state media said Friday.The bank will provide loans for the project, which is aimed at setting up a modern systemfor registration, management and issue of land use certificates in northern Thai Binh,Hung Yen and Ha Tay; central Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh and Khanh Hoa; and MekongDelta Tien Giang, Ben Tre and Vinh Long province .Vietnam has outlined a detailed itinerary to modernize its land management system toensure the legitimate right of the state, investors and land users and combat landcorruption and wastefulness.Earlier, the prime minister has agreed to allow the Ministry of Natural Resources andEnvironment to hire French professionals to conduct a feasibility study on completingand modernizing the land management system in Hanoi, central coastal Danang city andHo Chi Minh City.The Fund for Assistance to the Private Sector (FASEP) of France also grantedEUR600,000 from for the project, the Vietnam News Agency said. (Family & Society Jul25 p4, New Hanoi Jul 25 p7, Pioneer Jul 25 p13, Capital Security Jul 25 p6, SaigonLiberation Jul 25 p1, Thanh Nien Daily Jul 25 p2, VNA Jul 25)Mekong Delta: 47 Hospitalized for Food PoisoningForty seven workers from a private-owned aquatic product processing company in theMekong Delta province of An Giang have been hospitalized for food poisoning, the LaoDong newspaper said Friday.The victims suffered from dizzy, headache, nausea after having lunch at the firmscanteen, the paper said.Fifteen workers had been discharged but the others were still in Chau Phu GeneralHospital for treatment, said Nguyen Van Nhan, director of the hospital.Provincial health officials are investigating into the reason.In the first six months, Vietnam reported 4,718 food poisoning victims with 43 fatalities,up 53% on year, said the Food Safety and Hygiene Department (FSHD) under theMinistry of Health. (Labor Jul 25 p2, www.vtc.vn Jul 25)Stock Market:PetroVietnam Withdraws to Set up Hong Viet Bank
  • 159. The Vietnam Oil & Gas Group (PetroVietnam) has decided to not establish Hong VietCommercial Bank as planned in response to the prime ministers requirement, the Labornewspaper reported.PetroVietnam Chairman Dinh La Thang said "the move is to respond to the governmentsguideline to curb inflation and stabilize the economy amidst a lot of difficulties,"Previously, the group had planned to contribute a 20% stake in the Hong Viet Bank.Meanwhile, it still owned 9.5% stake, or VND9.5 billion, in the Global PetroleumCommercial Joint Stock Bank (GP-Bank).The Government Office’s Deputy Chairman Pham Viet Muon said "PetroVietnam isallowed in invest in only one bank. If it still wants to found Hong Viet Bank, it mustwithdraw capital from GP Bank,"PetroVietnam has chosen to divest stakes in GP Bank to join in Maritime Bank. Thespecific investment was not revealed. (Labor Jul 25)Prudential Vietnam Fund Manager Okayed to Raise Capital to $1.6 MlnPrudential Vietnam Fund Management Company (PVFMC) has got green light from theState Securities Commission to increase its registered capital to VND25 billion ($1.6million) from current VND23 billion.The British life insurer Prudential set up the arm PVFMC in Vietnam in May 2005. Thecompany is allowed to establish and manage investment funds and provide advices onfinancial and securities investment.PVFMC is now managing the VND500-billion Prudential Balance Fund 1 (PRUBF1)listed on Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 25 p10)First Taxi Operator to Hit Stock MarketAnh Duong Viet Nam Joint Stock Company (Vinasun), one of the countrys mostprestigious and quality taxi firms, is ready to float its 17 million shares on the Ho ChiMinh Stock Exchange (HOSE) July 29.The shares, coded VNS, will have the initial price of VND60,000 each at the trading bandof 20%.The company holds the largest taxi market share of 40% in HCM City, and 60% inneighboring provinces of Binh Duong and Dong Nai. It is managing nearly 1,750 cabsand coaches that could be 2,500 by the end of this year.Under the plan for 2008, Vinasun targets to earn VND69 billion ($4.2 million) andVND744 billion ($45.1 million), up 30% and 55% on year, respectively.
  • 160. Presently, big financial institutions own total seven million shares in Vinasun, includingSaigon Trade Corporation (Satra), Vietnam Investment Fund, Singapores TemasekCorp., and Prudential Vietnam.The taxi operator is also to carry out some big realty projects in HCM City, such asVinasun Tower in District 1, apartment project in Dist 8, trading center in Dist 5. Theseprojects, once operational, are expected to bring in VND30 billion in net profit. (VietnamEconomic Times Jul 25 p11, CafeF Jul 24)Jul 25: Vietnam Shares Drop on Inflation WorriesVietnams shares closed lower for a sixth session in a row Friday on local selling onworries that inflation will rocket to new record high after it hovered 27% in July, traderssaid.“Investors share the view that prices of goods and services will continue to rise in thecoming months following the fuel price hike on July 21,” a player with KimLongSecurities said.Although some listed companies announce solid results in the first two quarters, highinflation will weaken their profitability in the next quarters, he said.“The bearish trend will dominate the market in coming weeks,” he said.VN-Index today lost 6.33 points, or 1.45%, at 429.46.Market volume totaled 8.9 million shares valued at VND328 billion Friday, down from22.6 million shares valued at VND889 billon Thursday.DPM, the most actively traded stock, fell 1.9% at VND52,000 after trading 1.2 millionshares, of which foreign investors bought 385,640 shares and sold 66,190 shares.SSI, the second most active stock, dived 2.9% at VND43,600 on 1.2 million shares,including 1.1 million shares bought by foreigners.STB plummeted 2.6% at VND22,400 on a trade of 1.2 million shares.VPK topped the decliners, falling 3% to below the face value at VND9,700.In the upside, HPG rallied up 2.9% at VND49,100 on 712,350 shares matching orders,including 178,180 shares bought and 2,100 shares sold by foreigners.PET advanced 2.9% at VND21,600 on 375,270 shares, with foreigners buying 13,000shares.
  • 161. In total, 27 stocks closed higher, 124 lower and four unchanged.All four fund certificates closed lower. (HOSE July 25)Vietnam NewsJuly 24, 2008Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,497Economic Indicators:Vietnam’s CPI Rises at Slowest Pace in JulyVietnam’s consumer price index (CPI) is estimated to increase 1.13% in July from June,the slowest pace in a single month so far this year, the government-run General StatisticsOffice reported Thursday.The consumer prices, however, hovered 19.78% from the end of 2007 and 27.04% fromone year ago, the office said.The 1.13% CPI rise in July is attributed to the lower rise in prices of foods andfoodstuffs, which account for 42.8% of the commodities basket to calculate CPI. Theseitems edged up 0.99% on month, of which food prices fell 0.36% and food stuff pricesrose 1.33% from June.Foods recorded the highest CPI rise of 22.1% on month in May due to a sudden fever.Costs of medicines and health care services registered the highest rise in July, at 2% onmonth, followed by housing and construction materials, at 1.67%.Postal and telecom services see a CPI fall of 0.05%.Followings are details of each group: Index in Index in July 2008 compared with (%) Jan-Jul Base 08 vs 07 Jul-07 Dec-07 Jun-08 (%) year 05 Consumer price index 145.93 127.04 119.78 101.13 121.28 Food and foodstuff 172.00 144.69 132.02 100.99 134.65 Of which: -Food 211.92 172.72 158.85 99.63 143.50 -Foodstuff 159.88 136.25 123.45 101.33 132.52 Beverage and cigarette 125.94 112.25 109.27 100.98 109.08 Garment, footwear, hat 123.02 110.93 108.16 101.40 108.85
  • 162. Housing and construction materials 147.75 124.87 116.25 101.67 121.11 Household appliances and goods 122.30 109.56 108.04 101.53 107.13 Medical products and health care 119.84 109.49 105.95 102.00 108.20 Means of transport & 128.75 115.33 111.19 100.55 113.06 communication Of which: Postal services & 83.71 88.80 90.65 99.95 88.18 telecoms Education 111.35 104.20 103.16 101.02 102.64 Culture, sport and entertainment 112.44 104.83 106.18 100.85 103.85 Other consumer goods and services 129.59 113.79 109.37 101.14 112.57Prices of gold surged 3.2% on month, while the prices of U.S dollar advanced 1.83%against Vietnam dong.The CPI increased 1.1% on month in urban areas and 1.16% in rural areas. It registeredthe highest rise of 1.93% in coastal central region and the slowest rise of 0.69% in thesoutheast granary region.Among localities involving in CPI calculation, the central Danang province witnessed thehighest CPI rise of 2.46%.Vietnam’s CPI rose 2.38% on month in January, 3.56% in February, 2.99% in March,2.2% in April and 3.91% in May and 2.14% in June. (GSO Jul 24, VnExpress Jul 24,People Jul 24 p8)Banking & Finance:Trade Deficit Doubles Difficulties for Vietnam GovernmentBig trade deficit, leading to current account deficit, is becoming a great threat for theVietnamese government, Benedict Bingham, a representative from the InternationalMonetary Fund, said at a conference on export situations in the first half and solutions forthe second half held in Hanoi Jul 22.The threat will place Vietnam into a doubled difficult situation, making the country, onthe one hand, to increase foreign currency reserves or credit to offset balance sheet, onthe other hand, to implement tight monetary policy to recover confidence of domestic andforeign investors.The central bank tightening monetary policy to reduce trade deficit is right, but it needs totake care of technical methods to lower price hike, he said.Noritaka Akamatsu, director of the World Banks Financial and Private SectorDevelopment Program, shared the view, saying that the tight monetary policy helped
  • 163. slow down import growth, but it would put pressure on banks to join the interest raterace.For a long term, Vietnam should curb import growth by boosting export and wellimplement the industrialization strategy to produce commodities replacing import items,the official said.In addition, Vietnam needs to offset balance of payment through mobilizing long-termcapital by developing securities and bond markets.Bui Xuan Khu, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, said the government has takemeasures to curtail import, including reducing imports of luxurious items. Therefore,trade deficits have fallen over the past months, from $3.2 billion in April to $1.9 billionin May and to $702 million in June.Deputy PM Hoang Trung Hai has urged the ministry to closely monitor and control eachimport item in order to curb trade deficit below $20 billion for the whole year.According to the latest figures released by the General Statistics Office July 24,Vietnam’s trade deficits are estimated to hit $15.01 billion in January-July. (Vietnam andWorld Economy Jul 23 p4, GSO Jul 2008)Vietnam Cuts $2.18 Bln from Investment Projects to Curb InflationVietnam has slashed VND36 trillion ($2.18 billion) from halting and cutting a total 3,000projects with state-owned companies taking lead in the cut in an attempt to curb soaringinflation, the Ministry of Planning and Investment told a press conference Jul 23.State-owned corporations have halted VND29.366 trillion projects, which is of greatsignificance of the government-launched campaign to curb double-digit inflation, thestate-run Nhan Dan (the People) newspaper quoted the ministry as noting.Vietnam Shipping Lines Corp (Vinalines) and the Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group(Vinashin) are taking the lead by cutting VND6.2 trillion and VND6 trillion, respectively,the ministry said.Banks loans invested by 15 state-owned corporations accounted for 52.9% of their totalinvestment figures, and making up 13.95% of their total assets, which are at safe level,the ministry added.Investments into securities, real estate and finance sectors accounted for 4.93% of theirtotal investment capital and represented 1.26% of their assets.Party Chief Manh recently called on locals and businesses to accept to further tightenbelts to combat inflation after the government hiked 31% prices of gasoline. (The PeopleJul 24 p8, Vietnam News Agency Jul 24)
  • 164. VietinBank Cuts Lending Interest RatesVietnam Bank for Industry and Trade or VietinBank, the countrys fourth largest bank byassets, has cut interest rates on both Vietnamese dong and U.S. dollar loans, the Tin Tucnewspaper reported.On July 21, the Hanoi-based bank cut annual lending interest for Vietnamese dong loansby 0.5 percentage point to 20.5%, and for U.S. dollar loans by 2 percentage points to8.5%.This is the second time in July VietinBank has cut lending interest rate for U.S. dollarloans."The purpose of the decrease is to support clients to stabilize production, contributing toinflation control and sustainable economic growth," Pham Xuan Lap, VietinBanksHanoi-based general director, said in a statement on its Website.Customers who will enjoy the decreases include businesses involved in majorgovernment projects, agricultural development, farm purchasing and processing, forestryand fisheries exports, as well as importers of essential items such as gasoline, productionmaterials and pharmaceuticals, he said.Early this month, other state-run lenders – BIDV, Agribank, and Vietcombank have alsoreduced the rates.Vietnams central bank has raised rates three times this year and restricted credit growthat 30% to slow inflation. (Industry & Trade Jul 24 p8)Trade:Vietnam’s Trade Deficit Being Narrowed-GSOVietnam is estimated to see big on-month drop in trade deficit in July at $800 millionfrom $1.3 billion last month and $961 million a year earlier, said the General StatisticsOffice (GSO).The sharp decrease reflects the country’s great efforts to reduce trade deficit in order tocurb inflation amid the recent petroleum price hikes.In July, the country’s ships $6.25 billion worth of commodities, down from $6.43 billionlast month, and up 46.1% on-year.The figure raises the country’s total export value in the first seven months to $36.87billion, up 37.7% on-year. Of the total, foreign-invested firms contribute $20.4 billion, up35.8% on-year and the domestic ones with $16.47 billion, up 29.1%.
  • 165. Meanwhile, Vietnam spends $7.05 billion on imports in July from $7.16 billion in June,lifting the country’s whole import spending to $51.88 billion in January-July, up 56.8%on-year. OfOf the total import value, the domestic sector is forecast to import $35.46 billion, up70.4% on-year and the foreign invested sector of $16.42 billion, up 40.5%.The figures resulted in the country’s trade deficit of $15.01 billion during the sevenmonths, up 2.67 times on-year.Vietnam imported most machinery and equipment ($8.15 billion, up 40.3% on-year),fuels ($7.75 billion, up 90.7%), steel and iron ($5.01 billion, up 96.6%), cloths ($2.66billion, up 18.3%), electronics, computers and spare parts ($2.04 billion, up 36.1%),plastics ($1.82 billion, up 38.8%), apparel and leather accessories ($1.46 billion, up19.1%), animal feed ($1.18 billion, up 78.3%), fertilizer ($1.1 billion, up 118.9%),chemicals ($108 million, up 28.4%).Imports of automobile report the highest growth rate of 199.4% to $1.83 billion inJanuary-July.Eight items have value of over $1 billion each during the first half. Of which, crude oilstill tops the list with 7.8 million tons worth $6.8 billion, down 12.1% on-year in volumebut up 52.2% in value.It is followed by garments and textiles with $5.09 billion, up 20.5%, footwear with $2.75billion, up 18.4%, seafood with $2.34 billion, up 17.7%, rice with 2.79 million tons worth$1.81 billion, up 6.8% and 87.6%, respectively, woodwork products with $1.59 billion,up 21.3%, electronics and computers with $1.44 billion, up 29.4% and coffee with $1.38billion, up 3.8%.Vietnams imports are forecast to increase 31% on-year to $80.2 billion this year, lowerthan the previous target of $85.7 billion set by the government, while the country willattain an on-year export growth of 26% to $61.2 billion, said the Ministry of Industry andTrade (MoIT). (GSO Jul 2008, Vietpan)Vietnam, Iran Boosting Trade TiesThe Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Iranian Chamber ofCommerce and Industry and Minerals (ICCIM) July 23 co-organized the Vietnam-IranBusiness Forum in Hanoi, aiming to enhance and promote bilateral trade and economicrelations, local media reported.The forum was part of a visit to Vietnam by the ICCIM’s Vice Chairman Ali AsgharKhamenavi, who was accompanied by executives from 13 Iranian businesses.
  • 166. During the event, representatives from both sides agreed that the current trade andeconomic relations have not yet matched the two countries’ potential.According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, trade turnover between Vietnam and Iransteadily increased from nearly $30 million in 2003, $39 million in 2004, $100 million in2005 and around $107 million in 2007.Vice Chairman of VCCI Doan Duy Khuong said the figures were very modest and calledfor a stronger effort to boost trade and economic cooperative relations between the twocountries.A lack of information shared between business circles of the two countries and undueattention to decisive stimuli to trade relations such as banking, insurance and transport aremainly blamed for the poor trade, said Khamenavi.Speaking at the forum, Iranian ambassador to Vietnam Ghavam Shahidi said Vietnamand Iran have great potential for cooperation in the field of economics and trade. Apartfrom the traditional areas of agriculture, garment and textiles, both countries can expandcooperation in credit, banking and tourism services. Iran is committed to supporting andcreating favorable conditions for foreign investors including Vietnamese enterprises.Early next month, Vietnam will send a delegation to attend the “Vietnam-Iran BusinessForum” in Tehran while Iran will arrange for a delegation of enterprises to come to Hanoiwith the aim of seeking business opportunities in Vietnam.Iran has a great demand for importing rice, rubber, coffee, pepper, timber and woodproducts, footwear, plastics, cashew nuts, ceramics, rattans and bamboos from Vietnam,said the forum. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 24 p4, Young People Jul 24 p2, Vietnam& World Economy Jul 24 p1)EU Ends GSP for Vietnamese Shoe ImportsForeign ministers of the European Union (E.U.) member-countries have agreed in ameeting in Brussels July 23 to end the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) forimported Vietnamese shoes from January 1, 2009.In addition to leather shoes, caps, umbrellas, artificial flowers and some others exportedto the block will also no longer enjoy the GSP.The ministers said Vietnam’s leather footwear exports to the E.U. market have accountedfor over 15% of total E.U. imports of the same product under the GSP so Vietnam issupposed to have reached a certain competition level and is not necessary to enjoy thepreferential tariffs.Meanwhile, they supported to extend the GSP for imports from developing countriesfrom January 1, 2009 to the end of 2011.
  • 167. Vietnam expects to export $10.4 billion worth commodities to the European Union (EU)this year, an on-year rise of 23.5% this year, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said. (HaNoi Moi Online Jul 24, Vietpan Database)CHINAMAC Opens in HCMCThe China Machinery 2008 exhibition (Chinamac) was inaugurated in the southerneconomic hub of Ho Chi Minh City Wednesday [July 23], state media reported.More than 200 leading Chinese groups and enterprises in various industries areshowcasing in more than 250 booths equipment in metal manufacturing, packaging, foodprocessing, farming machines, printing and paper industries as well as equipment forenvironmental cleaning.Seminars and ceremonies for signing contracts between Chinese and Vietnamesebusinesses will also be held during the exhibition, the fifth annual machinery show ofChina in Vietnam.The exhibition is jointly organized by the Vietnam Fair and Advertisement Company(Vietfair), the Vietnam Association of Mechanical Industry, the Ho Chi Minh CityIndustry Department, the China Council for International Trade Promotion and someChinese companies. (VNA Jul 24, Youth Online Jul 24)Industry:Vietnam’s Jan-Jul Crude Oil Export Value Up 52.2% to $6.8 BlnVietnam is estimated to have gained $6.8 billion from exporting 7.8 million metric tonsof crude oil in the first seven months of this year, up 52.2% on year in value and down12.1% on year in volume, said the General Statistics Office (GSO).In July, the country is forecast to have exported 1.09 million metric tons of crude oil, up5.82% on month and down 10.65% on year, the office said.The Southeast Asian country is estimated to have obtained $1.14 billion from shipmentsabroad in the month, representing a rise of 6.54% on month and 60.78% on year,according to the GSO.“The higher earning is mainly attributed to higher crude oil price in the global market thatnearly hit over $144 per barrel in early July,” an official of the Ministry of Industry andTrade said.Crude oil is now Vietnam’s largest forex earner, contributing 18.44% to the country’sexport revenues between January and July, said the GSO.
  • 168. Currently, Vietnam has no refineries, and it has to import refined oil products to meet itsfuel demand.Vietnam is forecast to have spent $7.75 billion importing 8.29 million metric tons ofpetroleum products in the first seven months of 2008, up 90.7% on year and 11.4%,respectively, the office said. (GSO Jul 2008)Vietnam’s Refine Oil Import Spending Up 90.7% to $7.75 Bln in Jan-JulVietnam is forecast to have spent $7.75 billion importing 8.29 million metric tons ofpetroleum products in the first seven months this year, up 90.7% on year and 11.4%,respectively, said the General Statistic Office (GSO).In July, the country is estimated to have imported 1.2 million metric tons of the productsworth $1.37 billion, up 144.2% on year in value and up 28.06% in volume, the officesaid.Vietnam heavily relies on imported petroleum products as it has no oil refineries. Its firstDung Quat refinery is under construction and is slated for operation February 25, 2009.GSO said that Vietnam is the third largest crude oil producer in Asia, 7.8 million metrictons of crude oil valued at $6.8 billion in Jan-Jul this year, up 52.2% on year in value anddown 12.1% on year in volume.The Vietnamese Ministry of Finance has recently increased the price of gasoline by31.05% to VND19,000 per liter from VND14,500 in the wake of consecutive global oilprice hike.The mazut price was raised by 36.8% to VND13,000 a liter from VND9,500 and thekerosene price increased by 43.9% to VND20,000 a liter. Diesel was increased the least,by 14.7% to VND15,950 from VND13,900.Vietnam is expected to lose VND44,772 billion ($2.71 billion) in the second half of thisyear if global crude oil prices to hitting $140 per barrel, brining total loss for this year toVND60 trillion ($3.6 billion). (GSO Jul 2008, Vietpan)Jan-Jul Coal Export Volume Down 22.7% On-year to 14.47 Mln TonsVietnam is estimated to export 14.47 million tons of coal in the first seven months thisyear, down 22.7% on-year, valued at $811 million, up 38.4%, the General StatisticsOffice (GSO) reported.July’s figures are 1.35 million tons and $110 million, respectively, the office said.
  • 169. The Ministry of Industry and Trade said this year it will cut coal export by 5 million tonsas compared with last year’s figure of 32.5 million tons to serve the increasing domesticdemand.Vietnam is targeting to produce between 48 million and 50 million tons of clean coal by2010 under Vietnam’s coal industry development strategy until 2015, a vision to 2025approved by the prime minister recently.The strategy also said the output will reach 60 million-65 million tons in 2015, 70million-75 million in 2020 and 80 million tons in 2025. (GSO Jul 2008, Vietpan)Ca Mau 1 Power Plant to be Re-operated TodayCa Mau 1 thermal power plant will resume operating Thursday [July 24], a week soonerthan scheduled, which will help ease Vietnam’s current severe power shortfall, themanagement board of the Ca Mau gas-power-fertilizer project said.The gas-fuelled plant is expected to run at its peak capacity of 750 MW to generate 3billion-4 billion kWh of electricity to supplement the country’s power grid after it washalted repair from June 15 this year, the board attributed.The $770-million plant is part of the $1.2-billion Ca Mau gas-power-fertilizer project inAn Khanh commune, U Minh district of southern Ca Mau province.Meanwhile, Ca Mau 2 thermal power plant has been running trial at capacity of between300 MW and 500 MW, and at full capacity of 750 MW from late August this year.Vietnam is forecast to lack between 2,000 MW and 2,500 MW of power daily in July andthe power shortfall will prolong until August, a leader of state-owned Electricity ofVietnam Group (EVN) said recently.The country is forecast to lack 8.6 billion kWh of electricity this year and the figure willclimb to 36 billion kWh in 2020 and 120 billion kWh in 2030. (Youth Jul 24 p2)$500 Mln Steel Mill to be Built in Central ProvinceThe Vietnam Steel Corporation, or VNSTEEL, plans to build a steel plant with an annualcapacity of one million tons in central Binh Dinh province, said Dau Van Hung, VSCsgeneral director.The $500 million steel factory will cover between 120 hectares and 150 hectares in thelocality.The project will be kicked off in 2009 and completed in 2015.
  • 170. Binh Dinh province has pledged to create favorable good conditions for the VSC toexecute the project.VNSTEEL is considering three sites in the province to set up the plant – Nhon HonEconomic Zone, Long Industrial Zone and Nhon Hoa Industrial Zone.The corporation will cooperate with a Japanese company and some local companies tocarry out the project. (Saigon Times Daily Jul 22 p3, Labor Jul 22 p2)Agriculture:Agriculture Ministry Optimistic about Paddy ExpansionThe shift of shrimp breeding areas and fruit orchards to paddy in Mekong Delta regionwill not break Vietnam’s overall food project, local media reported, citing an officialfrom the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).Bui Ba Bong, deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the ongoingpaddy expansion in Mekong Delta region, the Vietnam rice bowl, is to meet with marketdemand, and it should be encouraged.He said almost all of fruit orchards and shrimp breeding areas turned into paddycultivation are of low quality and value, adding that they have many diseases.He added that the shift to paddy now brings more benefits than other crops like coffee orrubber, because it takes farmers only three months to harvest, while coffee cycle is fromfive to ten years.The deputy minister believed the paddy expansion will profit farmers because rice pricescan not drop, at least in the next 10-15 years.But he noted that the ministry, as well as local provinces, should provide farmers withtechnical assistance, and market information.Bong said Vietnam needs to keep at least between 3.8 million and 3.9 million hectares ofland for paddy cultivation, to ensure sufficient food for around 130 million people.The Saigon Liberation reported that 20,000 hectares of cajuput in southernmost KienGiang province, which had been planned for paper production, were turned into paddyplantation. The figure in Long An is more than 2,000 hectares. In Ca Mau, more than2,200 hectares of sugarcane for local sugar refineries, were shifted into paddy fields.In other Mekong Delta provinces like Dong Thap, Vinh Long, and Bac Lieu, tens ofthousands of hectares under cajuput, and fruit cultivation, and shrimp breeding have alsobeen devoted to paddy. (New Ha Noi July 24 p4, The News p3, Saigon Liberation p3)
  • 171. Pangasius Exports to Russia Surprisingly Rise in H1Exports of pangasius to Russia sharply increased during the first six months of 2008,helping the foreign country to be the third biggest seafood importer of Vietnam, theVietnam Association of Seafood Importers and Producers (VASEP) said.As of late June 2008, Russia imported 44,649 tons of pangasius, valued at $73.851million, from Vietnam. In June, Russia imported $14.352 million goods.The pangasius export revenues from Russia accounted for more than 12% of Vietnam’stotal export revenues from tra and basa catfish in the first half of 2008, the associationsaid.The VASEP said pangasius exports to Ukraine also rocketed, with total import volumehitting 9,464 tons in January-June period, worth $16.4 million.Vietnam raked in $610 million from exporting 260,000 tons of tra and basa catfish in thefirst six months of 2008, remaining a key seafood export item of Vietnam.The catfish exports accounted for more than 32% of the country’s total seafood exportvalue, which was $1.89 billion, followed by frozen shrimp and squid exports with 31%and 7.4%, respectively.Currently, EU and Japan are the two biggest seafood importers of Vietnam. (The YouthJuly 24 p14)Porcine, Animal Diseases Rampant in VietnamDiseases affecting pig, animal and poultry seem to be rampant in localities of Vietnam,with more outbreaks have been discovered in recent days, the Animal Health Departmentsaid on its Web site.The department said blue-ear disease among pigs was discovered in northern Ha Namprovince, bringing total number of provinces being affected by the disease to 14.It said the disease affected four pigs out of a total flock of 24 in a household in NhanChinh commune, Ly Nhan district on July 22, while continue spreading in central ThuaThien Hue province’s Huong Thuy, Quang Dien and Phong Dien districts.Blue-ear disease now remains in 12 other provinces of Soc Trang, Quang Ninh, BinhDinh, Phu Yen, Quang Nam, Hai Duong, Vinh Long, Ba Ria Vung Tau, Quang Tri, BacLieu, and Gia Lai.Meanwhile, an outbreak of foot and mouth disease has been found out in central ThanhHoa province, affecting 45 animals in Ha Linh commune, Ha Trung district, 55 cows and
  • 172. 16 buffaloes in Vinh Ninh commune, Vinh Loc district, and two cows in Sam Sontownship.The outbreak in Thanh Hoa showed total province number in Vietnam being affected byfoot and mouth disease to three, including northern mountainous Cao Bang province andnortheastern Quang Ninh province.The department said bird flu is still threatening poultry in two Mekong Delta provinces ofTra Vinh and Dong Thap, and central Nghe An province.The People today reported that congestion disease has damaged buffaloes in central NgheAn province, especially in mountainous districts. Since early July, the disease has killed66 buffaloes in Quy Chau district, and is spreading to neighboring districts of Con Cuongand Que Phong. (The People July 24 p5, Cuthuy.gov.vn July 24)Business:Super Cars Still Arriving Despite MeasuresDespite efforts by the government of Vietnam to tighten luxury imports to fight inflation,cars worth several hundred thousand dollars are still arriving in Vietnam, the VietnamNews Agency reported July 24.Analysts said that some models appeared in Vietnam just several weeks after they wereintroduced in foreign markets. Luxury car brand names appeared shortly in Vietnam likeRolls Royce (13 units), BMW X6, which appeared in the world’s market in late April andappeared in Vietnam in early July (7 units), and Bentley (20-30 units).Owner of a HCM City-based automobile salon related that he is still selling severalluxury cars a month, even with the import tax being lifted to 83%. A client purchasedthree luxury cars worth over $300,000 and made payment in cash.High demand for hi-end cars in Vietnam has prompted luxury auto manufacturers likePorsche, BMW, Audi, Rolls-Royce to race to look for distributors and authorized dealersto boost sales in the Southeast Asian country, where the income per capita is less than$1,000 per annum.The analysts attributed massive arrivals of luxury cars to shortcomings in tax policies.Notably, a brand new Rolls-Royce Phantom a Vietnamese businesswoman importeddirectly from the British manufacturer in 2008 was imposed VND13 billion in tax, onewould see that the tax of $30,000 or VND500 million on used luxury cars proves to betoo low, they said.The General Department of Customs said that 10,000 used cars have arrived in Vietnamin the last two years, since Vietnam allowed used imports. Luxury cars have accountedfor nearly 50% of the imports.
  • 173. Analysts have also urged the government to further increase taxes in order to reduce thetrade deficit. (Vietnam & World Economy Jul 24 p4)Push Mail Service for Mobile Phones Launched in VietnamViettel Telecom July 22 launched its push mail service named I-Mail for mobilesubscribers, the first service of this kind in Vietnam, state media has said.After registering to use this service, mobile subscribers will receive emails in form ofMMS. They can reply to the mails on their cell phones.The I-Mail service is available for almost all models of cell phones which have GPRSand MMS support.To use this service, users have to pay a VND15,000 monthly subscription fee andVND500 for each outgoing mail. Customers can receive unrestricted numbers of emailsand don’t have to pay GPRS charges for receiving or sending emails. [$1=aroundVND17,000]Users will be exempted from monthly subscription charges for July and August 2008.Viettel is now one of the three biggest mobile networks in Vietnam. The networkoperator now reports 19.42 million subscribers. It is followed by MobiFone with over13.4 million, VinaPhone 12.1 million and 3.14 million for S-Fone.Currently, there are seven mobile operators in Vietnam—MobiFone, VinaPhone, Viettel,S-Fone, HT Mobile, EVN Telecom, and new entrant GTel. (VietNamNet July 23,Vietnam Panorama)Foreign Investment:Vietnam Striving to Boost FDI DisbursementThe Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) says it is making efforts to reach the settarget of the foreign direct investment (FDI) disbursement of $10 billion this year, an on-year rise of 25%, Vietnam News Agency said.The ministry will organize a dialogue between its leaders and foreign investors inSeptember to help agencies and localities nationwide timely settle investors’ proposals,the agency said.Head of Foreign Investment Department under the MPI, Phan Huu Thang, said it is noteasy for Vietnam to make a breakthrough in FDI disbursement due to undevelopedinfrastructure.
  • 174. Thang added that the fast increase in FDI inflow has put great pressure on the SoutheastAsian nation’s infrastructure.Low FDI disbursement is attributed to underdeveloped infrastructure, shortage of high-quality manpower, and burdensome bureaucracy—three bottlenecks-faced by Vietnam,analysts said.A survey of 140 FDI companies by the Central Economic Management Research Instituteearlier this year showed that, 20% of slow disbursement in Vietnam was resulted fromchanges in Vietnam’s policies, 70% of procedures and administration.Meanwhile, the remaining surveyed enterprises said it was attributed to the holdingcompanies’ change in business strategies.Foreign companies disbursed $5 billion FDI in the first six months of this year, up 37.6%on-year. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 23)HCM City Sees Two-decade FDI Record HighHo Chi Minh City has licensed 271 new foreign direct investment (FDI) projects valuedat over $7.71 billion so far this year, marking a two-decade record, Vietnam NewsAgency said Thursday.The figure represents a rise of 12 times compared to the same period of last year,according to the news agency.Projects of note receiving the city’s licenses in the seven-month phase include the $3.5billion Berjaya International University project, the TECO software park project worth$1.2 billion and the $1.2-billion building by TA Associates Vietnam Ltd.The fruitful result is attributed to the city’s efforts to improve investment climate, andaccelerate administrative reform in investment licensing procedures.It also sought domestic and foreign capital sources to upgrade transport facilities,seaports, and telecoms services to facilitate the implementation of investment projects.The southern hub is now home to 2,908 valid projects totaling $24.91 billion, the newssource said. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 23)Politics & Law:French Senate President to Visit VietnamFrench Senate President Christian Poncelet will pay an official visit to Vietnam from July27 to August 1, the National Assembly’s Committee for External Affairs announced July23.
  • 175. The reciprocation trip is made at the invitation of National Assembly Chairman NguyenPhu Trong, who just visited France last month to promote bilateral cooperation betweenparliaments.During his trip to France, the Vietnamese top legislator highly appreciated the importancein boosting bilateral ties, particularly in trade and investment, with the European Unionmember nation.Bilateral trade between Vietnam and France reached $2.76 billion in 2007, up 32% on-year. (New Hanoi Jul 24 p1, Saigon Liberation p1)Labor & Education:Vietnam State Agencies Facing Brain Drain in Market Boom Era-State MediaVietnamese lawmakers have raised concerns about brain drain state agencies are facing inthe booming market economy as a total 1,000 key state officials massively quitted jobs towork for joint ventures in Ho Chi Minh City recently, Vietnamese state media saidThursday.Vice Chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Tong Thi Phong put aunanswered question how to keep able state employees at the working session oflawmakers on draft law on state cadres.Early this year, the government of Vietnam increased minimal monthly salary forservicemen in army, political agencies and administrative bodies to VND540,000($33.75), much lower than pays by foreign firms, a big gap to fill in the government fightagainst corruption.In the context of double-digit inflation and gasoline price hikes, Vietnamese with morethan 70% being farmers is struggling to survive, observers said.Rapid urbanization with broader openness of Vietnam’s economy since it joined theWTO in early 2007 has sharpened the headhunt competition among banks and firms inVietnam, state media said.Meanwhile, local education sector with 325 universities, institutions and colleges cannotmeet the huge manpower demand with up to 50% of university graduates unqualified andneeded to be retrained, according to the Ministry of Education and Training.Intel Vietnam recently complained that it had hurdles in recruiting high-qualified staff forits $1 billion microchip factory in Ho Chi Minh City.Currently, Vietnam has a total 195,442 state employees. (www.hanoimoi.com.vn Jul 24)Vietnam Wins Two Gold Medals at Int’l Chemistry Olympiad
  • 176. Vietnam won two gold and two bronze medals at the 40th International ChemistryOlympiad held in Hungary from July 12-21, the Thanh Nien newspaper reportedThursday.The two gold medal winners were Vu Minh Chau from Hanoi National University andBui Tuan Linh from Hanoi Amsterdam.Two bronze medals went to Chu Thi Ngoc Anh from Haiphong-based Tran Phu HighSchool for gifted students and Pham Anh Tuan from Hanoi National University.Vietnamese students also reaped fruitful results at the 2008 International Math andBiology Olympiads by taking two gold medals, two silvers, and five bronzes.This year, Vietnam sent around 30 students to International Olympiads.Vietnamese students always won prizes and they were listed as one of the strongest teamsin thirty-three years. Educational experts from Singapore and Malaysia sometimes cometo Vietnam to learn about math training courses and methods. (Young People July 24 p2,Youth July 24 p2)Health & Environment:Vietnam Detects 12,800 PLWH in H1, down 16%Vietnam identified 9,904 new HIV carriers and 2,837 AIDS developers in the first half ofthis year, down 16% and 44% on-year, said the Ministry of Health.The country also reported over 1,600 AIDS-related deaths during the time, down 27%on-year, respectively, the ministry said at a conference reviewing for HIV/AIDS, drugand prostitution prevention and control held in Hanoi July 23.The figures have raised the country’s total people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH) to151,441.The country is forecast to have 350,970 PLWH in 2010, including 157,000 AIDSdevelopers and 101,000 fatalities.By late June, Vietnam reportedly had 169,000 managed drug users, down 9,212 cases.(Vietnam Economic Times Jul 24 p2, VNA Jul 23, GSO Dec 2007)U.S. Grants $330,000 to Help Vietnam City Build Flood Alert CenterThe U.S. Pacific Command has decided to grant $330,000 to help the central coastal cityof Danang build a flood warning center, the citys Department of Home Affairs is quotedby the Thanh Nien newspaper as saying Thursday [July 24].Work on the 1,000 square-meter center will begin this year and is expected to becompleted in 2010, the paper said.
  • 177. Vietnam is forecast to face more severe floods and storms this year than last year due toLa Nina, said the National Hydrometeorology Forecast Center.Each year, the Asean country faces dozens of storms, which often cause deadly floodsand landslides.Floods and storm killed more than 350 people in Vietnam last year, including about 90killed by Typhoon Lekima and the floods in Oct. Total property damage was estimated ofup to VND7.2 trillion ($446 million).Vietnam suffered losses of over VND814 billion ($49.3 million) caused by naturaldisasters in the first half this year, up VND720 billion ($43.6 million) on year, said theGeneral Statistics Office. (Young People July 24 p2, Vietpan database)Culture & Society:Japan Grants Additional $1.3 Mln to Help Vietnamese Ethnic MinoritiesThe Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction has provided an additional $1.3 million grant to aproject through the Asian Development Bank to help Vietnamese ethnic minoritiesdevelop skills and run small business operations, Vietnamese state media said.Under the project, 4,000 locals in Mekong Delta provinces of Tra Vinh and Soc Trangwill be provided with vocational training, Voice of Vietnam said.ADB said that the project will also help train 100 vocational trainers who will also join150 officials from local departments of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs and otherstakeholders in training courses.“The project will link skills training directly to employment and income generation,” saidYasushi Hirosato, senior education specialist at ADB’s Southeast Asia Department.The government of Vietnam targets to promote local industries and businesses like thefood and canning sectors, which are expected to generate 12,000 new jobs every year,VOV added.The Mekong Delta region has 13 provinces with a population of 19 million, or 22% ofVietnam’s population, however, 80% of them are living in poor remote areas. (VOV,VNS July 24 p3)Hanoi Reports 16 Private-Owned Notary Offices So FarHanoi capital city authorities have recently approved establishments of an additional nineprivate-run notary offices, raising the total number to 16, the city’s Justice Departmentsaid.
  • 178. Of which, six offices have to date been granted licenses for operation and the remainingare waiting for licensing, Vice Mayor Vu Hong Khanh was cited by New Hanoinewspaper as noting.The new offices will be located in Hai Ba Trung, Thanh Xuan, and Long Bien districts.The appearance of these private-owned notary offices will help reduce pressures of thestate-run agencies and cut administrative procedures, analysts said.Vietnam now has 140 state-run notary offices with nearly 400 employees, including sixoffices in Hanoi and six agencies in HCM City. (www.vtc.vn/xahoi/186436/index.htm)Stock Market:USTDA to Tighten Cooperation with HASTCThe U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) will continue building technicalassistance programs to support the Hanoi Securities Trading Center (HASTC) in thecoming years, USTDA General Director Larry Walther affirmed in his working visit tothe bourse Wednesday.During the visit, the two sides discussed on issues related to the development ofVietnams stock market, the market orientation, and the implementation of projects byUSTDA and HASTC.In 2007, the U.S. agency and the Hanoi bourse finished the project "Feasible Research onthe project of developing HASTC", in which the U.S. government funded $422,000, theVietnam Economic Times reported.USTDA and Vietnams Ministry of Finance will continue expanding the project withadditional fund of $56,000. The plan will be finished by March of 2009.Recently, the U.S. Department of Treasury also committed to supporting Vietnam ingovernment bonds management and issue, and aiding the countrys securitiescommission to design the secondary market.USTDA Deputy Director Henry Steingass, Regional Director Diana Rossiter, andrepresentative of U.S. Embassy to Vietnam also attended the visit.Larry Walther also struck the gong to open the 667th trading session of the HASTC.(Vietnam Economic Times Jul 24 p9, New Hanoi online Jul 23)Unlisted Firms Allowed Independent AuditorsUnlisted enterprises can now hire their own auditors to handle financial reports uponjoining the OTC market instead of relying on auditors selected by the State SecuritiesCommission (SSC).
  • 179. The SSC made the statement in response to queries of investors about the auditing ofunlisted firms after the incident of Bach Tuyet Cotton Company recently.Bach Tuyet Cotton was suspended from trading for 11 days because of inaccuratefinancial reports issued by the Auditing and Informatic Service Company (AISC).However, if the companies plan to list shares on official bourses, they must use the SSCsselected auditors and submit records for the two previous years, the commission said.Previously, the SSC chose 28 auditors to deal with securities issuers, listed firms andbrokerages. Four of the 28 were foreign auditors. They must have registered capital of atleast VND2 billion in line with the requirements of the Ministry of Finance.Nguyen Vinh Tam, a lawyer in a well-known Hanoi-based law suit, said the marketregulators should have a clear auditing system on both official and unofficial markets tohelp better manage activity and punish violators.Auditing of firms joining the OTC market should be stricter, Tam said, as the risk on themarket is higher, so they must focus on the transparency, especially businessperformance.The OTC market under the management of Hanoi bourse is expected to operate in thethird quarter, to help stimulate the current frozen market. (Vietnam News Jul 24 p19)Bao Long Insurance Allowed to Issue 34.7 Mln SharesNha Rong Insurance Joint Stock Company, or Bao Long Insurance, has got thump-upfrom the State Securities Commission to issue 34.7 million shares.The company plans to issue the shares to the existing shareholders and employees, atprice of VND10,000 a share.The Ho Chi Minh City-based insurer will increase its registered capital from currentVND160 billion to VND500 billion.Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has recently instructed to tighten thesupervision on share issuance to balance demand-supply to help recover the stock market.(Vietnam Economic Times Jul 24 p10)Jul 24: Vietnam Shares Decline on High Inflation ReportVietnams shares ended lower for a fifth session in a row Thursday as local investorswere selling after the government has just reported July’s inflation hovered 27.04% onyear.
  • 180. “Investor sentiment remains weak because the sky-rocketing inflation will further hurtlisted companies,” a trader with ABBank Securities said.“The pace of consumer prices will not dwindle soon after the government announced the30% increase in gasoline prices Monday,” he said.VN-Index today fell 9.8 points, or 2.2%, at 435.79. It lost total 11% over the past fivedays.Market volume jumped to 22.6 million shares valued at VND889 billon Thursday from1.6 million shares valued at VND82 billon Wednesday.STB, the most active stock today, tumbled 3% at VND23,000 on 5.1 million shareschanging hands.DPM, the second most active stock, dropped 2.8% at VND53,000 on a trade of 4.7million shares.HPG fell 2% at VND48,000 on 1.8 million shares traded.HBC topped the losers, closing down 13.3% at VND28,000 on ex-right date.In the upside, PET rose 1% at VND21,000 on 894,740 shares matching orders.NHC advanced the most by 3% at VND34,800 on 23,380 shares.In total, 12 stocks closed higher, 137 lower, four unchanged and one untraded.All four fund certificates closed lower. (HOSE July 24)Vietnam NewsJuly 23, 2008Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,496Economic Indicators:Vietnam’s July CPI Rise to Slow at 1.5% in July-OfficialThe preliminary figures show that consumer price index (CPI) in Vietnam rises on monthat only 1.5% in July, the slowest pace in a single month so far this year, said Bui XuanKhu, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade.This is the second consecutive month the CPI has gone down fast, thanks to thegovernment’s anti-inflation measures, he said.
  • 181. The trade deficit in July is estimated at below $1 billion because of the limit in export ofluxury items, including automobiles.The ministry forecast that Vietnam may reach the target to maintain trade deficit below$1 billion a month by the end of this year, but it will not be able to curb inflation due tothe gasoline price hike on July 21, Khu said.The consumer prices in two biggest cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, were also risingat a much slower pace in July than June.The CPI in Hanoi is estimated to have risen 1.56% on month in July, slowing from the2.39% rise in June, while the index in Ho Chi Minh City rise 0.54% this month,compared with a 2.37% increase last month.Prices of foods in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest city with population of eightmillion people, fell 1.39% in July from a month earlier, lower than 1.77% in June.However, food prices in Hanoi edged up 2.72% in July.According to the General Statistics Office, Vietnam’s CPI rose 2.38% on month inJanuary, 3.56% in February, 2.99% in March, 2.2% in April and 3.91% in May and2.14% in June. (Laborer Jul 23 p2, Cafef Jul 22, Vietnam Economic Times Jul 23 p1)Banking & Finance:Central Bank Pledges to Ensure Sufficient Dollar SupplyThe State Bank of Vietnam, the country’s central bank, has affirmed on its Web site thatit has enough foreign currency sources to meet the demand of the economy.People should not rush to buy foreign currencies to avoid unworthy losses, the centralbank gave warning after prices of the U.S dollar surged to VND17,500/USD in the freemarket on July 21 after gasoline price hike announced.The speculators have pushed up the prices of USD for a mercenary motive after thegovernment increased prices of gasoline.The central bank reiterated that the VND/USD exchange rate ever surged suddenly inmiddle June due to speculation and psychological factors. But the rate cooled down afterthe bank made intervention into the market. (SBV Jul 21)Dollar Prices Fluctuating in Vietnam Amid Petrol Price HikeFree-market U.S. dollar prices have increased early this morning [July 23] againstVietnamese dong after suddenly dropping to VND16,800/$1 Tuesday from the peak ofVND17,500/$1 a day earlier.
  • 182. Foreign currency exchange agents in Hanoi are now offering to buy the greenback atVND16,850 and sell at VND17,000 a dollar.Vietnams forex market, which has been quiet for many days, was heated by a decisionreleased on July 21 by the Ministry of Finance to increase retail petrol prices byVND4,500 per liter.Right after the information about petrol price hikes, sales agents told clients that they didnot have dollars to sell. Some other agents still sold dollars, but set overly high prices.At 11 am on the same day, the biggest foreign currency exchange agent Quoc Trinh onHa Trung street was quiet because it only purchased dollars and did not sell. Nearbyshops were asking VND17,300/$1, a price level not seen for many days. Ten minuteslater, the price was raised to VND17,500/$1.Analysts believed that U.S. dollar prices on the free market will be stable in the shortcoming weeks as the countrys central bank has affirmed sufficient foreign currencies tomeet all demands of the economy.Gold, meanwhile, is currently traded at around VND1.89-1.91 million per tael, downVND300,000 from a day earlier. (VnExpress Jul 23)Giant Construction Corp Seeks to Set Up BankThe Ministry of Construction has recently sent documents to the prime ministerproposing for Hanoi Housing and Urban Development Corp (HUD) to establish DongDuong Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (IDB).Of which, HUD will be a founding shareholder with a contribution value of VND30billion or 3% of chartered capital.The contribution of HUD will help IDB get the permission from the State Bank ofVietnam (SBV) soon.At present, IDB is under the SBVs consideration period. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul23 p2)My Xuyen Bank H1 Profit Up 89% at VND45.8 BlnMy Xuyen Rural Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MXBank) reported that it earned pretaxprofit of VND45.8 billion ($2.8 million) in the first half, rising 89.1% on year.As the end of June, MXBanks total assets reached nearly VND1.7 trillion, up 69.5%against the same period last year. It had VND1.4 trillion in total outstanding loans,VND1.1 trillion in total deposits, an on-year increase of 113.1% and 163.6%,respectively. The bad debt ratio was 0.2%.
  • 183. The An Giang-based lender has a registered capital of VND500 billion which is expectedto be boosted to VND1 trillion within this year.The bank plans to upgrade its operation model into an urban bank, and promote to set upbranches in 13 provinces and cities in Mekong Delta. (CafeF, Vietnam Agriculture,Vietstock Jul 19)Trade:Ministry: Vietnam Jan-May Exports to U.S. Reaches $4.39 BlnVietnam’s total goods shipment value to the United States (U.S.) reportedly hit $4.39billion in the first five months of this year, said the Ministry of Industry and Trade(MoIT)’s website.The country reaped $994.31 million from exports to the U.S. in May, the ministry said onits website without giving comparative figures.Garments and textiles took the lead with $1.91 billion, followed by crude oil with$420.46 million, footwear with $408.69 million, woodwork products with $402.63million, seafood with $210.66 million, coffee with $108.99 million and computers,electronics and spare parts with $105 million.The ministry did not revealed Vietnam’s import spending during the period.Two-way trade between Vietnam and the U.S. is expected to surpass $15 billion thisyear, as compared with $12.444 billion in 2007. (Vinanet Jul 23)Deputy Minister: Vietnam to Raise Import Tax on Automobile, GoldBui Xuan Khu Minister of Industry and Trade is quoted by the Tuoi Tre (Youth)newspaper as saying the government of Vietnam will likely increase import tax imposedon automobiles, auto spare parts and gold in the coming months in order to reduce tradedeficit.Banks will be also asked to stop loaning for businesses to import those items, Khu notedat a conference in Hanoi Jul 22.Khu did not disclose detailed tax hikes.Benedict Bingham, a representative from the International Monetary Fund, said tradedeficit value accounted for up to 40% of Vietnam’s exports value, a really warning level,the newspaper said.In the first six months this year, Vietnam imported 90 tons of gold valued at $2.8 billion,doubling $1.4 billion last year.
  • 184. Currently, Vietnam is imposing 1% tax on gold and 83% tax on automobile and 15%duty on car parts and components, state media said.Vietnam imports are forecast to rise 31% on year to $80.2 billion this year and its exportsto increase 26% on year to $61.2 billion.The Asean country is predicted to import $4.25 billion worth of cigarette materials,consumer goods, finished automobiles, and motorbike spare parts this year, an on yearrise of 9.5%, but down $800 million compared with the year’s estimate. (Youth Jul 23,Vietpan Database)Vietnamese Rush to Buy Electric Bikes after Gasoline Price HikesDemand for electric bikes is increasing sharply as locals are rushing to buy after thegovernment of Vietnam hiked 31% of gasoline price to VND19,000, the biggest rise sofar, Vietnamese state newspaper said Wednesday.“Gasoline prices are raised, therefore, I have to buy electric bicycles for my familymembers to ride in the city,” Mrs Nguyen Thu Ha, a resident in Ho Chi Minh City’s BinhThanh district said.Many bike shops in Ho Chi Minh City witnessed their strong sales over the past days. MsHo Thi Thu Suong, a saleswoman of a Martin-labeled 107 bike shop, also said anincreasing number of customs hurried to buy bikes, and her shop has sold 15-20 units aday.“The demand for electric bikes will likely rise 10% in coming days,” Ms Huong forecast.Prices of electric bikes range VND3.5 million to VND7.5 million a unit and most electricbikes on sale at the domestic market are imported from China, Taiwan, Japan…withlabels of Delta, E-Bike, Viha, E-Go, Bluewing, Emperor, Robo, Plasma, Asama, Emoto,Hitasa, and Songtian.Currently, there have been no official figures of electric bikes in Vietnam. (HCMC LawJul 23, Tin Tuc Online Jul 23)Industry:PetroVietnam to Start Oil Production at Su Tu Vang Oilfield in SepState-owned oil monopoly PetroVietnam group will start oil production at Su Tu Vangoilfield in September this year, the Young People newspaper reported, citingPetroVietnam sources.The oilfield’s initial output is estimated at 30,000 barrels per day and will be raised to50,000 barrel per day by the end of this year.
  • 185. Recently, PetroVietnam CEO Dinh La Thang said the group has planned to operate fivenew oilfields sooner than their scheduled in a bid to fulfill its set target to producebetween 15.5 million and 16 million tons of crude oil this year regardless of currentdifficulties in production.The oilfields include Su Tu Vang, Ca Ngu Vang, Phuong Dong, Song Doc and BungaOrkid, which have a combined production output of about 100,000 barrels a day.Thang said PetroVietnam is calling for foreign investment in exploring and producing oiland gas in potential areas, while seeking overseas investment opportunities and purchaseof oil and gas wells in Africa, America, former SNG countries and Southeast Asia.The group is finalizing negotiations to sign contracts on oil and gas exploration andexploitation in Russia and Venezuela.In the first half of this year, PetroVietnam produced 10.8 million tons of oil equivalentsfrom 7.2 million tons of crude oil and 3.6 billion cubic meters of natural gas in the firsthalf of this year.The group obtained revenues of VND142,342 billion ($8.67 billion), including $5.6billion from crude oil exports, and contributed VND50.53 trillion ($3.08 billion) to thestate budget in the January-June. (Young People Jul 23 p2, Vietpan)Vietnam Operates Petroleum Port in CentralPetroVietnam Oil Corp (PV Oil) July 21 officially operated a petroleum port in centralThua Thien Hue province by starting the first shipment of 4,000 cubic meters of diesel oilfrom Vung Tau petroleum base depot to the port, state media reported, citing thecompany sources.PV Oil invested VND52.5 billion ($3.18 million) in the port in Chan May-Lang Coeconomic zone.The port will receive petroleum products distributed by PV Oil to localities in northernparts of central Vietnam, said Ho Hong Phuc, head of Thua Thien Hue petroleum portproject’s managing board.The port is expected to provide sufficient gasoline for domestic market in the centralregion as well as for re-exporting to Laotian market, Phuc attributed.In 2009, the port will receive petroleum products from the country’s first oil refineryDung Quat so as to distribute to central localities, he added.PV Oil plans to invest more in the port in order to raise its storage capacity to nearly30,000 cubic meters of petroleum by 2010.
  • 186. Vietnam spent $5.92 billion importing 6.81 million metric tons of petroleum products inthe first six months of this year, up 68.9% on year and 4.4%, respectively due to the lackof major oil refineries.The first one Dung Quat is under construction in central Quang Ngai province withexpected operation in February 25 next year. (VietNamNet Jul 22, Youth Online Jul 21,Vietpan)Central Vietnam to Suffer Consecutive Blackouts until Mid AugCentral and central highlands Vietnam are forecast to still endure sudden and consecutiveblackouts until mid-August this year, said Tran Dinh Thanh, director of Power CompanyNo. 3 (PC3).Speaking at a meeting July 22 with an interdisciplinary inspection team that isresponsible for securitizing PC3s power supply in Danang, Mr. Thanh said power cut inthe areas is irresistible due to objective factors.The company faced many difficulties in power production in the first half of this year;meanwhile, the state-owned Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVN) has only distributedbetween 710 MW and 740 MW of power for the regions.To deal with such power shortage, PC3 has mobilized a total 78 diesel generators withcombined serviceable capacity of 30.7 MW to turn out 2,850 kWh of electricity inaddition to 189,000 kWh produced by local small-and-medium-sized hydropower plants,Thanh attributed.However, eleven local companies under PC3 have had to slash between 80 MW and 110MW of electricity at rush hours in May, June and July this year, he said.They has also cut between 96 MW and 239 MW of power at 18 local transformer stationswith capacity of 110 KV each across the regions, leading to recent blackouts on a largescale in the regions for a long time.Power-thirsting Vietnam is estimated to lack between 2,000 MW and 2,500 MW ofpower daily in July and the power shortfall will prolong until August, an EVN leader saidrecently.The country is forecast to lack 8.6 billion kWh of electricity this year and the figure willclimb to 36 billion kWh in 2020 and 120 billion kWh in 2030. (Labor Jul 23 p7, PioneerJul 23 p4, HCM City Law Jul 23 p2)Vietnam Deputy PM Urges to Ensure Capital for Cement, Shipbuilding Industries
  • 187. Deputy Prime Minister Honag Trung Hai has urged a series of measures to addresscapital shortage for cement and shipbuilding industries while he chaired a meeting inHanoi July 22, state media reported.Deputy PM Hai demanded commercial banks and cement project investors to quicklynegotiate loan rates in order to ensure sufficient capital for the industry’s key projects, theNhan Dan (The People) newspaper said.He noted with existing and would-be cement plants, the supply may surpass the demandin 2009-2010 so the cement industry must cut investment in some projects prior to thecurrent capital difficulties.The Deputy PM also instructed the Vinashin Business Group to list export projects andkey projects for banks to consider and provide enough capital for the implementation ofthe projects.He said despite tightening credit growth to curb inflation, cement – an input material forthe construction and shipbuilding – export must be prioritized for investment in order toensure the country’s economic growth.In the first half this year, Vietnam’s cement demand increased by 11% on-year andconsumption was 7.8 million tons, representing 101% of the yearly target. The industryput into operation five new cement plants in the period.Meanwhile, the shipbuilding’s industrial production value reached VND18.145 trillion,up 86.59% on-year. It also exported cargo vessels of 53,000DWT and 34,000 DWT,timber vessels of 8,700 DWT, oil tankers of 13,000DWT and 700-TEU containers. (ThePeople Jul 23 p8, Vietnam Economic Times Jul 23 p1, New Hanoi Jul 23 p1)Vietnam Needs 3,200 Mln Tons of Minerals for Cement-making by 2020Vietnam’s cement industry will need nearly 3,200 million tons of minerals to feed cementplants nationwide by 2020 under a plan on exploration, exploitation and use of mineralsfor cement-making in Vietnam by 2020 approved by the prime minister recently.The country has surveyed 763 mineral mines with total reserves of more than 56,000million tons.Between now and 2020, the country needs to explore 2,212 million tons of minerals,including 1,479 million tons of limestone, 370 million tons of clay and 363 million tonsof additive.Total investment for exploration of mineral mines will be VND243 billion.Meanwhile, it needs to exploit 3,174 million tons of minerals, including 2,172 milliontons of limestone, 586 million tons of clay and 416 million tons of additive.
  • 188. Under the plan, the country will give priorities to exploration of mineral mines in areas ofdeveloping cement industry, or mines in areas near cement factories. (News Jul 23 p4,Vietstock Jul 23)Ha Long Shipbuilder Launches 8th 12,500-ton Ship for VinalinesHa Long Ship Building Co, an affiliate of the Vinashin Business Group, July 22 launcheda 12,500-ton cargo ship to deliver to Vietnam Shipping Lines Corp (Vinalines), the TienPhong (Pioneer) newspaper reported Wednesday.The ship named HL04 is the 8th among 32 ships that Ha Long will build for Vinalinesunder the government’s plan to develop the national ship fleet.The vessel with 136.4 meters in length, 20.2 meters in width and 11.3 meters in heightcan travel at 13.2 nautical miles per hour.The freighter, designed by Japan’s Kitada, has all of its machines and equipmentsprovided by a Japanese company, Kanemastu.Ha Long shipyard July 18 also handed over a 53,000-ton ship to the U.K.’s GraigCompany, according to Vietnam News Agency.The firm has set a goal to deliver at least five 53,000-ton ships this year with a totalindustrial production value at VND2.4 trillion ($150 million) and revenue of VND2.3trillion ($143 million). (Pioneer Jul 23 p6)Agriculture:Vietnam Seriously Lacking Salt for the 1st TimeVietnam is lacking salt, especially salt for food industry for the first time over the past 50years, state media cited an official from the Vietnam Salt General Company as sayingWednesday.Le Nguyen Chuong, deputy general director of the Vietnam Salt General Company, saiddomestic supply now fails to meet demand.The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said that Vietnam needs1.38 million tons of salt this year, for both production and consumption, of whichdomestic supply is expected at 1.105 million tons.But the country produced nearly 539,000 tons of salt in the first six months of 2008, andits total salt output this year will only be between 900,000 and 950,000 tons.
  • 189. Shortage has pushed up salt prices to rocket four times higher than that of last year.Currently salt is selling for VND1,700-VND1,800 a kilo at field, but its prices aresurging to VND4,000 a kilo at retail markets.Chuong said salt production wholly depends on weather, adding that cold snap, andconsecutive rains reduced Vietnam’s salt output this year by at least 30%.Reduction of salt area for industrial, urban and tourism zones in coastal provinces is alsoattributed by the decrease of salt output, Nguyen added.To calm down the shortage, the MARD has proposed importing 200,000 tons of salt,including 100,000 tons for meal, which will be sold for around VND1,500-1,650 a kilo atdomestic market.In the first five months of this year, Vietnam spent $9.92 million importing150,000-160,000 tons of salt, accounting for 70% of salt import quota for 2008.Vietnam is now home to 120 coastal communes producing salt, employing nearly 70,000laborers. (The Labor July 23 p1, Vietnam & World Economy p2, Pioneer p2, YoungPeople p3, Rural Economy July 21 p3)Vietnam Expects $1 Bln Tea Export Revenues by 2020Vietnam is expected to rake in $1 billion tea revenues from now to 2020, with $700million from exports, the Vietnam News reported, citing an official from the VietnamTea Association.But Nguyen Kim Phong, chairman of the association said to meet the target, the teasector has to continue developing current markets while seeking new ones.“The sector should also produce high quality tea at reasonable prices,” Phong added.Phong said Vietnam exported 40,000 tons of tea in the first six months of 2008, valued at$53.5 million, up 2% on year.Vietnam expected to increase the tea export revenues to $130 million by the year’s end,Phong added.The Vietnam Tea Association has carried out a strong development strategy, focusing onmodernizing tea processing, improving capacity and quality, and instituting training fortea farmers.The chairman said to increase the reputation of the national tea trademark, CheViet, onboth domestic and foreign markets, all tea products under the trademark must meetnational quality standards.
  • 190. Currently, 35 provinces nationwide have grown 128,000 hectares of tea, supplying freshtea for 700 dried tea companies.Vietnamese tea has been exported to 110 countries and territories worldwide, with 73 ofwhich realizing the Vietnam national tea trademark.Taiwan, Germany, Russia, China and the Philippines are the country’s biggest teaimporters. (Vietnam News July 23 p15)Worker, Material Shortages Threaten Handicraft Sector’s TargetSerious lacks of workers and materials, fueled by the recent price storm, have threatenedVietnam handicraft sector’s target at $1.5 billion export revenues in 2010, the Vietstockreported.One of Vietnam’s top ten rattan and bamboo export firms said that though they hadrecently signed a substantial export contract with a foreign company, they will be unableto deliver goods timely because there were no suppliers between the northern region andBinh Dinh province able to produce the four tons of processed rattan a day necessary forproduction.In terms of contracts, Vietnam’s craft businesses are doing well, but they must nowimport 50% of their materials from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Laos, amongothers, if they want to keep their contracts.Such heavy reliance on imported products will reduce the competitiveness of Vietnamesecraft products, particularly as raw material prices rise.The price of rattan has nearly doubled, reaching VND 9,000 ($0.5) compared to VND7,000 ($0.4) a kilo last year.Bamboo prices also increased VND7,000- VND17,000 (nearly $1) in 2007 and to VND30,000 ($1.80) in the middle of 2008.Another reason for the lack of products is insufficient labor for the country’s 2,000 craftvillages operating as households, collectives and private firms. These villages generatearound 1.3 million jobs.Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia have been planting rattan for export and for handicraftproduction, and it has earned them billions of dollars a year.Vietnamese craft firms have not found a way to promote their business at the same level.A comprehensive strategy from authorities is needed to move their industry forward.The country’s export turnover from craft products in 2007 stayed at over $219 million, anincrease of 14.4% against 2006.
  • 191. In the first half of 2008, Vietnam exported $112 million worth of bamboo and rattanproducts, up 19.4% on year. Meanwhile, exports of china and pottery products generatedin $182 million, up 7.2% on year. (Vietstock July 21, VNA July 21)Vietnam Southern Province to Invest VND111Bln in Fishery DevelopmentMekong Delta An Giang province will pour VND111 billion ($6.5 million) into threefishery developing projects, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers(VASEP) said.The first project, with total investment of VND47.5 billion, is to build irrigational worksserving for agriculture in regions belong Tien and Hau rivers. The irrigational works areto be built in districts An Phu, Tan Chau, Phu Tan and Cho Moi in the total area of 561hectares.Some VND51 billion will be pumped into the second project which will develop a modelof shrimp and paddy cultivation in the area of 1,500 hectares in Thoai Son district. Theproject will also upgrade a hatchery in Chau Thanh district.The remaining will be for the third project to supply training courses on high quality fishfarming and creating good breed for local fishers to develop marine culture.Local authorities expected these projects will contribute to boosting aquaculture in theprovince.In the first six months of 2008, farmed fish production of the province reached 207,000tons, up twofold over the same period last year. (Vasep July 22)Business:Transport Service Providers to Raise Transport FeesCar transport fee will increase by around 16% as a result of the 31% rise in retail petrolprice, said Nguyen Manh Hung, Chairman of the Vietnam Automobile TransportAssociation (VATA).With petrol price soaring by VND4,500 per liter, petrol costs will account for 60% ofoperation costs of transport service providers, up from 50% as previously, the chairmanadded.Taxi firms all said that they will raise their fees in the next two-three days and they havethe right to do that, said Hung, explaining that under the current regulations, transportfirms had the right to define transport fees themselves.Hung, however, called on transport companies not to increase the fees to overly highlevel compared to its operation costs.
  • 192. Taxi firms in HCM City said that they are going to ask the city’s taxi firms’ associationto hold a meeting to discuss transportation fees.“If taxi firms don’t increase fees, they will incur losses, however, if we raise fees, ourclients will say good bye to us,” Vo Ba, General Director of Ngoi Sao Tuong LaiCompany, the owner of Future taxi said.A taxi car needs 20 liters of petrol every day, which means that taxi drivers will have topay VND90,000-VND100,000 for petrol, said Ba, adding that if his taxi firmcompensates them for the additional sum, he will have to pay VND30 million a day moreon average.Taxi firms anticipated the petrol price increases, but he thought that the price would riseto VND16,000-VND17,000 at maximum, said Ba, who did not imagine that the pricewould be VND19,000.Transport companies are worried how long the Ministry of Transport usually will take toapprove transport fee increases following petrol price hikes. (Vietnam & World EconomyJul 23 p6, Labor Jul 23 p3)Foreign Investment:Malaysian Group Seeking to Build $2.9 Bln Steel Complex in Central VietnamVietnam’s Vinashin Business Group and Maju Stabil Sdn Bhd Company underMalaysia’s Lion Group are seeking the government’s approval to build a $2.9 billionsteel complex in central Ninh Thuan province, the Dau Tu newspaper reported.The steel complex have an annual capacity of 4.5 million tons in the first phase and itscapacity will be raised to 10 million tons a year by 2025.The project also includes two thermo-power plants with a capacity of 1,450 MW eachand a port capable of handling 15 million tons of goods a year, along with othersupportive works.The first phase of the project is estimated to cost $2,749 million, of which, the twocompanies will contribute $780 million and the remainder from loans.Vinashin plans to hold a 30% stake in the project.The government July 16 requested the Ministries of Industry and Trade, Transport, andNatural Resources and Environment to work on the project and then report to thegovernment. (Investment Jul 23 p1)Vietnam Northern Port City Pulls in $1Bln FDI
  • 193. The northern port city of Haiphong has attracted over $1.05 billion in foreign directinvestment (FDI) since early this year with roughly one third of this coming intoindustrial parks, said the city’s Department of Planning and Investment.Of the total, $440 million came from 25 new projects and the rest poured into 15 existingprojects.The city is encouraging investors in the area of industrial parks, marine industries and theservice industry, especially entertainment projects, said the department’s director DanDuc Hiep.Haiphong is one of the northern Vietnam’s key economic regions and is home to thesecond largest port system nationwide.It has so far lured 283 valid FDI projects, capitalized at $3.7 billion, 60% of which hasbeen disbursed, Hiep said.Last year, the foreign-invested sector accounted for more than 60% of the city’s totalexport revenue of over $1.2 billion.The city’s gross domestic product (GDP) reached more than VND9.1 trillion ($556million) during the first six months of this year, up 12.2% year-on-year despite theeconomic slowdown.Haiphong City is situated at a convenient position for transportation to domesticprovinces and international networks via road, rail, sea, inland waterway, and air, makingit an ideal destination for both local and foreign investors. (Vietnam News Jul 23)Infrastructure:U.S. to Help Vietnam Develop Transport Infrastructure NetworkThe U.S. will help Vietnam develop transport infrastructure systems, particularly airports,seaports in the long-term, Larry Walther, head of the U.S. Trade Department Agency toldVietnamese Deputy PM Hoang Trung Hai in Hanoi Jul 22.Larry Walther said his working trip to Vietnam is aimed at studying the real demand ofinfrastructure development in Vietnam.In return, Deputy PM Hai thanked the U.S. agency for its cooperation with Vietnam,including assistance in aviation, improvement of the Hanoi Securities Trading Center,Vietnam News Agency said.Beginning operation in Vietnam in 1996, the USTDA has carried out 60 projects intransport, customs, personnel training.USTDA selected Vietnam 2006’s Country.
  • 194. Three bottlenecks Vietnam is facing now are underdeveloped infrastructure network,shortage of high-quality human resources and burdensome bureaucracy andadministrative procedures, analysts said. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 23)Hanoi Needs $6.25 Bln for Road Development by 2020Hanoi is estimated to require a huge capital of VND100 trillion ($6.25 billion) to developits road network from now to 2020 under a plan recently approved by the prime minister,the Tien Phong (Pioneer) newspaper said Wednesday.Half of the sum will be pumped into three belt roads which will be built from now to2015, according to the newspaper.The 43-kilometer belt road No. 2 running from Buoi, Nhat Tan, Vinh Ngoc, Cau Chui,Vinh Tuy and Minh Khai will cost VND15 trillion and the road No. 3 linking Bac ThangLong, Thanh Xuan, Phap Van, Thanh Tri and Nam Hong will need VND10.9 trillion.Meanwhile, some VND27 trillion will be poured into the belt road No. 4 withunidentified directions.Additionally, the city will spend up to VND27 trillion to upgrade 30 main routes in theseven years to come and invest VND17.4 trillion to build new streets and facilitateexisting ones.It will also inject over VND5 trillion to upgrade many traffic knots such as Buoi, CauGiay to ease the warning traffic jam which is happening at around 100 knots and is likelyto sharply increase in the coming time.The capital city now has 955 kilometers of road and 580 traffic knots. However, onlyseveral knots have overpasses.Over the past five years, Hanoi only developed additional five to ten kilometers of newroad annually. (Pioneer Jul 23 p5)Politics & Law:Japanese FM to Visit VietnamForeign Affair Minister of Japan Komura Masahiko will be in Vietnam to chair a meetingof the Vietnam-Japan Cooperation Committee slated for July 25, the communist partysaid on its website Tuesday.His visit is also expected to further reinforce the bilateral ties between the two foreignministries, contributing to bring the Vietnam - Japan relations to the strategic partnership.
  • 195. To date, Japan has injected $9 billion in FDI in Vietnam, becoming the fourth largestforeign investors in Vietnam, behind South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.However, Japan is the largest ODA supplier to Vietnam, with capital disbursement ofroughly $5 billion, mainly focusing on fields of infrastructure development, science andtechnology, and human resource improvement. (Website of CPV Jul 22)Indonesian Anti-corruption Officials Study Vietnam’s ExperiencesA delegation of the Indonesia Anti-corruption Committee led by its chairman AntasariAzhar is on a visit to Vietnam to study the country’s experiences in the fight againstcorruption, state media said Wednesday.At the meeting July 22 in Hanoi, Deputy PM-Vice Chairman of the Central SteeringBoard for Anti-Corruption Truong Vinh Trong said his country is willing to shareexperiences with Indonesia and also expects to learn good models in the matter from theisland nation.The Indonesian guest expressed his admire to the country’s dynamic economic growth,especially emphasizing the surge in foreign direct investment which he praised as theprogress made in its anti-corruption work.On the same day, the Indonesian delegation also held a working session with GeneralInspector Tran Van Truyen to learn about the Vietnamese government’s anti-corruptionactivities and plans.“Vietnam has promulgated the Anti-Corruption Law and a number of relevant legaldocuments,” Truyen told the guests.“The country has also been preparing to issue an anti-corruption strategy by 2020 andcompiling a project on monitoring incomes of public employees and Governmentofficials as well as a project to include anti-corruption into a training program.”Both host and guest hoped to boost ties between their inspection and anti-corruptionagencies through concrete and practical programs of cooperation. (Vietnam News Jul 23p3, Saigon Liberation p1)Labor & Education:Japan to Help Vietnam Train Chemical SpecialistsJapan will lend Vietnam a helping hand to train five to six chemical experts this year,especially on the safe management of chemicals and the EU’s REACH regulations, theKinh Te Vietnam & The Gioi newspaper said Wednesday.Japan offered its assistance to Vietnam at the 13th annual meeting of the working groupon chemicals industry of the ASEAN-Japanese Ministry of Economics, Industry and
  • 196. Trade’s Economic and Industrial Cooperation Committee (AMEICC) in Hanoi on July22.Through AMEICC, Japan has assisted Vietnam and other ASEAN member countries intraining experts for the chemical industry.REACH is the EU’s toughest regulation on management of chemical substances used byvarious industries to prevent negative effects on people’s health and the environment. Itwas applied to thousands of kinds of chemicals from the beginning of this year. (Vietnam& World Economy July 23 p1, Vietnam News p2)Vietnam Allows Firms with over 10,000 Workers to Set up SchoolsThe Vietnam Government has turned green light to businesses with more than 10,000workers to establish vocational training colleges, the Thoi Bo Kinh Te newspaperreported Tuesday.The government also allows setting up similar schools at lower levels at businesses withless than 5,000 workers.All training facilities under the new agreement are required to have an exclusivedepartment to study demands of businesses in order to develop relevant trainingprograms, the government said.Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan has asked the Ministry of Labor, WarInvalids and Social Affair (MoLISA) to cooperate with the Ministry of Education andTraining and other agencies to build a labor forecasting center and a website on thecountry’s education and training sector.Currently, Vietnam has 2,200 vocational training facilities, including 70 vocationaltraining colleges, which have reportedly so far failed to meet the real demands ofemployers.The country is home to more than 240,000 businesses employing nine million workers.The number of businesses is expected to increase to 500,000 by 2010 and is hoped togenerate jobs for another 2.7 million people.Vietnam is warned of a serious shortage of high-skilled workers when a surveyconducted in 2007 showed that trained workers accounted for just 35.4% of the country’sworkforce. (Vietnam Economic Times July 22 p2, Saigon Liberation July 21 p2)Health & Environment:Vietnam Reports 4,718 People Getting Food Poisoning in H1
  • 197. Vietnam had reported 4,718 people suffering from food poisoning in the first half thisyear, up 53% on year, the Sai Gon Giai Phong newspaper said, citing the Food Safety andHygiene Department (FSHD) under the Ministry of Health.The fatalities were up 15 people against the same period of 2007, the FSHD reported at aconference July 22 held in Hanoi, adding the number of food poisoning incidents of 106.Head of the FSHD, Tran Dang, said the quantity of food poisoning incidents reduced by12% on year, however, the number of people affected seems to be on the rise.Northern Vietnam topped the list with 31 food poisoning incidents, followed by theMekong Delta region with 23.South-eastern provinces recorded the highest number of poisoning victims accounting for51.9% of total victims nationwide."Shortcomings in food hygiene and safety in factory canteens in industrial zones (IZs) orprocessing zone are blamed for the increased number of food poisoning victims in thesouth-eastern provinces", Dang confirmed.However, 62.3% of food poisoning incidents has not been identified the cause and 68.8%of incidents caused by poisonous mushrooms, the department warned.The FSHD plans to strengthen its inspections and communication activities across thecountry, especially focusing on schools, factory canteens, and mountainous provinces.(Saigon Liberation July 23 p11, Family & Society - Labor - Pioneer p2, Peoples Policep14, Capital Security p7, VNS)Sawaco, Manila Water Ink $15-Mln Contract on Water Leakage ReductionThe Saigon Water Corp and the Manila Water Co. Inc. July 22 signed a $15-millionwater supply development and management contract in Ho Chi Minh City in a bid toreduce water leakage, the Tuoi Tre newspaper said Wednesday.The five-year contract is Manila Waters first project in Vietnam, the company said in astatement.Under the project, Manila Water will install 119 district metered areas (DMAs) in thedistricts of 1, 3, 5 and 10 to reduce 75,000 cubic meters of water a day, Tran Dinh Phu,Sawacos director said.Manila Water, the concessionaire for the east zone of Metro Manila, is a unit ofconglomerate Ayala Corp. and partly owned by Mitsubishi Corp.Manila Water had earlier said it is vying for projects in Hong Kong, Vietnam, India andChina. (Youth Jul 23 p2, Saigon Liberation Jul 3, Vietnam Economic Times Jul 7)
  • 198. Vietnam to Build Additional Two Earthquake Alert StationsThe Geophysics Institute plans to build an additional two earthquake warning stations innorthern Son La province and central highlands Lam Dong province, the VietNamNetsaid July 22.The two stations are within a project to construct 30 new earthquake warning stations inearthquake-prone areas with a total investment of VND70 billion ($4.3 million) in the2009-2011 period.The Asian Natural Calamity Prevention Center will build the new stations withequipments imported from the US worth hundreds of thousands of US dollars.Data collected from the new stations will be transferred via a Thai satellite. After thewhole earthquake alert system is completed, data will be conveyed via Vietnam’sVinasat.Vietnam now has 24 stations located mostly in the northern region and only two situatedin central Nha Trang city and central highland Da Lat city.Most of these stations were built in the 1980s so they are outdated already. Some oldstations will be improved.The Information Center on Earthquakes and Tsunamis also has been set up inside thecampus of the Geophysics Institute.The institute will install other stations across the country and on the islands of Phu Quoc,Con Dao and Phu Quy after the construction of the first stations. (VietNamNet BridgeJuly 23)Culture & Society:Vietnam Loses $1 Mln Daily due to Energy WastageVietnam is estimated to lose around $1 million a day due to inefficient energy, said areport jointly conducted by the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology and EDPorganization of Holland in 2007, the Labor newspaper said July 23.Le Van Chung An from the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Science and Technologysaid that Vietnam needs up to 500 kilograms of oil equivalent to turn out $1,000 worth ofproduction while Japan consumes only 100 kg.Many said that Vietnam often utilizes nearly double energy against regional countrieslike Malaysia and Thailand in order to make a product.
  • 199. The Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology estimated that Vietnam will have toinvest around $8 billion in a bid to attain an energy growth rate of 14%. Meanwhile, thecountry is able to slash between 10% and 20% of energy demand, equivalent to a value of$8 billion, if it applies efficient energy saving methods.Dr. Pham Xuan Mai from the Ho Chi Minh City Polytechnics University said traffic jamsresult in wastage of nearly VND3.5 trillion ($212.12 million) annually, which not onlyholds back the economy but also causes environmental pollution.Despite the Vietnamese government has issued three directives on petroleum saving anda directive on power saving from 2003 to 2005, energy is still used inefficiently in thecountry.According to auditing, administrative spending surpassed 42% of the plan set for 2005with a large amount of money being paid for petroleum and electricity consumption; andthe national power leakage rate climbed to 15.8% in 2006.In a recent interview, Minister of Finance Vu Van Ninh said that the government willcontinue demanding relevant ministries, branches and agencies to take drastic measuresto save an additional 10% of their regular spending with focus on electricity andpetroleum economizing.Cities and provinces across Vietnam have also been requested to save a total of 1,035million kWh of electricity in 2008, accounting for 1.5% of the expected nationalcommercial electricity output this year. (Labor Jul 23 p3)U.S. Assist Vietnamese Drug Police in Tactical TrainingExperts from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Departmentof Defense (DOD) started July 21 training courses on tactical operation and emergencymedical instruction for Vietnamese drug police.As many as 80 Vietnamese police officers will attend the courses, which are run in Hanoifrom July 21-August 1 and in Ho Chi Minh City from August 4-15.The participants will be provided with the skills needed to conduct counter-narcoticoperations in a safer and more efficient manner, including drug raid planning and entrytechniques, defensive tactics, first aid, and arrest techniques.In the first six months of this year, police forces across the country detected over 5,500drug trafficking and storing cases, including 34 foreign-related cases, arresting 8,249offenders.The amount and the arrest increased 28% and 31%, respectively, against the same periodof last year. (Vietnam Law Jul 22 p2, Pioneer Jul 22 p3)
  • 200. Stock Market:Finance Ministry Allows Listed Firms to Delay Capital-boosting DeadlineThe Ministry of Finance has agreed with the State Securities Commission (SSC) to allowthe listed companies to extend deadline for registered capital hike.According to the Decree No.14/2007ND-CP instructing the implementation of theSecurities Law, a company listed on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HOSE) musthave a registered capital of at least VND80 billion and a firm on the Hanoi SecuritiesTrading Center at least VND10 billion as of January 1, 2009.However, 50 companies on HOSE have not met the requirement so far this year.Therefore, the extension of capital hike deadline will ease pressure on listed companies.Since the beginning of this year, the listed firms have found difficulties in raising capitaldue to the slumping stock market. Prices of shares lost more than 50% of their value inthe first half.Thien Nam Import Export Co. (TNA) has decided to delay issuing 4.7 million shares toboost its registered capital to VND80 billion as regulated by the Securities Law. In theoriginal plan, it would issue shares at VND25,000 for existing shareholders and strategicinvestors. But TNA price fell to only VND21,100 on July 22.The VND47-billion Saigon Garment Co. (GMC) has earlier this year planed to issueshares at price of VND12,000 a share for existing shareholders and at VND27,000 ashare for strategic partners. However, the plan becomes bankrupt because the marketprice of GMC stood at VND17,600 July 22.GMC will have to delay the issue to another suitable time, said the company’s chairmanLe Quang Hung.Pham Dinh Dung, general director of Vien Lien Co. (UNI) said his company will manageto raise the registered capital to meet the requirement. UNI will use capital surplus andretained profit, which is enough to boost the capital to VND80 billion. (Young People Jul23 p7)Vincom to Issue Intl Convertible BondsThe Vincom Joint Stock Company, one of Vietnams leading property developers, plansto issue convertible bonds on the international market and float its shares on a foreignstock exchange, Vietnamese state media cited Vincom Chairman Le Khac Hiep assaying.The company will ask its shareholders opinion on the issue and listing between August 4and August 14 before unveiling the detailed plan, the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchangeannounced.
  • 201. The bond coupon will not be high as the bonds are convertible, Le Khac Hiep quoted bythe Saigon Times Daily."Vincom will not chase for prices and will also not accept to borrow money at a highrate," he noted.The real estate firm succeeded in issuing VND1 trillion of five-year bonds at annualcoupon of 10.3% late last year and VND2 trillion of five-year bonds at yield of 16% forthe first year in May to raise fund for its projects, Hiep said.Chairman of the State Securities Commission Vu Bang said the procedures for issuingconvertible bonds on the international market would be more complicated than shareissues. In fact, no Vietnamese company has issued shares or convertible bonds overseas,he said.In the first quarter this year, Vincom netted profit of VND38.4 billion on revenues ofVND62.8 billion. (Saigon Times Daily Jul 22 p1, ATP Jul 18)Bao Viet Securities Report Loss of VND324 Bln in H1Bao Viet Securities Company (BVS) announced that it had a loss of VND324.1 billion($19.6 million) in the first six months of 2008 due to the recession of the stock market inthe period.The firm obtained VND97.5 billion in gross revenues while total expenses reached up toVND418.3 billion between January and June.In the second quarter this year, BVS made a loss of VND349.3 billion as it earnedrevenues of only VND38.3 billion while it expended VND386.95 billion for total costs, itsaid.The stock brokers earning per share lost VND6,083.Almost securities firms have faced great challenge since early 2008, and even in theremaining months of this year. The stock market has lost 51.6% of its value so far. Manysmall-sized brokerages had to sell stake to foreign partners to strengthen their financialcapacity.Bao Viet shares have fallen 79.3% to close at VND42,800 each today [July 23] fromVND207,000 in the first trading session of this year. (Labor, Securities Investment Jul23)Jul 23: Vietnam Shares Plummet on Inflation Concerns
  • 202. Vietnams shares closed down Wednesday on local investors continuing to sell aftereconomists said the fuel price hike will push up inflation rate in the remaining monthsthis year.The recently petroleum hike by as much as 30% will make CPI to rise by additional 1.5%a month, but not 0.6%-0.7% as forecast by some ministries and agencies, said Le DangDoanh, a senior economist.The Ministry of Industry and Trade revealed that the CPI in July is estimated to rise 1.5%from June, but it is not convincing enough for investors to hope inflation will go down inAugust, a market participant said.“A government official said it will continue to curb inflation, meaning that it will go onwith the tight monetary policy, and this will hurt the stock market,” he said.VN-Index today lost 12.29 points, or 2.68%, at 445.59.Market volume was thin at 1.6 million shares valued at VND82 billon Wednesday,compared with 1.6 million shares valued at VND77.8 billion Tuesday.DPM, today’s most active stock, dived 2.7% at VND54,500 on 317,640 shares, of whichforeigners bought 301,400 shares and sold 19,900 shares.HPG, the second most active stock, dropped 3% at VND49,000 on 129,160 shares,including 103,550 shares bought by foreign investors.FPT fell 2.3% at VND63,000 on 118,350 shares, of which foreigners bought 112,860shares and sold 43,180 shares.BMC advanced 2.8% at VND74,500 on a trade of 106,220 shares, including 55,010shares bought and 1,200 shares sold by foreigners.The newly-listed DDM closed up 3% at VND17,300 on only 10 shares traded.In total, 145 stocks closed higher, six lower and three untraded.All four fund certificates closed lower. (HOSE July 23)Vietnam NewsJuly 22, 2008Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,498Banking & Finance:Vietnam to Find Harder to Curb Inflation Due to Fuel Price Hike: GSO Official
  • 203. The Government of Vietnam will find it more difficult in curbing inflation in theremaining months of this year due to gasoline price hikes, said Nguyen Bich Lam, deputyhead of the General Statistics Office (GSO).“The increase of gasoline prices by more than 30% will certainly have strong impacts onCPI in coming months,” Lam said in an interview with the Vietnam Economic TimesJuly 22.The petroleum hikes will directly push up prices transport service and fuel sectors, andindirectly drive up prices of foods, foodstuffs and construction materials.The increase of essential goods will then spread to other products for a long period.“I think the fuel price hike will have the biggest impacts on the Government’s anti-inflation efforts,” he said. “The Government has gone the right track with interest ratetools and monetary policies to curb inflation, but the task is now more difficult.”Minister of Finance Vu Van Ninh said the fuel hike will add by 0.5-0.7 percentage pointsto the CPI rise in August, but “I don’t know why the ministry make such a forecast,” Lamsaid.The increase of gasoline prices this time will create great effects on consumer prices,which also deteriorates the current downward CPI trend, he said.Based on figures calculated by July 15, the GSO estimated that the CPI will fallsignificantly in July from June, he said.“We can expect the CPI in July will much lower than the 2.14% rise in June.”The GSO has ever forecast that the CPI rise would be 24% or 25% this year.”As of July, signals show that the situations remain positive and we can totally hope theforecast will come true,” Lam said.“However, the gasoline price hike will make it very difficult to reach this target.”The government must have drastic measures to curb prices of essential products andcontrol market. Businesses must share the government’s burden in fighting inflation.(VnEconomy Jul 22, Economy and Urban Jul 22)Vietnam Accepts to Further Tighten Belts to Combat InflationGeneral Secretary of The Communist Party of Vietnam Nong Duc Manh has just calledon locals and businesses to further tighten belts by boosting savings, cutting non-urgentinvestment projects in line with government efforts to continue austere measures to curbrising inflation, which rocketed 26.8% on year in June this year.
  • 204. Party Chief Nong Duc Manh, one of the most powerful figures, emphasized at closingceremony of the party plenum that Vietnam will further tighten monetary policy incombination with flexibly fiscal policy in the second half.Manh also called for savings, cutting non-urgent investment projects, boosting exports,reducing trade deficit to curb inflation.The Vietnamese party chief also requested removing unnecessary administrativeprocedures.The government of Vietnam decided to hike prices of gasoline by 31% to VND19,000 toslash huge cost of state subsidies and petroleum products rampant smuggling since thestart of the year it has not raised prices of any items, Finance Minister Vu Van Ninh said.Vietnam had subsidized VND14.5 trillion for petroleum products as it has no single oilrefinery currently.In the first six months this year, Vietnam had cut VND17 trillion investment projects, theMinistry of Finance said.Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has just recently signed a decision to increase supportsfor fishermen and their offshore fishing activities.Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat recently requested timelyproviding insecticides and supports for farmers in Mekong Delta, the rice basket ofVietnam.The government of Vietnam has lowered the GDP growth rate to 7% this year from8.5%-9% this year, reduce credit growth rate to less than 30% down from more than 50%last year.In the first half, Vietnam’s economy grew 6.5%. (Newspaper of Industry and Trade Jul22 p2, VOV, VTCNews)Agribank Sees Asset up 5.3% at $19.4 Bln in H1The state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam (Agribank),Vietnam’s largest bank by assets, said its fist-half assets grew 5.3% from the beginning ofthis year to VND310.7 trillion ($19 billion).In the conference on reviewing the first half operation July 20, Agribank reported itsdeposit growth of 3.9% and outstanding loan growth of 4.8% by June from early-2008.Agribank will extract VND5.14 trillion ($321.3 million) for risk prevention reserves thisyear.
  • 205. The bank said it will reduce loans for medium and long terms to 40% from 45% of total.Agribank is developing a framework on building Agribank financial group in which thebank will privatize affiliates, with Agribank Securities Co. and Agribank Jewelry Co. innear term.The bank will continue to give priority for lending agriculture sector, farmers and ruralareas, with loans accounting for 70-75% of total. (CAFEF Jul 22)Laos-Viet JV Bank Launches Money Transfer ServiceThe Laos-Vietnam Joint Venture Bank (LVB) and Western Union have signed amemorandum of understanding on providing an express money transfer service forcustomers, particularly Lao and Vietnamese businessmen, state media reported.The new service is necessary, especially in the coming time, when the demand to transfermoney among businesses of Laos and Vietnam is going up, said LVB Deputy DirectorBouavanh Simalavong at the signing ceremony late last week.So far, a lot of Vietnamese businesses, who are making investment in Laos, have openedtheir banking accounts at the bank, the official added.Entering Laos in 2002, Western Union has so far made cooperation with several bigbanks in the country. (http://www.ktdt.com.vn Jul 22)Trade:Vietnam May Not Import More Gold in H2Vietnamese enterprises may not be allowed to import any gold in the second half of thisyear, the Saigon Economic Times reported.In the report on import and export situations in the first half and solutions for the secondhalf addressed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT) July 18, the column of goldimport for next six months is left blank, meaning that Vietnam will not import more goldin the remaining months.Vietnam imported more than 90 tons of gold valued at $2.8 billion in the first six months,doubling from $1.4 billion imported in the whole 2007.Earlier this year, MIT forecast that the country’s gold imports may hit $5 billion in 2008.However, the ministry said in its most recent forecast in early July that Vietnam’s goldimport value will be only $2.8 billion.
  • 206. An official from MIT said the central bank has agreed with the ministry on the goldimport quota.Among import items needed control to restrain trade deficit, gold has highest importgrowth rate, contributing to lift up the first-half trade deficit to $14.2 billion. (SaigonEconomic Times Jul 22)Vietnam Ranks Fourth among Apparel Exporters to U.SVietnam is now the fourth biggest textile and garment exporter to the U.S. market with aturnover of $2.4 billion in the first half, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported, citingVietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade.The ministry added the market-share of Vietnamese apparel products on the world’s mapalso increases to 5.49% from 4.73% last year.Prices of Vietnam-made textiles and garments shipped to the U.S. strongly grow, up 26%on-year, according Le Quoc An, chairman of the Vietnam Textile and GarmentAssociation (Vitas).At present, unit price is $1.70/sq.m on average on the world market while Vietnam’s unitprice on the U.S. market is $2.93/sq.m, just behind Sri Lanka $3.64/sq.m, An added.Meanwhile, the unit price of China, the largest apparel exporter to the U.S., reduces by2% compared the same period last year.This year, Vietnam is expected to ship $5.4 billion worth of textiles and garments to theU.S. market to secure second place behind China in the export of these products stateside.(Youth Jul 22 p14)Industry:Vietnam to Operate First Oil Refinery Feb 25 Next YearVietnam plans to operate its first oil refinery Dung Quat February 25 of 2009 so as toease the country’s burgeoning petroleum imports, the Vietnam News Agency reported,citing the plant’s management board.In a bid to prepare for the hoped operation, the board has recruited and trained 1,046 outof required 1,071 technical staff and operators for the plant.The board has also prepared and clinched agreements in principle on services, materialsupply and product distribution with oil and gas corporations.Water and power systems have been well-prepared for the oil refinery’s trial run andofficial operation, it said,
  • 207. The board has formed regulations for harbors of single-point mooring system (SPM) andthe refinery’s product exporting while seeking for complex oil sources to substitute BachHo oilfield-source oil that is estimated to fall in volume in the coming year.State-owned oil monopoly PetroVietnam group, the oil refinerys investor, has recentlyput into operation firefighting system at the plant, the agency said.The system is equipped with U.S. and French modern devices and technology, aPetroVietnam official said.During a recent working visit to the oil refinery, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung hasdemanded sufficient manpower for operation of the plant and pledged financial supportfor contractors in the wake of soaring prices to help them complete their work onschedule.The $2.5-billion oil refinery, with expected products of propylene, liquefied petroleumgas (LPG), lead-free petrol, diesel and fuel oil, is under construction in central QuangNgai province, and is estimated refine 33% of the country’s entire demand for petrol andoil.PetroVietnam has recently sought permission from the prime minister to cooperate withforeign partners to increase annual capacity of the plant to 16.5 million tons from earlierdesigned 6.5 million tons.Vietnam spent $5.92 billion importing 6.81 million metric tons of petroleum products inthe first half of this year, up 68.9% on year and 4.4%, respectively, due to the lack ofmajor oil refineries. (News Jul 22 p2, Vietnam & World Economy Jul 22 p7, Thanh NienDaily Jul 22 p6)EVN Pledges Better Power Supply in Near FutureThe stated-owned Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVN) has said it will strive to ensurebetter power supply from July 25 or the first week of August this year onwards when thecountry will only experience blackouts at rush hours ranging from 9:00 am to 11:00 amdaily, said General Director Pham Le Thanh.EVN will also considerably improve electricity quality, the Saigon Liberation Onlinenewspaper quoted Thanh as saying.Thanhs promise is based on the fact that Phu My 2.2 thermal power plant will beoperated again this week and some new power sources will be gradually put in use in thecoming time, raising the national power system’s capacity.The group has not only re-arranged timetables of repair and maintenance at power plantsbut also shortened time for completion to between 10 days and 15 days, Thanh said.
  • 208. EVN pledged no more sudden blackouts but will inform its clients nationwide 10 days inadvance of detailed power cutting timetable in order to help them more active in theirproduction.Mr. Thanh has recently, on behalf of EVN, apologized to its clients nationwide for recentconsecutive blackouts.The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade has recently decided to establish not onlyan interdisciplinary inspection team to securitize power supply but also a specialtaskforce to supervise electricity regulation by Vietnams sole electricity distributor EVN.Vietnam is forecast to continue facing severe power thirst until August this year. Thecountry will lack 8.6 billion kWh of power in 2008. (Urban & Economy Jul 22 p5,Vietpan)Vietnam PM Urges Investigation into State-run Cement PlantVietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has called on concerned agencies tohasten an investigation into alleged financial irregularities and tax fraud at a state-runcement plant, the Thanh Nien Daily newspaper reported.Several ministries and the state-run construction and building materials corporationCOSEVCO should expedite the handling of financial irregularities at the Song Gianhcement plant which were uncovered by the Government Inspectorate in April, PM Dunginstructed in a dispatch.The Song Gianh cement plant project, in the central province of Quang Binh, wasundertaken by the Danang-based COSEVCO which is under the Ministry ofConstruction.The plant was commissioned in 2006.In its report, the Government Inspectorate blamed former COSEVCO chairman TranXuan Dinh for violations of bidding regulations at the Song Gianh cement plant.Dinh and six of his subordinates were arrested in February for alleged financialwrongdoings during the construction of a wood plant built by COSEVCO in the centralprovince of Quang Tri in 2005.PM Dung asked the Ministry of Construction and COSEVCO to make a thorough reviewof alleged improper payments and dodgy equipment purchases at the Song Gianh cementplant.The review is to report back by September at the latest, the note said.
  • 209. According to the April report by the Government Inspectorate, arrested chairman Dinhwas blamed for allowing German contractor Polysuis AG to be paid in euros when thecost of building the plant had been calculated in US dollars.The oversight was estimated to have caused the loss of around VND540 billion ($33.5million) of government funds.The Government Inspectorate found Polysuis AG imported equipment from Asiancountries instead of Europe as stipulated in its contract.It also concluded COSEVCO had violated bidding regulations by appointing 11 buildingsubcontractors without carrying out any bidding process.The completed cement plant has fallen short of targets, with its 2006 losses estimated ataround VND66 billion.The plant still owes banks about VND3 trillion ($188 million), the Inspectorate’s reportfound.In the dispatch, PM Dung also told the Ministry of Police to further probe a suspectedVND2.3 billion ($143,000) tax fraud involving a Mercedes car worth 45,000 euros($71,200).During the construction of the cement plant, Polysuis AG gave COSEVCO the car andthe corporation then sought permission to resell the vehicle to an employee of theGerman contractor to avoid paying the import taxes of VND2.3 billion.However, the Inspectorate found chairman Dinh had been using the car – until the day hewas arrested.Those found to have violated financial regulations should feel the full weight of the law,PM Dung said.In its April report, the Government Inspectorate also called on police to widen theirinvestigation into COSEVCO’s other activities. (Thanh Nien Daily Online Jul 20)Vietnam Bank Finances VND272 Bln for Dong Banh Cement ProjectThe northern Lang Son province-based Vietnam Development Bank branch has pledgedto provide a eight-year credit loan of VND272 billion ($16.48 million) for Dong Banhcement project, the Tien Phong newspaper reported.The cement plant, developed by the Dong Banh Cement Joint Stock Company, isestimated to cost a total of VND1.3 trillion.
  • 210. The plant is scheduled to go on stream in the third quarter this year to turn out 2,500 tonsof clinker a day, or 910,000 tons of cement a year.Materials for the operation of the facility will be the limestone source available in thelocality. (Pioneer Jul 22 p6)Agriculture:Vietnam Announces Taxes on Rice, Fertilizer ExportsVietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung July 21 issued a decision on imposingtaxes on rice and fertilizer exports, with highest levels of VND2.9 million a ton of riceand VND5,000 a kilo of fertilizer, website of the government reported.This is the first time the government imposed taxes on rice export that it used to controlby quota.Accordingly, exported rice will be imposed eight levels of tax, which are based on Freeof Board (FOB) prices. A tax of VND500,000 ($30.3) will be lived on a ton of riceexported for between $600 and $700 prices.Meanwhile, rice exported for from $700 to $800 a ton will be imposed VND600,000($36.36) tax.The taxes will increase from VND800,000 to VND2.9 million a ton for export rice pricesof between $800 and $1,300 a ton.For fertilizer, the VND4,000 a kilo tax will be imposed on SA and DAP fertilizer exports,while VND5,000 a kilo will be on urea and Kali fertilizers.Vietnam exported 116,000 tons of rice in the first 11 days of July, raising the country’stotal rice export volume to 2.42 million tons so far this year, up 1.3% on year, accordingto the Vietnam Food Association (VFA).The VFA has recently raised export floor prices of its 5% broken rice by 4.2% to $750 aton, FOB. (chinhphu.vn July 21, The People July 22 p7, Vietnam Agriculture July 22 p1)Belgian NGO Grants EUR460,000 to Agricultural Promotion Program in VietnamA Belgian NGO, Flemish Office for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance(VVOB), has recently launched a EUR460,000 agricultural promotion program in fiveMekong Delta provinces from now up to 2012, the Vietnam News Agency said Tuesday.Duong Minh Hoang, director of the Soc Trang Agriculture Promotion Center, said thatthe project will provide technical assistance to help farmers design yearly productionplans basing on their actual needs.
  • 211. Under the program, local farmers in Soc Trang, An Giang, Long An, Binh Phuoc and BaRia-Vung Tau provinces will be helped to develop agricultural production, the agencysaid.This year, it plans to build a laboratory in Soc Trang province and hold technical trainingcourses for farmers and agricultural promotion cadres.The program is part of the Mekong Delta Agricultural Extension Project (MDAEP)conducted by VVOB and the Mekong Delta Development and Research Institute in the2001-2007. (VNA July 22, News July 22 p2, Vietnam Economic Times July 22 p4)$21.2 Mln MDF Plank Plant to Run in Long An in 2009The MDF plank plant with total investment of VND350 billion ($21.21 million) will becommissioned in 2009, the Saigon Liberation reported, citing an official from theVietnam Forestry Products General Company (VINAFOR).Pham Quang Hien said at a recent seminar in Long An province seeking ways for stabledevelopment of cajuput forest trading and production in Mekong Delta that in the firstphase, the plant will focus on producing tiny cajuput wood.The plant, covering 28 hectares in Tan Dong commune, Thanh Hoa district of Long Anprovince, will buy cajuput wood at estimated prices of VND500,000-VND550,000 a ton.Hien said in the second phase, around two years later, the plant will use around 1,500tons of cajuput daily to produce MDF plank. He added that once the plant officiallycomes into operational, it needs around 17,000 hectares of cajuput materials.Eight provinces in Mekong Delta region have cajuput forests, with total area of 135,000hectares.Long An is the largest of its kind, but its cajuput forest area decreased from 60,881hectares in 2006 to 58,400 hectares.Low price of cajuput wood is the main reason for the decrease of cajuput area, averagingat only VND180,000-200,000 a ton early this year.Hien said the price has soared to VND400,000-VND450,000 a ton currently. (SaigonLiberation July 21 p6)Business:Vietnam’s Realty Market Remains Attractive to Foreign InvestorsVietnam’s real estate markets remains attractive to foreign investors with a series ofnewly-licensed big projects, despite of global economic slowdown and domestic highinflation, Vietnam News Agency said.
  • 212. Ho Chi Minh City has recently granted licenses to many property projects, with the $3.5billion project to build International University Township by Malaysia’s Berjaya LeijayaGroup being the largest.The city also licensed a $120-million, invested by another Malaysian investor AseanaProperties, to build the Horizon Place urban center.Meanwhile, Brunei’s New City Properties Development Co. Ltd. received an investmentlicense from central Phu Yen province for a $4.3-billion tourism complex. The projectwill house luxury resorts, 4,300 five-star and 8,900 four-star hotel rooms, 160 high-gradevillas, and a 36-hole golf course.Indochina Capital earlier kicked off a number of large projects, including the $100-million Hyatt Regency resort in the central city of Danang.During a recent trip to Vietnam, President of Israeli Elad Group, Issac Tshuva, expressedhis desire to build a seven-star hotel in Hanoi, the first of its kind in Vietnam.The hotel will be home to a conference hall, an advanced building complex and otherfacilities which satisfy international standards, the visiting guest said, adding that themodel has been carried out in Singapore.Recently, Japan Asia Vietnam Co,. Ltd (Javco), which is active in areas such asarchitectural design, landscape design and management, has opened an office in Ho ChiMinh City, making its first step of doing business in the country’s property market.According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Southeast Asian countryattracted $13 billion into real estate sector in the first half of the year, accounting for 40%of the total amount of foreign investment. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 21)Vietnam Realty Developer to Target 15% of Market Share by 2010The Housing and Urban Development Corporation-HUD under the Ministry ofConstruction-said it has set the target of achieving 15% of the realty market share by2010 in Vietnam, Nguyen Dang Nam, CEO of HUD said.The government of Vietnam has tasked HUD to regulate the real estate market with thefocus on medium income earners, policy beneficiaries and low income earners, Nam toldthe Ha Noi Moi reporters.HUD is now implementing large-scaled realty projects such as Viet Hung project on 320hectares in Hanoi, 450-ha Chanh My realty project in southern Binh Duong province,159-ha Dong Tang Long project in HCMC.
  • 213. The unlisted HUD had a registered capital of VND1.69 trillion by end of last year. HUDplans to raise its capital to VND4.675 trillion in the coming years.HUD is seeking approval from the prime ministerial to contribute VND30 billion toestablishment of a bank.Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai chaired [Jul 21] a meeting on measures to boostthe realty market by accelerating streamlining administrative procedures in the field, thegovernment of Vietnam said on its Web site.Last year, prices of office rental and apartments for rent soared 50% on year and theprices have lost 35%-60% since March this year. (Government Web site Jul 21, NewHanoi Online Jul 22, www.ktdt.com.vn Jul 22)Local Firm Starts $100-Mln Residential Area in HCM CityCompany 7-5, a unit of Military Zone 7 High Command, has recently kicked offconstruction on a residential area capitalized VND1.6 trillion ($100 million) in Ho ChiMinh City, the Youth newspaper said Tuesday.The project covering 32.4 hectares in District 9 will house villas, apartments, houses,commercial areas and public utilities.Huynh Van Tai, general director of the company said, the project will be developed intwo phases.The first, designed to build roads, electricity, water systems, parks, school, villas, will becompleted in 2010. The second phase will develop houses, 12-story apartment buildingand be put into use in 2012.Once fully finished, the project is expected to provide accommodation for 6,400 people,Tai added.The company specializes in developing urban area and real estate and roads. It has joinedin many projects, including an expressway linking Lien Khuong Airport and the hillyresort town of Dalat in Lam Dong province, a new residential area in Dalat, and aproperty project at HCM City’s District 1.Aseana BDC Company, a joint venture between Aseana Properties of Malaysia and theBinh Duong Joint Stock Company, July 11 received a license from Ho Chi Minh City’sauthorities for a $120-million residential area, Vietnam News Agency said.The joint venture will build Horizon Place residential area on 8,400 square meters in inthe southern commercial hub’s district 4. (Youth Jul 22 p15, Saigon Times Daily Jul 21p3)
  • 214. Vietnam Firm to Build $45.1 Mln in Coffee Plant in LaosDao Huong Group has decided to invest VND778 billion ($45.15 million) in building aninstant coffee plant in neighboring Laos’ Champasak province, the Vietnam NewsAgency reported.The group’s Chief Executive Official (CEO), who received the “ASEAN’s goodbusiness” title at recent Global Women Summit in Hanoi, said the group has orderedmodern technologies from Germany’s E&E Co., and Denmark’s Anhydro Co.Construction of the plant is scheduled to start in the next two years. Once operational in2010, Dao Huong expected its coffee to be welcomed at foreign markets, especially inJapan, Taiwan, Asian-Pacific region, and EU being targeted. (Vietnam & WorldEconomy July 22 p13)Vinacafe Striving for a Strong GroupVietnam Coffee General Company, or Vinacafe, has tried its best to become a stronggroup in 2010, the Vietnam Agriculture reported, citing an official from the company.Vinacafe’s General Director Do Van Nam said the company has planned to build anumber of high quality coffee factories, including Vinacafe Dalat, Vinacafe Dak Ha, 331Coffee Im-Export Co, and Hoa Thang Trade Center in Buon Ma Thuot, and Tien SonCoffee and Grain Processing Factory in Bac Ninh province.Nam said Vinacafe raked in $243 million from exporting more than 113,000 tons ofcoffee in the first six months of 2008, fulfilling 63% and 425 of yearly plan, respectively.The company’s $243 million export revenues accounted for 20% of Vietnam’s totalearning from coffee export in Jan-Jun 2008.Doan Dinh Thiem, chairman of Vinacafe’s management board, said the company mayexport around 250,000-300,000 tons of coffee worth $550 million this year, up 20% onyear.He said that the company’s net profit may reach from VND280 billion to VND300billion.Vinacafe now has 42 affiliates, including 9 joint stock companies, and 33 farms.(Vietnam Agriculture July 21 p6)Foreign Investment:Kirby to Open $15-Mln Pre-engineered Steel Mill in Southern Vietnam
  • 215. Kirby Southeast Asia, one of the world’s leading pre-engineered steel makers, said it willopen its new factory in southern Dong Nai province early next month, the Thoi Bao KinhTe Viet Nam newspaper reported.The $15 million facility, located in the Nhon Trach III Industrial Park and designed underthe international standards, will be capable of turning out 50,000 tons a year.The foreign company is planning to invest $20 million to build the second factory innorthern Vietnam in 2009, raising its total capacity in the country to 100,000 tons a year.Kirby, an affiliate of Kuwait’s Alghanim Industry Group, is also conducting a survey tobuild a hi-tech center in Vietnam to support Kirby’s factories. (Vietnam Economic TimesJul 22 p3)Infrastructure:Vietnam Needs $12.7 Bln to Build Railway Projects in Hanoi, HCMC by 2020Vietnam will acquire $12.7 billion to carry out railway projects in Hanoi and Ho ChiMinh City from now to 2020 with foreign investment to account for 77%, the Ministry ofPlanning and Investment said.Of the total figure, $7.3 billion is needed to construct 128 kilometers of railway systemsin Hanoi and $5.4 billion is to build six metro routes with 92 km in length.The Ministry of Planning and Investment said urban transport projects often require hugeinvestment and a long time for construction, so they are not attractive to investors. Mostof projects being researched will use ODA loans.So far, only $4.8 billion in ODA has been pledged, accounting for only 49% of therequired sum of $9.8 billion.The Ministry of Transport said that research on the five inner railway routes in Hanoi isunderway and four metro routes in Ho Chi Minh City are planned. (VietnamNet Jul 21)Tourism:Spain Helps Tourism Planning in Central VietnamThe Spanish Government has provided EUR150,000 ($239,000) to a project to researchculture, historical sites, tourism and the environment in the central Thua Thien-Hueprovince of Vietnam, the Tin Tuc newspaper reported Tuesday.The project will help develop a detailed plan on tourism in Hue city and nearby regions,which will help the city mobilize investment for development.
  • 216. “The project will not only provide a tourism development plan for Hue, Vietnam’sfestival city, but also help the two sides exchange experiences,” Head of the Spanishexpert group, Damian Moragues, said.Deputy Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Phuoc Hoa recently had aworking session with Spanish tourism experts on implementation of the project.Tourism cooperation is one of three top priorities of Vietnam-Spain cooperation. SinceVietnam and Spain signed a tourism cooperation agreement at the governmental level inApril 2002 and a common strategy on tourism development cooperation for the 2005-08period, the number of arrivals from the foreign country to Vietnam has ceaselesslyincreased.Especially, Spain in succession held the highest on-year growth rate in the number oftourists visiting Vietnam in recent months.Vietnam welcomed more than 3,400 arrivals from Spain in the first quarter of this year,up 72.6% on-year. (News July 22 p8, Capital Security July 22 p2, Vietnam Panorama)Politics & Law:Vietnam Calls on Cambodia, Thailand to Solve Temple Dispute via NegotiationVietnam called on Cambodia and Thailand to resolve their border dispute relating to thePreah Vihear Temple through peaceful negotiations in the spirit of friendship andsolidarity, Vietnamese spokesman Le Dung said July 21.The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesman was cited as affirming Vietnam’s stance onthe issue, saying that the two sides should restrain themselves to avoid making thesituation complicated and try to resolve remaining issues through peaceful negotiations inthe spirit of friendship and solidarity of ASEAN, for the interest of both countries and forstability and development of the group.The Cambodian representative to the UN informed the UN Security Council (UNSC)July 17 in New York about Thai troops intruding on its territory.Thai soldiers entered Cambodian soil after UNESCO has recently listed the Preah VihearTemple as a World Heritage Site belonging to Cambodia, the representative said.Staff of the Phnom Penh based - U.S., China, France and Vietnam embassies were alsoflown by helicopter from the capital to the disputed territory on the border.The U.S., China and France are permanent members of the UNSC while Vietnam is theUNSC chairman in July.
  • 217. A meeting between the two defense ministers of Cambodia and Thailand, held July 21 todiscuss the latest flare-up over competing claims to land around the temple, failed toreach any agreement. (The People Jul 22 p8, Website of CPV Jul 21, foreign media)Deputy PM Visits Laos to Boost Investment, Trade TiesDeputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung began July 21 his working visit to Laos, beingaccompanied by representatives from ministries of Planning and Investment, Industry andTrade, Agriculture and Rural Development, Natural Resources and Environment,Transport, and some businesses, the government said on its website.The Vietnamese delegation is scheduled to visit some southern provinces of Laos andattend the 30th mid-meeting of the two sides’ cooperative subcommittees.Two-way trade value between Vietnam and Laos reached $312 million in 2007, up 20%on year.In the first five months of this year, the figure hit $192 million and was estimated at $240million in the first half, up 58% against the same period of 2007.Vietnam currently has 109 investment projects licensed in Laos, with the total capital of$1.1 billion.Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has recently approved a plan to buildVietnam-Laos border zone by 2020 into an area for economic exchange between thenorth and the west of the country.The targeted region will include 10 provinces of Dien Bien and Son La in the north,Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue and QuangNam in the central Kon Tum in the Central Highlands, contributing to further increase thetwo-way trade, which is expected to reach $1 billion in 2010 and $5 billion in 2020.(Website of government Jul 21, Vietnam Economic Times Jul 22 p4, The People p8)Labor & Education:Vietnam Wins Big at Int’l Math & Biology OlympiadsVietnamese students reaped fruitful results at the 2008 International Math and BiologyOlympiads by taking two gold medals, two silvers, and five bronzes, the Thanh Niennewspaper reported.Notably, six Vietnamese students attending the 49th International Math Olympiad (IMO)in Spain from July 10-21 won prizes, including two gold medals, two silvers and twobronzes.With the result, Vietnam ranked 12th among 97 participants at the IMO.
  • 218. While at the 19th International Biology Olympiad held in India from July 13-20, Vietnamsnatched three bronze medals and a certificate of merit.This year, Vietnam sent around 30 students to International Olympiads.Vietnamese students always won prizes and they were listed as one of the strongest teamsin thirty-three years. Educational experts from Singapore and Malaysia sometimes cometo Vietnam to learn about math training courses and methods. (Young People July 22 p1,Thanh Nien Daily July 22 p2, Pioneer July 22 p1)Vietnam Expects to Provide Vocational Training for 1,800 Disabled People in H2The Vietnam Sponsoring Association for Orphan Children and Disabled People hopedthat it will provide vocational training for 1,800 disabled people by the end of this year,Vietnam News Agency said.Of those, 70% of trained people will get jobs after they finish the courses, the agencyexpected.The association will present 2,000 scholarships to disabled and orphaned students, donate1,000 wheelchairs to disabled people, and offer cataract surgeries for 2,000 blind peoplein two or three provinces and cities.In the first six months of this year, it provided vocational training for 1,838 disabledpeople, cataract surgeries for 2,000 blind people, wheelchairs for 5,230 invalids, 974bikes for students and free-of-charge medicine check-ups and treatment for 12,600handicapped people and orphans. (News July 22 p2, Liberation Saigon July 22 p1, VNA)Health & Environment:Vietnam Imports $33 Mln Cardiovascular Medicines in H1Vietnam reportedly spent $33 million importing cardiovascular medicines in the first halfof this year, making up 10% of the country’s total drug import spending during the time,said the General Customs Department.The drugs’ import prices saw stronger fluctuation than other imports, said the department.According to a survey on 700 goods lots of the cardiovascular drugs with the majorityfrom Pakistan, France and Hungary, 5% reported price increases.Patients’ long-term treatment of these special medicines and the insufficient domesticsupply were mainly blamed for the hikes, said the department.This year, Vietnam is forecast to import $815 million worth of medicines this year, upfrom $700 million last year. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 22 p2)
  • 219. Hand-foot-mouth Disease Rising Sharply in VietnamVietnam identified up to 5,481 people suffering from foot-hand-mouth disease in the firsthalf of this year, of whom, 21 died, said Nguyen Huy Nga, Head of the Health ProvisionDepartment.The figure nearly doubled the whole number of sufferers in 2007, said Nga withoutgiving out comparative figures.Ho Chi Minh City was the country’s hardest hit place with 1,701 patients and ninefatalities.The disease, which is caused by Coxsakie and Enterovirus-71 agents, is a commonchildhood illness featuring mouth sores, fever and vesicles.Most of fatalities in the country were caused by the deadly virus EV71, said thedepartment.During the first half, Vietnam also reported 22,000 dengue fever patients, down 30% on-year, said Nga. (Young People Jul 22 p2)Severe Acute Diarrhea Striking Vietnam’s Northern ProvinceAs many as 197 people in Nam Dinh province in northern Vietnam were hospitalized dueto acute diarrhea infection from June 17 to July 10, said the provincial health service.Of them, 80 were tested positive to V.cholera virus and no fatality has been reported sofar.Hung Nghia district topped the list with 154 patients, including 50 cholera sufferers, saidthe service.The disease, which was basically controlled in Vietnam in early June, has reemerged insome northern localities, including Hanoi, Ha Tay, Ha Nam and Bac Ninh, said theMinistry of Health (MoH).In the first half of this year, Vietnam detected 3,700 people contracting acute diarrhea,including 584 cholera patients.In late April – the peak of the epidemic in Vietnam, severe acute diarrhea spread to 20provinces and cities across the country, including Hanoi, Haiphong, Hai Duong, ThanhHoa, Quang Binh, and Ho Chi Minh City. (The People Jul 22 p7)Whirlwinds Hit Central Highland Province, Causing VND1 Bln Loss
  • 220. Whirlwinds July 21 stroke central highlands Gia Lai province, destroying five houses,damaging 30 others and causing an estimated loss of VND1 billion, the Sai Gon GiaiPhong newspaper said Tuesday.This is the fourth the natural calamity has hit the province since the beginning of thisyear, the paper said.Earlier, strong whirlwind July 18 swept over five communes of Thang Binh district,central Quang Nam province, killed one person, wounded two others and damaged 310houses.Hundreds people have been left homeless after the disaster, according to the initialaccounting.Some of old local residents said they had never seen such a strong whirlwind over thepast tens of years.The National Center for Hydrometeorological Forecasting predicted that between six andeight storms will strike Vietnam with a complicated rainy season this year.Vietnam suffered losses of over VND814 billion ($49.3 million) caused by naturaldisasters in the first half of this year, up VND720 billion ($43.6 million) on year,according to the General Statistics Office.The ASEAN country is forecast to face a stormy year in 2008. (Saigon Liberation July 22p11, Vietpan database)Culture & Society:Vietnam Makes Remarkable Progress in Implementing MDGs – WHO, UNICEFVietnam and Myanmar have made remarkable progress in carrying out the UNMillennium Development Goals, a report July 17 released by the World HealthOrganization (WHO) and the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) said.The report indicates that 68% of Myanmar population has gained access to clean water,meanwhile the figure in Vietnam was 47% since 1990.Currently, two billion people in the world havent been ensured adequate hygieneconditions yet, the report added.The situation may hinder the UN MDG to reduce 700 million people who do not haveaccess to basic hygiene system by 2015, the Thoi Bao Kinh Te newspaper said.The countries that have not achieved progress in conducting the MDG in providingpeople with basic hygiene services are mainly in Africa and South Asian. (VietnamEconomic Times July 21 p4)
  • 221. UNDP Finances $5 Mln to Improve Vietnamese Women’s LeadershipThe Vietnam Foreign Affairs Ministry and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) jointlysigned July 21 a $5.05 million project to help improve Vietnamese women’s leadershiprole, local media said.The project will addresse challenges facing women in the state sector and will make rerecommendations to the Government on improving women’s role and capacity in thecontext of the country’s integration into the world economy.Christophe Bahuet, deputy country director of the UNDP Vietnam, said “training,recruiting and retaining highly qualified civil servants is significant to the efficientmanagement of state affairs”. This will be a key challenge facing Vietnam in the years tocome, he said.The project will also help develop intelligent networks through providing opportunitiesfor women to attend and organize international conferences and seminars on genderequality in Vietnam and other countries.Speaking at the signing in Hanoi, the Vietnam Women’s Union Chair Nguyen Thi ThanhHoa said she believed the project would help improve Vietnamese women leaders’capacity and effectively strengthen cooperation between Vietnam and the UNDP.(Vietnam News Jul 22 p3, The People p8, Labor p2, Vietnam Net Jul 21)Traffic Accidents to Cost Vietnam $5.5 Mln by 2020Vietnam will suffer losses of $5.5 million due to traffic accidents by 2020 unless it takesconcrete measures to address the issue, said experts in the transport sector at a meetingJuly 21 held in Hanoi.The meeting discussed various solutions to the traffic problems and alarming rise inaccidents, the Vietnam News Agency said.Vietnam will have 52.6 million vehicles by 2020 and accidents will increase by 8%-10%a year, experts predicted.Takagi Michimasa, chief advisor of the national road traffic safety master plants studysaid that Vietnam should improve road safety to build the image of kind-hearted trafficpolicemen to encourage ordinary people to obey road safety and traffic rules.A joint study with the National Traffic Safety Committee of Vietnam (NTSC) and theJapan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) recently found that policemen need to beeffective forces to ensure traffic safety rules and management.
  • 222. Bui Huynh Long, chief of the NTSC Standing Office thought that task might provedifficult as policemen had earned a bad reputation for taking bribes from traffic violators.Drunk drivers, the poor quality of road as well as poor awareness on traffic rules hadcome to typify Vietnam and resulted in the high number of traffic accidents, Long added.Vietnam reports an average of 12,000 deaths, 30,000 injuries by traffic accidents a yearwith a total loss of nearly $900 million. (Vietnam News July 22 p3)Stock Market:EVN to Issue VND4 Tln Corporate Bonds in Q3The Electricity Group of Vietnam (EVN) plans to issue VND4 trillion ($242.4 million)worth of corporate bonds in the third quarter of 2008 to ensure sufficient capital forpower projects, the local Economy & Urban Area newspaper said Tuesday.EVN will issue the five-year bonds in the two tranches, with VND2 trillion in each.The EVN will decide the bond coupon later, ensuring it higher than the coupon ofgovernment bonds, bank deposit interest rate and lower than the lending rate.Securities companies of Ha Thanh, Vina, An Binh, and Citibank will jointly underwritethe bond issue of EVN.In 2008, the power group is expected to issue VND10 trillion ($606.1 million) of bondswith maturity of 5-7 years, which will be allocated to less than 50 investors in eachtranche.EVN is also mulling over the plan to issue bonds in U.S. dollar to fund its projects withdemand for foreign currency.Recently, the central bank has also approved the EVN to set up finance joint stock firm tohelp the power industry better mobilize fund for the countrys energy projects.EVN needs around VND11.86 trillion from now to the end of this year to develop powergenerating and transmission line projects. The figure is VND325 trillion in the 2006-10period. (Economy & Urban Area Jul 22 p5, Vietnam Panorama)HPG Fulfils 2008 Profit Target in H1The Hoa Phat Group (HPG) announced that it netted profit of VND848 billion ($51.4million) in the first half of this year, surpassing 14.5% over the years profit target ofVND740 billion ($44.8 million).The group obtained nearly VND5 trillion ($303 million) between January and June,completing 65% of its plan for the whole year of 2008.
  • 223. Hoa Phat said its all industries have maintained its good growth, particularly steel, steelpipe, construction machines and decorations.HPG is now one of five top steel producers in Vietnam. It signed a deal with TKVMineral Corp in a bid to research and exploit materials for its steel complex, which isslated for operation in the second quarter of next year. The plant is expected to contributeVND6.5 trillion into HPGs annual revenues.HPG expects net profit of VND1 trillion ($62.5 million) on revenues of VND10 trillion($625 million) by 2010 and become one of the leading industrial groups with revenues of$1 billion by 2012. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 21 p9, Labor Jul 21)Jul 22: VN-Index Records Four-month Biggest Fall on Inflation SpecterVietnams stock market index closed down 12.94 points, or 2.75%, at 457.88,representing the biggest fall in a single day over the past four months, as local playerscontinued selling on fears of sky-rocketing inflation due to the government’s fuel pricehike July 21.“Investors placed massive sell orders today after local media said inflation rate willsurpass the 25% rise as previously forecast and may hit 30% by the end of this year,” atrader with VISecurities said.“Market sentiment becomes very weak with concerns that the government will facedifficulties in taming inflation after it decided to raise gasoline prices to ease burden ofhuge state subsidies for oil and gas sector,” he said.“Prices of shares will continue to go down this week,” the trader said, tipping that the keyindex will plunge to 400 soon.The lowest index was seen at 366.02 on June 20, just more than one month ago.Low trading volume was recorded today.Market volume totaled only 1.6 million shares valued at VND77.8 Tuesday, the smallestvolume and value over the past two months.SGT, the most active stock today, fell 2.7% at VND31,900 on 230,070 shares, including219,630 shares bought by foreign investors.DPM, the second most active stock, lost 2.6% at VND56,000 on 169,680 shares,including 150,000 shares bought by foreigners.FPT plummeted 2.3% to close at VND64,500 on 165,620 shares, of which foreignersbought 159,280 shares and sold 35,390 shares.
  • 224. KDC was adjusted down 20.9% at VND64,500 on ex-right date.No stocks closed higher.Dong Do Marine Co. (DDM) made debut today at VND16,800 on a trade of 133,500shares.All four fund certificates closed lower. (HOSE July 22)Vietnam NewsJuly 21, 2008Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,500Banking & Finance:Vietnam’s Monetary Market Steady Last WeekVietnam’s monetary market remained stable last week as supply and demand of foreigncurrencies became balanced and several banks lowered lending interest rates, VietnamNews Agency said Monday.The State Bank of Vietnam said that supply of foreign currencies was improved. Exportcompanies started to sell foreign currencies to commercial banks. The central bankcontinued to provide dollars for commercial banks to meet demand for essential importsof the economy, but banks’ buying volume fell.Foreign exchange market showed positive signals. Most of commercial banks quotedexchange rates at below the ceiling rate and traded dollars at permitted band. The rate ofVND/USD in free market was falling to 16,860-16,890.Several commercial banks reduced their lending interest rates for the dong and foreigncurrencies. However, the lending interest rates for VND are still popular at 21% perannumAs reported by 39 credit organizations, lending interest rates of most of the terms in theinterbank market tend to fall from mid-July except for terms of one and two weeks. Theovernight rate was at 20.15% per annum, for one week at 20.53%, two weeks at 21%,three weeks at 20.67% and one month at 17.5.Vietnamese banks were offering deposit interest rates for VND at between 17% and19.1% per annum for three to 12 months, of which the state-owned banks announced therates at 17%-18%, while joint stock lenders at 18.7%-19.1%.The central bank continued to buy VND4 trillion-VND12 trillion worth of valuablepapers with maturity of seven days and interest rate of 15% a day and continued torefinance commercial banks. (News Jul 21 p3)
  • 225. SeABank to Sell 15% Stake to Societe GeneraleThe State Bank of Vietnam (SBV)s governor has approved the Southeast AsiaCommercial Joint Stock Bank (SeABank) to sell a 15% stake to its French strategicpartner Societe Generale SA, the state-run media said.Societe Generale is expected to help SeABank improve its risk management, technology,international payment services, develop its human resources and boost its consumerservices.The deal is expected to be signed shortly. However, the value of the 15% stake has beennot disclosed.The price of SeABanks shares on the over-the-counter (OTC) market ranged fromVND18,000 to VND20,000 each.A 15% stake is currently the maximum amount that a foreign strategic investor is allowedto hold in a domestic financial institution.Currently, big foreign lenders are holding a 15% stake in Vietnamese partners, such asHSBC in Techcombank, Standard Chartered Plc in ACB, Sumitomo Mitsui Bank inEximbank, and Maybank in ABBank. Some are seeking to raise ownership to 20%.In the first half, SeABank posted pretax profit of VND258 billion ($16.1 million), up30% on year. The Hanoi-based bank had VND19.6 trillion total assets, VND13.9 trilliondeposits, and VND11.2 trillion outstanding loans.Its registered capital is now VND3 trillion which will be raised to VND5 trillion withinthis year. (Labor Jul 21, Vietnam News Agency Jul 20, Saigon Marketing Jul 21)First Vietnamese Joint Stock Bank Cut Lending RatesThe Vietnam Export and Import Bank (Eximbank) has taken lead among local joint stockcommercial banks to reduce interest rates on Vietnamese dong-based loans for allcustomers, the bank said in its latest statement.The HCM City-based lender slashed its lending interest rates by 1 percentage point to20% per annum while maintaining its current VND deposit interest rates as of July 19.It is the highest interest rate cut on dong loans since the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV)has called on domestic banks to help ease difficulties for businesses and help curbinflation and stabilize the economy.Eximbank has been the fourth bank to lower lending interest rates so far. Three others arethe state-owned lenders – BIDV, Agribank, and Vietcombank.
  • 226. Vietcombank also decided to cut its lending interest rates by 1 percentage point to 20%per annum on the dong loans. However, the 1-percentage-point reduction was onlyapplied on certain customers.The SBV, or Vietnams central bank, has said it aims to restrict loan growth to 30% thisyear as part of measures to contain inflation, after a rapid 54% surge in loans in 2007.(ATPVietnam Jul 20)ACB and Vietcombank Rated Vietnam’s Best BanksTwo different Asian leading financial magazines have recognized two Vietnamese jointstock banks, the Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) and the Bank for Foreign Trade ofVietnam (Vietcombank), as the best domestic banks.The “Best Bank in Vietnam” is given to ACB by Euromoney and to Vietcombank byAsiamoney.This is the third times ACB has won such award, after 1997 and 2006, for its sustainablegrowth and prestige.ACB is operating in securities, asset management and financial leasing, besides bankingsector. It attained net profit of VND1.76 trillion, or $110 million, in 2007, tripling thefigure of 2006.In the first quarter this year, ACB made profit of VND510 billion.Meanwhile, Asiamoney has for first time selected Vietnam in its list, beside Australia,China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan,Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand, in which Vietcombank has become the bestlocal bank. (Pioneer Jul 21 p5, Vietnam Economic Times Jul 21 p4)Official VND/USD Rate Goes DownThe State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) today [July 21] fixed the official exchange ratebetween dong and U.S. dollar at VND16,500/$1, compared with VND16,501 late lastweek and VND16,513 on July 11.With daily USD/VND trading band allowed at plus or minus 2%, the state-ownedVietcombank, the leading forex bank in Vietnam, offered to buy dollars at VND16,735and sell at VND16,765 on the same day.Early this morning, Vietnam Export Import Bank (Eximbank) announced a selling priceVND16,700/$1, down VND65 from late last week.
  • 227. For fear of an exchange rate slipping further, many individuals and export businesses soldtheir dollars. This abundant supply causing the exchange rate to fall, said a Hanoi-basedbank manager.Banks are widening the margin between buying and selling prices.Experts believed that a reduction of the exchange rate would reduce costs of importedraw materials for production.The exchange rate on the open market also decreased, nearly equaling the official ratewith buying and selling rates at VND16,750-VND16,800. (www.sbv.gov.vn Jul 21)Processing Firms Allowed to Extend Time for Income Tax PaymentVietnam’s Ministry of Finance has issued a new dispatch allowing the processingcompanies to extend time for paying corporate income tax for the third and fourth quarterof 2008, the Thoi Bao Kinh Te said.The companies subjected to the dispatch are the processors of electronic parts, agro-forestry-fishery products, garment and footwear.These companies are allowed to extend income tax payment by six months since thedeadline.Vietnam is targeting to narrow the trade gap after trade deficit reached $14.77 billion inthe first half. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 21 p3)Trade:Vietnam Trying to Lower Monthly Trade Deficit to Under $1Bln in H2The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade will keep monthly trade deficit under $1billion in the second half of this year in order to realize the target of reducing the year’simport value to $80.2 billion in line with the Government’s requirement, $4.8 billionlower than initially planned, said Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Bui Xuan Khu.If the goal is realized, Vietnam’s trade deficit this year is expected to stand at $20 billion,equaling to around 30% of the export revenue.Measures are being taken to stabilize the market and ensure the demand-supply balanceof essential goods, said Khu adding that the ministry has also paid special attention toimproving the quality of the work on price forecasting and warnings.The ministry has also accelerated the inspection of the quality of import goods, and usedtechnical barriers to narrow the trade deficit.
  • 228. Additionally, the ministry has outlined a roadmap to implement compulsory energy-saving labels on household commodities from January 2010.Together with efforts to reduce imports, Vietnam has also targeted to obtain an on-yearexport growth of 26% to $61.2 billion this year.The country is estimated to earn $6 billion from crude oil export, $5.3 billion fromgarments and textiles, $2.2 billion from seafood and footwear, and $1.6 billion fromwoodwork in the second half of this year, said the MoIT.To facilitate exports, the government of Vietnam has allowed 100% foreign-investedenterprises to build centers of providing materials to raise the competitiveness forexports.The ministry will also set up an interdisciplinary group gathering customs, banking andfinancial officials to promptly address difficulties for import-export productionenterprises in the rest months of the year, said Khu.In the first half of this year, Vietnam reaped $29.69 billion from goods shipment in thefirst half of this year, an on-year increase of 31.8%, and spent $44.47 billion on imports,up 60.3%, said the General Statistics Office (GSO). (News Jul 21 p4, VNA Jul 19, Labor& Liberation Saigon Jul 19 p3)Peru Starts Anti-dumping Probe into Vietnam ShoesPeru has started an anti-dumping investigation into shoes imported from Vietnam andChina under a proposal by its corporation of leather, shoe and similar products, VietnamNews Agency reported.According to the decision announced July 18 by Peru’s Competition and IntellectualProperty Protection Institute, the probe will be conducted into canvas shoes with solemade from different materials.Shoe enterprises accused of dumping their products will have six months since thedecision was made to provide proof and arguments to protest against the decision.In the first half this year, Vietnam shipped abroad $2.27 billion from shoe products, a riseof 16.9% on-year.The Southeast Asian country’s footwear industry has an annual average growth rate of16% and its export revenue is expected to reach $4.5 billion this year and $6.2 billion by2010. (News Jul 21 p16)Vietnam Applies Highest Gasoline Price Hike to VND19,000 per A92 Liter
  • 229. The Vietnamese Ministries of Finance, Industry and Trade, and Information andTelecommunication have sit together to agree to raise retail price of A92 gasoline toVND19,000 ($1.15)/liter, up VND4,500 ($0.27) or 31.05% against the former price ofVND14,500 ($0.87)/liter, state media reported July 21.The gasoline price hike, the highest level in Vietnam to date, takes effect 10:00 a.m.today [July 21], said the Ministry of Finance.The increase is in wake of the global crude oil price fluctuations that doubles against thesame period last year and averages at $139 per barrel in 17 early days of July this year,and has a trend to continuously go up in the coming time, said Minister of Finance, VuVan Ninh.Together with the gasoline price soar, a liter of diesel 0.05S is sold at VND15,950($0.96), up from VND13,950 ($0.84); paraffin oil at VND20,000 ($1.21), up fromVND13,900 ($0.84); and mazut at VND13,000 ($0.78), up from VND9,500 ($0.57).Vietnam would lose VND44,772 billion ($2.71 billion) in the second half of this year ofthe country did not raise gasoline price in the circumstance of global oil price hitting$139 per barrel, brining total loss for this year to VND59,519 billion ($3.6 billion), theMinistry of Finance said.If the global oil price reaches between $145 and $150 per barrel, Vietnam’s loss isestimated at VND67 trillion-VND72 trillion ($4.06 billion-4.36 billion) this year if it didnot apply gasoline price hike, the ministry added.Vietnam’s latest gasoline price soar was applied February 25 this year, raising the retailprice of A92 gasoline to VND14,500($0.87)/liter from VND13,000 ($0.78)/liter, and ofA95 gasoline to VND14,800 ($0.89) from VND13,300 ($0.8)/liter.The Vietnamese government has so far spent VND11 trillion ($687.5 million)compensating for domestic petroleum importers in the circumstance of ongoing global oilprice soar in the first six months of this year. (Vnexpress Jul 21, VietNamNet Jul 21,New Hanoi Online Jul 21, Vietpan)Enterprises Re-export $500 Mln of Ingots & Steel in H1Vietnamese enterprises reportedly re-exported up to $500 million worth of ingots andsteel in the first half this year, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported, citing the Ministry ofIndustry and Trade.Meanwhile, the member of units under the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA) re-exportedmore than 70,000 tons of ingots and construction steel valued at over $77 million in Mayand June, Pham Chi Cuong, VSA chairman said.
  • 230. The steel industry will face huge shortage of materials for production in the fourth quarterif the massive re-exports continue, Cuong said, adding the trade deficit of the items willsharply increase as steel ingot is being offered at $1,300/ton. (Youth Online Jul 21)Industry:Petrolimex Nodded to Build $4.5 Bln Oil Refinery in Central VietnamVietnam National Petroleum Corp (Petrolimex) has recently received approval fromcentral Khanh Hoa province to build a $4.5-billion oil refinery in the locality, said CEOVu Ngoc Hai.The plant will have a capacity of refining 10 million tons of crude oil per annum, theLabor newspaper quoted Hai as saying.Petrolimex initially planned to locate the refinery in Ninh Phuoc commune, Ninh Hoadistrict but now is seeking the provincial approval for a new location more suitable forthe project’s scale, the official said.The corporation has chosen Sinopec of China as a partner to carry out the project and thetwo sides have discussed setup of a joint venture as well as stake equity to be owned byeach party.They intend to import crude oil from the Middle East or Singapore to feed the plant.Petrolimex now holds 60% of Vietnam’s petroleum trading market share.The corporation is cooperating with PB Tankers Ltd of Singapore ands PetrolimexInsurance Joint Stock Company to build Vietnam’s first petroleum bonded warehouse incentral Khanh Hoa province with a storage capacity of one million cubic meters and atotal investment of $170 million. (Labor Jul 19 p3, Vietpan)Vietnam Southern Province Licenses $3.77 Bln Petrochemical ComplexSouthern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province has recently granted an investment license to aVietnam-Thailand joint venture to build a petrochemical complex with a total investmentof $3.77 billion, the Investment newspaper reported, citing the provincial documents.The joint venture so-called Long Son Petrochemical Limited Company was set up bystate-owned oil monopoly PetroVietnam group, the Vietnam National ChemicalCorporation (Vinachem), and two subsidiaries of Thai Siam Cement Group (SCG), VinaSCG Chemicals Co Ltd and Thai Plastic and Chemicals Public Co Ltd.The complex will be built on a 400-hectare area in Long Son petroleum industrial park inLong Son commune, Vung Tau city, adjacent to Vietnam’s planned third oil refineryLong Son.
  • 231. Kan Trakulhoon, president and CEO of SCG, said that his subsidiaries hold a 71% stakein the joint venture while Vietnamese firms own the remainder.The complex will include an international-scale facility producing olefins with an annualdesigned capacity of 1 65 million tons; one producing polyolefins, 145 million tons; oneprocessing Chlor-alkali, 280,000 tons; and one processing raw materials for PolyvinylChloride (PVC) plastics, 330,000 tons of EDC and 400,000 tons of VCM.It will also contain necessary infrastructure such as a port, storage facilities and utilities.Construction and operation of the complex will be divided into two phases, with thePVC-related plants likely to begin operating in 2012 and the other plants in 2013.The petrochemical complex together with the Long Son oil refinery costing at least $6billion is under the $10 billion Long Son oil refining-petrochemical project.Without major oil refineries, Vietnam now has to import almost of petroleum products.The country spent $5.92 billion importing 6.81 million metric tons of petroleum productsin the first six months of this year, up 68.9% on year and 4.4%, respectively.The first oil refinery Dung Quat, which is under construction in central Quang Ngaiprovince, is expected to start operation in next February to process 6.5 million tons ofcrude oil a year and meet more than 33% of the domestic demand. (Investment Jul 21 p1)PetroVietnam, Petrolimex Ink Comprehensive Cooperation DealThe state-owned oil monopoly PetroVietnam group and the state-run Vietnam NationalPetroleum Corp. (Petrolimex) July 18 clinched a deal to boost comprehensivecooperation in the future, the Labor newspaper reported.This is considered an active move by two giants of Vietnam’s oil and gas sector to buyand sell all expected products of the country’s first oil refinery Dung Quat that is underconstruction in central Quang Ngai province and is hoped for operation in next February.They will also boost ties in their major fields of investing in petrochemical projects;trading and consuming petrol and petrochemical products; and investing in petroleum andliquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tankers.The $2.5-billion oil refinery, with expected products of propylene, liquefied petroleumgas (LPG), lead-free petrol, diesel and fuel oil, is estimated refine 33% of the country’sentire demand for petrol and oil once fully operational in February 2009.PetroVietnam has recently sought permission from the prime minister to cooperate withforeign partners to increase annual capacity of the plant to 16.5 million tons from earlierdesigned 6.5 million tons. (Labor Jul 19 p3, Vietpan)
  • 232. Banks Trust Less in Power Projects by EVN’s Joint Stock FirmsSlow disbursement in recent months for power projects invested by joint stock companiesunder state-owned Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVN) is attributed to low trusts frombanks, an official of the State Bank of Vietnam told the Investment newspaper.“Banks do not lack money for power projects, the problem is the confidence ofborrowers,” he attributed.Banks said that if EVN were still investors of these urgent power projects, loanborrowing will be easy as EVN, a special state-owned company, is appraised andguaranteed by the Ministry of Finance and big banks.However, when EVN sets up joint stock companies to undertake these projects, EVN willno longer be responsible for loans prioritized by the government but the newly-established firms that have modest confidence to commercial banks, hindering capitaldisbursement, banks elaborated.Banks’ desire to hold more negotiation with investors about early signed loans for powerprojects due to recent soar in credit interest rate is also blamed for slow disbursement andcapital shortfall by the power sector.To deal with the situation, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has recentlydemanded EVN to continue acting as investor of hydropower projects under the nationalelectricity development plan by 2015 and span to 2025, or Plan VI, approved by thegovernment. Hai rejected commissioning investor responsibility over the projects fromEVN to joint stock companies.EVN has also negotiated with commercial banks, and the two sides have agreed to doubleinterest rates for power projects.In the first half of this year, EVN carried out power projects worth VND16,298 billion($987.75 million), accounting for only 73.2% of the planned target due to capital lack,said EVN general director Pham Le Thanh.EVN needs around VND11.86 trillion ($178.78 million) from now to this year’s end todevelop power generating and transmission line projects. (Investment Jul 18 p4, Vietpan)Vietnam to Mine Largest Iron Ore Deposits Next MonthThe Thach Khe Steel Joint Stock Company is expected to start mining Thach Khe ironore deposits in central Ha Tinh province this August, the Nhan Dan newspaper onlinereported.The newspaper said Vietnamese authorities are carrying out final procedures to licensethe project.
  • 233. In addition, the company is preparing to develop a steel mill with an annual capacity of 2million tons in the first phase in the province’s Vung Ang Economic Zone. Theconstruction of the factory is set to start in early 2009 and operate in 2011.The mill’s capacity will be raised to four million tons a year in the second phase.The steel mill is a national key project. The prime minister has allowed the Thach KheSteel JSC to assign China’s Chongqing Metallurgy Technique Ltd. as the consultant forconducing feasibility study for the project. (The People Online Jul 20)Vietnam Central Province OKs VND1 Tln Steel MillCentral Quang Ngai province authorities July 16 gave a nod to the Hoang Anh QuangNgai Minerals Joint Stock Company to invest VND1 trillion ($60.6 million) in a steelingot refining factory, state media reported.The plant, set to have a capacity of 500 tons a day, will cover 1.4 hectares at local PhoPhong Industrial Park (IP) in Duc Pho district.The facility, the first project invested in the local IP, is expected to provide jobs for about300 laborers. (Vietnam Agriculture Jul 18 p2, Young People Jul 18 p2)Ha Long Shipbuilder Hands over 53,000-ton Ship for U.K. FirmHa Long Ship Building Co, an affiliate of the Vinashin Business Group, July 18 delivereda 53,000-ton ship to the U.K.’s Graig Company, Vietnam News Agency reported.The cargo freighter, named White Diamond-HL04, is the third in a series of 15 largeships that Ha Long will build for the British firm.Measured at 190 meters long, 32.26 meters wide and 17.5 meters high, the vessel canoperate at 14 nautical miles per hour. It has five holds and has been equipped with four36-tonne cranes.The ship, designed by Denmark’s Care Bro Company, meets the standards for the U.S.’ssea environmental protection and standards required for ships to pass Suez and PanamaCanals.Ha Long Shipbuilding Company has built and delivered a number of large ships and aseries of new products including 12,500-tonne freighters and 1,800 TEU container ships.The company has become Vietnam’s large shipbuilder for export.The firm handed over a 12,500-ton cargo ship to the Vietnam Shipping Lines Corp(Vinalines) and an 8,700-ton ship to Japan’s Kanematsu Group.
  • 234. Ha Long has set a goal to deliver at least five 53,000-ton ships this year with a totalindustrial production value at VND2.4 trillion ($150 million) and revenue of VND2.3trillion ($143 million). (Vietnam News Agency Jul 18, Transport Jul 21 p2)Agriculture:Vietnam to Impose Export Tax on Cashew Nuts from this SepVietnamese cashew nuts exported by the Vietnam Cashew Nut Association (Vinacas)’smembers will be imposed tax from this September, the Vietnam Trade InformationCenter said on its Web site.The $1 tax on a ton of cashew nut export will be collected by the General CustomDepartment and then sent to the Vinacas’s fund, which will be used for establishment ofthe Global Cashew Alliance (GCA), and trade promotion at both foreign and domesticmarkets.In April this year, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung agreed to deduct $350,000 fromstage budget to the establishment of the GCA, which was jointly initiated by the Vinacas,the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI), and Brazil Cashew Association(SINDICAJU).The three organs are expected to sign legal document on the establishment late this year.Vietnam exports around 150,000 tons of cashew nuts annually, with majority byVinacas’s members. (Vinanet July 21)Paper Association Asks Permission to Adjust Paper PricesThe Vietnam Pulp and Paper Association (VPPA) has suggested raising prices of paper,but promising to keep domestic paper prices 10% lower than imports’, the Vietstockreported.The association explained that prices of imported paper are now much higher than locallymade paper, while its members fail to meet demand.The VPPA also proposed to slash import tax on paper from ASEAN countries to zerofrom current 5%, and reduce value-added tax on pulp and some kinds of paper from 10%to 5%, and on printing paper to 0%.The Vietnam Pulp and Paper Association, the Vietnam General Paper Corporation, andthe Tan Mai Paper JSC in a meeting discussing ways to ensure sufficient paper fordomestic market in Hanoi July 16 put the proposal forward.According to the VPPA’s proposal, the Vietnam Paper Corporation and Tan Mai PaperJSC promised to boost capacity in order to help the domestic market avoid paper scarcity.
  • 235. The Vietnam Paper Corporation and Tan Mai Paper JSC are the two biggest producers ofprinting and writing paper in Vietnam, but meeting only 60% of domestic demand.(vietstock July 20)Vietnam Agri Ministry Put Forwards Measures to Help Animal Husbandry SectorThe Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has submitted proposals tothe prime minister on measures to help local animal husbandry sector get rid ofdifficulties and then boost development, the state-run Nhan Dan (The People) newspapersaid.The ministry has proposed that materials and animal feed should be listed to the List ofimported necessities. The import tariff for materials for animal feed is proposed to bereduced to 0%.The customs sector is requested to simplify administrative procedures upon customsclearance and seaports should work out measures to increase handling capacity to quicklyunload products that are materials for production of animal feed.The animal husbandry sector has faced difficulties in the early months of 2008 due tohigh increase in feed prices.The ministry said the sector posted average growth at only 0.03% in the first half of thisyear, failing to meet set target at 5%.MARD said that prices of feeds rocketed 20%-50%, which forced around 40 domesticanimal feed processing plants to close in the first six months of 2008. (The People July18, Vinanet July 19)Lam Dong Needs $165 Mln for Vegetable, Flower Export DevelopmentCentral highlands Lam Dong province, the vegetable and flower bowl in Vietnam, isestimated to need VND2.723 trillion ($165 million) to boost exports from now to 2010,the Saigon Liberation reported.Up to 98% of the sum will be sourced from local companies, the newspaper said.Some VND54 billion will be from the province’s budget, which will be used forinfrastructure like building high-tech agricultural zone.Form now to 2010, Lam Dong will keep its vegetable and flower area at 30,000 hectares,with output of one million tons yearly. (Saigon Liberation July 21 p2)
  • 236. Business:Work on ASEAN’s Biggest Software Park Starts in VietnamConstruction on $1.2 billion Software Park, the biggest of this kind in Vietnam as well asASEAN began in Thu Thiem New Urban Area July 19, the Lao Dong newspaperreported Monday.Taiwanese Teco Group and Saigon Telecommunication and Technologies Corp(SaigonTel) will join hands in the project construction.To cover an area of 16 hectares, the park will be home to high-tech and software bases,trade centers and residential buildings. It also has a training center to develop humanresources and provide a skilled workforce to tenants.“Once operational 2016, the Thu Thiem Software Park will contribute to the process oftransforming Vietnam’s cheap labor force to a high-tech one, and attract other companiesto invest in the technology industry,” a SaigonTel official said.The park is expected to attract an additional $2.95 billion in foreign direct investment,contribute $4.3 billion in taxes, and create $6.5 billion in annual revenue.It will also create 40,000 new jobs during the construction period and 70,000 jobs forsoftware specialists and IT engineers.Vietnam software industrys revenue grew six times in 2000-2006 and accounted for0.4% of the countrys gross domestic product.Vietnam plans to become the third largest supplier of software developers in the worldafter India and China in the near future. (Labor July 21 p3)Vietnam to Simplify Procedures for Real Estate InvestmentThe Vietnamese Ministry of Construction will streamline administrative procedures forreal estate investment in the upcoming months, said Minister of Construction NguyenHoang Quan at a recent seminar on administrative procedures and reform on real estateprojects.A recently-conducted survey on the new urban zone construction projects by the ministryshowed that, each project took an average of 33 administrative procedures and three yearsto be completed, Quan said.He said the cumbersome procedures are huddles of construction projects, resulting in ashortage in supply of real estate projects in the market.
  • 237. The minister added that the ministry will issue a standard form for housing constructioninvestment procedures soon, expected to reduce the number of procedures to eight andthe new time frame should span just one year.The ministry also asked the provincial and municipal authorities to check and cancel anyunlawful procedures they have issued.Meanwhile, investors of state-funded projects are required to submit their reports ondisbursement in the first six months this year. This will help the ministry to cut capital ofprojects with slow disbursement to prioritize key projects.In the first five months of this year, the ministry cut and delayed 52 projects valued atover VND4.1 trillion (some $250 million) out of 505 worth VND40.8 trillion scheduledin the year, state media said.Lilama has decided to slash VND1.8 trillion of its investment, the Song Da ConstructionCorp has cut VND1.25 trillion and the Mien Trung Corp has axed VND523 billion.(Vietnam News Agency Jul 19, Capital Security Jul 21 p2)Italy Launches Vietnam Investment Information PortalThe Italia-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and the Turin-based center for Vietnamesestudies have jointly made debut an information portal, Viet-it Affairs, the first of its kind,to serve Italian and Vietnamese investors, Vietnam News Agency said.Viet-it Affairs will publish information in the Italian, English and Vietnamese regardingbusiness, culture, tourism, finance, trade and exhibition activities of the two countries, theagency said.The website will also provide information on communication courses such asinterpretation, marketing for Vietnamese and Italian entrepreneurs.The bilateral trade between Vietnam and Italy is expected to reach $1.5 billion this year.In the first four months this year, Vietnam had shipped $288.55 million goods to Italy.As of late October of last year, Italian investors invested $93.27 million into 23 projectsin the Asean country. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 20, Vietpan Database)Foreign Investment:Israeli Shipbuilder Plans to Set up 7 Shipbuilding Yards in VietnamThe Israeli Ray Shipping Co has planned to set up six or seven shipbuilding factories inVietnam and hoped that Israel’s advanced shipbuilding technologies will help contributeto the Vietnamese industry, the Israeli billionaire Rami Ungar told a meeting held inHanoi recently.
  • 238. Rami Ungar said Israeli and Vietnamese enterprises should promote cooperation in high-tech industries, ship building, sea transport, construction, property, securities, insuranceand tourism.The Ray Shipping Co, one of his three companies, inked a $1 billion shipbuildingcontract with the Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group (Vinashin) in 2006 and Vinashinis scheduled to deliver a series of car carriers in June this year.The Israeli billionaire also shared his views on Vietnamese and global economies andexperience in doing business at the event co-held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerceand Industry and the Israeli Embassy.Vietnam’s economy which was impacted by fluctuations from the global market willovercome difficulties in the next two years, he said.A representative from the Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinaline) said his companywanted to cooperate with the Israeli company in the seaport.The Vietnamese prime minister said Vietnam will open its embassy in Israel to beef upthe multifaceted relations, particularly in economics, trade, investment and education.The bilateral trade between Vietnam and Israel has sharply increased in recent years afterthe two countries signed the bilateral trade and investment agreement in 2004. The twoway trade reached $113 million in the first nine months of 2007, up 50% from a year ago,the ministry said.Last year, an Israeli company signed a $1 billion contract with Vietnamese shipbuilder,Vinashin. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 15, Vietpan Database)U.K. Firm Inks $55 Mln Design Deal for Nghi Son Oil RefineryFoster Wheeler Energy Limited of the U.K has recently clinched a deal worth $55 millionto undertake the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) for Nghi Son oil refinery incentral Thanh Hoa province, state media reported.The foreign company will complete the FEED that costs totally $200 million within 16months since the first day the deal takes effect July 18, said Cao Hoa Duong, deputydirector of Nghi Son oil refining-petrochemical limited company.The complex has an initial investment of $6 billion with PetroVietnam holding a 25.1%stake, Idenmitsu of Japan and Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI) 35.1% each, andMitsui Chemical Inc of Japan 4.7%.It will be equipped with the most modern technology and be the with biggest of its kindin Vietnam with a capacity of refining 200,000 barrels of oil per day or 10 million tonsper annum, an 1.5-fold increase against Dung Quat oil refinery’s capacity.
  • 239. The plant that will use crude oil imported from Kuwait is designed to produce 2.1 milliontons of gasoline- 92, 95 and 98-octane grades - 2.67 million tons of diesel, 790,000 tonsof kerosene and jet fuel as well as 500,000 tons of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)annually.The project will be operational for the first phase in late 2012 or early 2013 to supply60% of Vietnam’s petroleum demand. Its capacity will be raised to 20 million tons peryear in the second phase. (Labor Jul 21 p3, Vietnam & World Economy Jul 21 p4,Pioneer Jul 21 p13)Politics & Law:Capitals of Vietnam, Russia Pass New Cooperative DocumentsHanoi and Moscow inked a joint communiqués and new term cooperative agreement July18 during the Vietnamese delegation’s visit to Russia’s capital to attend “Hanoi Days inMoscow”, according to Vietnam News Agency.Under the signed documents, the two sides pledge to continue their bilateral cooperationin order to assist organizations and enterprises to develop long-term economiccooperation.The agreements will allegedly contribute to speed up the construction of the Hanoi-Moscow Cultural and Trade Centre in Moscow and the Moscow House in Hanoi.The two cities will also strengthen cooperation in science and technology, education andtraining, culture sport and tourism, and boost exchanges of experiences in economy andcity management.“Hanoi Days in Moscow” included a water puppets performance by Vietnamese artists atthe cultural park in Moscow and a gala night was also held at the Mossovet Theatre forthe Vietnamese community.A friendship meeting to highlight the solidarity, cooperation and development betweenVietnam and Russia was held on the occasion, with the participation of head of theVietnamese delegation, Hanoi’s vice mayor Ngo Thi Thanh Hang and chairman of theRussia-Vietnam Friendship Society Vladimir Buianov.A memorandum of understanding on training cooperation was signed between theCollege of Foreign Languages under the Hanoi National University and the MoscowInstitute of Economics and Law during the meeting. (People’s Army Jul 21 p8, Websiteof CPV Jul 18)Vietnam Deputy PM Visits Laos to Boost Investment, Trade Ties
  • 240. Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung, accompanied by representatives fromministries of Planning and Investment, Industry and Trade, Agriculture and RuralDevelopment, Natural Resources and Environment, Transport, and some businesses, willstart the working visit to Laos today, the government said on its website July 21.The Vietnamese delegation is scheduled to visit some southern provinces of Laos andattend the mid-meeting of the two sides’ cooperative subcommittees.In the first four months of this year, the figure hit $145.5 million, up 57.6% on year.Vietnam currently has 109 investment projects licensed in Laos, with the total capital of$1.1 billion.Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has recently approved a plan to build Vietnam-Laosborder zone by 2020 into an area for economic exchange between the north and the westof the country.The targeted region will include 10 provinces of Dien Bien and Son La in the north,Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue and QuangNam in the central Kon Tum in the Central Highlands, contributing to further increase thetwo-way trade, which is expected to reach $1 billion in 2010 and $5 billion in 2020.(Website of government Jul 21, Vietpan)Labor & Education:Int’l Physic Olympiad Opens in Vietnam for First TimeThe 39th International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) begins in Vietnam for the first timetoday [July 21], drawing the participation of more than 650 students and experts from 85countries and territories, the Saigon Giai Phong reported Monday.Candidates will compete in physics theory tests July 22 and 23 and practical tests July 25.Five Vietnamese students representing the country at the IPhO are Nguyen Duc Minhfrom Amsterdam High School for Gifted Students, Do Hoang Anh from Hanoi NationalUniversity, Hoang Minh Toan from Danang-based Le Quy Don High School, NguyenTat Nghia from Nghe An-based Phan Boi Chau High School and Tran Anh Vu fromHanoi-based Dao Duy Tu High School.The IPhO 2008 is not only a significant educational event but also one of the biggesttourism events of the year. This year’s event also boasts the largest number ofparticipating countries and territories in its history.Notably, the event welcomes Prof. Friedman who won the Nobel Physics Prize in 1990.The professor will hold talks with students and experts on July 25.The IPhO awarding ceremony will be held in July 28.
  • 241. Last year at the 38th International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) in Iran, Vietnamese studentsreaped fruitful results at the event by taking two gold medals, two silvers and oneencouragement prize. (Labor July 21 p2, Saigon Liberation July 21 p3, New Hanoi July21 p1, People’s Army July 21 p4, News July 21 p1)Health & Environment:Vietnam Int’l Health Exhibition to Open in SepThe third Vietnam International Health Exhibition 2008 “Pharmed & HealthcareVietnam” will take place at Ho Chi Minh City International Exhibition and ConventionCenter (HIECC) from September 10 to 13, Vietnam Economic Times newspaper reportedJuly 21.Over 200 Vietnamese enterprises and many foreign partners from 20 countries andterritories including India, Pakistan, and China will display their products at 300 boothscovering over 5,000 square meters.Main products will be showcased, including pharmaceutical products, pharmaceuticalproducing machines, packing equipment, imaging and endoscopic equipment, hospitalappliances.The Vietnam Medical Products Import-Export Joint Stock Company (Vimedimex VN),the Vietnam Advertisement and Fair Exhibition Company (Vietfair) and the HealthEducation Propaganda Center under the Ministry of Health co-organized the annualevent.During the four-day exhibition, the ministry will hold some symposiums, consulting andproduct introduction seminars.The four-day Pharmed & Healthcare Vietnam 2007 attracted around 35,000 visitors.(Vietnam Economic Times Jul 21 p2, New Hanoi & Labor Jul 19 p3)10% of U-5 Vietnamese children Suffering Hepatitis BBetween 7% and 10% of Vietnamese children aged less than five are contracting hepatitisB due to inadequate vaccination, said Do Si Hien, Head of the National ExpandedVaccination Program.Up to 200,000 children under one did not receive enough shots of various vaccines lastyear, posing high threat of being infected with diseases in the future, Hien said.The Global Cancer Association said that Vietnam has been rated the second worldwidefor the liver cancer rate with 90% of the cases developed from hepatitis B.
  • 242. As many as 20% of Vietnamese are likely to contract hepatitis B, said a symposium onliver diseases and liver transplant held by the Singaporean Parkway Healthcare Pte Ltd incentral Danang city April 20. (Youth Jul 21 p4)Vietnam to Fine Business VND500 Mln for Causing Environmental PollutionVietnam will apply the highest fine of VND500 million ($30,300) on producers forcausing environmental pollution, the Environmental Protection Agency said.Vice Head of the agency, Nguyen Hoa Binh, said other forms of punishment besidesfines will be applied on violators.The new fine levels will help force firms to obey rules on protection environment, theagency expected.The agency inspected 384 production units, 47 industrial zones and 7 craft villages in 41provinces and cities last year and it had detected 116 polluters.Notably, 17 out of 173 inspected units didn’t submit reports on environmental impacts,125 units didn’t realize their environmental protection pledges, 102 units dischargedwaste water exceeding standards, and 77 units discharged toxic waste. (VietNam NetBridge, Life & Law July 19 p3)Culture & Society:Vietnam Proposed to Readjust Poverty LineThe Vietnamese Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs has recentlyproposed the prime minister for approval a plan to readjust the poverty line standard forthe 2006-2010 period to match rising prices, the Thoi Bao Kinh Te Viet Nam newspapersaid.Under the proposal, the national poverty line will be raised to VND300,000 ($18.18) andVND390,000 ($23.63)/person/month in rural and urban areas, respectively.The new poverty line is based on 2007’s CPI of 12.63% and 2008’s estimated CPI of27.5%, the newspaper said.If approved, the rate of poor households nationwide will make up 16.5% - 17.5% orbetween 3.2 million and 3.4 million poor families by the end of this year.The data of the GSO showed the country’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 26.8% onyear in June and the poor are the hardest hit by the price hikes.The ministry said that from 2009 if the CPI surpasses 10%, it will ask government toreadjust the poverty threshold, a state media said.
  • 243. The ministry also proposed the government take strong measures to reduce poverty in 60districts with the poverty rate of over 50% in a bid to narrow the gap between the rich andthe poor. (VNA July 21, Economy & Urban July 21, Vietnam Economic Times July 18,VietNamNet Bridge July 19)Vietnam PM Urges to Put an End to Major Corruption CasesVietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung requested related agencies to quicklybring an end to major corruption cases, including the Project Management Unit 18 andthe case regarding fake electronic electricity meters in Ho Chi Minh City, in a bid toconvince the people of the Government’s determination to combat corruption.The government leader made the instruction at the seventh meeting of the Anti-Corruption Central Steering Committee in Hanoi July 18, according to Vietnam NewsAgency.Dung also asked authorities to urgently impose administrative punishment on formerDeputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Viet Tien for his “negligence of duties, causingserious consequences”.Earlier, in Decision No. 13/VKSTC-V1A, the Procuracy rejected charges of“intentionally violating state regulations on economic management, causing seriousconsequences” and “abusing position and power while executing duties” that had beenfiled against Tien.“The Procuracy should have imposed the administrative punishment over himimmediately after the nonsuit to avoid the public’s misunderstanding,” the PM noted.The Anti-Corruption Central Steering Committee reported that in the first six months itidentified 111 out of the 1,700 petitions and claims to hint at possible corruption cases.In the reviewed period, investigation agencies at all level prosecuted 211 corruption caseswith 534 individuals. Corruption-caused financial damage is estimated at VND251.6billion.However, the investigation process over corruption still remains slow.Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung instructed agencies to continue to take drasticmeasures to fight corruption, including informing the public of corruption cases promptlyand accurately. (Pioneer Jul 21 p2, HCM City Law p1)Vietnam Reports 11 Private-owned Notary Offices So farEleven private-run notary offices have to date been established in Hanoi, Can Tho, ThanhHoa and Ba Ria-Vung Tau, the Cong An Nhan Dan newspaper said Monday [July 21],citing a official of the Ministry of Justice.
  • 244. The establishment of these private-owned notary offices will help reduce the overload ofthe state notary offices and cut administrative procedures, analysts said.Recently, Hanoi capital city authorities have approved establishment of first sevenprivate-owned notary offices, and a number of offices are expected to be licensed in thecoming months.Meanwhile, tens of private-run notary chambers in Ho Chi Minh City with full ofmaterial facilities are anxiously waiting for approvals, the paper said.Currently, Vietnam has 140 state-run notary offices with nearly 400 employees, includingsix offices in Hanoi and six agencies in HCM City. (People’s Police p5, VietNamNetBridge)Stock Market:Standard Chartered Buys 16 Mln ACB Shares from IFCStandard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited will begin buying 16.2 million shares inAsia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ACB) from the International Finance Corporation(IFC) July 24, the Hanoi Securities Trading Center announced on its website.IFC will sell the shares based on negotiations at VND140,000 each, more than doubleACBs current market price of VND66,700.In early May, Standard Chartered announced it would boost its stake in ACB to 15%from 8.84% by acquiring an additional 6.16% stake, or 16.2 million shares, from IFC.According to the press release of Standard Chartered, it also bought extra 7.1% ofconvertible bonds of ACB, bringing its total bond holding to 15.86% from 8.76% inACB.The deal showed that the British lender is seeking long-term investments in Vietnam,especially after the bank was approved to set up its 100% foreign-invested bank in thecountry, the local newspapers said.Standard Chartered has become strategic partner of ACB since July 2005, with theacquisition of a 8.56% stake worth $22 million in the Vietnamese lender.Late last week, ACB received the State Bank’s approval to raise its registered capital toVND5.8 trillion ($351.5 million) from current VND2.63 trillion. (Labor Jul 21, HASTC,Vietstock, ATP Jul 19)Vietnam Biggest Listed Bank Posts Gross Profit of VND1 Tln in H1
  • 245. Asia Commercial Bank, Vietnam’s biggest listed bank by assets, said on its Web site thatit posted a gross profit of VND1 trillion ($60.6 million) in the first half this year, butgiving no comparative figure.ACB’s robust profit is attributed mainly to gold transactions fees and loans lent to inter-bank market, Ly Xuan Hai, CEO of ACB was cited by the Tien Phong (Pioneer)newspaper as saying Monday.The Ho Chi Minh City-based bank recently received approval from the State Bank ofVietnam to raise its registered capital to VND5.8 trillion from VND2.6 trillion.In the first six months this year, ACB reported its total assets of VND102.639 trillion,total deposit of VND90.345 trillion, and lent VND41.879 trillion.The bank’s capital safety rate is 14%, surpassing the required 14% by the central bank, itsoverdue debts were less than 0.4% and bad debts were less than 0.1%, it said.ACB, the most active stock today, closed down at VND66,700 on 794,600 shares tradedafter Vietnamese ministries decided to increase prices of gasoline to VND19,000/liter,which will trigger a new wave of consumer price hikes and push up production costs tothinner business profits in the second half, traders said. (www.acb.com.vn, Tien PhongOnline Jul 21, www.vtc.vn Jul 21)Eurocapital Runs Smart Quotes BoardEurocapital Securities Company (ECC) launched a smart quotes board last week, withcomplete information about stock exchanges in Hanoi and HCM City to serve mostsecurities investors.The investors don’t need to wait until the trading sessions close, they can get anystatistics on increases or declines of share prices and volumes on the stock markets with asimple click on columns of price or volume.The smart quotes board will also provide investors with analyses on order matchingresults of each share.In other development, the ECC has cooperated with the Bank for Investment andDevelopment of Vietnam (BIDV) to manage the securities accounts of ECCs investorssince July 1.Investors can log in the website www.eurocapital.vn/ho, or www.eurocapital.vn/ha toexploit further information. (Vietstock Jul 19, VNS Jul 19 p19)Vietnam Stock Bourse Resumes Listing Bach Tuyet Cotton Stock
  • 246. The Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange has resumed transactions of Bach Tuyet CottonCo’s shares today [July 21] after the company has explained its business operations planswith ways to clear debts, Vietnamese state media said Monday.BBT shares are re-listed with reference price of VND8,800 and will be under close watchof the stock market watchdog.BBT will have to pay debts of VND42.8 billion.BBT previously had its shares suspended because of having loss in the two consecutiveyears.BBT shares closed down at VND8,600 on 2,350 shares. (The People Jul 20, VneconomyJul 21)Jul 21: Vietnam Shares Dive on Gasoline Price SurgeVietnams shares closed much lower Monday as domestic investors were selling onconcerns that inflation would leap up again in coming months after the governmentdecided to raise gasoline prices by as much as 31% from July 21.“Local investors felt displeased with authorities who had said recently that they wouldnot raise fuel prices to battle inflation,” a Hanoi-based trader said.“The fuel price hike may drive the economy into turmoil again, hurting market sentiment,which started recovery for several weeks,” he said.Regarding authorities, Minister of Finance Vu Van Ninh said on Vietnam Television thatthe decision on gasoline price hike is aimed to reduce the huge cost of state subsidies,which were valued at VND14.5 trillion in the first half.VN-Index today slid 12.23 points, or 2.53%, at 470.82.Market volume totaled 14.1 million shares valued at VND660 Monday, down from 25.9million shares valued at VND1.03 trillion last Friday.SSI, the most active stock today, rose 2.9% at VND49,000 on a trade of 7 million shares,of which foreigners bought 6.5 million shares and sold 1.2 million shares. This is also theonly rising stock today.HPG, the second most active stock, fell 2.8% at VND52,000 on 940,050 shares,including 339,920 shares bought and 18,600 shares sold by foreigners.STB shed 2.7% to close at VND28,800 on 612,140 shares.
  • 247. PET lost 2.7% at VND22,000 on 799,080 shares changing hands, including 900 sharesbought and 219,000 shares sold by foreigners.PIT is the biggest decliner, falling 3% at VND19,400 on 118,330 shares.All four fund certificates closed lower. (HOSE July 21)Vietnam NewsJuly 18, 2008Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,501Banking & Finance:IFC Helps Vietnam Streamline Tax ProceduresThe International Financial Corporation (IFC) and Vietnam’s General Department ofTaxation (GDT) have signed a memorandum of understanding in which IFC will helpsimplify taxation procedures for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Vietnam.The GDT, with assistance from IFC, will conduct surveys on SMEs’ spending on taxes,analyze unnecessary tax procedures and study international practices to find out suitablemanagement measures for SMEs.The program will be carried out from July 2008 to December 2010.Le Hong Hai, deputy head of the GDT, said Vietnam now has about 180,000 privateSMEs and some three million households, most of them have small and very small scales.They spend more time and money on processing tax procedures than large-scaleenterprises and make small contributions to the state budget.The GDT has developed a plan to reform tax administrative procedures, focusing onprivate businesses, she said.Richard Stern, director of the investment climate advisory agency FIAS, an unit of IFC,said that streamlining policies and taxation procedures will help tax agencies bettermanage tax payers and curtail loopholes leading to corruption. (Vietnam EconomicTimes Jul 18 p2, VNA Jul 18)Canada Proposed to Help Vietnam in Deposit InsuranceThe State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has called on the Canadian-based Deposit InsuranceCorporation of Ontario (DICO) to share its operation experiences with Deposit Insuranceof Vietnam (DIV), state media quoted SBV Governor Nguyen Van Giau as saying.
  • 248. Giau also proposed at his meeting with DICO President-cum-CEO Andrew Poprawa inHanoi on July 16 that DICO will soon help Vietnam draft the Law on Deposit Insuranceto lay a legal foundation for operations in the field.Poprawa spoke highly of the results made by DIV, a state-owned and non-profit financialinstitution, which is operating under direct guidance of the governor of the State Bank ofVietnam.He said, however, that DIV should pay more attention to inspecting credit institutions,guide them in risk management and take distant supervision measures.A DIV report showed that DIV conducts quarterly supervision over all institutionsinvolved in deposit insurance, including 76 commercial banks, 10 non-bank creditinstitutions and 992 people’s credit funds.Its supervision activities have focused on forecasting and warning risks and designingspecific risk assessment approaches for every institution engaging in deposit insurance.(Vietnam & World Economy Jul 18 p5)Finance Ministry Fixes Interest Rates for Investment and Export CreditThe Vietnamese Ministry of Finance has issued a decision to fix the states lendinginterest rates for investment credit, export credit and support for interest rate difference,the Thoi Bao Kinh Te said.Under the decision, the lending interest rate for investment credit is fixed at 12% perannum for Vietnamese dong and at 7.8% per year for free convertible foreign currencies.These rates will be 11.4% for the dong and 7.2% for convertible foreign currencies forthose projects of building infrastructure, rural and agricultural development and otherinvestment projects in disadvantaged areas, in Khmer ethnic minority inhabited areas, incommunes belonging to the hunger eradication and poverty reduction program, bordercommunes subjected to the Program 120.The ministry announced the lending rate for export credit in VND is 14.4% per annumand that in free convertible foreign currencies 7.8%.The interest rate difference for post-investment support for projects loaned in VND isfixed at 3.9% per annum and for those loaned in free convertible foreign currencies at0.96%.Vietnam Development Bank will be responsible for providing these loans. (People Jul 16,Vietnam Economic Times Jul 17)Agribbank, Vietcombank Offer Cheaper Loans
  • 249. State-run Agribank and Vietcombank have announced to cut interest rates on Vietnamesedong and U.S. dollar loans down by 0.5-1 percentage point per annum as of July 18, theThoi Bao Kinh Te newspaper reported.Agribank will drop dong lending rates by 0.5 percentage point and would lend at amaximum 20.5%, compared with the government-approved ceiling of 21%.The Hanoi-based lender will also cut rates on U.S. dollar loans by 2 percentage point, thepaper said.Vietcombank, meanwhile, offered to slash its lending interest rates by 1 percentage pointto 20% per annum on the dong loans and 0.5 percentage point to 8.5% on U.S. dollarones.The Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) is the first bank that cutlending rates in response to the call by the State Bank of Vietnam to ease difficulties forbusinesses and help curb inflation and stabilize the macro economy.Vietnam has cut its economic growth target this year to 7% from earlier projections of8.5% to 9% after growth accelerated to 8.48% last year from 8.17% in 2006.The Southeast Asian country has been battling double-digit inflation every month sincelast November and a tripling of the trade deficit.The countrys central bank has said it aims to restrict loan growth to 30% this year as partof measures to contain inflation, after a rapid 54% surge in loans in 2007. (Young PeopleJul 18 p7, Vietnam Economic Times Jul 18 p1, Liberated Saigon Jul 18 p2)US’s ACE Life Vietnam Sees Premiums Surge 131% in H1ACE Life Vietnam, an affiliate of the U.S. insurance and reinsurance ACE Group,continues to see robust growth in the first half this year with insurance premiums surging131% on year, the firm said in a press release July 15.This growth is extremely impressive given the current volatility of the local financialmarkets.Lam Hai Tuan, CEO of ACE Life, said “customers decide to buy an insurance productbased on their trust in the service provider and the financial protection the productprovides. The financial market is only temporarily volatile while the purchase of a lifeinsurance product offers a lifetime of protection. Therefore, the customer’s need for lifeinsurance will not be affected if the products and services purchased satisfactorily meettheir requirements.”
  • 250. ACE Life has recently applied new interest rates on the Contract Account Value of itsUniversal Life insurance from July 1 at 9%/year for a Flexible Premium Payment and at9.25%/year for a Single Premium Payment.The Universal Life product offers several market leading benefits, such as lifetimeprotection, flexible premium payments, and personal bank account-style to allowtemporary money withdrawal to cope with unexpected difficulties. It also allowscustomers to raise the face value of the contract to meet new demands when theirfinancial capacities are improved, or to cope with higher prices in the face of inflation.This benefit of Universal Life is particularly appealing given the current two-digitinflation.ACE Life has now its headquarters in Ho Chi Minh City and 12 offices nationwide with astrong force of 4,400 professional account representatives. (ACE Life Jul 15, VietnamEconomic Times Jul 18 p4)Vinachem to Invest $3.1 Mln in Vietnam Star BankVietnam National Chemical Corporation (Vinachem) is taking necessary procedures toinvest VND50 billion ($3.13 million) in Vietnam Star Commercial Joint Stock Bank(Vietstarbank).Vinachem is one of the founder-stakeholders in the newly-established Vietstarbank,beside Vietnam Technological and Commercial Bank (Techcombank) and Tan TaoIndustrial Zone Company (Itaco).Vinachem said it only make financial investments in Vietstarbank and Bao MinhInsurance Corp, with total value of VND66.5 billion, accounting for 1.85% of itsregistered capital.The firm had invested VND16.5 billion ($100 million) in the insurer by the end of 2007.Vietstarbank started operation since May 2008 with a registered capital of VND1 trillion.The bank targets net profits at VND19 billion in 2008, VND115 billion in 2009 andVND257 billion in 2010. (Securities Investment Jul 18)Techcombank Proposed to Sack Director of Saigon BranchThe State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) sent a dispatch July 16 to Techcombank to ask fordismissal of Luong Huu Lam, director of its Saigon branch, because the branch a lendinginterest rate higher than the ceiling rate.Techcombank is also required to dismiss the head of the Transaction Office of the branchLe Duc Tho and deputy head of the Thu Duc transaction office.
  • 251. The State Bank of Vietnam said it found that Tho lent a client VND350 million, but heasked the client for a deposit mortgage of VND70 million and adjusted the lending rate to24.4% per annum, surpassing the ceiling interest rates regulated by central bank at 21%.The Thu Duc transaction office, meanwhile, is accused for loaning a customer VND24million, but asking the customer to mortgage VND7.2 million.The SBV said these actions have violated the current regulation on interest ratemanagement.On the same day, the SBV also sent a document to request Sacombank to sack head ofthe Transaction Office of the Tan Dinh Branch for raising interest rates to 1.92% amonth, or 23.04% a year, which is higher than the ceiling interest rate.In early July, Vietnam International Bank (VIBank) decided to dismiss the customerdirector of its Saigon branch, Nguyen Xuan Do, after the branch asked a client to pay asecurity on the loan. (Labor Jul 17)Trade:Vietnam Slashes Import Tariffs by 50% on Eight Lao ProductsThe Vietnamese Ministry of Finance July 15 decided to halve import tariffs on eightcommodities, mainly foodstuff, farm products and engines, originating from Laos,Vietnam News Agency reported.The move is within the country’s roadmap to implement the Common EffectivePreferential Tariff (CEPT) scheme applied by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN) since 1992 in a bid to form an ASEAN free trade area of 500 millionconsumers.Since the application of the CEPT mechanism in 1996, Vietnam has axed tariffs on10,324 lines of goods, including 10,000 types to between zero and 5% in 2006.Vietnam has joined efforts with Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia to abolish import tariffson all commodities originating from ASEAN countries by 2018.To realize the roadmap, the ministry last month issued a new preferential import tariff listfor the 2008-2013 period, reducing import taxes to 5% and zero for thousands ofASEAN-originated goods.Art works, ancient articles, interiors, optical equipment and devises, watches, liveanimals, food and foodstuff were among those listed.According to the roadmap, specially-designed automobiles imported from ASEANmember countries will enjoy a 5% tariff instead of the current 10% and automobiles with
  • 252. nine seats less to get a tax slashed from the current 83% to 60% by 2013. (VOV Jul 16,VNA Jul 16)Vietnam to Export One Million Tons of Coffee AnnuallyVietnam will export around one million tons of coffee annually thanks to its stable areaof 500,000 hectares, the Vietnam Cocoa and Coffee Association (Vicofa) said Friday.The stable export volume will help the country ensure coffee quality and reasonableprices, local analysts said, noting that the one million tons for export is suitable.Vicofa said from 2000 to 2007, ten biggest coffee importers of Vietnam bough 4.283million tons of coffee, or 611,930 tons per crop from farmers, accounting for 73.77% ofVietnam’s total coffee export volume.Vietnam exported 571,000 tons of coffee valued at US$1.181 billion in the first half of2008, down 31.7% on year in volume and 4.1% in value.Vietnamese robusta coffee was traded at $2,130 a ton of second grade, FOB, early thismonth, up by US$50 a ton from a week earlier, and some 18% from the same period oflast year. (Vietnam Economic Times July 15 p2)Hanoi Trade Center in Moscow Kicked offHanoi-Moscow Trade Center Investment Joint Stock Company (Incentra JSC) July 17officially started construction on the Hanoi Trade-Culture Center in Russia’s capital cityof Moscow, the Urban Economy newspaper reported July 18.The project, part of Hanoi-Moscow cooperation program, has a total investment of $120million, of which, the Bank of Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) financed75% or $90 million.The 4.9-ha project in the crowded northwestern area of Moscow consists of a three-storeytrade center occupying 10,000 sq.m and a 24-storey multi-functional hotel with 720rooms.The center, which will display a wide range of products such as handicrafts, footwear,apparel, consumer goods, seafood, food stuff, and fruit, is aimed to promote Vietnameseproducts in the potential market of Russia in particular and the European market ingeneral,The project is slated for completion in late 2010.Vietnam-Russia trade is expected to reach between $2-$3 billion in 2010, up 1.8-2.7times against 2005. (Urban Economy Jul 18 p8)
  • 253. Iron, Steel Imports Rise Again-MinistryThe amount of Iron and steel imports has risen again from the beginning of July after atime of standstill, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said Friday.In the first week of July, iron and steel import reached nearly 96,100 tons, up 38.1% on-week including more than 30,500 tons of steel billets, increasing by over 71.5% on-week.Steel sheet import also fetched more than 16,300 tons, a rise of 9.3% on-week.The import price of steel billet stayed at $948/ton, up 3.5% compared with the final weekof June and steel sheet $855/ton, up 11.1%.The highest import price belonged to stainless steel, at over $2,680/ton, up 27.8% on-week.Only price of shaped steel import reduced 21.4% so the import volume increased by19.1% on-week. (Pioneer Jul 18 p15, Market Jul 18 p3)Industry:PetroVietnam Joins Oil, Gas Bidding in PeruThe state-owned oil monopoly PetroVietnam group together with Asian companies hasregistered to join bidding for 22 oil and natural gas fields in Peru, said Daniel Saba, CEOof the state-owned oil company of Peru, Perupetro.The tender is expected to open in Sep this year, Saba said on the Peru Television.In addition to PetroVietnam, candidates for the bidding include four Korean companies,three Chinese firms and three Indian partners, Saba added.Peru now import up to 12 million barrels of oil per annum, mainly from Ecuador andIran. The country, however, is boosting investment in the oil and gas sector to become anoil exporter by 2010.In the first half of this year, PetroVietnam produced 10.8 million tons of oil equivalentsfrom 7.2 million tons of crude oil and 3.6 billion cubic meters of natural gas.The group clinched eight new oil and gas contracts, including two in domestic marketand six in foreign countries in the January-June.It is currently seeking to invest in Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Tunisia, Indonesia, Angola,Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, and Belarus, in a bid to fulfill its target of producing between15.5 million and 16 million tons of crude oil this year. (Vietnam & World Economy Jul18 p10, Pioneer Jul 18 p3, Vietpan)
  • 254. EVN to Fund VND5 Bln for Surveying Business Energy ConsumptionState-owned Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVN) has planned to spend VND5 billion($303,030) auditing energy quantities consumed by enterprises across the country in a bidto work out solutions to efficient and economic energy use, the Vietnam News Agencyreported, citing EVN sources.Focal to EVN’s support will be industrial producers and construction companies thathave annual power consumption of five million kWh and the upward, as well asenterprises with potential of using large amount of electricity like food processing,drinking, apparel, cement, iron, steel, paper and plastic firms.Over 100 enterprises will receive the assistance, of which, 50 are located in Ho Chi MinhCity, 50 in Hanoi, 15 in southern Dong Nai province, and five in Hai Duong, Haiphongand Danang each.EVN will cover all spending for the auditing but limits the finance at maximal VND50million ($3,030) for each firm.Power companies in the aforementioned localities will select suitable companies to assessenergy used by local businesses.After auditing results and solutions are announced, enterprises will map out plans todeploy energy saving measures.The auditing will span between July and November this year.Vietnam is forecast to lack 8.6 billion kWh of electricity this year. Meanwhile, thecountry is calculated to waste around $1 million worth of energy a year. (Vietnam &World Economy Jul 18 p7, Vietpan)Vietnam Northern Province OKs to Build 81 Hydropower PlantsNorthern Lao Cai province has to date granted 45 investment licenses to build 81 small-and-medium-sized hydropower plants with combined capacity of 909.8 megawatts, theThoi Bao Kinh Te newspaper reported, citing the provincial sources.Of the plants worth VND17 trillion ($1.03 billion), eight with combined capacity of 42.2MW have been connected to the national electricity grid.Meanwhile, 20 other plants with combined capacity of 467.6 MW are under construction.Power-thirsting Vietnam is estimated to lack 8.6 billion kWh of electricity this year andthe figure will climb to 36 billion kWh in 2020 and 120 billion kWh in 2030.
  • 255. The country plans to raise the total capacity of hydropower generation projects to morethan 18,000 MW and the annual output of over 80 billion kWh by 2015, under thenational power development plan through 2015 and span to 2025, or plan VI. (VietnamEconomic Times Jul 18 p3)Agriculture:Vietnam, Thailand Join Hands in Rubber IndustryVietnam and Thailand, which are among the biggest rubber producers in Asia, haveagreed to boost cooperation in rubber industry, local media reported.The Vietnam Agriculture reported that at the meeting in HCM City July 17, Thai DeputyMinister of Agriculture and Co-operative Theerachai Saenkaew said the two countriesshould exchange scientific information, and cooperate in training technicians and expertsin rubber industry.“Instead of exporting raw material, we should focus on developing rubber products liketires, tube and mattress in order to increase rubber added-values,” deputy general directorof the Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG), Pham Van Hien, said.Bui Ba Bong, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, also noted theimportance of sharing information in rubber trading.Theerachai Saenkaew said Thailand wanted to shake hands with Vietnam to ship rubbervia Danang port to China, Japan and South Africa.Thailand is now the world’s biggest natural rubber producer, with annual output of threemillion tons, including 2.7 million tons for exports.Vietnam now ranks 6th in the world in rubber area, the 5th in rubber output and the 3rd inexports.The two ministries agreed to assign the VRG and Thailand Agriculture Department totake responsibility for cooperation. (Vietnam Agriculture July 18 p3)Paper Industry Promises Enough Paper for Local MarketVietnamese paper producers pledged to provide enough paper for local market by the endof this year, the Youth newspaper reported.In a meeting between the Vietnam Paper Association, the Vietnam Paper GeneralCompany and Tan Mai Paper JSC, seeking ways to ensure sufficient paper in Hanoi July16, the Vietnam Paper General Company promised to offer 70,000 tons of print paper andwriting paper.
  • 256. Tan Mai Paper JSC, the country’s second biggest paper producer, also said it will provide42,000 tons of print paper, and 25,000 tons of writing paper in the last six months of2008.The association also called on newspaper and notebook producers to take part inimporting paper in order to calm down shortage at domestic market, because the VietnamPaper General Co. and the Tan Mai are able to meet only 60% of demand.The association has also proposed to the government increase domestic paper priceswhile committed to maintaining these prices lower than import prices by 10% becausethe current import paper prices are much higher than the domestic ones.The association has also proposed to remove the tariff for imports of paper from ASEANcountries, which is currently set at 5% and reduced the VAT for imports of pulp andassociated papers from 10% to 5%, and even 0% for paper for newspaper prints.In 2008, Vietnamese paper producers are expected to produce 310,000 tons of writingpaper. But sharply growing demand will force the producers to import 110,000 tons,double the volume of last year.Vietnam spent $403 million on importing 509,000 tons of all kinds of paper in the firstsix months of 2008, up 44.9% and 29.6%, respectively, from the same period of last year.(The Youth July 17 p4)Vietnam Targets $850 Mln Cashew Nut Exports in 2008Vietnamese companies are striving to rake in between $800 million and $850 millionfrom exporting 150,000 tons of cashew nuts in 2008, the Vietnam Economic Timesreported.Accordingly, the company will buy almost 50,000 tons of raw cashew nuts from localfarms, and import 150,000 tons from Indonesia, Cambodia, and Eastern Africancountries.The Vietnam Cashew Association has asked the Investment and Development Bank ofVietnam (BIDV) to increase credit limit for its members.Vietnam now has around 220 cashew nut processing factories.Local companies have so far this year exported 70,000 tons of cashew nuts valued atnearly $380 million, up 40% on year, and accounting for 40% of the world’s total cashewnut export volume. (Vietnam Economic Times July 18 p3, The Youth p14)Vietnam Biggest Fertilizer Producer Raises Prices
  • 257. Phu My Fertilizer Co., the biggest fertilizer producer in Vietnam, decided to raises pricesof its fertilizer to VND8,700 a kilo from VND8,500 a kilo from July 16, the Dau Tu(Investment) newspaper reported.This is the eighth time since early 2008 the companies had increased the prices fromVND5,500 a kilo late 2007.Phan Dinh Thuc, general director of the company said high fertilizer material pricesforced it to raise prices, but adding that its prices are still lower than imports, which arearound VND11,500 a kilo.The newspaper said the VND8,700 a kilo price is at work, but local farmers have to buyPhu My fertilizer at VND11,500-VND12,000 a kilo.Phu My Fertilizer bought gas for only $2.2 per million of British Thermal Unit (BTU),while the prices on the world market are from $4 to $6.5 per million of BTU.Phu My Fertilizer Co., a PetroVietnam’s subsidiary, had promised to set the uniformprices at a rate of 10%-15% lower than average prices at local markets.In the first six months of this year, Phu My Fertilizer produced about 346,000 tons offertilizer and imported another 153,000 tonnes to meet domestic demand and to stabilizethe local market.With a production capacity of around 750,000 tons of fertilizer per year, Phu My cansatisfy over 30% of local demand. (The Investment July 18 p2)VND96.5 Bln Jute Area to be Set up in Mekong Delta ProvinceMekong Delta Long An province authorities have approved a project costing VND96.5billion to set up a jute area by 2015 and toward 2020, the Thoi Bao Kinh Te reported.The project to be carried out in 13 communes of Moc Hoa and Thanh Hoa districts willincrease jute capacity from current 28.9 tons to 36.2 tons per hectare to provide 605,000tons of jute yearly by 2015, and 700,000 tons of jute by 2020.Almost all of jute from the area will feed the Phuong Nam Paper Mill, which wasinvested by the Transport and Communication Development Investment Corporation(Tracodi). (Vietnam Economic Times July 18 p2)Business:ICT in Finance Seminar to Open in Hanoi in SeptA seminar on the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in thefinancial sector will be held in Hanoi Sep 16-19, the Ministry of Finance announced onJuly 17.
  • 258. The seminar, co-organized by the ministry’s Department of Financial Informatics andStatistics and the International Data Group (IDG) in Vietnam, will help participants sharemethods and experiences in implementing ICT projects.During the four-day seminar, participants will discuss the use of ICT in making financialpolicies, basic data development and analysis.Domestic and foreign businesses and suppliers will showcase their products, solutionsand models on ICT application at an exhibition to be held during the seminar.Tax and customs authorities and businesses will also have a chance to review the ICTachievements in recent years as well as discuss together future development plans, vicehead of the financial informatics and statistics department, Pham Cong Minh, said.Almost all indexes of Vietnam in the world ICT 2008 ranking were up by 3.0 levels,bringing the country into the middle of the ranking list, a considerable advance forVietnam’s ICT industry, said Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Association forInformation Processing (VAIP), Dr Le Truong Tung.Vietnam will be one of the leading ICT countries in Southeast Asia in the near future.The country expects that the ICT industry will bring in $6 billion-$7 billion in revenue by2010. (Capital Secuirty July 18 p2, Vietnam & World Economy July 18 p5)IDG Ventures Vietnam Invests in Two Web VenturesIDG Ventures Vietnam July 17 announced its strategic investment in Mua-Ban (Buy-Sell) joint stock Company and Pyramid Consulting Vietnam (PyCo), Vietnam NewsAgency said.Mua-Ban is an online advertisement network with its website, www.muaban.net,receiving more than 1 million hits a month, IDG Ventures Vietnam said, expecting itsinvestment will leverage the local company’s promotion strategy and help it develop itsonline advertising to reach a larger number of customers.Meanwhile, Belgium-Headquartered PyCo is expected to reach its strategic goal ofbecoming a leading partner of international advertising and communications groups withinvestment from the IDG Ventures Vietnam.Vietnam’s recent economic growth, especially its IT industry’s dynamism and itsdevelopment index is in the world top rankings, Patrick McGovern, founder andchairman of IDG, said at the license-granting ceremony.“I believed IDG made the right choice in investing in Vietnamese companies and that itsinvestment would bring in fast returns,” McGovern noted.
  • 259. The U.S.-based IDG Ventures is a global network of venture capital funds with more than$2 billion under its management. It is also the first U.S. venture capital fund invested ininformation technology in Vietnam with $100 million capital.IDG has invested in 300 companies in Asia, including 35 IT companies in Vietnam.By 2010, IDG plans to set up another fund capitalized at around $300 million to invest inIT companies in Vietnam to help them become national giants and strive for internationalstatus. (Vietnam & World Economy July 18 p6)Vietnam Govt to Lend U.S. Dollars to Local Apparel FirmsThe State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has asked state-owned commercial banks to lenddollars to 120 member companies of the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group(Vinatex) with an aim to realize this year’s export target, state media reported.The Thanh Nien Daily newspaper said Vinatex members contributed some $1.3 billion toVietnam’s total $7.8 billion garment exports last year.Access to foreign currency will help companies pay for imports of materials to maintainproduction and allow Vietnam to meet its export target for this year.The government is restricting lending of dollars to certain industries to narrow the tradedeficit and slow inflation.Le Quoc An, chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association said withoutdollars to pay for material imports, garment and textile companies can not deliver theproducts on time and they may be fined heavily. (Vietnam & World Economy Jul p5,Thanh Nien Daily Jul 18 p6)SOEs Incompletely Aware of WTO Impacts-Institute SurveyMany state-owned enterprises have not anticipated WTO impacts on their businessoperations, a survey on 200 SOEs in big cities including Hanoi, Haiphong, Danang andHo Chi Minh City by the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) showedThursday [July 17].The institute concluded that SOEs could not play a pivotal role of the backbone of theeconomy and exposed many shortcomings, the Saigon Liberation newspaper said.Preliminary statistics showed debts of 70 state-owned corporations reached $28 billionand accounted for 40% of Vietnam’s GDP value by end-2007. CIEM pointed out thatinvestment in non-core business by SOEs were blamed for shortcomings.
  • 260. Up to 28 out of 70 surveyed state-invested companies invested up to VND23.3 trillioninto securities, banking, insurance, property in the past months. (Saigon LiberationOnline Jul 18)Work Starts on $103-Mln Building in HCM CityNgan Binh Construction Investment Joint Stock Company Jul 18 kicked off constructionon a high-rise building worth a total capital investment of VND1.65 trillion ($103million) in Ho Chi Minh City, the Investment newspaper reported.Vo The Binh, director of the company said, his firm will carry out the 8,320-hectareproject in district 1 in two phases.The first phase will build two blocks of 444 apartments covering an area of 5,175 square-meters, four basements and offices and trade centers for rent.After the phase is completed late 2010, the company will start the project’s second stage,the director said.Cushman & Wakefield, the U.S.’s leading real estate service provider said that Ho ChiMinh City ranks 10th among Asian countries with highest apartment rents.The firm said that office rents in the southern city is rated 17th out of 203 locations in 58countries in the world, which is attributed to the city’s booming economy, strong growthin foreign investment and entry of multinationals. (Investment Jul 18 p2)Foreign Investment:Posco Seeking to Build $5.378 Bln Steel Complex in Central VietnamPosco, the world’s third largest steelmaker from South Korea, has submitted to theVietnamese government the feasibility study on a $5.378 billion steel complex in centralKhanh Hoa province, state media reported.Of the total investment, $4.38 billion will be spent on a steel mill and $413 million on aport.The steel factory will be capable of turning out 4 million tons of hot rolled steel in thefirst phase (from 2012) and its capacity will be raised to 8 million tons a year after 2016.It will only use Posco’s most advanced technology of Finex.Posco will employ 1.3 million workers during five years of construction. While operatinguntil 2016, the facility will make a production value of $5.2 billion a year on average andcreate jobs for 146,000 laborers.Posco hopes to receive approval in November 2008 to complete the construction of thesteel mill in March 2013.
  • 261. Director of the project Chung-Myong said that Posco has chosen the Hon Gom island inthe Van Phong gulf, in Van Ninh district because of favorable conditions to develop aport to serve transportation of raw materials to feed the factory as well as steel products.The steel mill will use some 14 million of raw materials each year for its operation,including more than 6.3 million tons iron ore, 5.5 million tons of coal and other materials.In addition to the steel complex, Posco is planning to build a 1,000-MW electricity plantin the area. However, the project has not yet detailed, said Chung-Myong.Currently, Posco has three steel joint ventures in Vietnam, including Posvina, startingoperation from April 1992 to produce 40,000 tons of construction steel a year; VPS,operating from January 1994 with a capacity of 200,000 tons of steel bars; and Vinapiperunning from May 1993 and capable of turning out 30,000 tons of steel pipes a year.(Investment Jul 18 p1, Vietnam Economic Times Jul 18 p4)Korean Firm Kicks off $15-Mln Bag Plant in Southern VietnamSimone Vietnam Ltd. Co., under South Korea’s Simone Co., has recently broke groundon a high-grade suitcase and bag plant in southern Long An province, worth $15 million,the local Investment newspaper reported Friday.The factory, to be located at Long Hau Industrial Park (IP), has a designed capacity of3,440,000 products a year, mainly for export to the U.S. and several countries in Asia andEurope.The project is scheduled for operation after eight-month construction and expected togenerate around 4,000 local laborers.By end-2007, Long Hau IP attracted 36 projects, including seven foreign-investedprojects.Long An, which is home to 17 IPs, has so far lured foreign-invested projects valued atover $2.1 billion and concentrating on animal feed processing, wood processing and civilconstruction. Of the total, 102 are operational while another 114 under construction.The province is an idea destination for investors due to its advantageous location close toHo Chi Minh City, a long border with Cambodia, as well as the province’s significanteconomic achievements in the past few years. (Investment Jul 18 p3)Tourism:Vietnam to Spend $1 Mln on Tourism Advertisement
  • 262. Vietnam plans to spend VND16 billion ($970,000) advertising the image of its tourismon international news networks in the half of the year, said Vu The Binh, Director of thetravel department of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.“There should be a long-term plan for promoting publicity on international networks toalways remind tourists of the countrys tourism image,” Binh added, revealing thattourism publicity programs would be aired on famous networks such as CNN, Discoveryand those in Japan and South Korea.“This is the first time we have got such a big budget for advertising tourism oninternational television networks,” he said.In early Oct last year Vietnam carried out its first tourism promotion program on CNN inthe Asian region. The 30-second every night spot over three months was mainly forpromoting tourist attractions like the World Heritage-listed sites of Halong Bay, Hoi Antown and Hue, as well as HCM City. The program cost $290,750, financed by thegovernment.Tourism companies have seen a positive impact of this program on the sector. Increasingpublicity for the tourism sector outside the country is one of the important methods toattract foreign visitors, they said.However, they said, the tourism authority should focus on a long-term strategy that couldrun well on limited funding.Vietnam has five natural and cultural world heritage sites recognized by UNESCO,including the complex of Hue monuments, Hoi An ancient town, the My Son sanctuary,Ha Long bay, and the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. It also boasts other worldintangible heritages, namely the Tay Nguyen gong culture in addition to Hue royal music.The country welcomed more than 2.5 million foreign visitors in the first half of this year,up 8% over the same period last year. It is looking to 4 million-4.4 million foreignvisitors and 19 million-20 million domestic tourists with total revenue reaching VND56trillion, or $3.5 billion this year.Currently, tourism contributes 8% to the country’s GDP value, being considered one ofthe key economic sectors in Vietnam. (SGT, VietNamNet July 17)Politics & Law:Vietnam Communists Value Roles of Youths, Intellects, AgricultureThe Communist Party of Vietnam’s Central Committee (CPVCC) Thursday [Jul 17]closed a 9-day plenum and issued three resolutions to highly appreciate roles of youths,intellects and agricultural production issues, the state-run Nhan Dan (The People)newspaper said Friday.
  • 263. “We must devote our love, real trust, responsibility to nurturing youths, the tomorrowowners of Vietnam, highly praise the role of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Unions,[the sole state agency for youths to join…] because hostile forces are trying to enticelocal youths to spoil and mislead them,” Party Chief Nong Duc Manh, one of the mostpowerful figure in communist Vietnam emphasized in his closing speech.Manh, the leader of communists, sees intellects as firm grounds of societal progress, thekey forces of innovation and industrialization.Agriculture, farmers and countryside issues, or Tam Nong, are interlinked, and CPVregards it as firm bases and drivers of social, political and security stability, Manh said.The party chief also urged to continue tightening monetary policy and adopt flexiblytightened fiscal policy, halt non-urgent investment projects in the second half this yearwith top priority to curb inflation.Vietnam’s economy expanded 6.5% in the first half with winter-spring bumper ricepaddy crop helping strengthen macro fundamentals. (The People, Labor, Thanh Nien,Tuoi Tre Jul 18 p1, Tien Phong Online Jul 17)Vietnam PM Welcomes Japanese Lower House DelegationPrime Minster Nguyen Tan Dung in Hanoi July 17 received a delegation from theJapanese House of Representatives, led by legislator Kazou Aichi, on a working visit toVietnam, local media said.The PM highly appreciated Japan’s initiative to establish the Economic Research Institutefor ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), which contributes to boost the cooperation betweenthe two countries in particular and Japan-ASEAN in general.Dung stressed his wishes for the stronger cooperation between the two parliamentariansand governments to speed up the implementation of three large projects, including theHoa Lac high-tech zone, the North-South railway and highway.He also hoped the two sides soon will sign an agreement on trade and investment.Aichi told the host PM he was visiting Vietnam as the chairman of the Japan FriendshipParliamentarians Union to boost the development of ERIA.He pledged to support the promotion of three projects and the signing of the agreement toenhance ties on economic, trade and investment.To date, Japan has injected $9 billion in FDI in Vietnam, becoming the fourth largestforeign investors in Vietnam, behind South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. However, it isthe largest ODA supplier to Vietnam, with capital disbursement of roughly $5 billion.(New Hanoi Jul 18 p1, Vietnam News p1)
  • 264. Syria Wants to Boost Ties with Vietnam-DiplomatVisiting Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Makdad, special envoy of the Syrian President,affirmed his country wants to boost relations with Vietnam and always considers theSoutheast Asian country an example in national defense and development.Speaking at a meeting with Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan July 17, the deputy FMhighly spoke Vietnam’s role as a non-permanent member of the United Nations SecurityCouncil and believes the country will perform its task well, further contributing to peaceand prosperity in the world.The two sides discussed on the occasion some issues in the Middle East, emphasizingtheir wishes for an early restoration of peace and stability in the region.Vietnam and Syria established diplomatic ties in 1966. The two countries signed a tradeagreement and a protocol for exchange of goods in 1994, an agreement on economic,cultural, scientific and technological cooperation and a program on education cooperationin 1995. (Website of CPV Jul 17, VNA)Labor & Education:Vietnam Okays Setup of First Petroleum UniversityVietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has recently approved in principle setup ofVietnam Petroleum University in northern Hoa Binh province, the first of its kind in thecountry, state media reported, citing the government sources.The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) is responsible for guiding preparationsand implementation of the project.The ministry will advise state-owned oil monopoly PetroVietnam group in personalpreparation for the hoped university and development of cooperation with local andforeign universities.The MOET will also be in charge of mapping out training programs, courses for differentlevels and aspects upon orders and investment by PetroVietnam.PetroVietnam will work with the ministry to dole out scholarships for gifted students andloans for students to pursue tertiary education or conduct scientific research.The leading petroleum group has also agreed to admit university students to work asinterns at its enterprises.“The cooperation between the two sectors will open opportunities for gifted students tobe provided with a job with the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group,” a PetroVietnam officialsaid.
  • 265. A MOET’s leader, meanwhile, said that working with industry leaders to provideindustry with specific graduates is the way forwards for the country’s tertiary educationrequirements and help the educational sector overcome financial difficulties and improveeducational quality. (Labor Jul 18 p2)Health & Environment:Health, Trade Ministries Pledge Enough Medicines for Domestic UseThe Ministries of Health and Industry and Trade will closely coordinate withpharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors to ensure an adequate supply of medicinesto meet the public’s demand for medical treatment, according to an agreement reached bythe two at a conference held in Hanoi July 15.The ministries also agreed to apply financial institutions to regulate the domesticpharmaceutical market in order to help it develop healthily in the integration process andin line with Vietnam’s commitments to the World Trade Organization (WTO).To deal with the soaring prices of drugs, the two will rearrange the pharmaceuticalmarket and control the price range and quality of drugs at wholesale and retail drugcenters in big cities from now till the end of this year.They aim to develop chains of pharmacies and keep a close eye on the post-sale servicesoffered by manufacturers and dealers.The health ministry will provide mechanisms for monitoring and dealing with hospitalpharmacies that sell low quality drugs at high prices. According to the statistics, thesestores sell 70% of the amount of drugs on the market.With a population of 86.5 million, Vietnam has a high demand for drugs, with thecountry’s per capita medicine consumption rising from $11.23 in 2001 to $13.4 in 2007.The figure is estimated to reach $15.2 this year.The country, however, has to import 50% of the drugs sold in the market and 90% of thematerials for pharmaceutical production, said Deputy Health Minister, Cao Minh Quang.Therefore, it depends largely on how foreign pharmaceutical companies and distributorscan meet the growing demand for medicines, particularly special ones for seriousillnesses, he added.The country aims to raise its drug production capacity to meet 60% of local demand by2010 and 80% by 2015. (VOV Jul 17)Thailand, Vietnam Co-Hold Intl Forum on Arsenic Pollution
  • 266. The Vietnamese Ministry of Health and the Chulabhorn Research Institute of ThailandJuly 17 co-organized an international forum entitled “Strategy and Science on Arsenicand Human Health in Vietnam: International Perspective” in Hanoi, the Gia Dinh & XaHoi newspaper said Friday.Scientists from Vietnam, the U.S., the Republic of Korea and Thailand attended the eventto discuss cooperation in mitigating water-arsenic polluted sources and protectingmothers and children in Vietnam.PhD Nguyen Huy Bao, head of the National Institute of Occupational and EnvironmentalHealth (NIOEH) said that the health ministry has to date had no graph to treat arsenic-contaminated patients.Arsenic exposure at high level will cause intensively toxic infection and cancers, evengene change, Bao added.“Using arsenic-contaminated water harms health of pregnant women and children,therefore, negative affects on the physical and psychological development of childrenshould be researched,” Minister of Health Nguyen Quoc Trieu said.“We should propose measures to protect community health in Vietnam as well as theregion and the world,” Trieu noted.The recent researches in Vietnam showed that the concentration of arsenic inunderground water in the Mekong Delta is 30Mg/liter and 150 Mg/liter in the Red RiverDelta, higher than the permitted level of 10Mg/liter stipulated by the World HealthOrganization and the European Commission, heard a forum, citing the MoH statisticsThe UNICEF-funded project conducted by the NIOEH in northern Ha Nam and HungYen provinces in 2003-2005 showed that arsenic level found in hair and urine of arsenic-contaminated water users is high. Specifically, 70%-80% of water of drilled wells in HaNam is contaminated with arsenic, exceeding the acceptable level set by the MoH.Nearly 17 million Vietnamese (or 21.5% of population) use arsenic-contaminated waterpumped from drilled wells. (Family & Society July 18 p7, Pioneer p2, Saigon Liberationp11, Vietnam Law p2, VNS, Capital Security p7)15 Mln Tons of Waste Disposed in Vietnam A Year-MinistryVietnam is confronting 15 million tons of waste annually, including 150,000 tons ofharmful solid waste, the Department for Environment Protection under the Ministry ofNatural Resources and Environment said.Most of solid waste was dumped from urban areas due to rapid urbanization. Hanoi andHo Chi Minh City are listed the worse-affected by environment pollution with a
  • 267. combined amount of 6 million tons a year, Dr Nguyen Van Lam of the Hanoi Universityof Mining and Geology said.Dr Tran The Loan, head of the Environment Protection Department said almost urbanareas had no standardized waste treatment facilities and solid waste is land-filled andonly 16 out of 69 urban areas across the country have landfills that meet the standards.Currently, 40 facilities nationwide are licensed to treat toxic waste but they are operatingon a small scale and need to improve their capacity.Vietnam plans to build three factories to treat harmful solid wastes across the country.The Asean country also planned to set aside 1% of the GDP value for environmentalprotection and will double by 2010. (VNS July 17, 18, Social Insurance July 15)Culture & Society:Global Vietnamese Women’s Network Makes DebutTwenty four Vietnamese women who are successful in international affairs have joinedhands in setting up a club to promote the image of Vietnamese women in the globalarena, the Labor newspaper said July 17.Named the Global Vietnamese Women’s Network (GVWN), the club made its first debutJuly 15 in Hanoi with 95 members.The GVWN is a non-profit network that aims to connect Vietnamese women all over theworld to share knowledge and experiences in the fields of diplomacy, society, science,art, and education, Vice Director of the NA Committee for External Relations Ton NuThi Ninh, one of initiators, said.GVWN has set to carry out social and charitable programs, organize seminars andmeetings with international missions, and assist women to access services.We are also planning for charitable activities to support needy girls, through the “Club ofwarm arms” and “Female talents” funds, Ninh said. (Labor Jul 17 p6)Italy Adopts More Vietnamese ChildrenThe number of Vietnamese children Italian families adopt is on the rise, a localintermediary children adoption agency told Vietnam News Agency Friday [July 18].In the first quarter this year, 163 Vietnam children have been adopted by local families,tripling those last year, and Vietnam is rated the third among countries which havechildren fostered in Italy so far, the agency said.
  • 268. Vietnam is followed by Ukraine and Colombia regarding child adoption in the Europeancountry.Italian families are forecast to foster an additional 4,000 children from different countriesincluding 280 from Vietnam, up from 3,420 a year ago. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 18)Vietnamese Police Razes Illegal Match-making RingAn illicit match-making ring has been uncovered by Ho Chi Minh City Police’sinvestigation agency (PC14), with the arrest of eleven South Korean nationals.The city’s police found brokers and 112 Vietnamese women aged from 18 to 24 as theyraided Dieu Quyen Hotel in Ward 9, Go Vap District.Among the Koreans were seven men, one of them a broker, and four women.It is the biggest marriage brokerage bust in Vietnam since the beginning of 2008.At a recent conference on marriage between Vietnamese women and foreigners, NguyenThanh Tai, vice chairman of the municipal people’s committee, asked city officials toimpose strict penalties on illegal marriage brokerage.Last year, the southern hub’s police detected six illegal match-making cases for SouthKorean men.Statistics from South Korea showed the there were more than 10,000 Vietnamese bridesin the country last year, up 74% from the previous year.With a view to reducing divorces and suicide cases due to spousal violence, SouthKorean authorities in mid-June launched a crackdown on illegal matchmaking. (ThanhNien Daily Jul 18 p3, New Ha Noi p8)Stock Market:Thai Investors Seeks Opportunities in Vietnam’s Stock MarketThai investors of BFIT Securities Public Company Limited and Thomson Reuters Grouparrived Vietnam July 17 to seek investment opportunities in the countrys stock market,the Thoi Bao Kinh Te reported.On the occasion, Ban Viet Securities Co. held a conference “Vietnam and InvestmentOpportunities” to help introduce the overview of Vietnams economy to Thai investors.The local stock broker also made a guide on procedures to open securities tradingaccounts for individual and institutional investors.
  • 269. The Vietnams stock market has lost 46% of its value since the start of this year, and thisis a good time for investors to return to the market, Ban Viet said.The market has been bullish since early July thanks to investors improved confidenceand belief in the governments inflation-curbing measures in the remaining months of2008, the newspaper said.Ban Viet also informed Thai investors of Vietnam seafood enterprises as it said seafoodis a potential sector that may bring huge profit to securities players.In the first half, foreign investors pumped $600 million in Vietnamese stock market.(Vietnam Economic Times Jul 18 p12, Vietnam Panorama)PVFC Prepares to List on Singapore Stock MarketThe PetroVietnam Finance Corporation (PVFC), an affiliate of Vietnam Oil and GasGroup, announced Thursday that it would set up a representative office in Singapore andlist its shares on the countrys stock exchange in the second half of 2008.In the first half, PVFC posted a pretax profit of VND198 billion ($12.4 million) an on-year rise of 37.7%. on revenues of VND1.77 trillion ($110.6 million).The companys provision fund for securities and credit risks was worth VND986 billion($61.6 million) as the end of June. Its total assets reached VND40.6 trillion.In the period, the finance company had total outstanding loans of VND16.4 trillion, rising104% against the late last year, and total deposit of VND29.7 trillion.Currently, Morgan Stanley International Holding Inc is holding a 10% stake in PVFC,becoming the first foreign strategic partner in the firm before it launches the IPO. PVFCtargets to become a leading financial group in Vietnam by 2015.Vietnam Dairy Products Company (Vinamilk) also said that it would list in Singaporewithin this year, selling 5% of its registered capital overseas. (Vietnam Economic TimesJul 18 p11)Mirae Plans to List on S.Korea Stock MarketMirae Joint Stock Company, known as Mirae Fiber Vietnam (KMR), plans to float itsshares on the South Koreas KOSDAQ stock exchange in the period of 2008-2009 inorder to develop its trademark and access the wide capital tool in the country.The plan is included in Miraes development project in the 2008 - 2009 period announcedby the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange.
  • 270. With the listing overseas, the Binh Duong-based fiber maker expects to have chance toexpand its production and business plans in South Korea.KMR will kick of the construction of cotton-wool plank and padding onlay plant inDanang and Cambodia by this year-end.The VND132.9-billion company netted a profit of VND20.8 billion and revenues ofVND131.1 billion in 2007, which are targeted at VND30 billion and VND170.5 billionthis year.In the first quarter of 2008, Mirae earned a net profit of VND2.7 billion on revenues ofVND21.5 billion, and reached total assets of VND231.8 billion.Since the first trading session June 30 on the HOSE, KMR shares have seen no gains,down from VND48,000 on June 30 to VND34,800 each today [July 18]. (SecuritiesInvestment Jul 17, Labor Jul 16)Techcombank Fund Management Co LicensedThe State Securities Commission (SSC) said Wednesday that it gave in-principleapproval to Vietnam Technological & Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) toset up a fund management company, the Vietnam Economic Times reported.Techcombank is required to prepare technical facilities and human resources for the newcompany.Earlier this month, the Hanoi-based lender also received a green light to establish its ownstock broker. The securities and fund management subsidiaries will have initial registeredcapital of VND300 billion and VND40 billion, respectively, Techcombank GeneralDirector Nguyen Duc Vinh said.The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp (HSBC), the strategic foreign partnerholding a 15% stake in Techcombank, may participate in setting up the two offshoots, henoted.At present, Vietnam has 87 securities and 30 fund management companies, majority ofthem were set up from late 2006 to early 2007. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 18 p10)Jul 18: Vietnam Shares End Down on Profit TakingVietnams shares ended lower Friday as retail investors sold to take profit after seeingshares gained average 21% since the beginning of July.“Local retailers have decided to realize their profits with anticipation about somecorrection sessions, after shares have risen all the sessions so far this month, except forone,” a trader at Saigon Securities said.
  • 271. The key index nearing the 500 resistance level prompted many investors to sell, he added.“While big players continue to buy, retail investors are waiting for clearer bullishsignals.”The primary trend will be decided late this month when many companies release theirfinancial results for second quarter, he said.VN-Index today fell 6.78 points, or 1.38%, at 483.05.Market volume was 25.9 million shares Friday, the second biggest figure so far, valued atVND1.03 trillion, up from 12.9 million shares valued at VND458.6 billion Thursday.STB, the most active stock, closed flat at VND29,600 on 5.8 million shares changinghand.DPM, the second most active stock, fell 2.5% at VND59,000 on 4.5 million shares,including 1.8 million shares bought and 535,560 shares sold by foreigners.HPG went up 1.9% at VND53,500 on 1.9 million shares, including 408,940 sharesbought and 400 shares sold by foreign investors.VTO lost 2.6% at VND18,500 on a trade of 1.4 million shares. Foreign players bought226,520 shares and sold 184,010 shares.TCT is the most advancer, rising 3% at VND86,000 on 35,910 shares.VKP, the biggest loser, fell 5.7% at VND24,800 on ex-dividend date.In total, 119 stocks ended lower, 24 higher and 8 unchanged.All four fund certificates closed lower. (HOSE July 18)Vietnam NewsJuly 17, 2008Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,502Banking & Finance:Standard Chartered: Vietnam Economy RecoveringVietnam’s economy is gathering a momentum to recover with trade deficit and inflationforecast to fall, Standard Chartered Bank said in a new report on Vietnam.
  • 272. The country will attain GDP growth of 6.4% in the fourth quarter of 2008, bringing thefull year economic growth to 6.7%, the British bank forecast.Vietnam will see inflation rise 23% at the end of this year.The VND/USD exchange rate is predicted to stand at between 17,000 and 17,500 in thefourth quarter and base interest rate at 18% per annum.Standard Chartered said the global prices of foods and oil will be key factors influencingVietnam’s inflation picture. Therefore, maintaining tight monetary policy will be the toppriority in the action agenda of Vietnam’s central bank.The tight monetary policy is also expected to lower demand of imports and thedevaluation of Vietnam dong against the U.S dollar will help reduce trade deficit.With net foreign currency reserves of $20.7 billion, equivalent to 2.7-month import value,the devaluation of Vietnam dong cannot happen, the bank said.Standard Chartered suggested that Vietnam should continue to implement the samepolicy to end the worst period of trade deficit and inflation.Vietnam’s CPI in June escalated 26.9% from one year ago and the six-month trade deficithit $16.9 billion, according to the General Statistics Office. (Banking Times Jul 17 p2)HSBC Okayed for Dual Currency Deposit ServicesThe State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has permitted the Hong Kong-Shanghai BankingCorporation (HSBC) to launch dual currency deposit (DCD) services to the Vietnamesemarket, the Thoi Bao Kinh Te newspaper reported July 17.It is a derivative which combines a market deposit with a currency option to provide ahigher yield than that available for a standard deposit, the paper said.The Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh branches of the HSBC will offer customers with DCD intwo foreign currencies.The SBV has also encouraged commercial banks and financial businesses to applyadditional services, thus reducing risks of the fluctuation of exchange rates, and diversifybanking products so as to develop the monetary market.HSBC has been rated as the foreign bank in Vietnam by FinanceAsia, Asia’s leadingbanking-finance publisher. This is the third consecutive year HSBC has won such a ward,after 2006 and 2007. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 17 p2)Vietnam Allows Banks, Borrowers to Negotiate Lending Rates
  • 273. The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) July 15 issued a regulation guiding the applying ofinterest rates pursuant to the Decision No.16/2008/QD-NHNN dated May 16, 2008, theSBV website announced.Under the Document No.6399/NHNN-CSTT, the floating lending rate must be negotiatedin credit contracts signed from May 19, 2008 when the above decision took effect. Creditinstitutions must fix lending rates for customers at the time of signing credit contractsunder the decision.As for credit contracts signed before May 19, 2008, floating lending rate must not exceedthe maximum lending rate ruled in the decision.Credit institutions and borrowers are allowed to negotiate to adjust lending rate recordedin credit contracts in line with Clause 4 of Civil Law and Decision 16. (www.sbv.gov.vnJul 16)Interest Rates for Overdue Loans Limited below 150% Lending RateThe State Bank of Vietnam on July 16 issued a document, asking credit organizations notto apply interest rates for overdue loans above 150% of the lending rate signed with thecustomers.On the same day, the central bank asked the state-owned commercial banks andVietcombank to arrange foreign currency loans for Vinatex in accordant with credit limitpledged for the apparel group. (SBV Jul 16, VietnamNet Jul 17)Personal Income Tax Registration to Be Completed by Dec 31Vietnamese taxation offices will have to complete registering personal income tax (PIT)for the high income earners subjected to the PIT Law prior to December 31, 2008,according to a circular issued by the Prime Minister.The Ministry of Finance is asked to coordinate with the Ministry of Interior and theGovernment Office to establish the central committee for implementing the PIT Law inJuly and chairmen of provinces and cities to set up their own local committees in August.The PM also asked the Ministry of Finance to work with the central bank to takemeasures to manage individual incomes from investment activities and from transfer ofcapital and securities.The Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs has to oversee and inspect thepayment of salary and wage for laborers.Other ministries and agencies are required to supervise income from transactions ofproperty, houses and other business activities.
  • 274. The State Bank of Vietnam needs to boost non-cash payment systems and payment viabanks and credit organizations.Vietnam will start to apply the same personal income tax for the Vietnamese’s andforeigners from January 1, 2009, under which those earners of a minimum income ofVND5 million ($310) a month will pay a 5% tax. (Chinhphu Jul 16)ABBank, French Insurer Co-Launch Risk Insurance ProductVietnamese lender ABBank and French life insurer Prevoir launched the comprehensiverisk insurance service based on Prevoir Vietnams products from July early.The program is applied on corporate accounts.Key officials of businesses that have average balance of over VND100 million a month atABBank will be presented Previor Vietnams comprehensive risk insurance product withthe insurance value of up to VND50 million for each member aged 18-59.Insured clients will also receive a fee of VND400,000 a day for medical treatment if theyface risks.In addition, with new accounts, ABBank exempts all trading fees on customers paymentdeposits in first three months. (Economy & Urban Jul 17, Vietnam Economic Times Jul16)Trade:Vietnam Spends $5.8 Bln on Imports from China in Jan-AprVietnam reportedly imported $5.8 billion worth of commodities from China in the firstfour months of this year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s website.The money mainly spent on buying steel products of $1.3 billion, machines, equipmentand spare part of $1.2 billion, and cloth of $433.3 million.The website did not give on-year comparison figure and the country’s export valueduring the period.Crude oil, coal, computers, electronics and spare parts, cashew nut, seafood, andvegetables and fruit are Vietnam’s export staples.Vietnam always incurs trade deficit with China, which reached $2.81 billion in 2005 and$3.8 billion in 2006.In 2007, the two-way trade posted at $15.8 billion, surpassing far from the target of $15billion by 2010. (Xinhua Jul 17, Vinanet, Vietpan)
  • 275. Vietnam Boosting Exports to HungaryThe Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Asian Center July 15co-organized a seminar on the Hungarian market in Hanoi in order to help localbusinesses increase their exports to the Eastern European country.The event highlighted business opportunities, advantages and disadvantages Vietnameseentrepreneurs might see while getting involved in the market.Hungary is now attracting a large number of foreign investors thanks to its simplifiedadministrative procedures and its convenient location on the commercial route thatconnects Asia-Pacific and Europe, said Asian Centre Managing Director Jancso Janos.Vietnam’s major exports to Hungary include coffee, tea, pepper, rice, footwear, garmentsand food materials.Vietnam and Hungary established diplomatic ties February 3, 1950. The two-tradehowever, is very modest, nearly $100 million in 2007. (VNA Jul 16, Vietpan)Consumer Goods Account for only 6% of Vietnam’s ImportsValue of Vietnam’s consumer goods accounted for only 6% of the country’s total importsin the first half this year, a senior government official said Thursday.The Vietnamese imported consumer goods, ranging from needles to luxury cars and evenan airplane, valued at $1.8 billion between January and June, out of total imports of $30billion, said Chairman Nguyen Duc Kien of the National Assembly’s Economy andBudget Committee.“Vietnam is a member of the World Trade Organization and we must respect the demandfor consumer goods of the people, and that figure ($1.8 billion) wasn’t very big for thegoods which our people bought,” Kien told Thoi bao Kinh te newspaper.Kien said Vietnam had trade deficits, which were at $14.78 billion in the first half thisyear, because the country had to bring in huge quantities of machinery needed for theinvestment development.“For example, we have to import equipment valued at $600 million for the Ca Maupower-fertilizer project which is necessary,” Kien noted.Vietnam’s total bills for machinery imports rose 45.4% on year in the first six months thisyear to $6.96 billion, according to government statistics.Kien added that if the Vietnamese agree to reduce their spending, the government ofVietnam would reduce importing consumer goods in the next two years to save hardcurrencies for other investment purposes.
  • 276. Vietnam targets total exports of $61.2 billion and imports of $80.2 billion this year,leaving a deficit of $19 billion, compared with a deficit of $12.44 billion. (VietnamEconomic Times Online Jul 15)Vietnam Building Early Warning System for Anti-dumping CasesThe Competition Management Department under Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry andTrade is building the early warning system for anti-dumping cases against Vietnameseexports, aiming to prevent possible lawsuits and reduce negative impacts of these,Vietnam News Agency said Thursday.The system will maintain supervision and warning mechanism at the country’s majormarkets like the EU and the U.S., serving for market supervision and forecast changes inlaw systems and institutions and high risks of Vietnamese exports in the markets.It will also give analysis, estimation and measures to prevent and deal with anti-dumpingcases.Late last month, the VCCI made debut the Anti-dumping Consulting Council (TRC), thefirst of its kind so far, in order to help local associations and businesses deal with highrisks anti-dumping lawsuits in the country’s post-WTO period.From 1995 to 2005, WTO members pursued 2,840 anti-dumping cases, of which 1,804(63.52%) were proven legitimate and subject to anti-dumping measures, according to theMinistry of Industry and Trade. And 2,602 products were cited for price dumping duringthe period.Since 1995, Vietnam has faced 31 anti-dumping cases and five safeguarded ones. Thecountry has so far lost most of these cases. (Vietnam & World Economy Jul 17 p1,Vietpan)135 Chinese Firms to Join Machinery Exhibition in HCMCSome 135 leading Chinese enterprises in a number of industries will take part in the fifthChina Machinery 2008 exhibition (Chinamac) in Ho Chi Minh City July 23-26, theMinistry of Industry and Trade reported.The Chinese firms joining Chinamac in Ho Chi Minh City this time is aimed to seekinvestment opportunities, partners and importers in Vietnam.The participants will showcase equipment in metal manufacturing, packaging, foodprocessing, farming machines, printing and paper industries as well as equipment forenvironmental cleaning.Chinamac is China’s biggest special exhibition in Vietnam.
  • 277. The exhibition is jointly organized by the Vietnam Fair and Advertisement Company, theVietnam Association of Mechanical Industry, the Ho Chi Minh City IndustryDepartment, the China Council for International Trade Promotion and some Chinesecompanies. (Vietnam & World Economy Jul 16 p4)Industry:Vietsovpetro May Produce 7.5 Mln Tons of Crude Oil This YearVietnam-Russia Oil and Gas Joint Venture (Vietsovpetro) is predicted to produce 7.52million tons of crude oil this year, the Newspaper of Industry and Trade reported July 17.Vietsovpetro’s crude oil output may decrease by 100,000 tons-800,000 tons in 2008 dueto severe weather hindering production and maintenance at some oil tankers, a companysource said.The company produced up to 8.7 million tons of crude oil in 2007, surpassing 3.57% ofthe year’s target.Meanwhile, PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corporation was requested to produce8.6 million tons of crude oil this year but is capable of producing only 7.9 million tons ofcrude oil.Vietsovpetro and PVEP’s outputs are expected to help state-owned oil monopolyPetroVietnam group fulfill its targets of producing 16 million tons of crude oil this year.(Newspaper of Industry & Trade Jul 17 p5)EVN Apologizes to Clients for Consecutive BlackoutsGeneral Director of the state-owned Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVN), Pham LeThanh, Wednesday [Jul 16] apologized to its clients nationwide for recent consecutiveblackouts, state media reported.This move follows a recent request made by the Ministry of Industry and Trade that EVNhas to collaborate with the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam (ERAV), theDepartment of Energy and the Vietnam Television (VTV) to clarify EVN’s power supplycompetence so as to help people nationwide more understand about power generation andproduction situations.Thanh attributed to power cuts to the countrys rising electricity demand while new powersources have not yet been operated, a series of power plants are under breakdowns, andlow water levels of southern hydroelectricity lakes are hindering power generation.Vietnam is estimated to lack between 2,000 MW and 2,500 MW of power daily in Julyand the power shortfall will prolong until August, the EVN leader said.
  • 278. Regarding Vietnam’s power supply situation, Pham Manh Thang, director of ERAV saidthe national electricity system’s total designed capacity hits 15,500 MW if excludingsome current plants undergoing breakdowns, the figure reaches 14,500 MW.Thang, however, affirmed that the available capacity of the system is estimated atbetween 11,000 MW and 11,500 MW due to some unclear reasons while the nationalpower demand peaks at between 12,500 MW and 13,500 MW, causing power shortfall.To ease the situation, Thang emphasized that EVN is responsible for mapping out adetailed power cutting timetable and announce in advance to its clients to encourage themuse diesel-fueled dynamos instead.Recently, EVN was requested to focus investment on power projects at the expense ofnon-power ones to ease capital pressure of commercial banks and ensure better powersupply for the whole nation.The Ministry of Industry and Trade has also decided to establish an interdisciplinaryinspection team to securitize power supply by EVN. (Vietnam & World Economy Jul 17p7, Saigon Liberation Jul 17 p1, News Jul 17 p6, Labor Jul 17 p1)Japan Wants to Help Vietnam Develop Supporting IndustryJapan wants to help Vietnam in developing its supporting industry, said Sakaba Mitsuo,Japanese Ambassador during his meeting with Vietnamese Minister of Industry andTrade Vu Huy Hoang July 14 in Hanoi.The ambassador expressed his want that Vietnam considered Japan as a supplier of skillsand advanced manufacturing technologies to its supporting industry.“Japan strongly awaits Vietnam’s cooperation, firstly Deputy Prime Minister HoangTrung Hai and following Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang,” the guest said.Mr. Sakaba Mitsuo hopes Vietnam will take the initiative in applying knowledge, skillsand technologies of Japan.Japan has much experience in encouraging and investing to develop supportive industryin ASEAN4 countries by many different technical and financial programs. Meanwhile,Vietnam’s supporting industry remains weak, still much dependent on imports.“Becoming a reliable partner of Japan is of importance to the development of Vietnam’ssupporting industry,” said Mr. Sakaba Mitsuo.Meanwhile, Vietnamese Minister Vu Huy Hoang said “developing the supportingindustry has become urgent to Vietnam. Vietnam needs specific projects and programsfrom Japan to help develop its supportive industry.”
  • 279. The minister said assembling bases in Vietnam annually import a large volume ofcomponents and spare parts.Minister Hoang asked the Japanese Ambassador to pay attention to assistance to thedevelopment of Vietnam’s supporting industry. (Cong Thuong Online Jul 15)Vietnam: Cement Demand to Soar in Q4Vietnam’s cement demand is forecast to rise sharply in the fourth quarter this year,especially in the two biggest cities Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the Vietnam NationalCement Corporation (VNCC) said.The corporation has asked its plants to repair equipment and machines in the third quarterto ensure smooth operations in the fourth quarter.VNCC said it will supply some 5 million tons of cement to the market in the fourthquarter.The corporation also predicted the national cement demand will be around 19 million-20million tons in the second half, of which, it will provide 8 million-9 million tons.The Ministry of Construction forecast that the national demand for cement this year willincrease by between 10% and 14% compared to last year.Vietnam’s total cement output is estimated to reach 40 million tons this year as 11cement plants are set to go on stream in 2008. (Capital Security Jul 17 p6, New Hanoi Jul17 p3)Vinashin Affiliate Delivers 22,500-Ton Ship to VinalinesBach Dang Shipbuilding Co, an affiliate of the Vinashin Business Group, July 16delivered a 22,500-ton cargo ship to the Vietnam Shipping Lines Corp (Vinalines)’sVietnam Petroleum Transport JSC, state media said.The cargo freighter, Diamond, is the fifth under a contract to build 18 ships inkedbetween the two companies, each worth around $20 million, according to the local Labornewspaper.The vessel, which is 153.2 meter long, 26 meter wide and 13.7 meter high, can travel at14.5 nautical miles per hour.On the same day, another Vinashin’s member, Ben Kien Shipbuilding Co., launched a9,200-ton container vessel, which is the first among six ships that the firm will build forthe Netherlands’ Seatrium Co.
  • 280. Vinashin has gained total revenues of VND8.7 trillion ($543.7 million) in the first sixmonths of this year, up 82.7% on-year, said a company official. (Labor Jul 17 p7)Agriculture:Vietnam Raises Rice Export Floor PricesThe Vietnam Food Association announced that this week it will raise export floor pricesof 5% broken rice by 4.2%, making export prices of Vietnamese rice are more expensivethan Thai, the Vietnam News Agency reported.Accordingly, export prices of 5% Vietnamese broken rice will be traded at $750 a ton,FOB, up from $720 a ton a week earlier.Rice delivery will be carried out within July and August 2008.Currently, the National Rice Export Management Team decides rice exports in Vietnam.The Association said Vietnam exported 116,000 tons of rice in the first 11 days of July,raising the country’s total rice export volume to 2.42 million tons so far this year, up1.3% on year.Vietnam has planned to export 4.5 million tons of rice in 2008, equal to last year.Last week, Thailand sold 100% white rice for $725 a ton, up from $720 a ton frompervious week. (Vietnam & World Economy July 17 p19)Vietnam Expects $1.2 Bln Catfish Export Revenues in 2008Vietnam may rake in $1.2 billion from exporting 500,000 tons of tra and basa catfish thisyear, the Vietnam News agency reported, citing an official of the Vietnam Association ofSeafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).VASEP Vice Chairman Ngo Phuoc Hau said consumption of large-sized catfish in theMekong Delta region is optimistic thanks to high processing capacity of local factories.Can Tho and An Giang factories with total capacity of between 1,200 and 1,800 tons offish a day will use almost all of the fish material, Hau said, adding that the factoriesaccount for nearly 80% of total fish volume.In an effort to stabilize the market, the VASEP has asked the government to provide anadditional VND3,500 billion to the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam sothat catfish processors can borrow loans to buy oversized fish.It has also asked the electricity sector to supply enough power for the enterprises tooperate at full capacity.
  • 281. In the long term, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will re-planbreeding zones to keep pace with the market development. The ministry will tightencontrol over processing and exporting enterprises to prevent trade frauds and anti-dumping lawsuits.Vietnamese companies have so far this year obtained $610 million from exporting260,000 tons of tra and basa catfish.Last year, the companies earned nearly $1 billion from the catfish exports. (Vietnam &World Economy July 17 p7)MARD Launches Paddy Diseases Fighting MonthMinister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat July 16 directed MekongDelta provinces to launch a month fighting against brown planthoppers and stunt-leavedisease on paddy, starting from July 16 to August 16.The Mekong Delta provinces will join hands in curbing the diseases in order to ensurebumper summer-autumn, autumn-winter and winter-spring crops.The direction by the minister is also under the Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’sinstruction urging local authorities to curb pest infestations which are spreading in theMekong Delta, the Vietnam’s granary.Mekong Delta provinces will also focus on destroying brown planthoppers on paddy byusing pesticide, destroying paddy seriously crunched out by the pest insects andtightening control over pesticide quality.According to the Plant Protection Department, brown planthoppers have damaged nearly220,000 hectares of paddy in southern provinces, including 192,000 hectares of summer-autumn crop. Meanwhile, more than 2,500 hectares are getting stun-leave disease.The department warned that total paddy area affected by pest insects and stunt-leavedisease will increase if localities are not determined in curbing them. (The People July 17p8, Vietnam Agriculture July 17 p1)Porcine Disease Spreading to 12 Provinces in VietnamBlue-ear disease among pigs-Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome-hasbroken out in northern Hai Duong province and returned in central Quang Nam province,bringing total number of provinces affected by the disease to 12, local media reported.The Voices of Vietnam said the veterinarians in Hai Duong province affirmed July 16that samples taken from sick pigs in Tan Viet and Quyet Thang villages in Thanh Hadistrict tested positive to PRRS.
  • 282. Head of the Veterinary Department Dong Van Chuc said that after infected pigs weredetected at two farms July 14, the department has coordinated with the local authorities tocheck all the pigs in the two villages and ask them not to sell sick pigs on the market.Meanwhile, the disease has returned in central Quang Nam province, affecting 27 pigs in12 households in Vinh Quan village, Binh Trung commune, Thang Binh district. Almostall of the diseased pigs were destroyed.Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat July 15 ordered provincesaffected by the disease to support farmers whose pigs had been culled, and to ensure thatcarcasses were safety disposed of.He said temporary check-points must also be set up to control the transport of pigs in andout of affected areas.Phat said pigs must not be slaughtered for consumption in areas where blue-ear diseasehad broken out to prevent contaminated meat entering the food chain.Twelve provinces affected by the disease include Bac Lieu, Vinh Long, Soc Trang, BaRia Vung Tau, Phu Yen, Binh Dinh, Thua Thien Hue, Lao Cai, Quang Ninh, Quang Triprovince worst-hit with some 4,000 pigs in 18 communes in Hai Lang and Trieu Phuongdistricts being infected.Meanwhile, Long An veterinary department said bird flu has recurred in the province assample taken from dead chickens in Tan Lan commune, Can Duoc district, tested positiveto the H5N1 virus on July 12.These chickens were said to have been vaccinated. The district was worst-hit by bird fluin May. The disease now remains in Tra Vinh province. (Pioneer July 17 p3, People p2,Young People p2, People’s Police p5)Business:SMEs Optimistic about Vietnam Economic Growth Prospects-HSBCVietnamese small and medium enterprises are listed among 3,000 SMEs in ten Asia-Pacific countries with optimism about the country’s economic growth prospects this year,Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corp (HSBC) said in its report released July 16.Up to 67% of 300 SMEs in Vietnam said they strongly believed in the current economicgrowth rate or at higher pace, HSBC’s report noted.As many as 54% of the 300 Vietnamese SMEs said they will expand their investment and41% of them said they will keep investment plans unchanged from now till the end of theyear, the report added.
  • 283. After surveying SMEs in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Bangledesh, Singapore, India,Vietnam, South Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia, HSBC said SMEs in India are most-optimistic, followed by China and Taiwan and the other extreme are South Korean SMEsdue to political and social unrests.In terms of employment recruitment, 74% of Asia-Pacific SMEs said they planned tokeep current manpower meanwhile a considerable number of SMEs in Vietnam said theywill employ more workers.Assessing the HSBC’s report on Vietnam’s situation, Huynh Buu Quang, director ofHSBC’s financial enterprise services department said “Vietnam’s economy the toughtime in the first half this year with high inflation and hefty trade deficit, forex marketrisks,” reminding “local SMEs should be more vigilant.”Vietnam now has 260,000 non-state companies totaling VND600 trillion. The figure isforecast to jump to 500,000 non-state firms by 2010. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 17p6, Vietpan Database)Vietnam Ranks 17th Worldwide in Terms of Internet UsersVietnam now ranks 17th among top 20 nations worldwide in terms of Internet users, theMinistry of Information and Communications has announced.Internet service was officially permitted to be supplied in Vietnam Nov 19, 1997. By theend of 2005, Vietnam exceeded the Asia average level of Internet subscribers (8.4%) andin March, 2007 the country also exceeded the world average level (16.9% of thepopulation).At present, 23.5% of the population or about 20 million people in Vietnam use Internet.The current rate is forecast to rise to 35% in 2010. (People’s Police July 17 p11, VietnamPanorama)Foreign Investment:U.K. Businesses Interested in Vietnamese MarketA large number of U.K. investors said at an investment forum held in London July 15that they are keen on securities, finance and real estate business in Vietnam, VietnamNews Agency reported.PricewaterhouseCoopers Vietnam Senior Partner Ian Lydall said his company hasreceived various requests for consultancy on the Vietnamese market, noting that it is theright time to invest in the Southeast Asian country.
  • 284. Harvey Nash offshore software services CEO Paul Smith said at the meeting that his firmis operating well in Vietnam and it will expand its investment and activities in thecountry.At the forum, representatives from foreign economic groups that are operating inVietnam, including Viet Dragon Fund Management (VDFM), property developer CBRichard Ellis Vietnam and PricewaterhouseCoopers, talked of the vast opportunities inthe emerging economy.Vietnamese Ambassador to the U.K. Tran Quang Hoan introduced the country’sinvestment potentials and opportunities as well as incentive policies to the participants.The U.K. is one of the biggest EU investors in Vietnam with over 100 projects valued atsome $1.9 billion, mostly in notably in financial services and oil and gas sector,according to local Vietnam Investment Review.In 2007, bilateral trade stood at $1.8 billion, including Vietnams trade surplus of $1.5billion. (Vietnam News Jul 16, Vietpan Database)Taiwanese Group Opens $25 Mln Dry Battery Plant in Southern VietnamTaiwan’s CSB Battery Group July 16 commissioned a dry battery plant with totalinvestment of $25 million in southern Dong Nai province, state media reported.The new facility, located in Nhon Trach 3 Industrial Park, has a capacity of 18 millionunits a year.Main product from CSB Battery Vietnam is dry battery to be used in telecommunicationand civil industrial sectors with lifespan of between 5 and 20 years.All products produced by the plant will be shipped abroad with a turnover expected at$100 in the first year of operation. The export value is set to grow between 20% and 30%in the following years.CSB Battery Vietnam is the first dry battery producer in the country and will employ 500laborers. (Youth Jul 17 p14, Young People Jul 17 p2, Vietnam Economic Times Jul 17p4, Saigon Liberation Jul 17 p1)Vietnam, S.Korea Joint Venture Start $32-Mln Property ProjectA joint venture between three Vietnamese companies and one South Korean firm recentlybroke ground on a $32-million apartment, office and building tower in Ho Chi Minh City$32 million, the Saigon Time Daily reported July 15.
  • 285. The Vietnamese side including Dai Ha Tech Corp, Beta Company and A41 Enterprisecontributed 60% of the joint venture’s total capital, while the remaining rate is held bythe South Korean partner, Vina-Thang Long Co.The investors will build the 14-storey Thang Long Tower building on a 7,000-squaremeter site at Tan Binh district.The project will house 22,000 square-meters for offices for lease, 10,000 square metersfor retail and entertainment area and the rest for apartments.The tower, near Tan Son Nhat International Airport, is slated for operation after 14-month construction.According to a report from Cushman & Wakefield, Ho Chi Minh City ranks the 10thamong Asian countries with highest apartment rents.The report also said that office rents in the southern city stands at the 17th out of 203locations in 58 countries in the world.The demand for office space has been escalating alongside the city’s booming economy,strong growth in foreign investment and entry of multinationals. (Saigon Times Daily Jul15 p2)Israeli Billionaire Eyes Seven-star Hotel in Vietnam CapitalPresident of Israeli Elad Group, Issac Tshuva, has expressed his desire to build a seven-star hotel in Hanoi, the first of its kind in Vietnam, state media has said.“The future facility will be named among most luxurious hotels in the world,” IssacTshuva said while meeting with Vietnam Construction Minister and Israeli Ambassadorto Vietnam Effie Ben Matityau on July 15.The hotel will be home to a conference hall, an advanced building complex and otherfacilities which satisfy international standards, the visiting guest said, adding that themodel has been carried out in Singapore.The Vietnamese official, in response, pledged to create favorable conditions for thebusiness if the project is done in the country.Vietnam is now home to 8,556 hotels with 170,551 rooms. Of them, there are 25 five-star, 65 four-star, 141 three-star hotels and the remaining are 1-2 star hotels.The country needs to build more three to five-star hotels to serve six million internationalvisitors by 2010. (VNA July 17, Vietnam Panorama)
  • 286. Infrastructure:WB to Help Upgrade Highway in Northern VietnamThe World Bank and the government of Vietnam kicked off a VND480 billion ($29million) project to upgrade a section of the National Highway 21B July 16, the VietnamNews Agency said Wednesday.Under the project, the 32.9 km Lac Quan-Thinh Long section in Hai Chau district,northern Nam Dinh province will be improved.The 57 km Highway 21B is the transport artery linking Nam Dinh city to coastal andsouthern districts of the province.The bank recently said that it will provide $1.2 billion for Vietnam to implement 13different projects in the next fiscal year. (Vietnam News Agency July 17)Politics & Law:Vietnam PM Authorizes Special Agency to Beef up Administrative ReformVietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has just okayed to made debut agovernment advisory council on administrative reform, in line with efforts to boostgovernance effectiveness, state media reported Thursday.The government sees bureaucratic procedures as main hurdles among three bottleneckshampering the Asean country’s economic growth.The council will include 15 members representing different foreign and domesticinstitutions and businesses to deal with cumbersome practices which are hurting localbusinesses and people.Tran Du Lich, head of Ho Chi Minh City Economic Institute told the Thoi Bao Kinh Tenewspaper that debut of the council is regarded a breakthrough in the ongoing reformsbecause it has mandate to directly report cumbersome administrative hurdles by stateagencies to the prime minister for timely solutions.Addressing the debuting ceremony, the U.S. Ambassador Michael W.Michalak said thatsetting up of the council proves far-reaching leadership of the government of Vietnam forthe sake of business community and locals.The U.S. government will provide technical assistances to the local government, MichaelMichalak pledged.The government inspectors had discovered wrongdoings valued at VND1.74 trillionincluding embezzlement of VND251.6 billion in the first half via nearly 3,000 probes.(Vietnam Economic Times Online Jul 17, People’s Army Online Jul 16, VietpanDatabase)
  • 287. Vietnam, Laos Plan to Upgrade Border Landmark SystemThe Vietnamese Foreign Ministry’s National Border Committee kicked off a three-dayconference on the implementation of a master plan to add and upgrade border landmarksbetween Vietnam and Laos July 16 in central province of Quang Tri.Leaders of ten localities bordering Laos, including northern mountainous provinces ofDien Bien and Son La, central highlands province of Kon Tum and central provinces ofThanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue and QuangNam, will be introduced with the plan and steps for its implementation.Vietnam and Laos have basically completed the border demarcation and landmarkplantation on their 2,067 km common border line in the period of 1978-1987.Later, the two neighboring nations decided to plant more and upgrade border landmarksin order to make the borderline management and protection more effectively.The two sides expect to plant 59 landmarks from now to the end of 2008. (Website ofGovernment Jul 16)New Maker Thickens Vietnam-Cambodia BorderAuthorities of Vietnam’s southern Tay Ninh province and Cambodia’s Kampong Champrovince inaugurated the construction of their shared border marker July 15, VietnamNews Agency said Thursday.The marker No. 131 was the first to be installed along the two countries’ border this yearand the third built in Tay Ninh province.Thirty-five more border makers are scheduled to be planted on the border runningthrough the province by the end of this year.The provincial border demarcation steering board also said by 2012, Tay Ninh will housea total of 108 border markers in accordance with the plan agreed by the two governments.Vietnam has ten provinces bordering with Cambodia.The two-way trade between Vietnam and Cambodia represented the significant figure ofnearly $1.2 billion last year.Cross-border trade contributed almost to the two countries total trade turnover,representing an annual growth of 30.8%. (VNA Jul 15)
  • 288. Labor & Education:500 Workers at Footwear Co Go on Strike in HCMCNearly 500 workers at Ho Chi Minh City-based Footwear Imex Co went on strike July 16for pay rises and working shift reduction, the Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper said.Those workers said they had to work an additional 4 hours a day, including Sunday andbecame exhausted, however, they received a VND1.5 million pay, the paper said.They will resume working until leaders of the company pledge to raise pays and improveliving conditions for them, the paper added.Vietnam has reported more than 300 strikes since the beginning of the year due to soaringinflation with a notably recent strike involving 10,000 workers in Ho Chi Minh City.The government of Vietnam has issued a decree to ban illegal strikers to compensate totheir employers for losses. (Laborer Online Jul 17, Vietpan Database)Health & Environment:Central Vietnam to Carry out WB-funded $210 Mln Environmental ProjectCentral Danang city will conduct a $210 million project to deal with environmentalpollution to achieve the target of “Developing Danang into an Environment City”, theThoi Bao Kinh Te newspaper said Thursday.Of the sum, the World Bank will account for $150 million, Chairman of the city PeoplesCommittee, Tran Van Minh, July 16 told the mass media.The project is scheduled to be carried out in the next five years with aims to focus onbuilding wastewater systems on river and sea banks.Under the project, the 30 hectare wastewater treatment station in Hoa Xuan will be built,as well as equipments of the waste treating station of Ngu Hanh Son will be installed inaddition to dredging the Phu Loc polluted river.The WB sent its experts to Vietnam to joint with the city authorities to map out thescheme and will submit it to the government for approval in the coming time. (VietnamEconomic Times July 17 p3, Labor July 17 p2)Hanoi to Move All Heavy Polluters by 2010The capital city of Hanoi is required to move all heavy polluters, mostly alcohol, garmentand textiles makers and establishments using harmful chemicals, from the inner city tothe outskirts by 2010, the Vietnam News Agency said, citing the Ministry of NaturalResources and Environment.
  • 289. The city authorities are asked to assign the Natural Resources and EnvironmentDepartment to build a scheme to completely solve the problem by 2015, the agency said.The department’s latest statistics showed that eight of sixteen heavy polluters that neededto be treated over the past five years have been fully treated and the remainders areactively carrying out the treatment, the agency said.The city’s relevant agencies have completed listing polluters and their levels of harmfuleffect.In early July, the department set up a sub-department for environmental protection tocarry out researches and forecast of environmental risks in the city.The environment in the city is being polluted by different factors with heavy metalsaccounting for 46.9% of lands polluters and organic substances making up 46.7% of airpolluters and water environment pollution accounts for 41.2% of the biologically oxygendemand.Dust content in the citys air is 2-3 times higher than the acceptable level, 5-7 times in themain streets and 20-30 times in the construction works.Up to 43% of Vietnamese suffered chronic respiratory diseases and dust was consideredas one of main reasons of the diseases, the Ministry of Health said.Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are listed among cities in Vietnam, which are hardest-affected by environment pollution, according to a recent survey conducted by the WorldBank in 10 biggest cities in Vietnam. (VNA July 17, HCMC Law July)Culture & Society:Vietnam Increases Precursor Chemicals ControlMinisters of Police, Industry and Trade July 16 cooperated with the UN Office on Drugsand Crime (UNODC) to organize a seminar on the control of illicit production andtrafficking of safrole, a precursor for manufacturing of ecstasy, local media said.The Ho Chi Minh City-based seminar focused discussions on building a strategy plant toprevent the leakage of precursor chemicals in the chemical industry.Vietnam, along with Laos and Cambodia, has been identified as the origin of safrole,which can be used to manufacture spice and cosmetics, according to surveys conductedby UNODC.In the first six months of this year, the country saw over 300 firms operating in theprecursor export-import field.
  • 290. Wong Hoy Yuen, coordinator of the East Asia Project on precursor chemicals under theUN Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) told the workshop the chemical manufacturingindustry should help fight the production and trafficking of safrole.In 2007, Vietnam confiscated 7,500 kg of precursor and 5,750 grams of ephedrine.Earlier this year, Vietnamese police found amphetamine-type stimulants in Haiphong,seizing seven kilos of precursors and 14.37 kilos of ATS (amphetamine,methamphetamine, and ecstasy) drugs. (Labor Jul 17 p7, Vietnam News p3)Stock Market:Privatized Firms Proposed to List Shares on Bourses-AnalystsEnterprises that have already carried out their initial public offerings (IPOs) are suggestedto quickly list shares on the stock market which is showing signs of recovery, analystssaid.The government should encourage privatized enterprises to float their shares on theexchange, the Ho Chi Minh City Economic University securities analyst Le Dat Chi said.Chi suggested IPOs of state-owned companies should be speeded up by conducting theIPO and the floatation at the same time.Truong Duy Khiem, an official from HCMC-based ACB Securities Company, said manyfirms were less interested in listing on the exchange as they are afraid of their share pricesbeing affected by the market slump this year. However, a stock market with diversesecurities would attract more domestic and foreign investors, he noted.“Shareholders will benefit more when a company floats on the market,” Nguyen LeHung, an experienced investor at HCMC’s Saigon Securities Inc (SSI) said, noting thatthe information on the firms operations will become more available because of thetransparency regulations once listing.Hong, another HCMC trader, who bought 1,500 shares in the IPO of the Bank forForeign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank), hoped the bank would list on the exchange assoon as possible.The bank had earlier planned to list shares on the countrys main exchange in June, but itdelayed the domestic listing until the third quarter of the year.The VN-Index rose for a eighth consecutive sessions to approach nearly 500-pointbenchmark today [July 17].As the end of June, the index was down 56.6% over the beginning of the year. With therally since early July, the key index was pushed up, but still down 46.8% from the firsttrading session of 2008. (Young People Jul 17)
  • 291. FPT Reports Revenues of $525.8 Mln in H1The Financing and Promoting Technology Group (FPT) has announced its total revenuesof VND8.67 trillion ($525.8 million) in the first half of 2008, an on-year increase of47.1%, state media said.With the result, the group is still taking the lead in the domestic telecoms market.FPT obtained a pretax profit of VND631 billion in the first half this year, up 24.63% onyear, and earning per share was VND4,185.In addition to setting up affiliates in France and Malaysia, FPT continues leading insupplying IT products and services in the domestic market, FPT Deputy General DirectorBui Quang Ngoc said.The group will continue focusing on information technology, telecoms services andsoftware in the future, he added.To cope with the financial fluctuations over the past years and to maintain its sustainabledevelopment, the group plans to axe 10% of the staff and 20% of expenditures foroperation in some subsidiaries that have been affected by the crisis.It also plans to stop issuing shares from now to the end of 2008.FPT aims to attain profit of VND1.4 trillion ($90.68 million) for the entire year onrevenues of VND18.4 trillion ($1.15 billion). (Vietnam Economic Times July 17 p3,VNA July 16, Vietnam Panorama)Vietnam Leading Brewery Post VND247.2 Bln Pretax Profit in H1Vietnam’s second-biggest brewery by the market share-Hanoi Beer and BeverageCompany-said it made a pretax profit of VND247.2 billion ($14.98 million), an on-yeardrop of 91% on revenues of VND1.711 trillion, up 23.5%, the Thoi Bao Kinh Tenewspaper said Thursday.The profit accounted for 52.3% of the company’s year target and revenues representedVND42.4% of the year’s target set by Habeco.Habeco had produced 161.8 million liters of beer, accounting for 40% of the year’starget, and 8.6 million liters of alcohol, fulfilling 54.6% of the year’s target.Currently, Carlsberg Vietnam, the strategic partner, is holding a 16% stake in Habecoafter buying an additional 5.77% of unsold shares in Habeco’s IPO in March.
  • 292. Habeco sold only 4.4 million shares out of 34.77 million shares offered in its IPO withVND50,000 each.The Vietnamese beer maker plans to scale up its registered capital to VND3 trillion –VND3.5 trillion from current VND2.3 trillion ($143.8 million) by selling shares topublic. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 17, Vietpan Database)BBT Workers to Go on Strike FridayUp to 500 workers of the listed Bach Tuyet Cotton Joint Stock Company (BBT) will goon strike this Friday to urge the firms management board to find measures to save thecompany from bankruptcy, the state media said.Workers said that all manufacturing operation of the firm has been suspended from July12 due to the lack of capital to buy material. They will have no salary if the situation isnot improved.All the workers will go on strike to ask the state shareholder in BBT, Gia Dinh Textile &Garment Co., to approve the plan to issue shares to strategic partners to raise fund for theproduction.In the annual shareholders meeting Monday, the plan to issue 8.16 million shares was notpassed due to the objection of Gia Dinh Co.Currently, BBT is in debt of VND34 billion, plus a short-term bank loan of VND15billion, which must be settled in Aug and Sep, otherwise its assets will be liquidated bythe bank.BBT has suffered loss in the past two years and even in the first half of 2008.Representatives of the 500 workers Tuesday sent an announcement on the strike to BBTsboards of directors, the citys department of labor, war invalids and social affairs, and theHCM City Labor Union.The document was also sent to Gia Dinh Co., the state holder of a 30% stake in BBT.(Vietnam Economic Times Jul 17, Saigon Liberation Jul 17, Saigon Times Daily Jul 16p4)Jul 17: Vietnam Shares End Up on Good H1 Result HopesVietnams shares closed higher Thursday for the 8th straight day on local players buyingin blue chips on hopes that companies will release solid financial statements for the firsthalf soon.
  • 293. “Investors continued to buy after some large-scaled companies, such as Vinamilk,Sacombank and FPT, report goods results for the first six months despite difficultiescaused by escalating inflation in the period,” a trader with Habubank Securities said.“The three-week gain is also consolidating investor confidence in the sustainablerecovery of the market,” he said.“Along with strong foreign purchasing power, I think bllish market will be a key trend innear term,” he predicted.VN-Index today gained 3.3 points, or 0.68%, at 489.83. It rose 22.6% since beginning ofJuly.Market volume totaled 12.9 million shares valued at VND458.6 billion Thursday, downfrom the new record high of 33.5 million shares valued at VND1.2 billion Wednesday.PPC, the most active stock today, rose 1.9% at VND32,500 on 815,750 shares, including98,890 shares bought and 5,780 shares sold by foreign investors.DPM, the second most active stock, rallied up 2.5% at VND60,500 on 739,010 shares,including 187,290 shares bought and 32,590 shares sold by foreigners.FPT closed up 2.3% at VND66,500 on 93,730 shares, with foreigners buying 3,240shares and selling 35,050 shares. It has reported the first-half profit up 24% at VND631billion.In the downside, SAM fell 2.8% at VND27,600 on 628,880 shares, of which foreigninvestors bought 9,700 shares and sold 130,470 shares.VNM lost 2.5% at VND117,000 on 231,120 shares, including 18,850 shares bought and109,730 shares sold by foreigners.In total, 81 stocks ended higher, 62 lower and 9 unchanged.Among four fund certificates, three closed higher and one lower. (HOSE July 17)Vietnam NewsJuly 16, 2008Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,504Economic Indicators:Vietnam’s CPI Estimated at 24% This Year: ConferenceVietnam’s consumer price index (CPI) will rise between 23% and 24% this year, Ngo TriLong, former deputy head of the Price and Market Research Institute, under the Finance
  • 294. Ministry, forecast at the conference on price and market management to curb inflationJuly 15.To combat inflation, the government should take measures to fight speculation, improvedistribution systems, boost national reserves of food, foodstuff and energy, and closelysupervise prices in global markets to adjust import and export taxes on time, Long said.According to the General Statistics Office, the CPI rocketed 18.44% in June from the endof 2007.The Ministry of Finance has said it will freeze prices of 32 essential items to curbinflation, of which 14 items will be put under the state control and 18 items will directlyfixed by the government. (New Hanoi Jul 15 p2)Banking & Finance:Vietnam to Freeze Prices of 32 Essential Items to Curb InflationThe Vietnamese Ministry of Finance is working on a consumer prices-regulating circularto freeze prices of 32 essential items in an effort to curb soaring inflation, the Lao Dong(Labor) newspaper said Wednesday.Under the circular, of 32 items, 14 essential goods will be put under the state control andthe remaining 18 items will directly fixed by the government, the paper said.The government of Vietnam will stabilize the consumer prices by balancing supply anddemand, buying items for reserves, and adopting other financial measures.The CPI index rocketed 26.8% in June from a year ago.Le Xuan Nghia, a leading economist, head of the SBV’s Banking Development Strategytold a meeting July 15 that at the macro level, Vietnam’s economy has signs of revival,but at the micro level, local businesses are facing challenges, particularly the propertycompanies.“Difficulties will last from now to early 2009,” Nghia said. (Labor Jul 16 p3, VietpanDatabase)FinanceAsia Rates HSBC as Best Foreign Bank in VietnamFinanceAsia, Asia’s leading banking-finance publisher, has recognized Hong Kong &Shanghai Banking Corp (HSBC) as the best foreign bank in Vietnam in its CountryAwards for Achievement 2008.This is the third consecutive year HSBC has won such a ward, after 2006 and 2007.
  • 295. FinanceAsia honed HSBC for its financial power, operational results, network,acquisition, number of employees and customers, transactions and evaluation fromcustomers.HSBC is the first foreign bank to increase stake ownership in a local bank, Techcombank,to 15% in July 2007. In September 2007, it bought a 10% stake in Bao Viet Group,Vietnam’s leading insurance firm.In March 2008, HSBC is one of few foreign banks allowed in-principle to establish awholly owned foreign affiliate bank in Vietnam.The bank also introduced credit cards in Vietnam in the month, becoming the first foreignbank with chip cards in the country. It is the biggest owner of ATMs in Vietnam withmore than 82 ATMs in the country now.HSBC has had its ATM network linked with 230 ATMs of the partner Techcombankfrom May 2008.In June, HSBC launched a 1,650 square-meter branch at Pacific Place in Hanoi. (VietnamEconomic Times Jul 16 p4)Saigon-Hanoi Bank Invests in Core Banking SystemSaigon Hanoi Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SHB) on July 14 offered a tender packageof "Core Banking system" in order to improve its operation capacity, Vietnam NewsAgency said.Contractors including FPT-Iflex Information System Ltd Co, Polaris Software Lab LtdCo and Temenos-Hipt Co. have joined the tender, the paper said.The move by SHB is under a plan to make the bank to become a modern multipurposeretailer forwards to be a financial group by 2015.Applying the core banking will help SHB have a modern technology foundation todiversify its products and services and meet the large transactions of a spreading networkof branches and transaction sites.SHB has targeted a pretax profit of VND650 billion ($40.5 million) and double its totalequity to VND25 trillion ($1.6 billion) in 2008. (Vietnam & World Economy Jul 15 p5)Japanese Insurer Daiichi Collects Premiums Via Post OfficesThe Daiichi Life Vietnam, a subsidiary of Daiichi Life Insurance of Japan, has startedcollecting premiums through the network of Vietnam Postal Savings Service Company(VSPC).
  • 296. A document to this effect was signed by representatives of Daiichi Life Vietnam andVSPC on July 15 in HCM City.Under the agreement, customers of Daiichi Life Vietnam can pay premiums throughpostal savings agents at free of charge.Dai-ichi Life is the second largest life insurance company in Japan and one of the topplayers in the global life insurance industry.The insurer entered Vietnam in January 2007 and now has an investment capital of $72million. (Young People Jul 16 p7, Vietnam Economic Times Jul 16 p9)SeABank H1 Profit up 30% at $16 MlnThe Southeast Asia Bank (SeABank) said Tuesday it made a pretax profit of VND130billion in the second quarter, bringing the first-half accumulation to VND258 billion ($16million), a growth of 30% on year.SeABank targets the full year profit at VND852 billion.As the end of June, the bank’s assets totaled VND19.6 billion, total deposits VND13.9trillion (up 32% on year) and outstanding loans VND11.2 trillion (up 129% on year).The bank has doubled the registered capital to VND3 trillion and plans to increase thecapital to VND5 trillion by the end of 2008.SeABank opened an additional two branches and 14 transaction offices in the first half,bringing total number of offices to 60. It targets to expand network to 85 offices by late2008.SeABank targets total assets to VND40 trillion, deposits to VND35 trillion andoutstanding loans to VND27 trillion and to curb overdue debts at below 0.5% by late thisyear. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 16 p3)Gold Prices Strongly Rise in VietnamGold prices July 15 surged by VND200,000 to reach VND19.4 million ($1,147)/tael inVietnam, representing on-year rise of 20.8% and marking a record high over the pastthree months, state media reported.The gold dealers Bao Tin Minh Chau Jewelry Co in Hanoi and Saigon Jewelry in HCMCity reported that a large number of clients sold their gold on the same day in a bid tocash in on the high prices.The number of sellers was about twice that of buyers of gold.
  • 297. SJC late July 16 listed buy/sell prices at VND19.2 million/VND19.35 million($1,136/$1,144)/tael in Hanoi and HCM City, up 0.9% from the previous days.Bao Tin Minh Chau, meanwhile, quoted prices at VND19.27 million-VND19.40 million($1,140-$1,148)/tael against VND19.05 million-VND19.40 million a day earlier.At noon yesterday, gold prices reached VND19.45 million-VND19.49 million per tael.The increase of local gold prices is really pegging on changes in the global oil priceswhich are riding high due to the political tension amongst the U.S., Israel, and Iran, saidthe head of SJC Hanoi Luu Quang Dien.Another reason is an increase in demand for gold during festive seasons in many Asiancountries like China and India from September onwards, he added.Domestic gold prices in March set a record high of VND19.98 million per tael and theprices are likely to surpass that high if there is no improvement in the global politicalstrife, Dien said. (Young People Jul 16 p2, People Jul 16 p1)Trade:Vietnam Imports Forecast to Reduce to $80.2 Bln This Year-MinistryVietnam imports are forecast to rise 31% on year to $80.2 billion this year, lower than theprevious target of $85.7 set by the government, the Ministry of Industry and Trade iscited by state media as saying Wednesday.Of the total, the value of essential goods including finished steel, petroleum products,machinery and spare parts, metal, fertilizer and paper pulp will likely reach $63 billion,up 28.4% from a year ago, but down $4.2 billion compared with the year’s estimates,Vietnam News Agency said.The value of imports to be under the state control such as fabrication steel and ironproducts, coke coal, petrochemicals products, gemstones, gold, silver and diamond ispredicted to slow down to $12.9 billion, compared with the year’s estimated $14.4billion, but up 32.9% on year, the agency said.The Asean country is predicted to import $4.25 billion worth of cigarette materials,consumer goods, finished automobiles, and motorbike spare parts this year, an on yearrise of 9.5%, but down $800 million compared with the year’s estimate.The government of Vietnam is targeting to reduce the hefty trade deficit, hitting $14.77billion in the first six months this year, to cut 10% of public investment and 25% of g-bonds invested projects to tame the soaring inflation.
  • 298. The government is also aiming to post total exports value of $61.2 billion, up 26% from ayear ago, and trade deficit to below $20 billion this year. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 16p2, Tien Phong Jul 16 p13)Industry:Vietnam, IAEA Boost Int’l Cooperation in Nuclear EnergyVietnam and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have recently vowed tofoster their cooperation in the nuclear energy industry, said the Vietnamese Ministry ofScience and Technology.The content was mentioned during a recent seminar so-called "Periodical Inspection overSafety of Nuclear Reaction Piles", which was jointly held in Hanoi by the VietnamAgency for Radiation and Nuclear Safety & Control and IAEA, the state-run Nhan Dan[People] newspaper reported.Experts from China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam attendedgathering.The seminar focused on guides for reaction pile safety, periodical inspection over safetyof piles under research, check and assess safety documents, and systems responding tobreakdowns at the piles.Vietnam plans to build two nuclear power plants with a combined capacity of 4,000 MWcosting $9 billion in central Ninh Thuan province under the country’s first nuclear powerproject. The plants will have two turbines with a capacity of 1,000 MW each.The country is forecast to lack 8.6 billion kWh of power this year. (People Jul 15 p7)Vietnam to Face Severe Power Shortfall Until Aug This Year: EVNVietnam is forecast to continue facing severe power thirst until August this year, saidstate-owned Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVN).The total capacity of the national electricity system was estimated at nearly 10,000 MWJuly 14 while power demand hit between 12,500 MW and 13,000 on that day, said EVN.The power shortfall is attributed to long-lasting repairs at some thermal power plantsburdening hydropower facilities and the low water levels at hydropower lakes, hinderingpower generation, the Youth newspaper quoted an EVN representative as saying.Despite of EVN’s efforts to mobilize power from both thermal power and hydropowerplants, power supply meets only 70%-75% of the demand, he elaborated.
  • 299. Due to the power thirst, the southern economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City July 14 had tocut off 230 MW of power in local District 8, 9, 11, 12, and Tan Binh, Binh Chanh and CuChi districts.The Southern Electricity Dispatching Center (A2), however, July 15 continued asking themunicipal Power Company to slash over 350 MW or 16% of the city’s power capacity inorder to reserve power for the coming college entrance exams.Vietnam is estimated to lack between 1,500 MW and 2,500 MW from 7:00 am to 9:00pm daily in July this year. The figure is forecast to hit 8.6 billion kWh for the whole year2008.The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade has recently decided to establish aninterdisciplinary inspection team to securitize power supply by the state-ownedElectricity of Vietnam Group (EVN).The Vietnamese government has recently asked EVN to focus investment on powerprojects at the expense of non-power ones in order to ease capital pressure of commercialbanks and ensure better power supply for the nation. (Youth Jul 16 p3, Labor Jul 16 p1,Vietpan)Vietnam to Inspect ENV’s Power SupplyThe Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade has recently decided to establish aninterdisciplinary inspection team to securitize power supply by the state-ownedElectricity of Vietnam Group (EVN), said Minister Vu Huy Hoang.The Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam (ERAV) will lead the team with thecoordination of officials from the Ministry of Finance and EVN, the Labor newspaperreported July 16.Hoang asked EVN to collaborate with ERAV, the Department of Energy the VietnamTelevision (VTV) to clarify EVN’s power supply competence so as to help peoplenationwide more understand about power generation and production situations.To ensure power supply in the second half of this year as well as 2009s dry season, theminister demanded EVN to speed up paces of sluggish power projects while asking theDepartment of Energy to request contractors of power BOT and IPP projects to operatethem on schedule.Regarding power price hike plan, EVN must comply with directive by Prime Ministerand price increase must be in appropriate to market circumstances.Recently, EVN was requested to focus investment on power projects at the expense ofnon-power ones in order to ease capital pressures of commercial banks and ensure betterelectricity supply for the nation.
  • 300. Vietnam is estimated to lack 8.6 billion kWh of electricity this year and 36 billion kWh in2020 and 120 billion kWh in 2030. (Vietnam & World Economy Jul 16 p2, Labor Jul 16p3, Vietpan)EVN Continues being Investors of Hydropower ProjectsVietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has recently demanded state-ownedElectricity of Vietnam Group (EVN) to continue acting as an investor of hydropowerprojects under the national electricity development plan by 2015 and span to 2025, orPlan VI, approved by the government, state media reported.The government official rejected the proposal by EVN and the Ministries of Industry andTrade, and Planning and Investment to commission investor responsibility overhydropower projects from EVN to joint stock companies, the Labor newspaper reportedJuly 16.The deputy PM also approved to add 60-MW Dong Nai 6 hydropower project investedby Duc Long Gia Lai Joint Stock Company to the Plan VI.The Ministry of Industry and Trade is responsible for guiding preparation and appraisingthe project to report to the government.Recently, EVN was requested to focus on power projects at the expense of non-powerones to ease capital pressures for commercial banks and ensure better power supply forVietnam.Vietnam is forecast to lack 8.6 billion kWh of electricity this year and 36 billion kWh in2020 and 120 billion kWh in 2030.The country plans to raise the total capacity of hydropower generation projects to morethan 18,000 MW and the annual output of over 80 billion kWh by 2015. (Labor Jul 16 p3,New Hanoi Jul 16 p1, Vietpan)Vietnam Cement Makers Start Seeking Export MarketsVietnamese cement producers are beginning to seek export markets as a total 38 newcement plants are expected to operate in the next few years, Vietnam News Agency citedConstruction Minister Nguyen Hong Quan as saying Wednesday.In the first five months this year, cement plants nationwide produced 16 million tons, justkeeping pace with demand.The industry, however, expects supply to greatly exceed demand when the new cementplants open.
  • 301. The Vietnam Cement Association has asked the Vietnam Cement Corp to conduct asurvey on the best export markets for locally produced cement.The Ministry of Construction has warned that cement supply has already surpasseddemand in China and in other ASEAN countries.Earlier, the ministry forecast that the national demand for cement would increase thisyear by between 10% and 14% compared to last year.Vietnam’s total cement output is estimated to reach 40 million tons this year as 11cement plants are set to go on stream in 2008.Another 17 plants are scheduled to commission in 2009, bringing the country’s capacityto more than 60 million tons, surpassing the domestic demand by at least 10 million tons.By 2010, another 18 plants with a combined capacity of 14 million tons will beoperational.The ministry has asked the Government to invest in construction of roads so that thecement can be easily transported from the north to the south.Southern Vietnam accounts for 40% of national consumption while it only produces 27%of the output.In Ho Chi Minh City and southeastern provinces, demand has risen 15%. The demand in2008, 2009 and 2010 is predicted to be 39.8 million tons, 44.6 million tons and 49.8million tons, respectively.The ministry has proposed that provinces and cities award no more licenses for cementplants until 2015. (VNS Jul 16 p15)Agriculture:Vietnam Rubber Group Eyes to Grow Rubber, Crops in NigeriaA delegate of Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) will go to Nigeria next month to surveycultivation of rubber and crops in the country, website of the Vietnam Trade InformationCenter reported, citing an official from the group.Le Quang Thung, general director of the VRG said if the survey is successful, the VRGwill set up a project and ask for the government’s permission to develop the cultivationhere.The group will pilot a project in Nigeria, Thung said, adding that it will grow around100,000 hectares of rubber, paddy and wheat each in 10 West African countries everyyear.
  • 302. An official from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said Africancountries are now offering favorable conditions for foreign investors in agriculture.(vinanet July 16, Saigon Liberation July 15)MARD Asks Localities to Speed up Curbing Blue-ear DiseaseAnimal Health Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural DevelopmentJuly 15 issued new decision asking provincial services to tighten fight against PorcineReproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), or blue-ear disease, website of thedepartment reported.The decision No 80/2008/QD-BNN on preventing and fighting against the PRRS askedprovincial leaders to go to localities to directly instruct curbing the disease.Currently, the PRRS is spreading to 10 provinces in Vietnam, including Bac Lieu, VinhLong, Soc Trang, Lao Cai, Ba Ria Vung Tau, Quang Ninh, Thua Thien Hue, Quang Tri,Binh Dinh, and Phu Yen.Meanwhile, foot and mouth disease is affecting animals in four provinces of Cao Bang,Ha Tinh, Thua Thien Hue and Quang Ninh, while bird flu now remains in Mekong DeltaTra Vinh province. (agroviet July 16, The People July 16 p8)Fertilizer Makers Mull over Storage Facility in Mekong DeltaThe Vietnam Fertilizer Association is proposing the government of Vietnam to license afertilizer storage facility in the Mekong Delta region, the Vietnam News Agencyreported, citing deputy chairman of the association Nguyen Hac Thuy.Thuy said with a total investment of VND100 billion ($6.06 million), the facility willcover 13 hectares in Can Duoc district of Long An province, and have storage capacity ofmore than 200,000 tons.It will operate under the name Five Stars, with the ownership of Five Stars InternationalJoint Stock Co.The storage is scheduled to be operational by next year’s winter-spring rice crop to helpstabilize fertilizer prices by providing a consistent source, unaffected by speculation andthereby benefiting farmers.The project will have steady support from enterprises involved in long-term trading, saidgeneral director of Five Stars Co Tran Van Muoi.Five Stars is located near HCM City and eastern provinces, which trade roughly 20million tons of commodities yearly.
  • 303. The company plans to increase this number to around 30 million tons of fertilizer by2020. The facility is also close to Bourbon Port, Highway 1A and Vam Co Dong River,convenient transportation hubs.The establishment of Five Stars under the control of the Vietnam Fertilizer Associationwill ensure real and high-quality fertilizer supplies, Thuy said.The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development expressed hope that Five Stars willplay an important role in ensuring the quality of fertilizer, given the present poor qualityor counterfeit nature of the product.In addition to advocating a storage solution, the association requested that theGovernment adjust fertilizer import and export taxes and improve the production ofquality NPK manure to further help stabilize the market. The production prices ofessential goods like oil, iron, steel, fertilizer, food and agricultural materials have risensharply.Fertilizer prices have escalated to the highest level in the past 35 years. DAP fertilizerprices rose by 351%-562% and potassium fertilizer by 335%-365%.The demand for fertilizer for national agricultural production ranges between 8 and 8.3million tons per year. The Mekong region uses around half of this amount. (VNS July 15)VND1Tln Emergency Fund for Catfish IneffectiveThe VND1 trillion emergency fund supporting Mekong Delta catfish industry is noteffective because many farmers have not yet benefited from it, local analysts said.At the meeting in An Giang province July 15, the analysts said the VND1 trillion(US$59.4 million) fund is aimed at helping catfish processors and exporters buy tra andbasa catfish from farmers. Both processors and exporters are struggling with decreasingprices and oversupply.Meanwhile, total volume of stockpiled in farmers are still high, including 26,500 tons inAn Giang, 63,000 tons in Dong Thap, and 63,000 tons in Dong Thap.Tien Giang authorities said only VND5.6 billion ($332,600) out VND100 billon has beenloaned for catfish farmers so far.As farmers cannot afford to continue to feed catfish, they have to sell them even beforethey are fully-grown which is causing catfish prices to fall even more.Vinh Long authorities said catfish farmers are suffering a VND1,500-VND2,000 loss perkilogram as catfishes prices are now between VND13,500 ($0.80) and VND14,000($0.83).
  • 304. Meanwhile, catfish businesses, which prefer deferred payment deals with farmers insteadof borrowing money from banks, often pay farmers 30-45 days after buying catfish,leaving breeders in further financial difficulties.The experts said to deal with the problem, local banks should reduce lending interest rateor local provinces should set up a fund to stabilize prices to encourage companies toboost purchase of fish.Mekong Delta provinces also suggested the Government to acknowledge tra and basacatfish as national key item and then set up overall development plan for it.Analysts also called on the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to issuestandards on breeding the fish and fish quality, and cooperate closely with provinces incalculating production cost, number of processing factories, and number of aquatic feedplants. (The Youth July 16 p14, Young People July 15)Business:Vietnam PM Approves Development Plan of Northern Economic CorridorPrime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved a plan to develop the Lang Son-Hanoi-Haiphong- Quang Ninh economic corridor by 2020 as part of a project “two corridors,one economic belt” between Vietnam and China, Vietnam News Agency reported.Under the plan, the economic corridor’s GDP growth is aimed to increase by 1.2-1.4folds and its total import-export turnover is expected to grow 20% annually to reachabout $2 billion by 2010, $4.5 bilion-$5 billion in 2015 and over $10 billion by 2020.Hanoi will be developed into an international capital city and a big economic hub with100 million people in the Nanning-Lang Son-Hanoi-Haiphong economic corridor,according to the plan.Meanwhile, Haiphong is planned to become an important gateway port city in thecorridor, the news agency said.A six-lane highway worth $1.4 billion will also be built from Hanoi to Huu Nghi Quanborder gate in Lang Son province.The country will also build a highway route linking Hanoi and Haiphong. The VND19trillion ($1.18 billion) route is slated for construction late this year and for completion in2010.The economic corridor will focus on the areas of trade, tourism, goods transport, forestry,culture, sci-tech and industry. It will include international border economic zones andmarkets.
  • 305. To boost the trade liberalization along the Vietnamese-Chinese economic corridor, thetwo countries will implement the pilot customs clearance model “one check” at the HuuNghi Quan border gate. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 15, People’s Army Jul 15 p1)Vietnam Airlines Reports Loss of $5 Mln in Jan-JunThe national carrier Vietnam Airlines suffered from a loss of VND83 billion (some $5million) in the first six months of this year due to the price hike of oil, state mediareported.Vietnam News Agency said the airline earned total revenues of VND12.1 trillion ($733million) in the period, up 28% on year, but its expenses reached VND12.18 trillion,causing the loss.Vietnam Airlines bought $124.84 for a barrel of fuel ZA1 in the first half, 38% higherthan its initial estimate; therefore; the carrier had to pour an additional VND1.41 trillionfor fuel during the time.The fuel overspending was mostly seen in May and June with VND320 billion andVND458 billion respectively.In the six-month span, the airline transported more than 4.43 million passengers, up 15%on-year. Of the sum, nearly 1.8 million were foreigners, representing an on-year rise of11%.It also carried 63,600 tons of cargo, a 17% rise, and its seat occupancy rate rose to75.96% from 75.4% in the whole of 2007.To improve the situation, Vietnam Airlines will reconsider investment projects and cut10%-20% of regular costs, the New Hanoi newspaper said.The carrier has also adjusted flight schedule since early this year, helping to save 3,000tons of fuel worth VND90 billion, including 2,000 tons in June.Separately, the flag carrier, which has a capital of VND10 trillion ($625 million), isallowed to sell between 10% and 20% of its stakes to foreign strategic investors,according to the Labor newspaper.The news source also added that the unlisted firm will retain 70%-80% state-owned stakeas instructed by the Government. (News Jul 16 p5, New Hanoi Jul 16)Work on VND1.5 Tln Dong Tam Water Plant Starts in Mekong DeltaDong Tam Joint Stock Co has recently kicked off construction of a water plant worthVND1.5 trillion ($91 million) in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, the Thoi BaoKinh Te newspaper said Wednesday.
  • 306. The plant with a daily capacity of 90,000 cubic meters in Chau Thanh district will includea 44.5 kilometer pipeline network to supply clean water to residents in Cho Gao, GoCong Tay and Go Cong Dong districts and Go Cong township.The project will be constructed in 24 months and is expected to put into operation in2010. (Vietnam Economic Times July 16 p2, VNA)Foreign Investment:IDG to Invest Additional $500 Mln in Vietnam by 2010Patrick McGovern, founder and chairman of International Database Group toldVietnamese state media Tuesday [July 15] that IDG will increase investment in Vietnamto $600 million from current $100 million in Vietnam from now to 2010.Of the total, IDG will inject $200 million into its IDG Venture Vietnam and use theremaining to set up a growth fund, the Thanh Nien newspaper said.The growth fund is expected to be operational in 2010, the IDG official said.IDG Ventures entered Vietnam in March 2003, specializing in IT industry businesses.In the world, IDG Ventures has invested in more than 150 projects. Some successfulaffairs are Excite, F5 Networks, Netscape, Spinner.com, VA Linux, and Baidu.com.(Thanh Nien Jul 16 p2, Vietpan Database)Tourism:Work on $9.4 Mln Eco-tourism Complex Starts in Vietnam Central HighlandsThe Hoai Nam Ltd., Company July 14 began construction on an eco-tourism complexworth VND150 billion ($9.4 million) in Central Highlands Lam Dong province, the DauTu newspaper reported Wednesday.To cover 150 hectares, the Da Sar Complex will be home to resorts, five-star hotels,sports centers and other entertainment facilities.Work on the project will be finished by 2015.Lam Dong, 308 km from Ho Chi Minh City, has great potentials for tourism developmentwith a convenient climate, together with splendid landscapes and cultural resources.The number of visitors to the province is estimated to reach 700,000-800,000 per year,including 10% foreigners. Hotels and guest houses see a capacity of 20,000 visitors perday. (Vietnam Economic Times July 16 p3, Investment July 16 p3)
  • 307. Politics & Law:Deputy PM Khiem Chairs UNSC DebatesA Vietnamese delegation, headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of ForeignAffairs Pham Gia Khiem July 15 flew to New York to chair debates at the United NationsSecurity Council (UNSC).Deputy PM Khiêm will preside over an open thematic debate on Children and ArmedConflict (CAAC) July 17, with the presence of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Thedebate will consider the report of the France-chaired Working Group.Vietnam is the first country in Asia and the second in the world who signed theConvention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols. The country, during theUN and UNSC’s sessions, has always reiterated that CAAC should be discussed andsolved in the interests of children.Khiem is also scheduled to hold some separate meetings with representatives of somecountries, UN Secretary General, UNSC President and leaders of some UN agencies,including UNDP and ECOSOC, in order to promote bilateral and multilateral relations.Subsequent to the UNSC’s debates, the Deputy PM is scheduled to visit Singapore July20-24 to attend the 41st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, the Post Ministerial Conference(PMC) and the 15th ASEAN Regional Forum.ASEAN foreign ministers and dialogue countries will discuss ways to build the ASEANcommunity, preparations to take the ASEAN Charter into force and exchange opinions inregional and international issues of common concern. (Capital’s Security Jul 16 p15,HCM City Law p2)Vietnam to Hire Foreign Professionals to Consult Marco PoliciesVietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has just turned the green light in-principleto inviting prestigious foreign experts to exchange and consult macro policies withgovernment agencies and businesses, the government of Vietnam said on its Web site.Premier Nguyen also assigned the Foreign Ministry to coordinate with related agencies toselect foreign experts.In the context of the global economic slowdown, with rocketing oil prices, and therelatively broadened openness of the economy after one-year WTO integration, Vietnamhas been ravaged by galloping inflation jumping 26.8% in June, up from a year ago.The Asean country saw a hefty trade deficit reached $14.77 billion in the first half thisyear.
  • 308. The government of Vietnam has lowered the GDP growth rate to 7% down from8.5%-9% target this year. (Government’s Web site Jul 14, Vietpan Database)Vietnam PM Gives Nod to Steering Committee for Vietnam-UN CooperationPrime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has agreed to the establishment of a steeringcommittee on a joint plan for cooperation between the Vietnamese government and theUN agencies until 2010.The PM’s decision dated July 15 requires the steering committee to carry out sevengroups of tasks, including instructing relevant agencies and localities to implement thejoint plan.The steering committee will be responsible for reviewing, supervising and assessingimplementation of the plan as well as defining necessary adjustments and demands forhuman sources.The Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment and resident coordinators of UNagencies are co-heads of the committee.The committee will hold a regular meeting every six months and make decisions onissues based on mutual consensus with the co-heads of the committee making the finaldecision whenever there are different points of views.Under the joint cooperation plan, a total of non-refundable aids of $404 million will begranted to Vietnam through 14 UN agencies, including UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA,UNAIDS, UNV, UNIFEM, FAO, IFAD, ILO, UNESCO, UNHABITAT, UNIDO,UNODC and WHO. (HCM City Law Jul 16 p2, Saigon Liberation p1)Labor & Education:Thousands of State Employees in HCM City Quit JobsAround 6,500 government employees in HCM City have quitted their jobs since mid2003 and this phenomenon may become a movement in the biggest city of Vietnam, theTien Phong newspaper said Tuesday.Of the 6,500 to have quitted their jobs since mid-2003, some 698 belonged to statemanagement agencies, 3,034 to the education and 849 to the health care sectors.The people who quit their jobs included high-ranking officials, and experienced experts.Inappropriate salary policy, and discouraging working environment are major reasons forthe situation, the HCM City People’s Committee wrote in its report to the Ministry ofHome Affairs.
  • 309. HCM City’s Vice Chairman Nguyen Thanh Tai said officials of communes and wards arenot paid properly and the average income of government staffs in general is lower than inthe labor market.Le Hieu Dang, Vice Chairman of the HCM City Fatherland Front, said perhaps income isnot the major reason, but the working environment.One other prominent reason for this situation is that people are changing their minds.They no longer think working for state agencies is more stable and better than workingfor others. Many young government staff said that one can still contribute to the state ifone works for private companies.Though the HCM City People’s Committee has been aware of this matter for a year, ithas not come up with an effective remedy yet.The HCM City Fatherland Front is preparing a report on the wave of job-quitting amongstate employees and proposing that the local government adjust the salary policy andimprove the working environment at state agencies. (Pioneer July 15 p1)Health & Environment:Vietnam Successfully Transplants Stem Cell to Save Leukemia PatientThe National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion July 15 said it hassucceeded in cloning stem cells to save a female leukemia patient from the Death, thefirst Vietnamese state media said Wednesday.The institute successfully applied a new method in the cloning stem blood donated by aelder sister of Nguyen Thi Lan, 21, the patient, Prof-PhD Nguyen Anh Tri, director of theinstitute said.“I cannot believe that my daughter, who has a leukemia disease, is saved,” Bui ThiVuong, Lan’s native mother, said.The stem blood cell transplant costs $18,000, much lower than $30,000-$100,000 in othercountries, the health authorities said.The patients sister, who had donated the stem cells, is in good health.Currently, the institute has roughly 200 leukemia patients a day for treatment. (YoungPeople July 16 p2, Peoples Police p4, Saigon Liberation p1, Pioneer p1+2)13 Vietnamese Suspected to Catch AnthraxThirteen Vietnamese people are suspected to contract anthrax, including one death inMeo Vac district, northern Ha Giang province, according to a latest result of tests on
  • 310. local food poisoning patients by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology(NIHE).Two of seven samples were positive to anthrax virus, the Sai Gon Giai Phong (SaigonLiberation) newspaper said, citing the institute.Some of locals suffered fever, skin ulcers, and pain after eating meat of the anthraxinfecting suspected cattle.Dr Nguyen Huy Nga, head of the Health Provision and Environment Department underthe Ministry of Health (MoH) sent an urgent message to the Ha Giang Provincial HealthDepartment to urge urgent actions to prevent the disease.In late June, some 420 were suffering food poisonings in the province, two of them died,according to a local health center.Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillusanthracis, which highly affecting mammals, especially cattle and sheep. It is transmissibleto humans and can cause skin ulcers, pneumonia and even death. (Saigon Liberation July16 p7, www.thanhniennews.com, www.cdc.gov, VNA)Vietnam to Examine Motorbike Exhaust FumesThe Ministry of Transport is planning to submit a scheme to inspect motorbike exhaustfumes to the government for approval in October, Vietnamese state media said.If approved, the project will be carried out from June 2009, firstly in the five major citiesof Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Haiphong, Danang and Can Tho.The Vietnam Register said that due to the large number of motorbikes available in thecountry, a concrete roadmap will be mapped out with motorbikes used for more than 10years to be checked first.Later inspections are scheduled at one-year intervals for those in use for seven years, fiveyears and three years.Motorbikes operated for less than three years will not be subject to the examination, saidthe agency.Vietnam is now home to more than 20 million automobiles and motorbikes. The figure ispredicted to increase to 24 million units by 2010. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 15 p2,New Hanoi Jul 15 p2)Culture & Society:VFF Accepts Loss to Invite Brazil Olympic Squad to Vietnam
  • 311. The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) will try utmost, even accepting loss, to invite theBrazil’s Olympic squad (U23+3) to Vietnam, chairman Nguyen Trong Hy affirmed aftera meeting July 15.Brazil Olympic is planning to have two other friendly matches with teams in SoutheastAsia to prepare for the 2008 Olympic Beijing slated for August 8-24.Hy said that the total cost VFF must spend for the business transaction is around VND9.5billion ($593,750), including fees of transport and accommodation.If successful, the friendly match between Vietnam’s national soccer team and the Brazil’sOlympic squad, including such big names as Ronaldinho, Diego and Robinho, will takeplace at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi July 27 or August 2. Tickets are expected to besold for 400,000 VND each at the lowest, Hy said.The VFF chairman revealed that the Thailand side has also sent an invitation to theBrazilian counterpart.However, VFF believed they would beat the Thai in the race, with the base of amemorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation just signed between the two sportsministries of Vietnam and Brazil July 10.Many promises from authorities that the world’s well-known football teams like theU.K.’s MU, would arrive in Vietnam for friendly matches did not come true. (VNA Jul15, VnExpress.net Jul 16)Crane Collapse Kills 7, Injures 1 at Cai Lan Port in Northern VietnamSeven workers July 15 died and one was seriously injured in a crane collapse at Cai LanPort in the northern Quang Ninh province, the Tin Tuc (News) newspaper saidWednesday.The crane was being assembled when it crashed while eight workers were working on itat around 1:30 p.m. at port section No.7.The seven unlucky victims are Pham Dinh Tuyen, Pham Dinh Thuy, Do Van Luan, DinhXuan Huong, Le Van Tien, Phan Van Ngan and Hoang Van Tuan.The injured worker, Mai Ngoc Thanh, was sent to Bai Chay General Hospital in Ha Longcity for emergency treatment.All eight victims were workers of Lilama Corps Lilama 692 Co and they were puttingtogether the crane for Vietnam National Shipping Lines Falcon Co.The collapsed container gantry crane was one of two cranes bought from China to replacetwo similar cranes that had been wrecked due to whirlwinds in November, 2006.
  • 312. Relevant agencies are investigating the cause of the accident.Quang Ninh provincial authorities granted money to the victims families. (News July 16p2, Peoples Army p8, Vietnam Law p1, Labor p1, Youth p1, Young People p2, Pioneerp15, Capital Security p5)Stock Market:Stock Market Back on Track: SBS DirectorThe stock market is seen on the right track as investors confidence has been boosted bypositive economic signals in the past few weeks, said an executive of SacombankSecurities Company (SBS) late last week.The market was going back on track, and was changing for the better in the rest of theyear thanks to stable macroeconomic indicators, said SBS General Director Nguyen HoNam in a seminar Saturday.“Investors can see a better market in the second half of the year,” Nam told investors.He said that the markets trading value recently had picked up substantially as investorsshowed confidence in the economy, which saw the June CPI slowing down to 2.14% onmonth, the lowest rate since early year. The trade deficit has shrunk to only $1.9 billionin May and $1.3 billion in June against $3.3 billion in March.Meanwhile, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first half amounted to $31.6 billion.Uncertainties on the foreign exchange market have also been settled down, with thedollar price being stabilized in both the banking sector and the unofficial market, Namsaid.Besides, the pressure of collateral shares has been eased in the last two weeks. "Of themarkets total trading value of VND3 trillion last week, up to VND2 trillion was worth ofcollateral deals. A wave of new investors has also come back to the market due toreasonable share prices, which will push the market up," he noted.Between 2,000 and 3,000 new accounts have been opened at SBS and most of recenttransactions were made by new investors, including funds, local and foreign investors,the SBS director revealed.Governments measures have also helped restore confidence among investors recently,and will effectively manage the market in the rest of the year, he said.Nam also gave advice to investors who want to invest in the stock market at this time tofocus on effective listed companies such as blue-chips. (Saigon Times Daily Jul 14 p4)
  • 313. S.Korean Investors Pump $2.7 Bln in Vietnam SharesSouth Korean investors had poured total $2.7 billion in the Vietnamese stock market in2007, out of total $4.58 billion worth of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country,the Vietnam News Agency said July 15 quoted the S.Korea Ministry of Finance.Up to 70 S.Korean companies invested in infrastructure projects worth total $1.45 billionin the Southeast country.So far, South Korea has remained the biggest foreign investor in Vietnam, with totalinvestment of $15.3 billion since 1988.In 2007, foreign investors bought $7.6 billion of Vietnams listed shares, and up to $20billion if their holdings in unlisted shares was counted, three times higher than theprevious year.The foreign indirect investment in Vietnam was estimated at $600 million betweenJanuary and June of this year.Investment funds such as Indochina Capital, PXP Asset Management Company, andJapanese investors have also expressed their optimism on Vietnams stock market in themedium and long-term.Vietnam’s stock index has increased for seventh consecutive days, closing at 486.53today [July 16]. It is expected to rise to 900 by the end of 2008. (Vietnam EconomicTimes Jul 16 p4, Vietnam Panorama)Mekong Capital to Invest $2.6 Mln in Vietnam Golden GateMekong Capital Fund Management Co has just said that July 14 that its subsidiary,Mekong Enterprise Fund II (MEFII), has committed to invest $2.6 million into GoldenGate Trade Service Joint Stock Company, the Mekong Capital Press Release said.Golden Gate is operating the successful Ashima mushroom hotpot restaurant chain. Thisis the 7th investment of MEFII in Vietnamese firms.Mekong Capital will fund and support the company with strategic consultancy in variousfields that are key factors to make the firm grow sustainably in the current changing andfiercely competitive market, CEO cum Chairman of Golden Gate Dao The Vinh said.Chris Freund, CEO of Mekong Capital, said "In Golden Gate, we see a strongcommitment to continuously developing their management systems and capabilities oftheir management teams," He believed Golden Gate will continue to open newrestaurants at a rapid rate.
  • 314. As of June, Golden Gate has 7 Ashima restaurants in Hanoi, HCM City and Haiphong. Itwill open one more restaurant in Danang soon.MEFII, with total investment of $50 million, focus on equity investments in private firmswith good management and rapid growth to help them prepare for a successful listing ona stock exchange.Currently, the fund is holding stake in a consumer products company ICP, Ngo HanMagnet Wire, thegioididong firm, Venture International, MK Smart JSC, and Mai Sonfashion retail outlet operator. (Mekong Capital Press Release, Young People Jul 15 p6,Vietnam News Agency Jul 15)PetroVietnam Drilling Sees Profit Double to VND500 Bln in H1PetroVietnam Drilling and Well Services Joint Stock Company (PVD) reported that itsnet profit more than doubled to VND500 billion ($31.3 million) in the first half fromVND214 billion ($13.4 million) a year ago.The companys Chief Financial Officer Ho Ngoc Yen Phuong said the profit wasattributed to its rigs operation at full capacity.PVD expected it would net profit of VND700 billion ($43.8 million) in the whole thisyear, Phuong said.The firm is supplying drilling services to ConocoPhillips and Petroliam Nasional Bhd.Recently, Saigon Securities Incorporation (SSI) has sold 318,480 shares in PVD toreduce its ownership to 0.91%.PVD shares closed up 3% to VND104,000 each on 825,520 shares changed hands.(Young People, ATP Jul 14)Jul 16: Vietnam Shares Index Hits Two-month HighVietnams stock market index ended higher and hit the two-month Wednesday as localinvestors continued to buy after state media said investors are regaining confidence in themarket outlook.The Saigon Economic Times cited Nguyen Ho Nam, general director of SacombankSecurities Co., as saying that stock market exposes signals of a sustainable recovery asshare have risen all the sessions since early July except for one, with increasing volume.The real estate market is cooled down and the dollar fever ended, which is drivinginvestors to return to the stock market, he said.
  • 315. Vietnam shares are very cheap with the P/E ratio averaged at 9.5 times now, much lowerthan the ratio of 11.7 times in Philippines, 14 times in Thailand and 14.9 times inIndonesia.“These ideas have helped support local investors to buy, hoping the index will hit 500soon,” a Hanoi-based trader said.VN-Index today rose 6.73 points, or 1.4%, at 486.53, the highest level since May 13.Market volume reached the new record high at 33.5 million shares valued at VND1.2billion Wednesday, surging from 9.7 million shares valued at VND330 billion Tuesday.STB, the most active stock today, climbed up 2.9% at VND28,800 on 6.6 million shareschanging hands.DPM, the second most active stock, rose 2.6% at VND59,000 on 3.1 million shares,including 966,080 shares bought and 88,470 shares sold by foreigners.HPG closed 2% higher at VND50,500 on more than 2 million shares, of which foreigninvestors bought 594,280 shares and sold 51,280 shares.PPC gained 2.9% at VND31,900 on 1.1 million shares, including 361,630 shares boughtand 8,000 shares sold by foreigners.ITA is the most advancer, surging 3% at VND97,000 on 68,700 shares.In the downside, VNM fell 2.4% at VND120,000 on 64,020 shares, with foreignersbuying 6,610 shares and sold 33,400 shares.TTP lost 2.7% at VND21,900. Of 548,080 shares traded, foreigners bought 7,200 sharesand sold 317,270 shares.In total, 94 stocks ended higher, 82 lower and 16 unchanged.All four fund certificates closed higher. (HOSE July 16)Vietnam NewsJuly 15, 2008Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,509Banking & Finance:Vietnam’s Monetary Market Cools Down
  • 316. Vietnam’s monetary market tends to cool down recently as banks have stopped the raceto raise the deposit interest rates and reduced the lending rates.From May 19 to early July, banks often raise their deposit rates for both Vietnam dongand dollars. Several banks boosted the rates to 19.5%-19.8% % per annum, even 20%,but just for some days.At present, banks offer the interest rates popularly at 17.5%-18% per annum for Vietnamdong deposits.Only a few commercial banks provide high saving interest rates for VND, such asHDBank offers the highest rate at 18.7%/year, GP Bank at 18.8%, KienLong Bank at19% and GiaDinh Bank at 18.9%.Meanwhile, several commercial banks lowered their deposit interest rates by between0.2% and 0.5% per annum.There are some reasons for the stabilization of the monetary market.The State Bank of Vietnam has tightened measures to control operations of monetarymarket such as banning collection of extra fees for loans, or asking banks with depositrates of over 17.5%/year to make report.Commercial banks understand that the race to raise interest rate brings small benefits buthurt themselves.The state-owned Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), one of thelargest banks in Vietnam, has just announced to reduce lending interest rate by 0.2% and2% per annum, prompting other lenders to adjust their interest rates.Consumer price index (CPI) slowing down and trade deficit narrowing indicates that thegovernment’s anti-inflation measures are taking effects. Meanwhile, the forex market hasbecome stable with prices of dollar in free markets falling significantly.Rumors on weak liquidity of several banks ended. The liquidity of banks is alsoimproved thanks to the recovery of stock market.However, lending interest rates remain high. Vietnamese banks are offering depositinterest rates for USD at 7%-7.5% and lending rates at 10% and higher, causingdifficulties for local importers and exporters. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 15 p5)WB to Finance $1.2 Bln for Vietnam in Next Fiscal YearThe World Bank will fund $1.2 billion for 13 programs and projects via the InternationalDevelopment Association (IDA) in the next fiscal year, Mr. Mat Aron Deraman,
  • 317. Executive Director SEA Group of World Bank told Governor of the State Bank ofVietnam Nguyen Van Giau Monday.Mr. Mat Aron Deraman also informed the Vietnamese bank governor of the Aseancountry’s business climate, rated 91st among 178 countries, up three ranks compared withlast year.On the occasion, the WB official hailed measures by the government of Vietnam to curbinflation and progress in poverty reduction.In return, Giau highly appreciated the support and funds by the WB for Vietnam’ssocioeconomic development plans, particularly funds from The International Bank forReconstruction and Development (IBRD). (SBV’s Web site Jul 14)Deposit Balance at Vietnam Central Bank Continues RisingDeposit balance of credit institutions at the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has continuedto rise sharply but unfairly over the past few weeks, the Lao Dong newspaper said,quoting SBV source.Large commercial banks have seen their reserves surge strongly while reserves at small-and medium-scaled lenders were mostly reported at lower-than-required level.Due to soaring capital demand of credit institutions, the central bank said it will continueoffering valuable papers with the term of seven days and coupon rate of 15% per annumon the open market with the volume of VND5-12 trillion per session.The move by SBV is aimed to support credit institutions transparency and stabilizedomestic monetary market. (Labor Jul 12 p4)EVN Finance Co Licensed for OperationThe State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has officially given a business license to theElectricity of Vietnam’s Financial Joint Stock Company (EVNFC) in a move to help thepower industry better mobilize and manage its investment capital, the state media said.EVNFC has a registered capital of VND2.5 trillion ($151 million) and is the secondlargest among 14 financial companies managed by the SBV.EVNFC’s founding shareholders include the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), the An BinhJoint Stock Commercial Bank (ABBank) and the Refrigeration Electrical EngineeringCorporation (REE).In 2008, the company is expected to provide consultancy services for EVN affiliates toissue between VND2 trillion and VND4 trillion of corporate bonds.
  • 318. EVNFC, apart from mobilizing and managing investment capital sources, is expected tohelp EVN speed up the privatization of its subsidiaries.The electricity sector is under great financial pressure due to the countrys fast pace ofdevelopment and rapidly growing hunger for energy. EVN needs VND325 trillion in the2006-10 period to develop power grid and sources.The privatization will help effectively raise capital for the energy sector. EVN aims tocompletely privatize its affiliates including electricity generation and distributioncompanies by 2008.The EVN has so far privatized three companies and the share sales of five other factoriesare currently underway. (Vietnam & World Economy Jul 14 p5, CafeF Jul 14, NewHanoi Jul 14)VIB Bank Posts $20 Mln Pretax Profit in H1Vietnam International Bank (VIB Bank) made pretax profit of VND323 billion ($20million) in the first six months of 2008, fulfilling 46.1% of the plan set for the wholeyear, the bank announced July 14.By the end of June, the bank had total assets of VND35.9 trillion ($2.2 billion), reaching68.3% of the full year plan.The bank’s deposits totaled VND23.2 trillion ($1.5 billion) and outstanding loans wereVND19 trillion ($1.2 billion), equal to 68.5% and 62.2% of the yearly plan, respectively.VIB Bank has 94 branches and transaction offices so far and plans to expand the networkto 115 units by the end of this year.This year, the bank is eyeing to make pretax profit of VND700 billion ($43.75 million)and pay dividend at 15%. (Economic & Urban Jul 15 p4, Vietnam & World Economy Jul15 p6, Youth Jul 15 p15)Trade:Vietnam Aims for $61.2 Bln Export Value This YearThe Ministry of Industry & Trade (MoIT) in coordination with relevant ministries, goodsassociations and localities are taking drastic measures to attain an on-year export growthof 26% to $61.2 billion this year, local media reported today [July 15].The measures focus on raising added value for traditional items and those limited toincrease in volume, particularly agro-forestry-fishery products.Initially, credit priority will be given to farmers and processors of seafood, rice, coffee,cashew nuts, fine arts, wood and plastic products, said the ministry.
  • 319. The MoIT has been intensifying its national program on trade promotion and calling onforeign investors to produce goods for export.Additionally, relevant agents have been urged to continue implementing administrativereform in tax and customs procedures to facilitate exports, said the MoIT, adding thatservices export is also being encouraged to increase the revenues in foreign currenciesand reduce trade deficit.The ministry is urgently finalizing a plan to intensify export and curb trade deficit from2008 to 2010 to submit to the Government for approval in the fourth quarter this year.According to the MoIT’s forecast, Vietnam’s export staples will record strong growth in2008.The agro-forestry-fishery industries expect to earn $11.68 billion, making up 19.1% ofthe country’s total export value.The prices of rice, coffee, cashew nuts, pepper, rubber and seafood remain high althoughthey are not as high as in the first half of the year. These staples are likely to have exportvolume surpassed the estimates with rice export quantity expectedly exceeding 4.5million tons.Due to rising crude oil and coal prices, the fuel and minerals group is expected to fetch$13 billion, up 37% on-year, accounting for 21.2% of the country’s total.Notably, handicrafts and industrial goods are estimated to reap $36.5 billion, up 25.3%,representing 59.7% of the country’s sum.Apart from the increasing number of orders and prices, textiles and garments, whoseexport revenues rank second after crude oil, are facing difficulties in high production costdue to input materials price hike.The ministry put stress on promotion measures to ensure the group’s increase of 23% to$9.5 billion this year.In the first half of the year, Vietnam fetched $29.69 billion from goods shipment, an on-year increase of 31.8%, said the General Statistics Office (GSO).This means that Vietnam will have to earn a monthly export value of $5.25 billion in theremaining months of this year to realize the MoIT’s export target. (Vietnam EconomicTimes Jul 15 p1, News Jul 15 p2, People’s Police Jul 15 p1, Life & Law Jul 15 p2, VNSJul 15 p15, VNA Jul 14)Vietnam to Apply Quota & Absolute Tax on Coal Exports
  • 320. Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung has given in-principle approval to theMinistry of Finance’s proposal on applying quota and absolute tax on coal exports, statemedia reported.The move is aimed to further tighten control over coal exports.The government official entrusted the Ministry of Finance to coordinate with the Ministryof Industry and Trade and relevant agencies to work out a detailed implementationproject on the issue to submit to the prime minister for approval.According to coal-rich Quang Ninh province’s authorities, 10 million tons of coalillegally exported to China from Vietnam every year, causing a loss of VND4.5 trillion($281.25 million).In the first half this year, Vietnam shipped abroad 13.87 million tons of coal, a slip of14.9% on year, earning $728 million, up 43.3% on year, the General Statistics Office(GSO) reported.The Ministry of Industry and Trade said this year it will cut coal export by 5 million tonsas compared with last year’s figure of 32.5 million tons to serve the increasing domesticdemand. (The People Jul 15 p1, Labor Jul 15 p3, Vietstock Jul 14, Vietpan)Vietnam May Apply Automatic Licensing on Car ImportsThe Vietnamese government will allow the Ministry of Industry and Trade to apply anautomatic licensing scheme on car imports to limit automobile imports and control tradedeficit, state media reported.Under the new scheme, the ministry can stop licensing if necessary to restrain car importsin case other measures do not bring the desired effects.The ministry believes that the regulation, together with the import licensing scheme, willleave no other way for more cars to arrive in Vietnam.Current regulations on forcing car importers to pay tax before the imports get customsclearance has helped greatly in reducing imports.After three months of raising import tax and controlling customs clearance, the number ofcars imported in June decreased by a half over the previous month.The high import tax rate, currently at 83%, the regulation on paying tax before customsclearance and banks’ tightened credit have led experts to believe that there will be onlyseveral hundred cars imported in July. (VnExpress.net Jul 14)
  • 321. Industry:Technip Launches 3rd Single Point Mooring at Dung Quat Oil RefineryGeneral contractor Technip of Vietnams first oil refinery Dung Quat July 11 launchedthe third Single Point Mooring (SPM) at the plant, the Peoples Army newspaperreported.The equipment is designed with 360 tons in weight, 10 meters in height, 12 meters indiameter, and six solid anchors with life spans of 20 years each.The SPM equipped with the French modern technology, which is capable of receiving oiltankers with loading capacity of between 80 and 110,000 tons each, includes PLEMsystem, undersea pipeline with over 3 kilometers in length, and two 242-meter linkingpipelines.The facility to be fully operated in late July this year will help the oil refinery receive6,000 cubic meters of crude oil per hour, the Laborer Online newspaper said.The $2.5-billion oil refinery, with expected products of propylene, liquefied petroleumgas (LPG), lead-free petrol, diesel and fuel oil, is under construction in central QuangNgai province and is estimated to refine 33% of the country’s entire demand for petroland oil once fully operational in February 2009.PetroVietnam has recently sought permission from the prime minister to cooperate withforeign partners to increase annual capacity of the plant to 16.5 million tons from earlierdesigned 6.5 million tons. (Great Union Jul 14 p2, Peoples Army Jul 14 p1, LaborerOnline Jul 11)Vietnam, U.S. Boost Apparel CooperationThe Vietnam Textile and Garment Association (Vitas) said it signed cooperationagreements with the Texas Cotton-growing Association and the U.S. Cotton Council, theSai Gon Giai Phong newspaper reported.Accordingly, the U.S. will provide cotton and technical support for Vietnam’s textile andgarment sector.The U.S. is now Vietnam’s biggest cotton supplier. It supplies 30% of the Aseancountry’s total cotton imports.The agreements will help Vietnam develop its apparel industry step by step.The U.S. remained Vietnam’s largest apparel export market in the first half, with anexport turnover of $2.4 billion, accounting for 57% of the Asian country’s total exportvalue of the product, according to Vitas. (Liberation Saigon Jul 15 p2, Vietpan)
  • 322. $460-Mln EPC Contract Signed for Lam Dong Bauxite-Aluminum ComplexVietnam’s Vinacomin signed July 13 an engineering, procurement and construction(EPC) contract for the first alumina plant under the Lam Dong bauxite-aluminumcomplex with a Chinese firm, namely, Chalieco.The EPC bidding package is the biggest of the Lam Dong bauxite-aluminum complexproject. The alumina plant, set to have an annual capacity of 600,000 tons, is worth $460million. The construction of the plant is scheduled to be carried out in 24 months.The signing has marked the first step in forming Vietnam’s aluminum industry, saidDoan Van Kien, chairman of the Management Board of the Vietnam Coal and MiningIndustries Group, or Vinacomin.Kien added right after starting construction of the first alumina plant, Vinacomin willboost talks on another EPC contract for the Nhan Co alumina plant with the samecapacity in the begging of the fourth quarter. The plant also belongs to the Lam Dongbauxite-aluminum complex.The EPC contract for the first alumina plant was bid publicly in accordance withinternational practice. (Vietstock Jul 14)EVN Asked to Focus on Power ProjectsVietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has recently demanded state-ownedElectricity of Vietnam Group (EVN) to stop investment in non-electricity sectors and tofocus capital on power projects, state media reported, citing the government sources.The request is aimed at easing capital pressure of commercial banks and enhancingpower supply for the nation, the government official attributed.EVN must map out appropriate policy incentives so as to operate power plants onschedules in 2008, 2009 and 2010.The group was asked to continue negotiations with commercial banks to reach creditdeals for Son La, Huoi Quang, Ban Chat, Uong Bi expanded 2 power projects as well assynchronous power grids before July 18 this year.The deputy PM also requested EVN to change capital structure of hydropower projectsby mobilizing foreign investment and to continue equitisation of its subsidiariesThe Ministry of Finance must issue a regulation on the Vietnam Bank for Investment andDevelopment (BIDV)’s loan worth $400 million for Son La hydropower project.
  • 323. Meanwhile, EVN General Director Pham Le Thanh said the group has spent 3.54% orVND1.77 billion ($107,272) out of its total equity VND50 trillion ($3.13 billion) on non-power sectors.EVN has contributed capital to An Binh Joint Stock Commercial Bank (ABBank), AnBinh Securities Company, and Ha Thanh Securities Company; and is mulling over setupof EVN Finance Company (EVNFC).Thanh said that EVN will continue its current projects, has no intention to withdrawcapital from those, and will speed up setup of EVNFC on the government’s approval.EVN has decided to cancel 500 projects worth VND1.8 trillion ($112.5 million), makingup 4.18% of its total investment this year, to focus on key projects.The group said it needs around VND11.86 trillion ($178.78 million) from now toend-2008 to develop power generating and transmission line projects. (Labor Jul 15 p3,New Hanoi Jul 15 p1)Steelmakers Find Cash in Ingot ExportsVietnamese steelmakers are rushing to export steel ingots while the domestic market canonly afford 40% of raw materials for manufacturing steel, the Vietnam News Agencyreported.Shortages of steel ingots are causing difficulties for many producers. Steel ingots areexported at $1,200-$1.300/ton, but only fetch about $1,000 per ton for construction-gradesteel on the domestic market.The more steel they produce, the more they lose. Many steel businesses have been forcedto cut production by 20% to 30% and save their steel ingots for export.This is the main reason why domestic steel prices are soaring. The price of constructionsteel has increased to VND20 million ($1,250) per ton. It is likely to hit VND21 millionsoon.According to the industry insiders, exports of steel ingot by domestic steel producers areblamed for the lack of raw materials and the price hikes of construction grade steel.Local producers exported 7,200 tons of steel ingot in April and 74,000 in May. (VNA Jul15)Agriculture:InnovGreen Oked to Carry out $40 Mln Afforestation Project in Central Vietnam
  • 324. Central Quang Nam authorities have recently turned the green light to InnovGreen Corpto establish InnovGreen One Member Co. Ltd to carry out a $40 million afforestationproject in the province, the Thanh Nien newspaper said Tuesday.The 30,000 hectare project will be implemented in Dong Giang, Nam Giang, Tay Giang,Phuoc Son, Que Son, Hiep Duc, Nam Tra My, Bac Tra My and Tien Phuoc districts.Two thirds of the area will be exclusively for InnovGreen’s use, while the remaining areawill be used to grow trees jointly by the company and the province.The raw materials from the forest would be used to make paper and wood products.This is part of the $200 million afforestation project that InnovGreen will conduct inVietnam this year to cover around 300,000 hectares of bare hills in Vietnam.Last year, the corporation expanded eucalyptus areas in northern Quang Ninh provinceand some trees are now over 5 meter high. It plans to build a 40 hectare nursery toproduce 5 million saplings a year in the region.The project was initiated by Steve Chang, who is called the “Asian Bill Gates” andchairman of InnovGreen Corp. Ltd. and Taiwan Trend Micro Corp, one of the world’sleading groups in developing anti-virus software. (Young People July 15 p3, Vietpandatabase)Business:Vietnam Southern Province Licenses Five Projects worth $160 MlnSouthern Long An province July 14 licensed five projects totaling $160 million at aninvestment promotion conference held here, state media said.The largest project is Hong Phat Real Estate Company worth VND1.7 trillion ($106.2million), followed by Thinh Phat Electric Cable and Real Estate Company and VinaforTan An Ltd. Co. worth VND300 billion each.The two remaining projects are Taiwan’s Asia Golden Industrial Ltd. Co. capitalized at$17 million and Quyky Yanglei International Company, a $2.2-million Vietnam-U.S.joint venture.At the conference, the provincial authorities and the Vietnam Post andTelecommunications Group signed a memorandum of understanding on upgrading thetelecommunication in the province.The province also published a list of 12 projects calling for investment between 2008 and2010 with capital of $1.6 billion at the event.
  • 325. The locality is home to 219 foreign-invested projects valued at over $2.1 million andconcentrating on animal feed processing, wood processing and civil construction. Of thetotal, 102 are operational while another 114 under construction.Long An is an idea destination for investors due to its advantageous location close to HoChi Minh City, a long border with Cambodia, as well as the province’s significanteconomic achievements in the past few years, said Chairman of the People’s CommitteeDuong Quoc Xuan.Xuan said Long An targets to lure more domestic and foreign investors to become aprovince with developed industry and services by 2020. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul15 p1, Vietnam News Jul 15 p17)Seaport Cargo Reaches Record High in Jan-JunThe total amount of cargo transported via seaports in Vietnam in the first six months ofthis year was up 40% against the same period of 2007, said Vuong Dinh Lam, director ofthe Vietnam Marine Administration.The rate represents the ever biggest amount of goods handled through sea ports so far,Lam said.According to the administration, sea transport still carriers 80%-90% of total Vietnam’sexport-import products despite the currently rising transportation prices.Vietnam is now home to some 260 seaports with nine ports to be upgraded to handle50,000 DWT cargo ships or 3,000 TEU container ships.The Southeast-Asian country needs $5 billion to build and upgrade its seaport systemsfrom now to 2010, aiming to handle 250 million tons of cargo in 2010 and 550 milliontons in 2020. (Vietnam News Jul 17 p17, Vietpan Database)Yahoo, Intel Boost Cooperation to Benefit VietnameseIntel and Yahoo! Southeast Asia July 10 announced a cooperation program to developInternet access points in Vietnam’s public places, the Thoi Bao Kinh Te reportedMonday.Under the program, Intel will put into use 600 agents and introduce 12,000 Internetaccess points and coordinate with Yahoo! to renew equipment, assist software servicesbased on Yahoo! foundation and other infrastructure services in the Southeast Asiancountry.Internet access points joining the program will be listed on website and connected withowners of other Internet access points. They will also be provided with free Internetmanagement software.
  • 326. Around 1,000 Internet access points, mainly in big cities, are expected to be includedimplemented in the program in the first year, Yahoo! Vietnam general director Vu MinhTri said.“Vietnam has a high growth rate of Internet users, our firm is expanding involvement inthe country, Tri also said, noting that the partnership helped promote the informationtechnology development and benefits Vietnamese users.Intel’s survey revealed that Internet access points in Vietnam’s public places record anaverage growth rate of 15%, accounting for 60% of the total users.Vietnam currently has almost 20 million Internet users, more than six million of whomare internet service subscribers, representing 23.5% of the country’s population. Thecurrent rate is forecast to rise to 35% in 2010. (Vietnam Economic Times July 14 p21)5.5 Mln Vietnam Computers Attacked by Viruses in JuneMore than 2,600 new computer viruses attacked around 5.5 million computers inVietnam last month, said Vietnam’s leading cyber security center.Most of the viruses had originated abroad, said Nguyen Tu Quang, director of the HanoiUniversity of Technology’s Bach Khoa Inter-network Security.In particular, more than 1.2 million computers were infected with the Chinese-born W32Kavo virus and its variants in the previous month, the BKIS Director added.After first appearing in Vietnam in September last year, W32 Kavo now has more than3,190 variants spreading throughout local networks, according to the center.According to BKIS, 59 company websites were attacked by local and foreign hackers lastmonth.Computers infected with the virus can be controlled by other users who can hide files oninfected computers and use their programs. BKIS had also found security holes in thewebsites of 30 agencies in the telecommunications, banking and securities sectors.Statistics from BKIS showed that, of the 6,752 viruses that appeared in Vietnam in 2007,only 14 of them originated locally.Last year, about 90,000 computers in Vietnam were infected with a virus each day,causing the country’s computer users a total loss of VND2.4 trillion ($150 million).(News July 15 p6, New Hanoi July 15 p5, Labor July 14 p7, Vietnam Panorama)
  • 327. Foreign Investment:Vietnam Targets to Disburse $10 Bln FDI This Year-OfficialVietnam is expected to disburse up to $10 billion of FDI this year out of the pledged $40billion, Phan Huu Thang, head of the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s ForeignInvestment Department was cited by the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper as saying Tuesday.“The figure is achievable because big cities such as Ho Chi Minh City, southern DongNai, Binh Duong provinces, the magnet of FDI projects, have not updated their FDIfigures to the department” Thanh noted.In the first six months this year, $5 billion FDI capital was implemented, Thang said.The government of Vietnam has strong determination to curb inflation to stabilize themacro situation by adopting to cut 10% public investment, 25% of G-bonds investment.(Tuoi Tre Online Jul 15)Tourism:Furama Resort Danang Becomes Vietnam’s Leading ResortThe five-star Furama Resort in the central city of Danang has won the “Vietnam’sLeading Resort” title for 2008 by the World Travel Awards, the most prestigious awardsprogram in the international travel industry, state media has said.A total of 800 nominated companies and organizations were holding their breath to see ifthey had captured one of the coveted awards, bringing the recipients worldwiderecognition as supreme center’s of excellence.As designed, Furama Resort Danang covers almost 4 hectares on Vietnam’s Bac My Ansea beach. It was 198 orientally elegant rooms equipped with state-of-art utilities.The awards cover Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia,Japan, the Republic of Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand andVietnam, among others.“The awards are not gold medals,” said Graham Cooke, President and Founder of thehighly respected World Travel Awards. “But they certainly carry the same kind of kudosand international acclaim that the gold medal winners receive.” (Vietnam EconomicTimes July 10 p4, VietNamNet July 12)Politics & Law:Vietnamese, Russian Communists Enhance TiesStanding member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) CentralCommittee, Truong Tan Sang, affirmed the importance of traditional relations with
  • 328. Russia and the Russian Communist Party while receiving the secretary of the RussianCommunist Party (RCP) Central Committee, Dmitri Novikov July 14 in Hanoi.Sang said he believed the one-week visit to Vietnam by the RCP delegation, withNovikov as leader, will make contributions to fostering the traditional friendship betweenthe two parties and people.Novikov spoke highly of the role, position and prestige of the CPV as well as theachievements Vietnam has gained during the renewal process.He said he hoped the two parties increase meetings, and information and experienceexchange to enhance the Russia-Vietnam traditional friendship and comprehensivecooperation toward strategic partnership.He also informed Sang of the results of his talks and meetings with officials from Partyagencies and localities of Vietnam. (Website of CPV Jul 14, VNA)PM: Vietnam to Open Embassy in Israel to Beef up CooperationVietnam will open its embassy in Israel soon in order to expand the bilateral andmultifaceted relationship with the focus on economics, trade, investment and educationwith Israel, Prime Minister Nguyen told Israeli Ambassador to Vietnam, Ephraim BenMatityau.“Vietnam will create more favorable conditions for Israeli investors to effectively dobusiness in,” Premier Dung noted.In return, Ephraim Ben Matityau said Israel will help train 200 students of agriculturenext year.Israeli groups and corporations want to invest in oil and gas exploitation, oil refineryconstruction, energy, insurance, hospitality and salty treatment.Early this year, Vietnam and Israel started the first round of negotiations of the Vietnam-Israel Investment Protection Agreement, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.The bilateral trade between Vietnam and Israel has sharply increased in recent years afterthe two countries signed the bilateral trade and investment agreement in 2004. The twoway trade reached $113 million in the first nine months of 2007, up 50% from a year ago,the ministry said.Last year, an Israeli company signed a $1 billion contract with Vietnamese shipbuilder,Vinashin. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 15, Foreign Ministry’s Web site)
  • 329. Labor & Education:South Korea to Extend Contract for Vietnam LaborersThe South Korean Government will extend labor contracts for overseas laborers,including Vietnamese from next month, according to the Ministry of Labor, War Invalidsand Social Affairs.Accordingly, Vietnamese and other overseas laborers in South Korea will be allowed towork in the foreign country for five years.Earlier, overseas laborers were only allowed to work in South Korea in 3 consecutiveyears and they have to come back home for one month before Korean businessesreemploy them for additional two years.The labor contract extension is said to be a positive move by the South Koreagovernment after hearing lots of overseas laborers’ complaints about losses caused by itsearlier law.South Korea also remains a potential labor market of Vietnam. Last year, 10,490Vietnamese laborers got jobs in South Korea, up nearly 5,000 compared to the figure of2006. With the number, Vietnam is leading top ten countries allowed to send laborers tothe market.Vietnam sent more than 6,200 laborers to South Korea in the first six months of this year,according to the Overseas Labor Management Department.South Korea will need 15,000 Vietnamese workers this year. (Vietnam Economic TimesJuly 14 p2, People’s Police July 14 p2, Vietnam Panorama)Health & Environment:Vietnam: 16 Firms Illegally Raise Medicine PricesSixteen pharmaceutical enterprises have illicitly hike retail prices without the VietnamDrug Administration’s permission, Tran Quang Trung, Chief Inspector of the Ministry ofHealth (MoH) said July 14.The ministry’s inspectorate is considering punishing them as there is no sanctionregulating disciplines for this kind of violation, only via the administration’s punishmentof revoking import or trading licenses, said Trung without naming the violators.Some retailers have taken advantage of the administration’s recent announcementconcerning the drug price adjustment to raise the prices of some medicine items by 20%to 50% while the acceptable hikes for the first phase of 5%-10%, Cao Minh Quang,Deputy Health Minister.
  • 330. Others display only an ambiguous price list that makes it difficult for the government toprevent price increases that infringe on patients’ rights.The ministry has set up two interdisciplinary inspection teams to check medicine pricesin the northern and southern regions, the teams have fined some units in Hanoi forviolations of not displaying price tables and not giving red invoices.From July 8, Ho Chi Minh City-based Viet Ha Company had its license revoked toimport finished medicines, expect for import of drugs for urgent epidemic prevention,due to its illegal drug price hike, said the administration.Medicine prices have increased 8.93% since early 2007, said the administration.The ministry forecast that Vietnam will spend $1.36 billion on drugs this year, a surplusof 16.5% in comparison with previous estimation of foreign health organizations.On average, the country’s per capita medicine consumption is estimated to reach $15.2this year, up 13.43% on-year. (Labor Jul 15 p1)Work on $18-Mln General Hospital Starts in Southern ProvinceBach Tuyet Ltd., Co. has kicked off construction of a general hospital worth VND288billion ($18 million) in the southern province of Binh Phuoc, Saigon Liberationnewspaper reported.The hospital, which will have 250 sickbeds, comprises of many wards such as obstetrics,pediatrics, infection, odento-maxillo-facial and ophthalmology.Bach Tuyet general hospital occupying nearly two hectares in Phuoc Long town willprovide diagnosis and treatment for local residents and patients from the CentralHighlands region, and train health workers for local remote areas, said the newspaper.The newspaper, however, did not mention the expected completion time of the hospital.(Saigon Liberation Jul 15 p12)Culture & Society:Vietnam’s Hosting Miss World 2010 Unclear: Ministry OfficialThe RASS has worked against the official procedures when it announced that MissWorld 2010 pageant would be organized in Vietnam before asking the authorities’permission,” Le Ngoc Cuong, Head of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’sPerforming Arts Agency told Vnexpress newspaper online last weekend.The U.S.’s RASS Group signed with the Miss World Organization a memorandum ofunderstanding to secure the right to host the event in the country and announce it to themedia.
  • 331. Correctly, the host must submit their plan to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.The ministry will pass the plan to the Performing Arts Agency for verification. If the planis feasible, the agency will submit it again to the Ministry, which will consult relatedministries and agencies before sending it to the government for approval. If the plan isadopted by the government, it will be licensed and announced to the public.However, Cuong said, we have not yet received any document from RASS regarding theorganization of Miss World 2010 contest in Vietnam.This did not follow the country’s legal procedures, he affirmed.Organizing a beauty contest is a social activity to advertise Vietnam so the Vietnamesestate also facilitates the hosting. However, we have to obey principles, particularly beingcareful in signing any contract with a foreign partner, Cuong added.Le Xuan Than, Vice Chairman of Khanh Hoa province, where the Miss Universe 2008’scoronation took place July 14 with the victory of Miss Venezuela, said he receivedRASS’ announcement that perhaps Miss World 2010 pageant would be organized in theprovince.RASS CEO Hoang Kieu also told Vnexpress’ correspondent that he wishes and would tryhis utmost to bring the pageant to Vietnam. This is a big opportunity to advertiseVietnamese culture and tourism and it is also a big charity event, he said, adding KhanhHoa authorities and RAAS submitted July 11 an application to host the event to theMinistry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. (VnExpress Jul 11)Australia to Grant 126 Wheelchairs to Vietnamese ElderlyThe Australian Embassy in Vietnam will grant 126 wheelchairs costing $10,000 toelderly and handicapped people in central Vietnam via the Direct Aid Program (DAP)and the Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS), a state media said July15.The project will benefit people in the five central provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, HaTinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri, Public Affairs and Cultural Relations Manager of theembassy, Dinh Thi Viet Anh, said.The embassy July 14 donated 26 wheelchairs to elderly and invalid people in centralThanh Hoa province.It will provide a financial assistance of AUD90,000 ($87,000) a year to 10-12 smalldevelopment projects in Vietnam, Anh added.The projects aim to alleviate human suffering in disadvantaged communities in Vietnam,she said, noting that priority areas include health, education, infrastructure and
  • 332. environment. (Thanh Nien Daily July 15 p3, HCMCs Police July 15 p2, Labor July 15p7, Youth July 15 p6, The Elderly July 9)Vietnam Detects 160 Women, Children Trafficking Cases in H1Vietnamese authorities detected 160 women and children trafficking cases in the first halfof the year, arrested 299 traffickers and brought 185 to courts.The figures were heard at a meeting for mid-year review held by the GovernmentSteering Board on Women and Children Trafficking Control in Hanoi on July 14.Addressing the meeting, Maj. Gen. Trieu Van Dat, deputy general director of the PoliceGeneral Department under the Ministry of Police said the crime has shown a growingtrend towards foreign involvement, which has made the fight more difficult.Seriously, the police forces razed some rings trafficking men and infants, he added.In the six month period, authorities also received 238 trafficked women and children toreturn home and integrated into the community. (People’s Police Jul 15 p2)Vietnam Police Bust Gun-Smuggling RingPolice forces in seaport city of Haiphong have unearthed a gun-smuggling ring thatallegedly sold guns related to assassination of a customs official recently, the HCMC CityLaw newspaper said.The municipal investigation police agency of C17 said they had arrested Vuong Tai Phu,a weapon trader, who is found guilty in selling guns to Luu The Nhuong, the killer, thenewspaper said.The local police forces seized two guns and 32 bullets, an old-fashioned gun barrel, asports gun. Phu confessed buying weapons in Mong Cai of northern Quang Ninhprovince.In late April this year, at the UN General Assembly, Vietnam reiterated its stance to favorthe action agenda to prevent and eliminate illegally trafficking of light weapons of anyforms.Use of weapons is prohibited in Vietnam.Vietnamese police have busted several weapon smuggling cases since the beginning ofthis year. (HCMC Law Jul 15 p2)Waterway Accidents Kill 89, Injure 21 in Jan-June
  • 333. Vietnam saw 150 waterway accidents in the first half of this year, which killed 89 andinjured 21, the Quan Doi Nhan Dan newspaper said, citing the Waterway Traffic Policeslatest report.Although the number of accidents increased by 32 cases, the fatalities dropped 13.5%, theVietnam News Agency said.The country also witnessed 141 water transport vehicles sink, causing a loss of VND26billion ($1.6 million).The overloaded vehicles, poor management of river routes and waterway transportservices were blamed for the rising number of accidents.Traffic police nationwide fined 743 stations, over 1,870 vehicles and 97 floating fish-breeding cages for violating water traffic regulations. (Peoples Army July 14 p8, VietNam News)Stock Market:ACB Okayed to Raise Equity to VND5.8 TlnHCM City branch of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has turned green light to AsiaCommercial Bank (ACB) to raise its chartered capital to over VND5.8 trillion fromcurrent VND2.63 trillion, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.The increase consists of VND1.47 trillion from reserve fund and VND1.7 trillion fromcapital surplus, the paper said, quoting SBV sources.As planned, the HCM City-based lender would have scaled up its chartered capital toVND6.355 trillion.The SBV has, however, rejected the plan, saying that it has not yet approved the increaseof VND550 billion pursued by ACB from issuing convertible bonds in the first phase of2006.In the first half of 2008, ACB, Vietnams biggest listed bank by assets, attained pre-taxprofits of VND1,000 billion. The figure is expected to increase to VDN2.5 trillion for thewhole this year. (Youth Jul 15 p15)Sacombank Cancels Share Issue to Raise CapitalThe Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank) has decided tocancel its plan to issue additional shares to raise more fund in order to maintain stable andsafe growth and avoid share price dilution, Vietnam News Agency reported.
  • 334. The bank will not issue additional VND889.7 billion shares to its existing shareholders,three million shares to its senior staff, and 1.286 million shares to foreign investors fromAugust 8 to September 20.The State Securities Commission (SSC) has allowed Sacombank to issue only VND667.3billion worth of shares to pay 2007 dividend at 15% at 20-to-3 ratio.Shareholders should register as of July 25 to receive the dividend. The extra shares willbe listed on the southern bourse September 15.Under the initial plan, Sacombank will scale up its registered capital to VND6.048 trillion($378 million) from current VND4.449 trillion ($278.1 million) by issuing extra VND1.6trillion from shareholders.Sacombank, Vietnam’s second biggest listed bank behind Asia Commercial Bank (ACB)by assets, said it earned pretax profit of VND754 billion in the first six months, up 23%on year, and its total assets expanded 95% on year to VND74.9 trillion. (Vietnam &World Economy Jul 14 p6, Vneconomy Jul 13)ABT Posts Net Profit of VND22.7 Bln in H1, Up 19.2%Ben Tre Aquaproduct Import and Export Joint Stock (ABT) reported that it netted profitof VND22.7 billion ($1.4 million), an increase of 19.18% against the same period lastyear.The company’s net revenue reached VND240.2 billion ($15 million), increasing 20.3%on year.The figure of net profit and revenues finished 57.4% and 48.03% of the years target.This year, ABT set a target to produce 9,000 tons of seafood product for net profit ofVND39.6 billion, and a net revenue of VND500 billion, with dividend payment atbetween 30% and 40%.The company recently announced it would pay cash dividends for the second half of 2008at a ratio of VND1,500 per share in August.ABT shares closed down 2.5% at VND39,600 each on 96,760 shares changed hands.(Securities Investment Jul 11, APT)Jul 15: Vietnam Shares Gain on Stronger Recovery HopesVietnams shares ended higher Tuesday as local investors continued buying onexpectations that the market will recover by the end of this year on stable economy.
  • 335. “More and more players are pumping cash in securities with hopes that the currentrecovery whirl will drive the key index to 500 soon and even higher next week,” onetrader with VNS Securities said.“After some listed giants such as Vinamilk and Sacombank reported big earning for thefirst half, investors are looking for many other companies to announce profitable results,”he said.Listed companies often released their second-quarter operational results from middleJuly.“Investors are buying to catch the recovery trend after state media said the market isforming a middle-term uptrend,” the trader added.VN-Index today gained 11.86 points, or 2.53%, at 479.8.Market volume totaled 9.7 million shares valued at VND330 billion Tuesday, up from 7.9million shares valued at VND249 billion Monday.TTP, today’s most active stock, rose 2.7% at VND22,500 on 927,530 shares, including1,600 shares bought and 832,280 shares sold by foreigners.SAM, the second most active stock, closed up 2.9% at VND28,700 on 790,790 shares, ofwhich foreign investors bought 17,290 shares and sold 507,680 shares.PPC surged 3% at VND31,000 on 652,970 shares, including 416,100 shares bought and4,000 shares sold by foreigners.BT6 is the most advancer, rising 3% at VND51,500 on 6,380 shares changing hand.In the downside, AGF fell 2.2% at VND31,000. Of 176,520 shares traded, foreignerbought 2,200 shares and sold 148,170 shares.KRM is the most decliner, losing 2.8% at VND38,000.In total, 143 stocks ended higher, eight lower and one unchanged.All four fund certificates closed higher. (HOSE July 15)Vietnam NewsJuly 14, 2008Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,510
  • 336. Banking & Finance:Vietnam Central Bank Tightens Forex Agent’s OperationThe State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has issued a decision to re-adjust regulations onoperation of foreign exchange desks, the SBV website said July 11.Under the new Decision No.21/2008/QD-NHNN, replacing the Decision No. 1216/2003/QD-NHNN dated October 9, 2003, the central bank has ordered 3,600 domestic moneydesks to re-apply for their license to trade foreign currencies.The move is aimed to ensure money changers to follow regulations on foreign currencymanagement of the central bank, according to the decision, which didn’t say when thenew decision will come into effect.Money desks need to re-apply in the next three months or so, the decision said.The central bank will only allow money changers to operate from hotels of at least threestars, border gates, travel agents, airline offices, entertainment areas for foreigners andshopping centers, the decision said, but did not disclose when it will come into effect.Authorities have the right to revoke the license of any money changers who won’t selldollars to banks.July 12, the buy/sell rate for USD/VND at Vietcombank and at Vietnam Export ImportBank (Eximbank) was VND16,813/VND16,848 and VND16,813/VND16,848,respectively.In Hanoi, people crowded jewelry shops and foreign currency exchange agents to buyU.S. dollars as the buy/sell rate dropped to VND16,900/VND17,000 on the same day.Agents are selling the dollar at VND16,800 to customers trading more than $1,000.The exchange rate of the dollar on the black market tumbled after the SBV ensured asufficient supply of dollars to meet basic goods importers’ demand.East Asia Bank, Sai Gon Commercial Bank, the Bank for Investment and Developmentof Vietnam (BIDV) and the Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank(Techcombank) agreed to sell the dollar at listed prices to all clients.Individuals with legitimate needs for dollars, including studying abroad, travel, andoverseas medical treatment, can also buy dollars from the bank, said BIDV chairmanTran Bac Ha. (Labor Jul 14 p3, www.sbv.gov.vn Jul 11(Dong A Bank Eyes Overseas Remittance Up 20% to $1.2 Bln in 2008
  • 337. Dong A Commercial Joint Stock Bank is eyeing to transfer $1.2 billion of overseasremittance via its Dong A Remittance Co., this year, an increase of 20% from 2007, saidLe Tri Thong, the bank’s deputy general director and chairman of the company.In the first six months this year, the company transferred $631 million remittance,reaching 52.6% of the yearly plan, he said.Dong A Remittance Co. helped overseas Vietnamese send home $1 billion in 2007,accounting for a 20% market share in Vietnam.In the first half this year, some other banks also saw significant remittance transfer suchas Sacombank with transferred value of $420 million, or ACB with remittance surging125% on year.Recently, DongA Bank has cooperated with MoneyGram to provide a door-to-dooroverseas remittance forwarding service for Vietnamese.Nick Cunnew, the regional director of MoneyGram Asia-Pacific and Southeast Asia, saidthat with more than three Vietnamese people living abroad, the country’s remittancemarket holds full potential.According to the Committee for Overseas Vietnamese, remittances sent to Vietnam lastyear reached $5.5 billion, an increase of $1 billion from 2006. (Young People Jul 14 p7)Samsung Life Insurance Enters Vietnam MarketSouth Korean-based Samsung Life Insurance Company will open a representative officein Vietnam on July 17, the Vietnam Economic Times reported.The company received license for establishment of the office on April 17.The office will study a business model suitable to Vietnam market and a strategy topenetrate to and tap business opportunities in the country.Samsung Life Insurance is a key member of Samsung Electronics Company as well asSamsung Group. It reported insurance premiums of $27.6 billion in 2007, holding thelargest market share of 28% of income insurance in South Korea.The company is running 11 offices, including one in Vietnam, in seven countries.(Vietnam Economic Times Jul 14, Investment Jul 14 p3)[Samsung Life Insurance explores Vietnam marketHanoi (ANTARA News/Asia Pulse) - Samsung Life Insurance Company inauguratedTuesday its representative office in Hanoi, marking its presence as one of South Koreasleading insurers in Vietnam.
  • 338. South Korean Ambassador to Vietnam Im Hong Jae said the opening of therepresentative office was an indication of Samsung Life Insurance Companys confidencein the future growth of the Vietnamese insurance market.Samsung Life will join 35 other foreign life and non-life insurers to explore the insurancemarket in Vietnam where 5 per cent of the population currently have life insurance.]AIG Introduces Export Credit Insurance in VietnamAmerican International Group, Inc. (AIG) has started providing export credit insuranceservice for Vietnamese exporting companies through its affiliate in the country, statemedia reported.The service will help Vietnamese exporters reduce credit risk and enable them to be moreable to negotiate with importers and increase their international competitiveness, saidChristopher Shortell, the credit insurance vice president of AIG in Asia and China.Export credit insurance provided via AIG Vietnam Non-life Insurance Company willmake it possible for an exporting company to obtain a bank loan that could amount to90% of the value of the products, he said.When buying export credit insurance, a company may also have opportunity to obtaincredit from many other sources.Vietnam is a potential market for export credit insurance service as the country has awide range of export items including agricultural products, seafood, industrial productsand handicrafts.There, however, has been few export credit providers in Vietnam while domesticcompanies know little about the service. The Government has not yet put in place anyincentive policies to support this kind of service. (www.ven.org.vn Jul 11)Trade:U.S., E.U, Japan Remain Vietnam’s Biggest Apparel Importers in H1The U.S. remained Vietnam’s largest apparel export market in the first half, with anexport turnover of $2.4 billion, accounting for 57% of the Asian country’s total exportvalue of the product, the Vietnam Textile and Garment Association (Vitas) said.The European Union (E.U.) came in second with $780 million, while Japan ranked thirdwith $360 million.Vitas said despite growing material prices, Vietnam raked in close to $4.2 billion fromtextile and garment exports in the period, an on-year rise of 20%.
  • 339. The US Department of Commerce’s failure to find proof of anti-dumping conduct ofVietnam’s textile and garment industry was a good sign for the sector’s export activitiesin the time to come, the association added.This year, Vietnam hopes to earn $9.5 billion from shipping apparel products abroad, up23% against last year.To reach the yearly target, local businesses should make greater efforts to make an exportturnover of $5.3 billion in the second half when they still face difficulties, includingincreasing material prices, high loan interest rates, human resource shortages, and highinflation, Vitas Chairman Le Quoc An said.An said that in addition to the challenges, the industry has many advantages. He said ithas received a lot of orders and there is no concern about anti-dumping lawsuits.The official recommended businesses increase exports of high value-added and newproducts in order to reduce the impacts of monitoring operations imposed by importingnations.Enterprises should be more active in expanding into new markets, particularly in theMiddle East and Africa, and fix their shortcomings in management and productivity, Ansaid. (VNA Jul 11)Vietnam Imports $614.4 Mln Goods from Indonesia in Jan-AprVietnam reportedly spent $614.44 million importing commodities from Indonesia in thefirst four months of this year, said the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s website.In April, the country imported $172.18 million from the ASEAN country, said thewebsite.In the first four months, Vietnam bought vegetable oil and grease worth $104.23 million,$53.7 million paper products, $44.5 million machines and equipment, $41.2 million steeland iron, $40 million auto spare parts, and $39.1 million petroleum products.Vietnam’s total exports to Indonesia, however, were not made available. Crude oil, rice,coffee, garments and textiles, plastic products, rubber, sugar, coal, computers andelectronic products, seafood products, foot wears and vegetables are the country’s keyexport items. (Vinanet Jul 14)Industry:Vietnam PM OKs Land to Oil Refinery, Petrochemical Projects in Central VietnamVietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has recently approved 3,070 hectares foran oil refinery, a petrochemical industrial park and Phu Yen Naphtha Cracking
  • 340. petrochemical complex in central Phu Yen province, state media reported, citing thegovernment sources.Of the total, 410 ha is to build a $1.7-billion Vung Ro oil refinery in Hoa Tam communeof Dong Hoa district, Phu Yen province by a joint venture between TechnostarManagement Ltd. of the U.K. and Russias Telloil.Meanwhile, 2,600 ha was approved for infrastructure construction of $11-billion HoaTam petrochemical industrial park and Phu Yen Naphtha Cracking petrochemicalcomplex, which is invested by Singapore’s SP Chemicals.The rest of the land will be allocated to Hoa Tam resettlement project.The aforementioned projects will be added to lists of works using land between 2006 and2010 of Phu Yen province.Vietnam now has no oil refineries. The first Dung Quat is under construction in centralQuang Ngai province with expected operation in next February.The country was estimated to have spent $5.92 billion importing 6.81 million metric tonsof petroleum products in the first six months of 2008, up 68.9% on year and 4.42%,respectively. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 14 p3, Investment Jul 14 p2, Vietpan)Vietnam Likely to Encounter Steel Shortage in Two MonthsVietnam may lack steel in two months unless the government allows firms to reflect trueworld steel prices, the Vietnam Investment Review newspaper cited Nguyen ThanhChuy, deputy general director of Vietnam Steel Corp. (VSC), as saying.Many steel companies stopped importing steel or even re-exported steel billets becauseglobal prices had skyrocketed while the local price has not increased since March, 2008,Chuy said.Chuy said world prices of steel billets have gone up to $1,200 per ton while VSCcompanies still have to sell their steel at VND15.2 million per ton, equivalent to the steelbillet price of $850 per ton.Raising steel prices is necessary, said the second proposal by Vietnam Steel Associationsent to the government at the end of June.To avoid losses, almost all steel companies have not signed contracts to import steelbillets since March, leaving Vietnam in danger of lacking steel billets in the comingmonths, it said, adding several steel companies’ re-exportation of steel billets contributedto the country’s likely shortage of billet steel.
  • 341. At present, the country has stockpile of 255,000 tons of steel and 300,000 tons of steelbillets. This stockpile of steel and billets is still sufficient for the domestic demand in Julyand August, Chuy said. (VIR Jul 14 p11)Apparel Sector Facing Huge Difficulties despite High Export GrowthVietnamese textile and garment makers are facing difficulties despite their high exportgrowth in the first half this year, said Le Quoc An, chairman of the Vietnam Textile andGarment Association (Vitas).“The sector made export revenues of $4.2 billion in the first half, representing 44.21% ofthe yearly target of $9.5 billion and increasing by 20% on-year. It may reach $5.3 billionexport turnover in the second half thanks to a lot of orders,” An added.He, however, said local garment enterprises are facing many difficulties, including capitalshortage and workforce crisis.At present, the enterprises are very difficult to borrow loans and they can not raise pricesof their products despite rising material prices, An added.In addition, serious labor shortage and continuous strikes have hit hard the industry.The difficulties made profits of the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group(Vinatex), the country’s biggest apparel maker, reduce to VND119 billion ($7.21 million)in the first half, representing merely a half of the set target.The textile and garment sector is now Vietnam’s biggest forex earner, excluding crudeoil, making up 15% of the country’s total export revenues. It is employing 1.2 millionworkers. (VietNamNet, Vnexpress)Business:Vietnam Real Estate Market Continue Confronting Difficulties-Property AnalystVietnam’s real estate market will be encountering difficulties in a year and half to comedue to the global economic recession and shortage of investment capital, Prof PhD DangHung Vo, former Deputy Minister of National Resources and Environment told the Voiceof Vietnam in a recent interview.Most real estate project developers are based mainly on bank loans, and now banks haverecently refrained from providing loans for real estate projects and other sensitive areas todampen speculation, Mr Vo said.Asked whether the market will be frozen, Mr Vo pointed out that will depend onimplementation of measures to curb inflation by the government of Vietnam.
  • 342. To effective deal with speculation, Prof-PhD Vo proposed renewing the tax on land use,the government has asked the Ministry of Finance to compile and adjust the revisedordinance on tax and land use.Vo said he already mentioned this issue several years ago.“The tax is always an effective tool for regulating profits on the market, limitingimaginary demand and breaking “bubbles” that drive up prices in the real estate marketand create over-speculation,” Mr Vo noted.The Vietnamese national assembly has approved a resolution to allow foreigners to ownhouses from Jan 1 next year and Mr Vo called this resolution a reasonable policy in theintegration process and will have positive impact on the local real estate market.However, realty developers have faced toughest-ever challenges as prices of propertydived 50%-60% in the first five months, and dropped 10% in June this year.If the downtrend doest not stop, three fourths of the real estate companies in Ho ChiMinh City will go bankrupt in a couple of months, the Ho Chi Minh City Real EstateAssociation said. (VietnamNet, Voice of Vietnam Jul 13, cafef.channelvn.net Jul 6)Central Vietnam Economic Zones Pulls in $1.66 Bln InvestmentThe Chan May-Lang Co Economic Zone (EZ) in central Thua Thien-Hue province has todate attracted 30 investment projects totaling VND27.47 trillion ($1.66 billion), VietnamNews Agency reported.So this year, the zone lured seven projects worth VND18.3 trillion ($1.1 billion),including three foreign-invested ones.The Chan May-Lang Co EZ, 70 kilometers southwest of Hue city, has a natural acreageof 27,108 hectares, covering Lang Co town and three communes of Loc Thuy, Loc Tienand Loc Vinh of Phu Loc district with a population of 41,000.Thua Thien-Hue province has concentrated on developing infrastructure for tourismservices in Lang Co beach and put in operation the Chan May deep-water port which isable to receive over 50,000-tonne ships.The province also offered tax and land rent incentives to lure more investors to the ChanMay-Lang Co EZ, which is expected to be a momentum for central Vietnam’s economicdevelopment along with the economic zones of Chu Lai, Dung Quat and Nhon Hoi.(Vientam News Agency Jul 13)Acer Names New Distributor in Vietnam
  • 343. Computer provider Acer appointed the Petrosetco Distribution Company as an authorizedagent in Vietnam July 11, the Thanh Nien newspaper reported last Saturday.Petrosetco was established last October to distribute telecommunications and IT products.Its network covers eight cities and provinces, including Hanoi, Haiphong, Danang, HCMCity and Can Tho.Vietnam is a potential market with the personal computer market demand grew 210% inthe first quarter on year with strong sales of laptops, a survey by International DataCorporation (IDC) of Vietnam shows.Imported laptops showed a growth of 64% and represented 15% of the total units in thepersonal computer market.The commercial computer market also showed a 19% growth in sales, compared to lastyear’s first quarter.Another IDC and Gartner survey also showed that the growth rate of the global computermarket is expected to surpass 12% this year.Vietnam might enjoy a higher rate, Dao An Khanh, general director of Acer Vietnam,said, adding that last year Vietnamese bought some 250,000 laptops and consumers areexpected to buy 60% more this year. (Young People July 12 p2, Investment July 14 p3)VinaPhone to Invest $1 Bln in 3G DevelopmentVinaphone, one of the three largest mobile-phone operators in Vietnam is planning toinvest $1 billion to develop the third-generation (3G) mobile network in the upcoming 15years, the Buu Dien (Post) newspaper reported Monday.“The investment would help our company ensure 3G service quality when it gets thelicense,” Vinaphone Director Hoang Trung Hai said, adding that his company has madecareful preparations for the service.Though lagging behind regional countries in deploying the third-generation (3G) mobilenetwork, Vietnam has potentials for this technology development, Hai said, noting that3G service will help ease overloads and problems of 2G service.At present, the Ministry of Information and Communications is preparing to grantlicences to four enterprises to offer 3G service by the end of this year. However, all sevenmobile service providers: MobiFone, Vinaphone, Viettel Mobile, S-Fone, EVN Telecom,HT Mobile and GTel, said they have had technology infrastructure and developmentstrategy ready for 3G service business.If mobile-phone networks get licenses to offer 3G service in 2008, the service will beavailable in 2009, Hai added.
  • 344. VinaPhone currently provides coverage in 64 provinces and cities in Vietnam and haslinks with mobile operators in more than 60 countries and governed territories. Itssubscribers hit 12 million.Vietnam now reports around 58 million phone subscribers. (Post July 14 p6, VietnamPanorama)VNPT to Change Fixed Phone Numbers in 53 Localities in OctThe Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) will change its inland phonenumbers from six to seven digits in 53 provinces and cities starting from October 5, 2008,the Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper reported last Friday.The number ‘3’ will be added before the first digit of the current phone number to makethe new one, a VNPT official said, adding that the regional codes stay unchanged.In order to create favorable conditions for subscribers, both the old and the new numberswill be available for use during the transferring time, he also said.The 53 localities consist of An Giang, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Bac Lieu, Bac Giang, BacKan, Bac Ninh, Ben Tre, Binh Duong, Binh Dinh, Binh Phuoc, Binh Thuan, Ca Mau,Cao Bang, Dong Thap, Gia Lai, Ha Giang, Ha Nam, Ha Tinh, Hoa Binh, Hung Yen,Khanh Hoa, Kon Tum, Lang Son, Lao Cai, Lam Dong, Long An, Ninh Binh, NinhThuan, Phu Tho, Phu Yen, Quang Binh, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Quang Ninh, SocTrang, Son La, Tay Ninh, Thai Binh, Thai Nguyen, Thua Thien – Hue, Tien Giang, TraVinh, Tuyen Quang, Vinh Long, Vinh Phuc, Yen Bai, Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Dak Lak,Dak Nong, Can Tho and Hau Giang.Earlier, VNPT also changed its fixed phone numbers in six provinces and cities, namelyDanang, Dong Nai, Kien Giang, Ha Tay, Hai Duong, Haiphong, Nam Dinh, Nghe Anand Thanh Hoa.The country’s largest telecommunications group finished the equitization process of its20 affiliates during 2005-2007, raising its total number of equitized entities to 39.It plans to push ahead the equitization of its key affiliates this year.VNPT group secured net revenues of VND45.3 trillion ($2.8 billion) in 2007, a year-on-year increase of 14% against those of 2006. Sixty per cent of these revenues came fromits two mobile operators, MobiFone and VinaPhone. (Labor July 11 p3)Agel Vietnam Debuts
  • 345. Agel Holding Co has just made Agel Vietnam, the 6th branch in the Asean bloc and 47tharm in the world to introduce skin care products and Gel Nutritionals products inVietnam, the state-run newspaper of Industry and Trade said.Agel Vietnam will distribute skin products namely Ageles of seven different types.Agel Vietnam is 90%-invested by the U.S. Agel Holdings.Vietnam is a potential cosmetic market with 21 million women, cosmetic product users,who is estimated to spend $755 million on cosmetics, skin care and make-ups products.(Newspaper of Industry and Trade Jul 13)Foreign Investment:MPI: Vietnam Expects $40 Bln FDI This YearVietnam is expected to receive pledged foreign direct investment of $40 billion this yearto double last year’s pledged figure, Vietnam News Agency cited the Ministry ofPlanning and Investment as saying.With a series of projects being negotiated, Vietnam expects a total FDI capital of $40billion this year thanks to long-term economic prospects, Phan Huu Thang was quoted bythe agency as noting.In the first six months, Vietnam reported a pledged $31.6 billion FDI, surpassing 48% of2007’s figure with 55.4% invested into industry and construction and 44% in services,Thanh said.The Asean country disbursed $5 billion during the period. (Vietnam News Agency Jul11)S.Korea Remains Biggest Foreign Investor in VietnamSouth Korea has so far poured $13.5 billion into Vietnam, taking the lead among 80foreign countries and territories making direct investment in the country, Vietnam NewsAgency said.Of the total, some $2.7 billion was invested into Vietnam’s stock market and the rest areinto construction projects, the news source said.Last year, South Korean companies invested $4.58 billion in Vietnam, ranking the firstamong foreign investors in the Southeast Asian country for the two consecutive years.Keangnam Group was the biggest South Korean investor in Vietnam in 2007 with a $1-billion project to build the 70-storey Hanoi Landmark Tower in Hanoi.
  • 346. It was followed by Charmvit Group, which will build a $500 million 27-storey HanoiPlaza Twin Tower with a five-star hotel and a high-end office building.The Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra) said that not only small andmedium-sized businesses but also more big firms from South Korea are eying Vietnam’skey industrial sectors such as petrochemical, oil refinery and steel projects.The agency, however, noted that businesses from South Korea have still complainedabout poor infrastructure, high land price as well as lack of information about Vietnam’sinvestment environment. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 13, Vietpan Database)Vietnam, Malaysia JV Licensed for $120-Mln Project in HCM CityAseana BDC Company, a joint venture between Aseana Properties of Malaysia and theBinh Duong Joint Stock Company, July 11 received a license from Ho Chi Minh City’sauthorities for a $120-million residential area, Vietnam News Agency said.The joint venture will build Horizon Place residential area on 8,400 square meters in thesouthern commercial hub’s district 4.The area, which houses two apartment buildings, an office building and a trade center, isslated for construction in this fourth quarter and completion in 2012.The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) said that between January and June thisyear, the city lured over $7 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI), a record in the past20 years and equal to the total FDI attracted in the past three years.The southern hub is now home to 2,837 valid FDI projects with registered capital totalingnearly $24.4 billion, the MPI said.The largest FDI projects are a $3.5-billion Berjaya international university townshipwhich is soon be signed and a $1.2-billion Teco software park which received license onJune 16. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 11, Vietnam Economic Times Jul 14 p1)Tourism:Brunei Firm Okayed to Build $4.3 Bln Tourist Complex in Central VietnamNew City Properties Development Co. Ltd. from Brunei has got a license to build a high-grade tourism complex to the tune of $4.3 billion in the central Phu Yen province ofVietnam, the Thanh Nien newspaper said last Saturday.To cover 565 hectares in Tuy Hoa city, the project will feature luxury resorts, 4,300 five-star and 8,900 four-star hotel rooms, 160 high-grade villas, a 36-hole golf course andmany other service facilities.It is scheduled for completion in 2017.
  • 347. On the occasion, Phu Yen province also granted investment licenses to three new and twoexpanded projects with a combined capital of $64 million. These projects are expected tocreate jobs for more than 33,000 workers.Phu Yen has a lot of beautiful natural landscapes and some cultural and historical placesso that they can be built to become zones for tourism resting hunting climbing andswimming.The provinces tourism developing project includes the following contents. - Upgradingand expanding the system of hotels in Tuy Hoa Town building the coastal lines Tuy Hoa- My A and some separated resorts at the My A Beach. (Vietnam Economic Times July14 p1, Young People July 12 p3, Labor July 12 p7)Politics & Law:Vietnam Urged to Enhance Ties with Asia, Africa, Latin AmericaVietnam should share its experiences in poverty reduction with Asian, African and LatinAmerican countries as well as learn about economic development experiences fromdeveloped countries in the regions, Former Vice President Nguyen Thi Binh said.Binh, who is also vice chairwoman of the Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Organization(AAPSO), made the statement at the 5th national congress of the Vietnam Committee forSolidarity and Cooperation with Asia, Africa and Latin America in Hanoi on July 11.During the congress, participants discussed measures to maintain and acceleratesolidarity and cooperation with people in the three regions.They said the committee should coordinate with organizations in the regions to holdworkshops to promote mutual understanding and help boost cooperation in culture,economics and science.The participants elected the 12-member Presidium for the 2008-2013 tenure, with PhamVan Chuong, former director of the Commission of External Relations of the PartyCentral Committee being chairman.The Vietnam Committee for Solidarity and Cooperation with Asia, Africa and LatinAmerica, whose forerunner is the Committee for Solidarity with Asia, was set up inOctober 19, 1956.It has been seen as the most active member of the AAPSO in Asia and has madecontributions to campaigns to boost solidarity with people in Asia, Africa and LatinAmerica. (VNA Jul 11)Fund to Protect Vietnamese Citizens Outbound Launched
  • 348. A fund to protect and assist outbound Vietnamese citizens officially came into effect July6, with an initial budget of VND20 billion ($1.25 million), the foreign ministryannounced.The fund will enable government agencies abroad to assist Vietnamese citizens whenthey are in need, including in cases of temporary arrests on charges of violating theresident country’s law, said the fund’s director Duong Chi Dung, who is also the directorof the Foreign Ministry’s Consulate Affairs Department.There is a growing number of incidents with many Vietnamese citizens because thenumber of Vietnamese living abroad is keeping rising.The fund will cover non-refundable and refundable expenditures.Non-refundable grants will be used to help protect people’s lives and moving them tosafe places in case of war, conflict, natural disasters, epidemics, terrorism attacks andkidnappings.Refundable expenditures include advance payments for hospital fees, medicines, airtickets to return to Vietnam, accommodation and food, funerals, cremations and thetransportation of deceased citizens.Those receiving them will have to make written commitments to pay back the money.However, Vietnamese people residing overseas, who buy local insurance, are not eligibleto the special support.Speaking at a press conference in Hanoi July 11, Deputy FM Dao Viet Trung said as thenumber of Vietnamese living abroad is on the rise, there is a growing number of incidentsinvolving many Vietnamese citizens beyond their means or finding themselves in troubleand needing assistance from the State.Vulnerable groups include trafficked people, overseas laborers, people getting marriedwith foreigners and fishermen.Since 1998, over 7,000 Vietnamese women and children were trafficked across borders.In 2007, over 653 local fishermen were detained due to illegal fishing.Prior to the establishment of the fund, almost victims were self-rescue and receivedfinancial supports from international organizations, particularly the InternationalOrganization for Migration (IOM), to return back home. (VNA Jul 11, Saigon Marketing)Labor & Education:Israel Helps Vietnam Train Education Managers
  • 349. The Israeli Embassy is joining hands with the Hanoi Teachers’ Training College inorganizing a course on educational management with the aim to provide knowledge andskills in leadership and management for local educational managers, state media said.The course starts July 14 and will end July 18.Trainees will learn about education outside school, skills to work in groups,communication, decision making and leadership in education.About 60 officials from schools and education and training departments in the countrywill attend the course.Education cooperation has been one of the main pillars of relations between Vietnam andIsrael since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1993. (People’s Army July 11 p8)Health & Environment:Vietnam’s Institute Succeeds in Making H5N1 Vaccine for Humans in LabThe Nha Trang Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biological (IVAC) in central KhanhHoa province has successfully produced the first five batches of 5,000 doses of influenzavaccine A/H5N1 for humans in its labs, the An Ninh Thu Do (Capital Security)newspaper reported July 14.The vaccine (FLUVAC) has proved its immune effects on tested mice and chickens, saidthe institute.Currently, the IVAC is seeking the Ministry of Health (MoH)’s approval to conduct testson humans.It will continue produce an additional 5,000 doses of the vaccine for human tests.In March this year, the Military Medical Institute started the human trial of H5N1 vaccineon produced by the Vaccine and Bio-Medical Products Company No. 1 (Vabiotech)under the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE).The two-period trial will be tested on 270 volunteers during eight months to determinethe vaccine’s safety and the suitable dosage.Since early this year, Vietnam has reported four H5N1 human infections and all ofpatients died after hospitalization, raising the countrys total infections and deaths sinceNovember 2003 to 105 and 51, respectively. (Capital Security Jul 14 p2, Vietpan)Vietnam to Host 6 ASEAN Environmental Events in OctVietnam will host six important ASEAN environmental events from October 5 to 12 todiscuss issues relating to natural and biodiversity conservation, climate change, rising sea
  • 350. level, water resource management and environmental protection, the Sai Gon Giai Phong(Saigon Liberation) newspaper said Monday [July 14].The events include the 1st East Asia Environment Ministerial Meeting, the 11th ASEANEnvironment Ministerial Unofficial Meeting, the 7th ASEAN Plus 3 EnvironmentMinisterial Meeting, the 4th Trans-border Smog Meeting, the 1st East Asia EnvironmentExhibition and the Prize-presenting Ceremony for ASEAN Cities with SustainableEnvironment.The meetings will map out an action plan to implement the declarations by leaders at thethird East Asia Summit (EAS) in Singapore on energy, climate change and environmentalprotection.Participants will include Environment Ministers of ASEAN member countries, Japan, theRepublic of Korea and China, ASEAN Senior Officials on the Environment (ASOEN)and the ASEAN Secretariat.Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha said at aconference July 11 held in Hanoi, the events will be a good chance for Vietnam to gainexperience from other countries on environmental protection when climate change has adirect impact on Vietnam and its environmental security. (Liberated Saigon July 14 p1,VNA, VietNamNet Bridge July 13, Labor July 11)U.K, Taiwan Donate EUR500,000 to Build Wildlife Rescue Center in VietnamThe United Kingdoms Monkey World-Ape Rescue Center and Taiwans Primate RescueCenter have funded EUR500,000 (nearly $795,000) to build a wildlife rescue center,specializing in primate at the Nam Cat Tien National Park in southern Dong Naiprovince.The National Park July 12 put into operation the 30 hectare center inside original forestson the Tien (Fairy) island between the Dong Nai River and the Da Hoai River, theVietnam News Agency said Monday [July 14].The center will conduct researches on rare primates’ habitat to farm rescued animals inthe natural environment before releasing them into the forests.It consists of 10 cages on 700 square meters, a feed-processing factory and an office forexperts acting like a “Hospital in the Forest.”The “Hospital” has a main task to rescue, provide medical treatment and take care of rareanimals after rescuing them from cages and before releasing them to the nature.The two foreign organizations have sent their experts to the Nam Cat Tien National Parkto help local colleagues fulfill their mission. (Vietnam News Agency July 13)
  • 351. Germany, Australia Grant EUR4.4 Mln for Biosphere Reserve in Southern VietnamSouthern Kien Giang authorities and the German Agency for Technical Cooperation(GTZ) will sign a EUR4.4 million grant deal July 16 to 18 to preserve the Vietnameseprovince’s biosphere reserve, the Cong An Nhan Dan (People’s Police) newspaper saidMonday [July 14].Of the sum, EUR4 million will come from the German government and the AustralianAgency for International Development (AusAID) and EUR400,000 from the reciprocalcapital of Vietnam.The project will be implemented in Phu Quoc and U Minh Thuong National Parks, andthe coastal preventive forests of Kien Luong, Hon Dat, An Minh and An Bien districts.Its first phase will be conducted from now up to 2011. (Peoples Police July 14 p6)Culture & Society:Vietnam to Conduct National Population & Housing Survey in Apr 2009Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung July 10 gave the green light to a planconducting a national population and housing survey April 1, 2009, local media reportedJuly 14.The 15-day survey is aimed to collect basic data of population and houses across Vietnamto serve research on population and housing development.Results, which will be publicized in the third quarter of 2010, inform an assessment ofthe implementation of the 2000-2009 socioeconomic development plan and assist inmapping out a development plan for 2010-2020.Data taken from the survey will also help monitor Vietnam’s implementation of the UNMillennium Development Goals.Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung was appointed as the chairman of the steeringboard for the general population and housing survey.The census, the second of its kind in Vietnam, is estimated to need around VND255billion ($15.94 million), up 2.8 times against the first conducted in 1999.Currently, Vietnam is the world’s 13th most populous country with 86.5 million people.Vietnam reports the world’s highest population density at 252 residents/km2 incomparison with the world average of 35-40, welcoming over one million newborns eachyear. (Vietnam Law Jul 14 p2, Vietnam Financial Times Jul 14 p1, VNA Jul 11)
  • 352. Stock Market:Vietnam Stock Market Forming Medium-term Upward TrendVietnam’s stock market is forming the medium-term upward trend after exceeding theshort-term trend by rising for 14 consecutive sessions, the Tin Tuc newspaper reported.A new cash flow is being poured into the market, helping it maintain the upward trend forsuch long time, the media said.The last weekend session saw a surging demand of local investors, who bargain-huntedsuch blue-chips as Phu My Fertilizer (DPM), Sacombank (STB) and Saigon SecuritiesInc. (SSI), the newspaper cited International Royal Securities Co. (IRS) as saying.A series of positive information about Vietnam’s macroeconomic situations have beendisclosed, such as high foreign currency reserve, inflation lowered, FDI surged and GDPgrowth maintained, which help ease pessimisms about future of the market.In addition, two other investment channels, gold and dollar, cooling down, also proppedup money flows to the stock market.Nguyen Quang Tung, director of a South Korean investment fund in Vietnam, said hisfund and some others considered the 400 point level is an ideal time for investment.Therefore, the market has such a strong purchasing power.Nguyen Son, head of the Market Development Committee, under the State SecuritiesCommission, said Vietnam has opened more than 430,000 accounts for individualinvestors and about 2,000 accounts for institutions as of June 30, 2008, increasing by30% and three times, respectively, from the beginning of this year.An analyst from IRS, Nguyen Khac Duan, said technical factors indicated that Vietnam’sstock market index started to form a bullish trend for medium term, from three to sixmonths.The trend will be certainly confirmed in case the index maintains upward for two weeksmore, he said.Another IRS analyst said shares will continue to rise or stay flat because they havereasonable prices, which are equal or twice against book values now. (News Jul 14 p4)Vietnam Bank to Auction VND500 Bln Long-term BondsThe state-owned Vietnam Development Bank (VDB) will sell VND500 billion ($31.3million) of government bonds in its third tranche via the Hanoi Securities Trading CenterJuly 16, the Vietnam Economic Times reported.
  • 353. The bank will auction VND300 billion ($18.8 million) in 10-year bonds, and VND200billion ($12.5 million) in 15-year bonds, which will be issued July 18.The bonds will be offered at par value under the book-entry form and then listed onHASTC.VDB, one of the countrys two policy lending banks, couldn’t to sell VND500 billion in15-year bonds in its first tranche in March as the ceiling coupon offered by the bank wasonly 8.8%.Commercial banks has been reduced the interest rate recently, putting higher hope ongovernment bonds auction. (Vneconomy Jul 14, Labor Jul 14 p3)Vinamilk Posts VND777 Bln Pretax Profit in H1, Up 35.8%Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk), the countrys leading milkproducer, reported it earned pretax profit of VND777 billion ($48.6 million) in the firsthalf of this year, up 35.8% on year.The company made revenues of VND4 trillion ($250 million) in the period, an increaseof 27% over the first half of 2007. Its profit and revenue figures accounted for 58.6% and48.3% of the years targets, respectively.The dairy maker targets net profit of VND1.14 trillion and revenues of VND8.2 trillion in2008, rising 18% and 23% over 2007. Its earning per share will be VND6,175 this year.Vinamilk will scale up its registered capital to VND1.84 trillion from current VND1.75trillion after it sells and lists 8.76 million shares on the Singaporean stock market.(Vietstock Jul 11, CafeF, ATP Jul 10)Vosco H1 Revenues up 59.2% at $77.3 MlnVietnam Ocean Shipping Joint Stock Company (Vosco) has said that it gained VND1.3trillion ($77.3 million) revenues in the first half of the year, up 59.2% on year,Vietnamese state media said.Vosco made VND190 billion pre-tax profit in the first six months this year, or 118.07%of this year’s target. The profit is accredited from the VND80 billion sale of two ships:Fortune Fighter and Fortune Navigator.The company has recently opened a brokerage agent in Ngo Quyen District, Hai PhongCity to offer securities services.Vosco said that it will auction roughly 50.2 million shares Sept 12 this year on the HanoiSecurities Trading Center.
  • 354. After its share auction, Vosco will increase its registered capital to VND1.4 trillion withstate holding of a 60% stake, or 84 million shares.Vosco netted a profit of VND36.5 billion in 2006, down from VND64.4 billion in 2005and VND74.5 billion in 2004. (VietnamNet Jul 13, Transport Time Jul 14)Jul 14: Vietnam Shares Rise on Middle-Term Uptrend HopesVietnams shares closed higher Friday for fifth straight day in a row on local buying afterstate media reported that the market is forming an uptrend for middle term with a newmoney inflow pumped in.Sentiment becomes strong after the Tin Tuc newspaper cited an analyst at InternationalRoyal Securities Co. (IRS) as saying that the continuous rise in past three weeks helpeddrive the market toward the medium-term upward trend.Investors are shifting investment from gold and dollar markets, which are cooling down,to stock market ahead the improvements of macroeconomic situations in foreign currencyreserve, inflation, FDI and economic growth.Buying interest is also boosted because an official of the State Securities Commissionrevealed that number of individual accounts rose 30% and of institutions soared threetimes so far this year.“Demand for shares is increasing but supply is tight because investors hope shares tofurther rise in coming weeks, with the index to hit 500 soon,” a Hanoi-based trader said.VN-Index today rose 11.3 points, or 2.47%, at 467.94.Market volume was 7.9 million shares valued at VND249 billion Monday, down from11.3 million shares valued at VND379 billion last Friday.TTP, the most active stock, closed up 2.8% at VND21,900 on 877,200 shares, including646,100 shares sold by foreigners.BBC, today’s second most active stock, rose 2.9% at VND28,400 on 390,810 shares, ofwhich foreign investors bought 36,700 shares.HPG surged 3% at VND48,100 on 306,700 shares traded, including 26,600 shares boughtby foreigners.DPM ended up 2.6% at VND56,000. Of 206,790 shares traded, foreigners bought 57,900shares and sold 100,500 shares.In the downside, ANV fell 2.8% at VND53,000 on 150,920 shares, including 66,000shares bought and 147,080 shares sold by foreigners.
  • 355. PAC lost 8.2% at VND41,400 on ex-right date.In total, 142 stocks ended higher, seven lower and three unchanged.All four fund certificates closed higher. (HOSE July 14)Vietnam NewsJuly 11, 2008Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,513Banking & Finance:Brazil Largest Bank Mulls to Open Branch in VietnamBanco do Brasil, the largest financial organization in Brazil, will consider opening abranch in Vietnam, said Admilson Monteiro Garcia, the bank’s regional general directorfor Asia.Banco do Brasil will expand network to Asia in the coming months, and the opening of abranch in Vietnam is possible, he said on the sideline of the forum “Brazil-Vietnam:Building new partnerships” in Hanoi July 10.The rising two-way trade between Vietnam and Brazil in recent years and the twogovernments’ commitments for stronger bilateral economic ties are important factors forBanco do Brasil to consider opening a branch in Vietnam, Garcia said.Brazilian businesses are interested in Vietnam, he said, given that as many as 30 seniorofficials from 16 Brazilian leading companies are accompanying President Luiz InacioLula da Silva on a visit to Vietnam from July 9-10.Meanwhile, Vietnamese enterprises are eyeing Brazil as a potential market.During the forum, Banco do Brasil and the Bank for Agriculture and Rural Developmentof Vietnam (Agribank) signed a memorandum of understanding on exchanginginformation and supporting the Brazilian and Vietnamese businesses in their import andexport activities.The signing was witnessed by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva andVietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai.This is the first step of the two banks’ cooperation in the future, Garcia said. (VNA Jul11)Vietnam to Restrict Investment in Bank Establishments
  • 356. Vietnam will restrain investments by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to form banks asSOEs allegedly invested into non-core business, the Government Office’s DeputyChairman Pham Viet Muon said at a press brief Thursday."The prime minister asked state-run economic groups and corporations to inform abouttheir investments in banking and finance and securities sectors. Only after thegovernment approves, they can invest," Muon said.He said that the Vietnam Oil & Gas Group (PetroVietnam) is not permitted to hold stakein Petro Vietnam Bank (Hong Viet Bank) because it is now the founding shareholder inthe Global Petroleum Commercial Joint Stock Bank (GP-Bank).If PetroVietnam wants to found Hong Viet Bank, it must withdraw stake from GP Bank,he noted.Vietnam Textile & Garment Group (Vinatex) Chairman Le Quoc An said "Vinatex hasalso planned to set up a new bank, but now it is not the proper time,"Economic analysts expressed their worries over the establishment of too many banks.Huynh The Du, lecturer of the Fulbright Program said "it is impossible to banestablishment of new banks; however, management bodies can set higher requirements torestrict establishment of new banks."Vietnam now has total 93 domestic, foreign-invested and joint venture banks, 10financial firms, 13 financial leasing firms and 998 peoples credit fund.The State Bank of Vietnam has so far received 53 applications to form new banks,foreign bank branches and 100% foreign-owned banks. (Young People Jul 11 p6,Vietnam Panorama)BIDV Injects $26.3Mln in Domestic MarketBank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) distributed $26.3 million asforeign currency assistance to domestic banks through the inter-bank market on July 8-9,the Saigon Economic Times reported.The move has helped stabilize domestic foreign currency market, which have witnessedstrong fluctuations over the recent months.BIDV has not only satisfied the foreign currency demand of its customers but also helpedother banks to ensure their business, said Hoang Huy Ha, vice general director of theHanoi-based bank.On July 8, BIDV pledged not to sell U.S. dollars at quoted prices and set aside 20% of itsdollar resources to sell to foreign banks on the inter-bank market.
  • 357. The unlisted bank has also affirmed it has sufficient supply of dollars to meet demand ofenterprises, individuals, and even foreign banks. (Saigon Economic Times Online Jul 9)Nearly 5% of Vietnamese Buy Life Insurance PolicyLess than 5% of Vietnamese population has bought life insurance policy with an averagecost of only $7 a person, said Peter Lai, general director of Cathay Vietnam LifeInsurance Ltd Co at the inaugurating ceremony.Lai also revealed at the ceremony held in Hanoi July 8 that total life insurance premiumsin Vietnam account for only 1% of GDP.The figures proved that Vietnams life insurance potential remains high, which is to bethe reason why the Taiwanese Cathay Life opened its subsidiary capitalized at US$60million in Vietnam, Lai added.The opening of Cathay Life Vietnam is part of the Taiwanese insurers long-termdevelopment strategy in Asia.Cathay Life Vietnam will have two offices in Hanoi and HCM CityVietnam is now home to eight life insurer, including the only state-run Bao Viet. Theother seven are all foreign firms. (Pioneer Jul 9 p2)Trade:Industry and Trade Ministry Propose Cutting Paper Import TaxThe Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade has sent a document to the Ministry ofFinance asking for cutting paper import tax from 5% to zero in an effort to cool downdomestic paper market, Vietnamese state media said Friday.The Saigon Liberation newspaper reported that the ministry also suggested imposing 5%value-added tax (VAT) on pulp and paper.The MoIT also called for policies encouraging waste paper recycling and deducting VATon paper material, which had been used, for saving and environment pollution reduction.The Vietnam Pulp and Paper Association said that Vietnam has been facing papershortage since June 2008, forecasting that the shortage will last until the third quarter of2008.Currently, prices of imported print paper are around $800 a ton in Vietnam. They areforecast to rise to between $825 and $850 a ton in the coming time due to weak supply atAsian market.
  • 358. Tan Mai Paper JSC said prices of print paper will rise by VND1 million a ton at itsfactories from July 15, averaging at VND17.4-18.6 million a ton. (Saigon Liberation July11 p6, The Youth p14)Industry:Vietnam, Brazil to Boost Cooperation in BiofuelsBiofuel development and cooperation, particularly in field of ethanol, has topped theagenda of meetings between visiting Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva withVietnamese leaders, state media reported.“Biofuels is of great important to such countries like Brazil and Vietnam due to potentialof job creation, energy access diversification and democratization, reduction of world’sdependence on polluting and expensive fossil fuel, and mitigation of greenhouse effectemissions,” president Da Silva said.“Biofuels may be a good choice to help countries escape from energy and food unsafety”,he attributed.Addressing a seminar entitled “Brazil-Vietnam: Building new cooperation” July 10,Brazilian Minister of Foreign Trade, Industry and Development Miguel Jorge noted,“Ethanol is a potential field by both countries [Vietnam, Brazil]”.Vietnam and Brazil July 10 signed an agreement on scientific and technologicalcooperation as a move to open bilateral coordination in the biofuel sector.Brazil is the world’s first and sustainable biofuel economy with advanced technology andcompetitive prices. Ethanol industry brings in $19 billion for the Latin American countryannually and creates over 30,000 jobs.Vietnam plans to turn out 250,000 tons of ethanol and vegetable oil to fuel 1% of thenational gasoline demand by 2015.The country’s first biofuel project is underway in central Quang Nam province sinceApril 2007. (Labor Jul 11 p6, Vietpan)Holland Pledges EUR3.1 Mln to Build Biogas Cellars by 2010The Dutch government has pledged EUR3.1 million non-refundable aids for a project tobuild biogas cellars across Vietnam by 2010, the Nong Thon Ngay Ngay (CountrysideToday) newspaper reported.The finance will help build an additional 140,000 biogas cellars in 50 cities and provincesin Vietnam, the source said.
  • 359. The project costs a total of EUR44.8 million, including EUR600,000 technical assistanceby the Dutch Development Agency and EUR3.5 million of Vietnamese reciprocal capital.Vietnam is forecast to lack 8.6 billion kWh this year.So far, 40% of Vietnam’s electricity output is dependent on hydropower sources that arevulnerable to natural disasters such as drought.The biogas is one of potentials alternative energy. Other includes solar, wind-to-powerand biomass which Vietnamese government encourages for development and usage tooffset the country’s power shortages. (Countryside Today Jul 10 p7, Vietpan)Three Foreign Banks Lend $116 Mln to Ca Mau 2 Power PlantThree foreign banks today [July 11] will clinch a credit deal to lend a total $116.25million to Ca Mau 2 power project invested by state-owned oil monopoly PetroVietnam,the Vietnam News Agency reported, citing PetroVietnam sources.The banks are namely CALYON of France, KfW of Germany, and FORTIS of Belgiumand Holland, the sources said.The loan aims to timely supply capital for PetroVietnam to complete the $430-million CaMau 2 power project on schedule, according to the newspaper.The 750-megawatt power plant is part of the $1.2 billion Ca Mau gas-power-fertilizerproject in An Khanh commune, U Minh district, southern Ca Mau province.PetroVietnam put into use two turbines of the plant in June of this year, and will strive tocomplete and operate the joint cycle of the plant in the fourth quarter of this year.The group is set to suspend 112 projects this year worth around VND6 trillion ($363.63million) in an effort to curb inflation and practice thrift under the government’s direction.It is taking some drastic measures to add 1,360 MW to the national electricity grid in Julyof this year in a bid to ease the country’s current severe power thirst. (Vietnam & WorldEconomy Jul 11 p5, Vietpan)Vietnamese Cement Maker to Build VND1-Tln Steel MillCan Tho Cement Joint Stock Company will build a steel ingot refining mill worth morethan VND1 trillion ($60.6 million) in Mekong Delta Can Tho City, the Dau Tunewspaper reported.The factory, set to cover an area of 70 hectares of land at the O Mon Industrial Park, willhave an annual capacity of 350,000 tons.
  • 360. The mill will become the first of its kind in the Mekong Delta region.Earlier, the company was licensed to make a joint venture with Cambodia’s OmsauraCo., Ltd to make a joint venture, namely ACAV-ICO Group Co., Ltd, based in PhnomPenh.The joint venture’s main operation is to exploit laterite ore in Baray district ofCambodia’s Compongthom province with a capacity of 50,000 tons a month. (InvestmentJul 11 p1)Lilama 18 to Develop $4.2 Mln Steel Factory in Southern VietnamLilama 18 Joint Stock Co has invested VND70 billion ($4.24 million) to build a steelfabrication and chemical-equipment factory in southern Binh Duong province’s Ben Catdistrict, the Vietnam News Agency said Friday.The mill is set to be capable of manufacturing 7,000 tons of equipment a year.Currently, the facility is producing 2,200 tons of products, mainly for Binh Phuoc cementfactory and the Phu Huu cement grinding station.It also produced 1,700 tons of equipment for export to Australia and Cambodia, servicingthe construction of the Brightwater Wood Processing plant and the Kampot cementfactory. (VNS Jul 11 p16)Vietnam Central Province Encourages Exploitation of Quartz SandCentral Thua Thien-Hue province is encouraging enticing investors to invest inexploiting and processing of quartz sand – a plentiful source of material in Phong Diendistrict, Vietnam News Agency said.White sand covers an area of some 17,500 hectares in Phong Dien district, spreading overcommunes of Phong Hoa, Phong Binh, Phong Chuong, Phong Thu and Phong Hien town.Sand containing quartz covers an area of around 42 kilometers with estimated reserves ofmore than 41 million cubic meters.Quartz sand source in the district is able to supply to many industries like glass-makingand china and pottery production, opening chances and prospects for the development ofconsumer-good production industry in the locality.The local authorities have allowed VICO Minerals and Investment Joint Stock Companyto conduct studies on exploring, exploiting and processing quartz sand reserves in thedistrict.
  • 361. Earlier, the province had licensed Hue Frit Glaze Joint Stock Company to invest inmining white sand at Phong Hoa commune to serve production. The project worthVND12 billion is aimed to supply around 40,000 tons of white sand a year for Phu BaiGlaze Frit Factory. (Vietnam & World Economy Jul 11 p6)Agriculture:Vietnam Eyes $2 Bln Coffee Export Revenues YearlyVietnam has great potential of coffee production and will likely gain $2 billion fromcoffee exports yearly, the Vietnam News Agency reported, citing analysts.Luong Van Tu, chairman of the Vietnam Cocoa and Coffee Association (Vicofa), saidjoining the World Trade Organization (WTO), Vietnam has opportunity to serve fivebillion consumers with total expenses hitting $635 billion annually.He said the world coffee consumption may rise by two million bag (60kilo/bag) a year,and the volume will be 140 million bags in 2018.Vietnam now has around 500,000 hectares under coffee cultivation, exporting 850,000tons of coffee to 70 countries and territories worldwide yearly.In the first half of 2008, the country’s coffee export revenues surpassed $1 billion despitea sharp fall of export volume. (Vietnam News Agency July 10)Vietnam Northern Province to Set up 85,000 Hectare Paper Material Forest AreaNorthern Tuyen Quang province authorities have approved a project to set up more than85,650 hectares of paper material forest for the An Hoa pulp and paper mill.The project will be carried out in 105 communes of Tuyen Quang township and fourdistricts of Yen Son, Son Duong, Ham Yen and Chiem Hoa.The An Hoa Mill with total investment of VND5 trillion will cover 222 hectares in LongBinh An IZ, Vinh Loi commune of Son Duong district. Its construction is expected to becompleted in the second quarter of 2009.Once operational, the mill will be able to produce 130,000 tons of paper yearly, by using500,000 tons of timber and 200,000 tons of bamboo. (Saigon Liberation July 10 p2)Navico Opens VND450 Bln Seafood Plant in Can ThoNam Viet JSC, or Navico, July 11 officially inaugurated Indian Ocean Seafood Plantwith the total investment of VND450 billion in Can Tho city, the Vietnam Association ofSeafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said on its Web site.
  • 362. The plant, with total capacity of 700 tons fish materials a day, is expected to help dealwith a large amount of oversized tra and basa catfish being stockpiled.Navico said the new plant will increase its total capacity to more than 1,000 tons a day,and help keep its first position in exporting seafood in Vietnam.As of June 11 2008, Navico signed contracts to buy more than 40,000 tons of oversizedcatfish from farmers, under direction of Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai.Navico’s net profit in the first quarter of 2008 decreased 30.23% on year to VND6billion. (Vasep July 10)Business:State-owned Enterprises Post VND510 Tln Revenues in H1, up 50% YearThe government of Vietnam said on its Web site that 74 out of 100 state-owned groupsand corps in total posted aggregate revenues of VND510 trillion ($30.9 billion) in thefirst half this year, up 50% on year despite the country’s economic difficulties.Up to 97% of the corps reported profitable operations, Deputy Minister of theGovernment Office Pham Viet Muon told a press briefing Thursday [July 10] in Hanoi.“The state-owned groups and corporations, the backbones of the country’s economy,have played a pivotal role in stabilizing the country’s economy despite difficulties, globaleconomic slow down squeezed by soaring oil prices and inflation,” Muon noted.Deputy Minister Muon also hailed the roles played by the Vietnam Northern FoodCorporation, or Vinafood 1, and the Vietnam Southern Food Corporation, or Vinafood 2,in cooling down rice fevers to stabilize the market in late April and early May this year,Vinachem and its affiliates for stabilizing fertilizer prices.PetroVietnam imported 60,000 metric tons of liquefied gas to keep gas prices stable andreduced 10%-15% of fertilizer prices, Muon added.Deputy Finance Minister Tran Xuan Ha also told the meeting that 76 groups and corpshad raised VND514.465 trillion by the end of 2007, up 1.36 folds compared with theequity.To iron out concerns raised by mass media about investments by groups and corps inrecent months, Deputy Minister Ha said several of groups and corps invested a totalVND7.37 trillion in banking, finance and real estate, accounting for only 2.16% of theirequity and 0.92% of their assets value.In the first half this year, Vietnam sold shares in 62 state-owned firms, bringing up thetotal of privatized firms to 3,786 now. Currently, Vietnam has 1,720 state-ownedcompanies. (Government Jul 10)
  • 363. Vietnam PM Okays Construction of Vietnam-Laos Border RegionVietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung July 9 approved a plan to build Vietnam-Laos border zone by 2020 into an area for economic exchange between the north and thewest of the country, Vietnam News Agency reported.Under the plan, the region will focus on developing forestry development and protectionand biodiversity, agricultural production, mining, construction material industries as wellas key irrigation and hydro power projects.The plan also specifies development orientation of the regional space and technicalinfrastructure and prioritized projects in the five and ten-year period.The targeted region will include 10 provinces of Dien Bien and Son La in the north,Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue and QuangNam in the central Kon Tum in the Central Highlands, covering over 95,240 squaremeters.The government will build prioritized policies to lure domestic and foreign investment inregion to develop border economic zones, economic zones, industrial parks, tourism sites,training and medical centers, trade centers and other infrastructures in urban areas.(Vietnam News Agency Jul 10, Vietnam Economic Times Jul 11 p4)Vietnam Airlines Selected as Sole Carrier for 60th Miss WorldThe national carrier Vietnam Airlines will be the official and sole carrier for the 60th MissWorld to take place in Vietnam from mid-Sep to Oct 2010, the Youth newspaperreported.Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed with U.K.’s Miss World Co,Vietnam Airlines will cover all transport for the beauty contest during one month, thepaper said.The 60th Miss World is expected to receive 130 contestants from many countries andterritories worldwide, in addition to famous singers and music bans.Pham Ngoc Minh, general director of Vietnam Airlines, said the event will be held incoincidence with celebrations of the millennium anniversary of Hanoi-Thang Long,giving the country the chance to show it is a dynamic, rapidly integrating and attractivecountry that still maintains the value of its traditional culture.Minh said the event is a big opportunity for Vietnam Airlines to show its role as anational air carrier, promising to try its best to promote Vietnam culture and people to theworld. (The Youth July 11 p4)
  • 364. Politics & Law:Vietnam, Brazil Sign Four Cooperation DocumentsPresident Nguyen Minh Triet and his visiting Brazilian guest, President Luiz Inacio Lulada Silva, witnessed July 10 the singing of four significant cooperation documents, localmedia said.They include a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the establishment of anIntergovernmental Joint Committee, a bilateral Agreement on Science and TechnologyCooperation, an MoU on fighting poverty and a MoU on sports Cooperation betweenVietnam’s Ministry of Culture Sports and Tourism and Brazil’s Ministry of Sports.Earlier, the two leaders discussed measures to boost the bilateral relations as well asinternational issues in common concern.The Vietnamese president affirmed his country wanted to enhance multifaceted ties withLatin American nation, particularly in economy, trade, investment, oil and gas, fisheries,education, health and poverty reduction.The Brazilian president, in reply, said the two nations have targeted to raise bilateral tradeto $1 billion by 2010 and the figure will probably be higher if the two sides takeadvantage of every cooperation opportunities for long-term benefits.The two leaders reached an agreement on continuing to enhance bilateral cooperation ininternational organizations and multilateral forums such as the UN, the WTO, the Non-Aligned Movement and the forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation.Triet said Vietnam supported Brazil in its bid for non-permanent membership of the UNSecurity Council in 2010.They also agreed on the necessity to urgently reconsider the world’s food productionsystem, as well as to soon complete the WTO Doha Round negotiations.President Luiz later met with top leaders of Vietnamese Government, Communist Partyand National Assembly, General Vo Nguyen Giap.“I could not leave Vietnam without visiting the general,” Lula told him at his Frenchcolonial mansion in Hanoi, where Giap presented him with a copy of “UnforgettableYears and Months,” one of his many historical memoires.The PM Dung told the guest would create favorable conditions for Brazilian businessesto invest long-term in Vietnam and expect Brazil to help Vietnam with coffee plantingand processing as well as bio-energy development.The Brazilian president and his delegation of 16 leading firms also attended a “Vietnam-Brazil economic conference: Building new partnership”.
  • 365. Deputy PM Hoang Trung Hai told the conference Brazil currently ranks 65th amongnations and territories investing in the country. (Labor Jul 11 p1, Vietnam News p2, VOVNews Jul 10)Labor & Education:Vietnam May Stop Sending Workers to Czech RepublicVietnam may stop sending laborers to the Republic of Czech, the Saigon Giai Phongnewspaper reported Friday.The Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) said that Vietnam hashardly sent workers to this market for a long time, explaining that Vietnamese workerswho are paid with good salaries in the Czech Republic have to wait in hopelessly.In fact, the Czech Republic has temporarily stopped granting entry visa for Vietnameselaborers due to chaos in the market.MOLISA, and the Ministry of Police, Foreign Affairs, and Justice July 10 held a meetingin an effort to deal with the situation. The ministries proposed the government to eitherstop sending laborers or draft requirements to limit the number of workers to the market.No final decision has been made at the moment.Currently, around 50 Vietnamese companies join labor export activities to Europe,including the Czech Republic.The country generated more than 42,000 overseas jobs in the first six months this year,fulfilling 49% of the year’s target. Of the figure, 17,252 came to Taiwan (China), morethan 6,200 to Malaysia; around 6,400 to South Korea and 2,400 to Japan, According tothe Bureau of Administration on Overseas Workers under MOLISA.Vietnam aims to create 85,000 overseas jobs this year. (Saigon Liberation July 11 p11,Vietnam Panorama)UNESCO Vietnam Inks First Education Pact with Local GroupThe Vietnam National UNESCO Committee and Nguyen Hoang Group have recentlysigned an agreement on cooperation in education and training, state media has said.This is the first deal the Vietnam National UNESCO Committee signed with a domesticpartner to promote international cooperation and boost educational activities, includingcooperation with foreign countries and international organizations.
  • 366. The pact aims to promote cooperation with UNESCO in the development of a high-quality information school (iSchool) system, Deputy Foreign Minister Ngyen Van Tho,who is also chairman of the Vietnam National UNESCO Committee, said.The system will be implemented in the 2008-2009 school year, he said.Under the deal, the Vietnam National UNESCO Committee will provide the NguyenHoang Group with information relating to major trends of UNESCO’s education andtraining development to promote cooperation in the iSchool system.Nguyen Hoang Group, which is specialized in information technology, runs Vietnam’smost modern computer production factory in Ho Chi Minh City, has the task ofreviewing and assessing advantages and disadvantages in implementing UNESCO’s newideas at the iSchools.Vietnam National UNESCO Committee will be supportive of improving educationquality, using English at schools, and training teachers in order to build international-standard schools in Vietnam.Currently, Vietnam has 357 universities, institutions and colleges. The proportion ofstudents to Vietnam population is 136/10,000. The communist country targets increase ofthe ratio of students to population to 200/10,000 by 2010, and 450/10,000 by 2020. (VNAJuly 8, Vietnam Panorama)Vietnam Polls Public for Syllabi & TextbooksThe Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) July 7 started gatheringpublic ideas and suggestions on syllabi and textbooks at a public referendum athttp://diendan.edu.net.vn with the aims at further improving and perfecting them in thenear future, state media has said.The move has been followed current typical mistakes in textbooks published by theEducation Publisher including knowledge content, dictation, marks, figures, ways ofexpression, inexact style and quotation, term translation mistakes, and differentinformation among books.All individuals, organization, educators, managers, scientists and pupils can voice theirideas at the forum or they can send them by email at gopyGK@moet.edu.vn.Feedback must be given in 20 days. Special cases which need more time must haveapproval from MoET leaders.If necessary, the Department of Information Technology can co-ordinate with theEducation Publishing House and related agencies in order to organize online seminarsand collect ideas at http://hop.edu.net.vn/sgk.
  • 367. Valuable ideas will receive awards.Previously, MoE assigned the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Association tocollect ideas on syllabi and textbooks for all subjects. However, because of limited time,the union could only give an initial assessment.The department is assigned to organize the forum, while the publisher, the Departmentsof Primary Education and Secondary Education, the Vietnam Education Science Instituteand various groups of authors are responsible for acquiring, exchanging and givingfeedback to ideas on the forum.Vietnam has spent a lot of money on textbooks and curricula over the last several years.Especially the country spent VND30 billion ($1.87 million) on textbook and curriculareforms at all levels in 2007. However, current system and materials are inadequate andregressive. (Young People July 8 p2, Vietnam Panorama)Health & Environment:WB Signs $60 Mln Deal to Improve Healthcare Service in northern VietnamThe World Bank and the State Bank of Vietnam Thursday [July 10] signed a $60 millioncredit agreement for a $66 million project to improve healthcare services in districtclinics in northern Vietnam, Vietnamese state media said Friday.The fund is to be funded by the International Development Association (IDA) under theWB, the Ha Noi Moi newspaper said.The project will focus on improving professionalism of health workers, piloting ahealthcare model, upgrading district hospitals and funnel cash for implementation of theprogram 139 to help the poor have access the service, the paper said.The Ministry of Health will be in charge of conducting in Bac Kan, Cao Bang, DienBien, Lai Chau, Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Son La from now to Feb of 2014. (New HanoiOnline Jul 10)800,000 Vietnamese Get Burned A Year - Health MinVietnam witnessed 800,000 people suffering from burns a year, or nearly 1% of totalpopulation, the Tien Phong (Pioneer) newspaper said, citing the Ministry of HealthFriday [July 11].Public poor awareness of burn treatment before hospitalization is blamed for anincreasing number of burn patients, the National Institute of Burns said at a conference toreview the “Prevention Burns in the Community” project held in Hanoi July 10.
  • 368. The $70,000 project, which has been funded by the U.S-based AIG and the AsiaFoundation through the institute, helped increase the number of the burn patients gettingthe right treatment before being taken to hospitals to 72% from 30%.Under the project, the institute provided training courses to raise awareness of treatmentburns in the community and improve skills of medical staff.Addressing the event, PhD Nguyen Viet Luong of the institute said it saw the increasingnumber of victims getting burned by electric shocks, fires during past hot summer days,especially children in rural areas.However, 95.4% of healthcare centers now lack equipments to treat burns and only200,000 burn patients of a fourth of total burn patients were treated, according to a resultof the projects survey.Up to 89% of surveyed medical staff at 200 healthcare units at commune and districtlevels has not been trained to treat burns, 93% of staff does not have burn treatmentdocuments and 83% of units lack medicines to treat on spot.The most serious burns result in scarring and deformities. (Pioneer July 11 p2)WB Report: Hanoi, HCMC Hardest-affected by Environment PollutionHanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are listed among cities in Vietnam, which are hardest-affected by environment pollution, according to a recent survey conducted by the WorldBank in 10 biggest cities in Vietnam.The amount of smokes and rubbish dumped in the capital city and Ho Chi Minh Cityaccounts for 50% of the total discharged in Vietnam, the Phap Luat Thanh Pho Ho ChiMinh City newspaper said.In Hanoi, the environment is being polluted by different factors with heavy metalsaccounting for 46.9% of lands polluters and organic substances making up 46.7% of airpolluters and water environment pollution accounts for 41.2% of the biologically oxygendemand.Meanwhile, Ho Chi Minh City’s water sources pollution dirtied by chemicals accountedfor 59.1%, and water polluted by heavy metals made up 52.5%, air pollution represented50%.Tran Hong Ha, head of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’sEnvironment Protection Department said that the bank’s figures do not reflect realsituation but seem to be warning enough.
  • 369. The World Bank said the Asean country needs $2.5 billion a year to combat environmentpollution. Vietnam used only $450 million in 2004 to clean environment, a fifth of therequired fund.“We [the WB] want to support the government of Vietnam to deal with environmentalchallenges during its development process,” Magda, manager of operations and policy forthe World Bank East and the Asia Pacific region’s Environment and Social DevelopmentDepartment said. (HCMC Law Jul 9 page Advertisement)Culture & Society:Vietnam Deputy PM Urges for Probe into Kidney Smuggling RingVietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong has just requested the Ministry ofPolice to start an urgent probe into a kidney-smuggling ring that is blamed for a sondeath, Tin Tuc (News) Online said Friday.Deputy PM Trong called for the probe after To Cong Son, father of To Cong Luan, 22,who was cheated to sell kidney in China and recently died, made his denunciation, thepaper said.Luan health reportedly worsened before his death after he was returned from Chinarecently.Luan was among five victims cheated to have sold kidneys in China.More than 7,000 Vietnamese are seeking kidney transplants, out of total 72,000 peoplewho are under hospital treatment because of kidney failures, according to state media.(News Online Jul 10)Vietnam Sentences to Death Two Taiwanese for Drug SmugglingAn Giang province’s people court issued penalty sentences over Taiwanese, Lee ChinWen and Wei Chun Lung, on charge of trafficking 2.5 kilos of heroin, the Thanh Niennewspapers said.Other four defendants, including Phan Thi Cam Tu, Huynh Thi Anh, Huynh Thi ThuyEm and Lin Chao Hung were sentenced to respectively 20 years, 18 years and three yearsin jail.The gang trafficked heroin from Cambodia to Vietnam by road and from Vietnam toother Asian countries and Australia by air. The ring was busted by local police in May2007.They confessed to using a warehouse in Vietnam for heroin brought in from othercountries.
  • 370. Under Vietnamese laws, trafficking more than 600 grams of heroin or 20 kilograms ofopium is punishable by death. (Young People Jul 11 p2)Hanoi Oks Establishment of 7 First Private-owned Notary OfficesThe Hanoi capital authorities have recently approved establishment of first seven private-owned notary offices, one year after the Law on Notarization took effect, the state-runVietNamNet Bridge published by the Ministry of Information and Communication saidFriday.The establishment of these private-owned notary offices will help reduce pressures of thestate-run agencies and cut administrative procedures, analysts said.Two of them will be located in Cau Giay district, and others will be in Ba Binh, Hai BaTrung, Thanh Xuan, Hoang Mai, and Dong Anh districts.These offices had to wait for one year before being approved. The Hanoi Department ofJustice will check these offices, train staff and grant licenses within ten days.Meanwhile, HCM City authorities have recently approved a scheme to developnotarization from now to 2010.HCMC will have an additional 10 private-run notary chambers more from now to 2010.Currently, Vietnam has 140 state-run notary offices with nearly 400 employees, includingsix offices in Hanoi and six agencies in HCM City. (VietNamNet Bridge July 11, VietpanDatabase)Wartime Shrapnel Bomb Explosion Kills 3 in Central VietnamA war-era shrapnel bomb left in the Vietnam War exploded July 10 in central Quang Triprovince’s Hai Chanh commune, killing three children instantly, the Tuoi Tre newspapersaid Friday [July 11].The victims namely Tran Duy Quyet, 14, Pham Nhu Hoi, 13, and Dao Ba Thanh, 12.,may have played with the bomb while they were feeding their buffaloes on the RuongCay hill in Cau Nhi Phuong village, Pham Nhu Nam, village head said.The local authorities said that several unexploded shrapnel bombs were also found at thesite after the incident.The Quang Tri province, 620 kilometers south of Hanoi, was the location of one of thefiercest battles during the Vietnam War.The U.S. warplanes dropped some 15 million tons of bombs on Vietnam during the war.The bulk of the unexploded ordnance remains in the central and southern Vietnam,
  • 371. particularly around the demilitarized zone that divided northern and southern Vietnamuntil the end of the war in 1975.Wartime bomb explosions left 15,000-20,000 deaths and injuries with a fifth beingchildren a year. (Young People July 11 p2, Vietnam Agriculture July 11 p2, Youth July11 p3, Great Unity July 11, www.earthtimes.org, Dan Tri Online July 10,www.abc.net.au)Stock Market:State Groups, Corps Invest $460.6 Mln in Stock, Banking and FinanceThe state-owned groups and corporations had invested total VND7.37 trillion ($460.6million) in securities, banking and finance sectors by the end of June 2008, said thegovernment’s Steering Committee for Enterprises Reform and Development.The figure is summarized based on the reports of these utilities, the committee announcedat the press conference July 10.Accordingly, 13 groups and corporations invested in securities and financial investmentfunds with total value of VND1.061 trillion ($66 million), equal to 1.3% of their equitiesand 0.13% of total assets.As many as 19 state-owned groups and corporations pumped VND4.426 trillion ($277million) in establishing commercial banks, accounting for 1.3% of equities and 0.55% ofassets.Total investments in setting up securities companies reached VND420 billion ($26million), equivalent to 0.12% of their equities and 0.05% of assets, with the participationof 13 groups and corporations.As many as 18 state powerhouses poured VND1.463 trillion ($91 million) in real estatesector, making up 0.43% of equities and 0.18% of assets.In total, investments of the state groups and corporations in these sectors occupy 2.16%of their equities and 0.92% of their assets.Pham Viet Muon, deputy head of the committee, said the figure is not big, but severalcorporations have used the state equities, development investment funds and capital forinfrastructure construction to invest in financial sector, causing bad effects on their corebusinesses.Vietnam now has eight economic groups, including VNPT, Vinacomin, PetroVietnam,EVN, Vinashin, Vinatex, VRG, Bao Viet, and 96 corporations and large-scaled statecompanies. (Securities Investment Jul 10)
  • 372. Vietnam Privatizes 30 SOEs in H1Vietnam privatized 30 state-owned enterprises (SOEs) out of the total 62 SOEsrearranged in the first six months of 2008, said Pham Viet Muon, deputy head of theSteering Committee for Enterprises Reform and Development.The privatization process goes slowly at snail pace, but it is suitable in the current socio-economic situation, he said.In 2006, the government planned to privatize more than 1,500 SOEs by 2010.However, “the stock market slumped recently and purchasing power weakened. Even ifwe had issued shares, no one would have bought them,” he said.“Trying to pursue the original target is impractical. The government will adopt measuresto accelerate the process.”Vietnam has privatized total 3,786 SOEs so far.The country now has 1,720 state wholly owned companies, including seven groups, 86corporations, 1,099 independent state-owned companies. In addition, there are four state-owned commercial banks.Six state corporations and one state-owned bank have undergone privatization.The state-owned groups and corporations own 100% registered capital in 524 affiliatecompanies, hold more than 50% stakes in 738 privatized companies and less than 50%stake in 672 companies.These groups and corporations play key role in the economy, helping the government toregulate the macro economy. In 2007, their goods and services production accounted for40% of GDP.To implement the government’s anti-inflation measures, they have suspended 609projects worth VND34.2 trillion ($2.14 billion) so far this year.Muon said that most of the 3,786 privatized companies, especially those the state holdscontrolling stake, still retained their old management mechanism. (VOV Jul 11, VietnamFinancial Times Jul 11 p1, ThanhNien Daily Jul 11 p3)Stock Market Watchdog Suspends BBT StockThe Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HOSE) July 10’s afternoon issued a decision tohalt transactions of Bach Tuyen Cotton Corp’s shares from Friday [July 11] due to havinglosses in the two consecutive years, the state-run Vnexpress.net said Friday.
  • 373. This is the second stock that has been suspended over the past seven years of HOSE’soperation after Binh Trieu Mechanic Co, it said.Le Nhi Nang, vice director of HOSE said “BBT shares will be suspended for a couple ofyears to come to clarify BBT’s operations,”“In 2006’s financial statement, the company reported a profit of VND2.2 billion,however, HOSE has found out it wrong, but a real loss of VND8.4 billion and a loss ofVND6.8 billion last year,” Nang noted.Under the stock regulations, if any firm has a loss in three years in a row, it will beremoved out of the bourse and transferred to the over-the-counter market.Bach Tuyen has faced difficulties in operations because in late May roughly 200 workerswent on strike to ask for pay rise and working time reduction. BBT also delayed itsfinancial statement of 2007.BBT shares closed up Thursday in the seven straight session at VND8,800 on 57,800united traded. (vnexpress.net Jul 10)Stock Market: Jul 11: VN-Index Surpasses 450 Benchmark on Earning HopesVietnams shares ended higher Thursday on local investors continuing to buy afterVinamilk reported its first-half earnings rise 27% on year, implying that inflation did nothurt consumer goods.“Investors continued to bargain-hunt many shares, after Vinamilk, the current biggestmarket capitalized stock, announced huge profit of VND777 billion in the first sixmonths, meeting nearly 60% of the yearly plan,” a trader in HCM City said.Not only Vinamilk, Sacombank yesterday also reported six-month profit up 23% toVND754 billion, causing positive sentiment among local players, he said.“Inflation will certainly have bad impacts on companies’ operations, but the goodperformance of two leading listed firms help ease investors’ concerns,” the trader said.VN-Index today gained 10.04 points, or 2.25%, at 456.64.Market volume totaled 11.3 million shares valued at VND379 billion Friday, down from12.3 million shares valued at VND406.6 billion Thursday.HPG, the second most active stock, was adjusted down 28.5% at VND46,700 on ex-rightdate. Of more than 1 million shares traded, foreigners bought 10,000 shares.PGC, today’s second most actively traded stock, gained 2.8% at VND14,700 on 668,040shares, of which foreign investors bought 12,180 shares and sold 460,000 shares.VNM closed up 2.6% at VND118,000 on 289,280 shares, including 209,030 sharesbought and 191,260 shares sold by foreign investors.STB surged 2.7% at VND26,500 on a trade of 336,910 shares.SGT fell 3% at VND29,500 on 216,530 shares, including 4,150 shares bought and 90,500shares sold by foreigners.In total, 131 stocks ended higher, 10 lower, 10 unchanged and two untraded.All four fund certificates closed higher.
  • 374. Vietnam NewsJuly 10, 2008Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,518Banking & Finance:Vietnam’s Inflation Continues to Be Tamed in JulyVietnam’s consumer price index (CPI) will continued to be curbed in July thanks to thegovernment’s inflation controlling measures, the domestic market managementdepartment of the Ministry of Industry and Trade forecast.Nguyen Cam Tu, deputy minister of MIT and head of the department, said inflation willslow down in July because anti-inflation measures will take effect if there is no problemarisen in the market.Ahead unpredictable fluctuations of the global oil market, the Government of Vietnam isactively implementing measures to stabilize the oil and gas prices in domestic market inorder to curb inflation and stabilize macro economy, Tu said.“Up to now, prices of petroleum are still kept stable,” he said.In addition, the Government has built a roadmap for controlling prices of essential goods.The Ministry of Finance will inspect prices of 14 key commodities in production andconsumption in near term.The General Statistics Office said that Vietnam’s CPI rose 2.14% in June from May, thelowest rise in a single month since the beginning of this year and much lower than therise of 3.91% in May. (VNA Jul 8)Vietnam Central Bank Further Controls Monetary MarketGovernor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) Nguyen Van Giau has called for strictercontrol over monetary and banking activities in a move to stabilize local market, the SBVwebsite reported.In an official dispatch sent to the heads of credit agencies July 8, Giau ordered them toclosely monitor activities related to interest rates, exchange rates, loans, and foreigncurrency.Giau also requested bank leaders to impose strict penalties on banks and credit agenciesas well as individuals who are violating the regulations.A week after setting up a hotline, the central bank has received many complaints andsuggestions about banking and credit issues from the public, businesses agencies andorganizations throughout the country.
  • 375. Many complained that the credit agencies have been applying a higher interest rate thanwhat the state bank’s has stipulated. Many credit agencies took fees for the loans. (VNSJul 10 p3, www.sbv.gov.vn Jul 8)Vietnam: Banks Report High Profit in H1 Despite Economic DifficultiesLocal banks in Vietnam posted high profits in the first six months this year in spite ofeconomic difficulties, the Dan Tri (Intellects) newspaper said Friday.Sai Gon Thuong Tin Commercial Bank (Sacombank), Vietnam’s second biggest listedbank behind Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) by assets, said it had pretax profit ofVND754 billion in the first six months, up 23% on year, and its total assets expanded95% on year to VND74.875 trillion.Sacombank mobilized more than VND64.230 trillion deposit and total outstanding loansreached VND38.33 trillion during the period.In the first six months this year, the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam(BIDV), the country’s second biggest state-owned bank by assets, obtained a pretax profitof VND604 billion, up 44% on year, its total assets rose 10.3% on year to VND224.261trillion, representing 57% of the year’s target.BIDV raised VND159 trillion, up 11.82%, and lent a total VND130.39 trillion, up 31.9%on year.Meanwhile, the Military-run Bank (MB) posted a profit of VND450 billion, accountingfor 61% of the year’s target in Jan-Jun. MB saw its total assets growing VND30 trillion,total deposits rising more 20% and outstanding loans increasing 25% compared with thestart of the year.The monetary market has signs of improvement after the State Bank of Vietnam is tryingbest efforts to stabilize by setting hotlines, tightening supervision over the creditactivities, particularly the dollar hoarding. SBV recently released more than $400 millionto stabilize the forex market.BIDV has recently announced cutting 0.2%-0.6% of interest rates and pledged to ensuresufficient supply of foreign currencies. (dantri.com.vn Jul 10)U.S. Dollar Prices Slightly Go Down in VietnamPrices of U.S. dollars continued to fall on both official and free markets Wednesday,proving the success of a series of monetary polices recently launched by the State Bankof Vietnam (SBV), state media reported.
  • 376. On July 9 afternoon, gold shops offered to buy dollars at VND16,950 and sell atVND17,030 each while commercial banks announced to sell the greenback to selectedenterprises right in line with their listed prices.The central bank yesterday adjusted official exchange rate down to VND16,521/$1 fromVND16,522 a day earlier.With daily USD/VND trading band allowed at plus or minus 2%, the state-ownedVietcombank, the leading forex bank in Vietnam, bought dollars at VND16,840 and soldat VND16,848, vs VND16,845 bid on the same day.At present, importing enterprises and individuals find it easy to buy the U.S. dollars frombanks at the quoted prices with no additional fees.Commercial banks started to sell out dollars right after SBV Governor asked to closelymonitor monetary and banking activities, including those related to foreign exchangerates.Almost all banks said that they will sell dollars to companies importing commoditiesused for local production and consumption and for processing export products. They,however, will not provide dollars for importing luxury goods.Individuals having legitimate demands for dollars such as studying abroad, travel, andoverseas treatment will also be able to buy dollars from banks.The Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) has affirmed it hassufficient supply of dollars to meet demand of enterprises, individuals, and even foreignbanks.The Hanoi-based lender will sell dollars at quoted prices and set aside 20% of its dollarresources to sell to foreign banks on the inter-bank market. (VnEconomy Jul 10,VnExpress Jul 10, HCM City Law Jul 10 p6)Deposit Insurance Vietnam Allowed to Use Funds for InvestmentThe Ministry of Finance has just issued a circular to allow the Deposit Insurance ofVietnam (DIV) to use temporary idle money for investments in a bid to offset costs andensure capital adequacy.Under the circular, DIV will be allowed to deposit its idle money at the State Treasury,the State Bank of Vietnam, the state-owned commercial banks and the grade-A jointstock banks.DIV will also be able to buy government bonds, bonds and bills of central bank andabove-mentioned banks.
  • 377. The Finance Ministry asked DIV to make report about its investments quarterly andyearly. (Labor Jul 9)Trade:Vietnam to Raise Special Consumption Tax on Casino, Games to 30%The Vietnamese Finance Ministry is working on a draft law on special consumption taxand will likely raise the tax on casino and electronic games to 30% from current 25%, thestate-run Vnexpress.net said Thursday.Casino and games, which are provided for only foreigners, are discouraged in Vietnam,and the ministry is proposing to hike the tax, the paper said.Besides, the ministry is also proposing raising tax on alcohol of 20 degrees and upwardsto 60% from current 40% and excluding air conditioners labeled 90,000 BTU,automobiles of more than 24 seats from special consumption tax.The casino, lottery and lottery-like business in Vietnam generates annual revenues of $1billion, and the Haiphong casino opened in 1992 posts a revenue of VND100 billion ayear.Compared with other regional countries such as the Philippines with 16 casinos,Cambodia 23 casinos, the number of casinos in Vietnam is much smaller.The U.S. Oak Tree Realty group is considering investing $5 billion to build a high-classresort named the “Rising Sun” on a total area of 500 hectares in central Danang city,which will include a golf course, a sports zone, cable cars, a high-class hotel, a casino andvillas.Once it is licensed, the project will become the biggest of its kind in Vietnam andgenerate 10,000 jobs. (vnexpress.net Jul 10, Vnmedia, Vietpan Database)Vietnam to Tighten Control over Gas Production, TradingThe Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade is compiling a decree to manage gasproduction and trading, and plans to submit it to the government for approval inDecember this year, Hoang Tho Xuan, director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’sMarket Department.Under the decree, gas production, trading, extracting and refilling will be centrallymanaged by the Ministry of Industry and Trade instead of by six or seven ministries aspresent, Mr. Xuan told the Tuoi Tre (youth) newspaper.The ministry will also reorganize gas agents by authorizing operations of only generalagent and retail agents in order to avoid intermediary and unreasonable price hikes, heattributed.
  • 378. Gas traders in Vietnam have applied five price increases in addition to four price cutssince the beginning of this year in the wake of global gas rate fluctuations and localsupply.Vietnam now has around 100 gas trading companies, including 10 bid companies thatimport and distribute LPG in the domestic market.Currently, foreign-led joint venture companies hold over 50% of the market. Theyusually adjust selling price monthly. (Youth Jul 10 p2)Industry:PetroVietnam Invests $226.24 Mln in Overseas Oil, Gas ProjectsState-owned oil monopoly PetroVietnam has to date invested $226.24 million in 21 oiland gas exploration and production projects abroad, the Thoi Bao Kinh Te newspaperreported July 10, citing the group’s sources.Of the capital, $202.21 million has been pumped into oil and gas production anddevelopment projects and $24.3 million in exploration operations, the source said.Among the mentioned projects, 15 are underway, one is to start soon, one has beenrecently inked, and two have ended.In the first half of this year, PetroVietnam produced total 10.8 million tons of oilequivalent from 7.2 million tons of crude oil and 3.6 billion cubic meters of natural gas.The group plans to produce between 15.5 million and 16 million tons of crude oil thisyear.It aims to attain record revenues of VND300 trillion ($18.29 billion) this year, up 40.58%on year. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 10 p4, Vietpan)PetroVietnam Supplies 3.5 Bln Cu.m of Dry Gas in H1The Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) provided 3.5 billion cubic meters of drygas for the domestic market in the first half of this year, surpassing 11% of its target,Vietnam Economic Times newspaper reported July 10.The gas was transported via the country’s current three gas pipelines of Bach Ho, NamCon Son and PM3-Ca Mau.The group also supplied 32,000 tons of condensate and 124,000 tons of LPG, meeting107% and 136% of the targets set for the period.
  • 379. PetroVietnam targets to produce 16 million tons of crude oil and 7.5 billion cubic metersof gas in 2008.It also aims to attain record revenues of VND300 trillion ($18.29 billion) this year, up40.58% on year, the Vietnam News Agency reported, citing the group’s figures.(Vietnam Economic Times Jul 10 p3, Vietpan)EVN Plans to Halt over 500 Projects due to Capital ShortfallState-owned Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVN) has planned to halt over 500 worksvalued at VND1,802 billion ($109.21 million) due to current severe capital shortage, theThanh Nien (Young People) newspaper reported, citing EVN figures.Of the total, 453 are works of power grid, telecom, and construction projects with acombined investment capital of VND1,196 billion ($72.48 million); 47 are works ofpower source projects costing VND606 billion ($36.72 million), EVN said.EVN, however, warned that the halt may lead to more severe power thirst in the comingtime.The group is now carrying out 40 power source projects and 200 power grid projects witha voltage of between 220 kV and 500 kV.EVN will strive to put in use some power projects including Tuyen Quang, Dai Ninh,PleiKrong, Buon Kuop, Ba Ha River, and A Vuong hydropower plants; and Quang Ninh,Haiphong 1 and O Mon 1 thermal power plants within 2008 and in early 2009.Earlier, EVN announced that ten hydropower projects in Vietnam with a combinedcapacity of 2,443 MW may be lagged behind schedule this year as many commercialbanks have stopped disbursement due to lack of liquidity.The group said it needs around VND11.86 trillion ($178.78 million) from now to theyear’s end to develop power generating and transmission line projects.EVN has recently complained about a loss of VND2.1 trillion ($127.27 million) due topower purchases from the national oil monopoly PetroVietnam group. (Young People Jul10 p4, Vietpan)Vietnam to License Largest Iron Ore Mining Project This MonthVietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is expected to allow ThachKhe Steel Joint Stock Company to start a project on the country’s largest iron oredeposits in central Ha Tinh province in late July, reported the Coal-Minerals Magazine.The magazine, which is published by Vinacomin, cited Ho Duc Binh, director of thecompany, as saying that the mining project worth of $650 million will be inaugurated
  • 380. soon, and “the first tons of iron ore from the Thach Khe deposits are expected to be rolledout in around late 2010,” Binh said.The Thach Khe Steel JSC will also build a steel refining complex with total capacity of 4million tons a year in the province’s Vung Ang Economic Zone to process iron ore fromthe Thach Khe mine.In addition, the company will plan to build a steel mill with an annual capacity of 2million tons with total investment of $1 billion in the first phase. The construction of thefactory is set to start in early 2009 and completed in 2010. The mill’s capacity will beraised to four million tons a year in the second phase.Binh said the Thach Khe Steel JSC signed a consultation contract with a Chinese firm inApril 2008 in China.The company will spend more than VND3.5 trillion for site clearance of nearly 5,000hectares of land for both projects, mining iron ore and building the steel mill.Thach Khe deposit was discovered by Soviet and Vietnamese geologists in the 1960swith estimated reserves of 554 million tons, enough for the company to mine in 47 years,Binh added. Zinc content in Thach Khe iron ore is high, at 0.075%.The Thach Khe Iron Joint Stock Company was established in May last year with totalchartered capital of VND2.4 trillion ($150 million).The nine founders are Vietnam Coal and Mining Industries Group (Vinacomin)contributing 30% of total capital, Ha Tinh Mining and Trading Company (Mitraco) 24%,Vietnam Steel Corp. 20%, Vietnam Posts and & Telecommunications Group (VNPT)4%, Song Da Corporation 5%, Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam(BIDV) 5%, Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group (Vinashin) 5%, Binh Minh Import-Export Co. Ltd. 4% and Thang Long Minerals & Metallurgy Joint Stock Company 3%.Recently, Vung Ang Economic Zone’s authorities have granted investment certificate toTaiwan’s Formosa to invest a total of $15 billion to build the Son Duong deepwater portand a steel refining complex with a capacity of 7.5 million tons/year in the first phase and15 million tons/year in the second phase. The steel complex will use imported iron ore.In addition, Ha Tinh Steel Joint Stock Company is also developing a $65 million steelmill capable of turning out 200,000 tons/year in the first phase and 500,000 tons in thesecond phase. The factory will be operational next year.Thus, the Vung Ang Economic Zone will house a steel refining complex with a combinedcapacity of up to 20 million tons a year in the near future. (Coal-Minerals Magazine Jul10 p1)
  • 381. Vietnam Govt OKs to Explore Two Iron Ore Mines in Central ProvinceDeputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai yesterday [July 9] approved to explore NuiVom and Nui Khoang iron ore mines in central Quang Ngai province, state mediareported.Projects to mine iron ore deposits will then be developed based on estimated reserves.Exploitation licenses will be considered after exploration reports are ratified by thereserve assessment council.The Deputy PM asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to work withthe Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Quang Ngai People’s Committee to grantexploration licenses in accordance with the current regulations. (VNA Jul 10)Vietnam Decentralizes Licensing Power ProjectsThe Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade has issued a decision to decentralizelicensing of power operations in order to normalize administrative procedures so as toattract more investors in the sector, Vietnam News Agency reported, citing the ministryssources.Under the decision, the ministry will be in charge of licensing large-sized power plantsthat are important to the national socio-economy, defense and security. The ministry alsohas the right to license power transmission and import and export operations.The National Electricity Dispatching Center (Ao) will confer power generation licensesto power plants with minimal capacity of 3 MW, and to power wholesale, retail,distribution and consultancy.Meanwhile, municipal and provincial governments will be authorized to grant powergeneration permissions to power plants with capacity of below 3 MW, and to power retailand distribution in rural areas.Licensing of power generation will be divided into two phases of investment andcommercial power generation, the ministry said.Before the issuance of the decision, almost all licenses for power operations were grantedby the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which sometimes caused overload and led toinvestors’ long-awaiting and their discouragement.Vietnam is facing a severe power thirst that is estimated at 8.6 billion this year. Thefigure will climb to 36 billion kWh in 2020 and 120 billion kWh in 2030. (Vietnam &World Economy Jul 10 p5, Vietpan)
  • 382. Agriculture:Vietnam to Speed up Hybrid Paddy ProductionVietnam will have to boost hybrid paddy production in order to ease its dependence onhybrid paddy import, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said.At the meeting reviewing production of 2007-2008 paddy crop in northern provinces,Deputy Minister of MARD Bui Ba Bong said the MARD will call on big local companiesto participate in producing F1 hybrid paddy.He said Vietnam now needs 15,000-18,000 tons of F1 hybrid paddy yearly, but localsupplies can meet only 3,500-4,000 tons, or only 24%, forcing the country to meet morethan 13,000 tons per annum.Nguyen Tri Ngoc, head of the Plantation Department said total F1 hybrid paddy area willbe around 1,200 hectares, down by 50% from previous years.Ngoc noted that biggest difficulty faced by Vietnam in producing hybrid paddy isshortage of variety. But local companies prefer importing hybrid paddy to producing itbecause it cost less.The minister said if Vietnam does not speed up hybrid paddy production, it can not fulfilltarget to expand hybrid paddy area to 75% in 2010 from current 25%.To deal with problem the Plantation Department suggested setting up hybrid paddy centerin central Quang Nam and Thanh Hoa provinces, and central highlands Dak Lakprovince. (Vietnam & World Economy July 10 p7, The Labor p3)Catfish Exports Fetch $610 Mln in H1Vietnamese seafood companies raked in $610 million from exporting 260,000 tons of traand basa catfish in the first six months of 2008, a key seafood export item of Vietnam,the Young People reported, citing the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters andProducers (VASEP).The exports accounted for more than 32% of the country’s total seafood export value,followed by frozen shrimp and squid exports with 31% and 7.4%, respectively.In Jan-May, the country exported 209,054 tons of catfish, totaling $486.869 million, up48% in volume and 31.3% in value over the same period of 2007.The VASEP said the high export revenues were attributed to increasing demands fromsuch major markets as EU, Middle America and Middle East.Early this year Vietnam target $1.2 billion catfish export revenues.
  • 383. Last year, the country exported 386,870 tons of processed tra and basa from nearly onemillion tons of materials, earning nearly $1 billion, up 34.4% on year.The major markets for Vietnam’s tra and basa catfish include the European Union,representing 48% of the total revenues, followed by Russia with 9.2%, ASEAN countrieswith 7.9% and the U.S. with 6.9%. (Young People July 10 p2, VASEP July 10)Vietnam Mulls Way to Develop Key Farm Produce ItemsOfficials from the Ministry of Industry and Trade and relevant bodies discussed ways todevelop key farm produce items including coffee, cocoa, pepper and cashew nuts in ameeting in Hanoi July.The workshop is part of program evaluating the World Trade Organization (WTO)’simpacts on the development of Vietnam economy after nearly two years since the countryjoined this organization.Luong Van Tu, former Deputy Minister of Trade, said Vietnam is now one the biggestexporters of coffee, pepper and cashew nuts in the world, but production of those itemsare still small in scale, and the items are mostly under raw form.Doan Trieu Nhan, an official from the Vietnam Association of Cocoa and Coffee saidcoffee sector is now facing four major problems, including product quality, food safetyand hygiene, stable coffee development and coffee area stabilization.Chairman of management board of Trung Nguyen JSC Dang Le Nguyen Vu said coffeequality improvement should be given priority to build up Vietnam coffee brand names onthe world market.Vietnam is now the world’s second biggest coffee exporter behind Brazil. The country’sexport revenues from coffee increased from $20 million 20 years ago to more than $1.64billion in 2007.Meanwhile, Nguyen Thai Hoc, vice chairman of the Vietnam Cashew Association(Vinacas) said Vietnam has great potential in exporting cashew nuts, but most of thecountry’s exported cashew nuts are raw.Hoc said the local cashew sector should focus on big cashew nut processing factorieswith modern facilities to ensure safe and hygienic products.Vietnam now has more than 200 cashew nut processing factories with capacity ofbetween 600,00 and 700,000 tons per year.In terms of pepper sector, Vietnam has kept its first position in the world in exportingpepper since 2003. Its pepper has been exported to 80 countries and territories
  • 384. worldwide. The country is now home to 10 pepper processing factories meetinginternational standards like ASTA, and ESA.Vietnam exported 571,000 tons of coffee, 72,000 tons of cashew nuts, and 48,000 tons ofpepper in the first half of 2008, earning $1.18 billion, $374 billion, and $170 million,respectively. (Vietnam Economic Times July 10 p6, Vietnam Law p11)Business:Swiss Group Takes over Two Hotels in VietnamSwitzerland’s Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts started taking over two hotels in Vietnamfrom July 1 as part of its business expansions in the country, Vietnam News Agency said.The two hotels are Omni Hotel Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City and M Hotel in Hanoi,Mövenpick said.The name of Omni Hotel Saigon in Phu Nhuan District was promptly changed toMövenpick Hotel Saigon, while management of the hotel will be phased in following athree-month renovation period from July 15 to October 15.Both the Mövenpick Hotel Saigon and Hanoi are located in busy business areas in HCMCity and Hanoi with state-of-the-art facilities including outdoor pools, fitness centers,spas and sporting areas.Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is an upscale international Swiss hotel chain. The chaincurrently operates 64 hotels with 14,392 rooms in 20 countries; 34 hotels are underconstruction and are set for completion by 2010. Mövenpick also operates five luxurycruise ships on the Nile and Lake Nasser. (Vietnam Economic Times July 10 p4, ThanhNien Daily July 8)Vietnam Govt Rejects Car Registration Fee HikeThe Vietnamese government has denied a proposal by the Ministry of Finance to raisevehicle registration fees, state media reported.The ministry previously mulled over raising registration fees to 7% from current 5% forless-than-seven seat cars and to 2% for other means of transport.Anticipating a rise, people rushed to buy vehicles to avoid the extra fees, livening up theVietnamese automobile market scene.In line with Vietnams WTO commitments, import tariffs on all kinds of automobiles willbe cut to 70% after seven years of WTO membership, said Deputy Chief of the TaxationPolicy Agency of the Finance Ministry Nguyen Van Phung.
  • 385. As a result, the tariffs on all kinds of automobiles imported from ASEAN and WTOmembers are to be 70% in 2014 and 0% in 2018.The Finance Ministry is now examining fees applied to all kinds of automobiles tocomplete the detailed project on amendment of the Law on Automobile Registration Tax.The registration tax on under-ten-seat vehicles is expected to go up to 10% from thecurrent rate of 5%. The maximum registration tax applied to the two largest cities ofHanoi and Ho Chi Minh City could be 15%.The increase in registration tax aims to control the number of private means oftransportation, especially cars, he explained.Statistics from the Vietnam Register showed that the country is currently home to morethan 20 million automobiles and motorbikes. The figure is predicted to increase to 24million units by 2010. (Business Forum Jul 8)Vietnam FPT Software to Open Malaysian SubsidiaryFPT Software, a subsidiary of the Financing and Promoting Technology Corporation(FPT) of Vietnam, will establish an affiliate in Malaysia later this week, the Thoi BaoKinh Te newspaper reported Thursday.The new affiliate, FPT Software Malaysia is the fourth overseas of FPT Software, FPTSoftware Malaysia Managing Director Phan Hoang Son said.The establishment of FPT Software Malaysia after Singapore-based FPT Software AsiaPacific proved the corporation’s strong commitment to build a software export market inAsia and the Pacific, FPT Software Asia Pacific Director Hoang Viet Anh said.Malaysia is expected to become FPT Software’s key market due to its growing demandfor information technology resources, he said, adding that already-built strategic relationswith a number of Malaysia partners are considered one of the important premises for FPTSoftware Malaysia’s future success.FPT Software Malaysia is expected to bring home a turnover of $1.8 million this year,$2.5 million in 2009 and $5 million a year later, FPT Software Malaysia ManagingDirector Phan Hoang Son said.FPT Software also plans to open another branch in Europe by 2010 in an ambition topenetrate deeper into this lucrative market.FPT Software firstly entered Europe in 2000 and has gained fruitful achievements in themarket. The company targets to obtain revenues of $48.5 million this year, $18.5 millionhigher than that of 2007. (Vietnam Economic Times July 10 p1, Vietnam Panorama)
  • 386. Foreign Investment:Sanyo Vietnam to Pour $95 Mln in Making Electronic Parts in NorthSanyo Vietnam, an affiliate of Japan’s Sanyo Group, will today [July 10] receive alicense to invest $95 million in producing electronic parts in northern Bac Giangprovince, the Thoi Bao Kinh Te newspaper reported.The project, to cover an area of 60,000 square meters in Quang Chau Industrial Park, willbe kicked off this August.Construction of the first factory and an office building are scheduled to be completed inApril 2009. The second factory is set to go on stream in early 2010.After three years of operation, the factories will make total export revenues of more than$300 million a year and provide jobs for some 12,000 workers. (Thoi Bao Kinh Te VietNam Jul 10 p1)BIDV to Hold Forum on Northwestern Investment PromotionThe Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) Wednesday said that itwill join hands with northwestern provincial authorities to organize an investmentpromotion forum in the region, the Thoi Bao Kinh Te newspaper said.The forum, which will be opened in Lao Cai province’s Sapa town August 8, will be agood chance for investors to come to northwestern Vietnam.At the event, BIDV will introduce the region’s potentials and investment opportunitiesand act as an information bridge between investors and the region.The bank has also pledged to supply financial assistances and a banking service package,including loans and insurance services, for investors with projects in six projects of LaoCai, Yen Bai, Ha Giang, Lai Chau, Dien Bien and Phu Tho.BIDV will directly participate in the projects in these localities as a long-term andprofession partner. (Vietnam Economic Times July 10 p2)Infrastructure:Vietnam PM Approves VND287.8 Tln Hanoi Transport Infrastructure Plan by 2020Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung Thursday [July 9] approved the Hanoitransport infrastructure development plan capitalized at VND287.8 trillion ($17.4 billion)on a total area of 13,800 hectares to account for 15% of the city’s land square by 2020,the government said on its Web site.
  • 387. Under the plan, VND117 trillion will be used to implement roads projects on 11,500hectares, VND138 trillion for railway projects on 1,100 hectares, VND13.7 trillion forwaterway projects and VND13.8 trillion for international airports and terminals.By 2020, public transport means will meet 35%-45% of the city’s transport demand andreduce private-owned motorbikes to 30%.From now to 2010, the capital city will focus on implementing several key transportroutes to reduce traffic congestion and beautifying activities to mark the 1,000-yearThanh Long-Hanoi celebration.In late May this year, the Vietnamese National Assembly approved the Hanoi capitalexpansion scheme by merging the entire Ha Tay province, Me Linh district of Vinh Phucand four communes of Luong Son district of Hoa Binh province.The city recently said it will hire foreign experts for its expansion plan, state media said.(Government Web site Jul 9)Central Vietnam Needs $145.6 Mln for Infrastructure Development by 2020Central Vietnam is estimated to required over VND2.33 trillion ($145.6 million) for itssocio-economic development from now to 2020, with the focus on infrastructureconstruction, Vietnam News Agency said Thursday.Under a recently-approved plan, the region will build a road network of 1,300 kilometersrunning from Thanh Hoa to Binh Thuan.The region will get involved in construction of the north-south highway route and build atunnel running through Ca Mountain Pass to facilitate traffic in National Highway No. 1,upgrade of the two railway sections of Hanoi-Vinh and Ho Chi Minh City-Nha Trang.In addition, airports and seaports will be the region’s development priorities between nowto 2020, according to the plan.Central Vietnam ranging from Thanh Hoa to Binh Thuan includes five central highlandprovinces, attracted 140 new domestic and foreign-invested projects worth $4.2 billion in2007, accounting for the country’s total newly-licensed capital in the year.Last year, the region’s GDP growth reached 13%, higher than the country’s averagelevel.However, central Vietnam’s FDI attraction is modest, making up just over 7% of thecountry’s number of FDI projects and 11.7% of FDI capital.
  • 388. The central region has set a target to obtain the economic growth of 10% and will focuson developing service and industrial sectors from now to 2010. (Vietnam News AgencyJul 10)Politics & Law:U.S to Carry out Humanitarian Projects for Central VietnamThe U.S. government will implement humanitarian projects for central Vietnam, saidAmbassador Michael W.Michalak in his visit with General Consulate Kenneth J. Fairfaxto Danang city July 9.Michael W.Michalak said the U.S. government is considering 26 proposals for a projectto support Vietnamese Argent Orange victims who are living surrounding the dioxinhardest-affected Danang Airport.Last year, the U.S granted $400,000 for the dioxin-contaminated airport clearance.The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is planning to increase aids forprojects on cleaning up environment and helping disabled people in the city andneighboring provinces.USAID has recently pledged to donate $1.5 million to a program to provide healthcareand economic assistance to families with disabled people in central Danang city.The U.S. government has provided a financial assistance of $43 million for Vietnamesehandicapped people since 1989.Vietnam reported 4.8 million people exposed to AO/dioxin with three million AOvictims. (Labor July 10 p1, Vietpan database)Labor & Education:Bulgaria Seeking Vietnamese Laborers to Ease ShortageBulgaria wants to employ more Vietnamese workers who are suitable to the country’slabor demands in an effort to ease labor shortage, Bulgarian Minister of Economy andEnergy Peter Dimitrov told the UK’s Financial Times.Construction, tourism and information technology are the fields most lacking skilledemployees, said deputy chairman of the Bulgarian Industrial Association, DikranTabeyan.Between 80,000 and 100,000 jobs have not been filled this summer, he added.The lack of laborers in Bulgaria is due to the fact the country’s skilled workers anduniversity graduates have flocked overseas to work in the past decade, Tabeyan saidadmitted.
  • 389. Vietnam and Bulgaria set up diplomatic ties in February 1950. Since then, the two sideshave ceaselessly promoted cooperation in all fields, including labor and social affairs.Vietnam and Bulgaria have signed a cooperative agreement on labor cooperation.Accordingly, they will increase exchanges of information and legal documents relating tothese issues. They will also consult each other in a number of areas such as making lawsregarding labor and social affairs, management of migrant laborers and vocationaltraining. (Vietnam & World Economy July 10 p10, Youth July 9 p16)Health & Environment:EC Grants EUR11.45 Mln for Health Services Development in VietnamThe State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) and the World Bank (WB) July 9 inked a EUR12.85-million health project with a EUR11.45 million grant from the European Commission(EC), aiming to improve basic health services for Vietnam’s northern mountainous areasand central highlands, said the WB’s office in Vietnam.The Vietnamese government will contribute EUR1.4 million in reciprocal capital to theproject slated for implementation from 2008 to January 2010.The project entitled “Healthcare support to the poor in northern uplands and centralhighlands” will be implemented in the northern mountainous provinces of Lai Chau, DienBien, and Son La, and the central highlands provinces of Kon Tum and Gia Lai, and willbenefit around 3 million local residents.The project is designed to improve the health status of the poor and ethnic minorities bysupporting delivery of priority health care packages, such as maternal health care,community-based malnutrition prevention and treatment, integrated management ofchildhood illnesses, child immunization and reproductive health.It also aims to support district health departments to better plan for the delivery of healthcare services.The project is part of a broader support program between the EC and the Vietnamesegovernment. (The People Jul 10 p8, Youth Jul 10 p4, Vietnam & World Economy Jul 10p6, VNA Jul 9)ASEAN-China Meeting on Drug Control Kicked offDelegates from ten ASEAN countries and China, representatives of The UN Office onDrugs and Crime (UNODC) met in Ho Chi Minh City July 9 to review joint measures tocontrol production, distribution, and use of drugs.The 7th annual ASEAN-China Cooperative Operations in Response to Dangerous Drugs(Accord) Task I & II Meeting reviewed public communication as part of efforts to reduce
  • 390. drug demand and the advantages and difficulties in the drug fight, and devised plans forthe coming years.Speaking to the participants, Major General Lam Minh Chien, deputy general director ofthe Police Department, affirmed the Vietnamese government would focus on preventionand control of drug use and has adopted various approaches in this effort together withinternational community.According to the statistics, 36,789 drug addicts were detoxified in the first six months ofthis year, including 7,154 in rehabilitation centers and 1,726 in the community.In the period, 2,551 drug users were vocationally trained after the detoxification and 153people have found stable jobs. (Vietnam News Jul 10 p3, People’s Police p1)Vietnam Provides Vitamin A for 4.53Mln Children in JunAround 4.53 million children from six to thirty-six months across Vietnam received freevitamin A in June, making up 98.2% of the total needed children, announced theNutrition Institute under the Ministry of Health.The institute also provided Vitamin A for 600,000 children between 36 and 60 monthsgot Vitamin A and vermifuge for 800,000 two- to five-year-old children in disadvantagedprovinces nationwide with the support from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reductionthrough the Asian Development Bank.With the assistance of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the institute has providedvitamin A for children and pregnant women across the country for the past two decadeyears.The move has helped reduce blindness, raised illness resistance among children, reducedthe mortality rate and contributed to reducing health problems related to vitamin Adeficiency. (VNA Jul 9)Culture & Society:Vietnam to Host Miss World 2010The Miss World Organization has decided to choose Vietnam to host the pageant in2010, Thanh Nien newspaper said.The signing ceremony of the agreement to secure the right to host the event was held inthe Sheraton Saigon Hotel in July 9 between the U.S.’s RAAS Group, representative ofthe Miss World organizer in Vietnam, and the Miss World Organization’s ChairwomanJulia Morley.The ten-day survey and charity visit to Vietnam has actively impacted to the decision, thechairwoman said at the ceremony.
  • 391. RAAS CEO Hoang Kieu said pay about $10 million for the right to hold the Miss World2010 pageant. The group will use proceeds from the international event for charity inVietnam, he added.Central coastal city of Nha Trang, where the Miss Universe 2008 is taking place, isscheduled to hold the beauty pageant in 2010.The Mrs. World pageant will be also organized in Vietnam’s southern province of BaRia-Vung Tau next year. (Thanh Nien Jul 10, Vnexpress.net Jul 10)HCMC OKs 12 NGO-funded $5.8 Mln Projects in H1Ho Chi Minh City authorities approved 12 NGO-funded projects valued at $5.8 millionand received $2.26 million worth of medicines and medical equipments from foreignNGOs in the first half of this year, heard a conference held Wednesday [July 9],Vietnamese state media said Thursday.Statistics from the HCMC Union of Friendship Organizations (HUFO) showed that thecity has the largest number of international NGOs with 133 organizations, including 47from Europe, 63 from America, and 23 from Asia-Pacific areas.The city has received $46.5 million in aids from foreign NGOs over the past five year,the Vietnam News Agency said.Addressing the event, Vice Mayor Nguyen Thanh Tai awarded certificate of merits tonine NGOs and two distinguished individuals for their contributions to the community.Tai hailed contributions of international NGOs and said that they played a significant rolein contributing to the citys sustainable development.HUFO also granted medals for peace and friendship to 21 NGOs headquartered inAustralia, Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, the U.K,and the U.S.Participants include the citys officials, 150 representatives from NGOs, friendshipassociations and diplomats. (Liberated Saigon July 10 p1, Young People July 10 p5,VNA)Stock Market:Agribank Securities Arm to Make IPO in Q3Agribank Securities Company (Agriseco), a subsidiary of the Bank for Agriculture andRural Development, said on it website that it would launch an initial public offering inthe third quarter of this year to transform itself into a joint stock company.
  • 392. The firm plans to offer a 25% stake in the auction, selling shares at a starting price ofVND10,500 each. After the share sale, Agriseco will have a registered capital of VND1.2trillion ($75 million) versus the current VND700 billion.As a member of Agribank, Agriseco has received great assistance from the mother bankto expand its network and business scope. The stock broker now has one branch, threetransaction offices and 43 order-receiving agents nationwide.According to the annual report 2007 of the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, Agriseco tookthe lead in shares and bonds-dealing market share, and ranked third in bond brokeragemarket share.In 2007, Agriseco earned a pretax profit of VND129.5 billion ($8.1 million), up 215.9%on year, and revenues of VND755.4 billion ($47.2 million), rising 27.2% against 2006.The Vietnam Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank) has recently also announced toprivatize its securities offshoot within this year. (www.agriseco.com.vn, CafeF Jul 8)Sacombank Posts Profit of VND754 Bln in H1Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank), the country’s secondbiggest listed banks said on its website that it earned pretax profit of VND754 billion($47.1 million) in the first six months of this year, rising 23% on year.The bank had total deposit of VND64.2 trillion, outstanding loans of VND38.3 trillion inthe period. Its total assets reached nearly VND74.9 trillion, up 95% on year, it reported.Amidst difficulties of the Vietnamese economy and the banking industry, Sacombankstill maintained its stable and safe growth rate. It now takes lead among commercial jointstock banks in operation network with over 225 transaction offices nationwide.Sacombank is also the first Vietnamese lender approved to open branches in Laos andCambodia. It earlier launched a representative office in China’s Guangxi province.The HCM City-based bank, with a registered capital of VND4.4 trillion, is currentlyamong blue-chips with high liquidity on the local stock market. Its shares are traded atVND25,800 each. (www.sacombank.com.vn, Vietnam Economic Times Jul 10 p11,Youth Jul 10 p15)WSS, Vietinbank Chuong Duong Shake Hands in Financial ServicesThe Wall Street Securities Company (WSS) and the Vietnam Bank for Industry andTrade (Vietinbank)s Chuong Duong branch have clinched a cooperation deal to jointlydevelop financial and securities services, local media reported.
  • 393. Wall Street Gold JSC (WSG) and Vietinbank Securities Company have also joined thecomprehensive agreement.Vietinbank Chuong Duong pledged to provide credit for WSS, WSG, customers of thesetwo firms, and manage securities accounts of WSSs investors.The two stock brokers WSS and Vietinbank SC have also shaken hands in providingprofessional securities services, underwriting contracts, corporate financial consultancy,and securities investment consultancy.The four sides will jointly establish gold order-receiving agents in the network ofViettinbank Chuong Duong and Vietinbank SC.WSS made its debut in Hanoi in April, with a registered capital of VND168 billion($10.5 million). It targets to become the biggest securities company in Vietnam. (CafeF,Business Forum Jul 8)HOSE to Allow More Securities Firms to Test Remote TradingThe Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HOSE) plans to add more 45 securitiescompanies to test the new remote trading system from July 28, bringing the total numberof brokerages to apply such kind of trading to 70.The action will be taken after 25 securities brokerages have tested the remote tradingsmoothly, said HOSE deputy director Nguyen Manh Hung.The exchange is upgrading the network system and also building a gateway to supportconnection between the system of HOSE and securities companies, he said.Remote trading will help accelerate market activity by allowing buy and sell orders to gofrom brokerages directly to the bourse.The current system requires representatives from securities firms to physically input theorder at the exchange. (Vietnam Economic Times Jul 10 p9)Jul 10: Vietnam Shares End Up on Inflation Control HopesVietnams shares closed higher Thursday for the third day in a row on local buying onexpectations that the government will be able put inflation under control in comingmonths, traders said.“Buying interest remains high after the government affirmed it will keep oil prices steadyin the remaining months this year, which is expected to help ease inflation,” a Hanoi-based trader said.
  • 394. Nguyen Cam Tu, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, forecast that inflation will getlowered in July when the government’s anti-inflation measures will take more effects, headded.VN-Index today rose 7.05 points, or 1.6%, at 446.6.Market volume was 12.3 million shares valued at VND406.6 billion Thursday, downfrom 14 million shares valued at VND508.4 billion Wednesday.VTO, today’s most actively traded stock, gained 2.5% at VND16,600 on 1.3 millionshares, of which foreign investors bought 157,000 shares and sold 649,000 shares.STB, the second most active stock, surged 2.8% at VND25,800 on a trade of 1.3 millionshares.SAM closed 1.5% higher at VND26,400. Of total 653,590 shares traded, foreigninvestors bought 23,180 shares and sold 293,700 shares.DXP is the most advancer, rising 3% at VND20,600 on 4,700 shares.In the downside, ITA closed down 2.6% at VND93,000 on 138,180 shares, including51,140 shares bought and 55,130 shares sold by foreigners.SJ1 is the biggest decliner, falling 4% at VND19,000 on 590 shares.In total, 103 stocks ended higher, 40 lower and 10 unchanged.All four fund certificates closed higher. (HOSE July 10)Vietnam NewsJuly 9, 2008Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,521Banking & Finance:BIDV Cuts Loan Rates, Ensuring Sufficient Foreign CurrenciesThe Bank for Investment & Development of Vietnam (BIDV), the countrys secondbiggest bank by assets, will lower lending interest rates from today [July 9] and ensure asufficient supply of foreign currencies, local state media reported.BIDV is the first commercial bank in the country to reduce lending interest rate, whichhas so far reached a ceiling level of 21%.
  • 395. It is in response to the call by the local government and the State Bank of Vietnam to easedifficulties for businesses and help curb inflation and stabilize the macro economy, saidBIDVs chairman Tran Bac Ha at a press briefing in Hanoi.Under the BIDV’s interest rate reduction program, the rates on Vietnam dong loans willdecrease by 0.2%-0.6% and those on foreign currencies by 1%-2% against the currently-offered levels.Customers in key industries, such as oil, cement and steel and manufacturers of essentialgoods such as medicines, foods, water and transport companies will also enjoy cheaperloans.As of late June, the Hanoi-based lender had total assets of VND224.26 trillion and totaloutstanding loans of VND130.39 trillion, up 10.3% and 31.9% on-year, respectively.BIDV raised VND159.08 trillion in deposits in the first six months, 22% of which werein foreign currencies. BIDVs deposit growth surpassed the 7% growth of the wholebanking sector, Ha said.The unlisted bank reported a pre-ax profit of VND604 billion in the first six months ofthis year, up 44% on-year as it processed more payment services such as domestic andinternational settlements.Ha said the lending interest rate cuts would reduce VND320 billion from BIDVs annualprofits this year which was projected to rise 48.8% after a jump of 82% in 2007BIDV has actively participated in the monetary market, playing a leading role instabilizing exchange rates in the forex market as instructed by the SBV.BIDV plans to set up its financial offshoot in Czech and Hong Kong in the third quarterof this year and a joint venture bank in Russia late 2008. (Youth Jul 9 p15, Young PeopleJul 9 p7, People Jul 9 p8, Vietnam Economic Times Jul 9 p5)Vietnam Uses Hotlines, Money to Buy Info to Combat Forex, Goods HoardingsVietnamese authorities have recently taken bold steps to set up hotlines and use money tofight forex, goods hoardings and speculations in order to stabilize the economy andcombat soaring inflation, Vietnamese state media said.The Ministry of Finance has just issued a regulation to pay at most VND50 million($3,000) for information in the fight against goods speculation, hoarding and fakecommodities, the Thoi Bao Kinh Te newspaper said Wednesday.The ministry also said that information denouncers will enjoy 10% of the value of eachcontraband or smuggling case and maximal VND30 million in case of goods confiscatedfor destruction or contrabands of small values.
  • 396. Early this month, the State Bank of Vietnam, the country’s central bank, said it decided toset up hotlines to deal timely with foreign currencies hoarding to stabilize the forexmarket. The bank recently widened forex trading band to plus and minus 2% and releasedabout $400 million to stabilize the forext rates.Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in his urgent dispatch Tuesday declared a war againstgoods hoarding and speculations by requesting all heads of provinces and citiesnationwide to tighten supervision over consumer goods prices quotations.The government ordered no prices hikes of essential goods until the end of this year.To cool down overheated economy, the government has lowered the country’s GDPgrowth rate to 7%, planned to cut 10% of the public investment and a fourth of g-bondinvestment projects, curb credit growth to less than 30% this year. (Vietnam EconomicTimes Jul 9 p2)DongA Bank, MoneyGram Jointly Offer Remittance Forwarding ServiceDong A Joint Stock Commercial Bank (DongA Bank) July 8 signed a cooperation dealwith an international money transfer business to provide a door-to-door foreignremittance forwarding service.The service will be carried out within 12 hours for clients in big cities and 24-36 hoursfor those in other localities.MoneyGram Asia-Pacific and Southeast Asia Regional Director Nick Cunnew said theservice is significance of clients, particularly the elderly. He also said that the remittersand beneficiaries are not required to pay any supplementary fees for this door-to-doorservice.Dong A Bank General Director Tran Phuong Binh said in the first six months of thisyear, a total $631 million in foreign remittance passed through his bank. The figure was$1 billion last year. (Young People Jul 9 p7)Vietnam to Further Control Banks’ Capital HikesThe State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the country’s central bank, will tighten control overthe increase in registered capital of joint stock commercial banks.The SBV has just amended the regulation on shareholder, stake and registered capital ofjoint stock banks, in which banks must show the scheme of capital increase approved byshareholders and the demand for the hike.
  • 397. Joint stock banks have to point out how much capital to raise and how many times ofissuance. They are also required to prove efficiency of operation based on the increasedcapital and to show growth of assets, credit, deposits, borrowings and profitability.Lenders have to evaluate governance, management and control of the board of directorsand managers and internal control system upon the new capital scale.The SBV asked its branches in provinces and cities to appraise and evaluate the capitalhikes of joint stock banks and supervise their operations.Over the past two years, joint stock banks have been racing to raise their registeredcapital in order to expand business and improve competitiveness.According to the Decree 141/2006/ND-CP dated November 22, 2006, joint stock andjoint venture banks are required to boost their registered capital to at least VND1 trillionby the end of 2008 and VND3 trillion by 2010. (Chinhphu Jul 9)Trade:U.S. May Grant GSP to Vietnam Next FallThe U.S. may grant the Generalized Systems of Preferences (GSP) to Vietnam exportsnext fall, a sign proving the ex war foes are tightening the closer trade and investmentcooperation ties after Premier Nguyen arrives in Washington recently, Vietnamese statemedia said.Now Vietnamese exports to the U.S. market are imposed with differed taxes and if GSPis approved Vietnam like other exporters to the U.S. will have a number of commoditiesexempted tax and other goods to enjoy preferential taxes, Vietnam News Agency said.The U.S. normally applies GSP to countries which are WTO members and grantedPermanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) and Vietnam now satisfies bothrequirements.During the recent landmark visit by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to theU.S. June 23 to 26, President Bush reaffirmed that the U.S. is considering Vietnam’srequest to join GSP program.Between Jan and April, bilateral trade between Vietnam and the U.S. jumped 36.93% to$4.72 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce said. Of which, Vietnam exported $3.64billion worth of commodities, up 21.92% and imported $1.08 billion goods, up 133.41%on year.The bilateral trade is expected to surpass $15 billion this year, as compared with $12.444billion in 2007. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 8, Vietpan Database)
  • 398. Industry &Trade Ministry Urged to Tackle Production, Export DifficultiesDeputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade(MoIT) to take measures to solve production and export difficulties in the remainingmonths of this year, local media reported.The cabinet official made the request at an online conference held by the MoIT in HanoiJuly 8 to review its activities in the first half of this year and work out tasks for thesecond half.The MoIT was also requested to ensure an adequate supply of essential commodities andassist businesses, particularly those working in the oil and gas, garment and powersectors, to iron out snags and achieve a steady growth in the rest months of the year.If the Dung Quat oil refinery is not put into operation in February 2009 as scheduled, itwill fail to secure a 30% balance in national oil reserves, said Mr Hai.He also asked the power sector to resume power production and shorten the test-runperiod of the Ca Mau 1& 2 and Nhon Trach 1 power plants to ensure an adequate supplyof power for daily production and domestic use.“For any reasons, EVN is blamed for the current power outage that badly affectsproduction in particular and the whole economy in general,” Hai noted.“The national economy will incur more difficulties in the second half of this year if theseissues are not addressed properly,” the deputy PM said.He reaffirmed the Government’s determination to curb inflation, considering it a toppriority task, and stressed the need to cut down on sources of capital allocated forinefficient projects to invest in highly efficient key projects.Speaking at the conference, representatives from PetroVietnam said that it has stoppedand delayed 112 projects totaling VND6 trillion ($365.85 million), accounting for nearly20% of total capital registered with the government this year in a bid to curb inflation.Meanwhile, EVN said it decided to cancel 500 projects worth VND1.8 trillion ($112.5million), making up 4.18% of its total investment this year.During the meeting, Deputy PM Hai also urged the MoIT to work closely with itsaffiliates to seek out solutions to boost exports and reduce imports with the aim ofbalancing the trade deficit. He said the ministry must enhance its management capacity tostabilize the domestic market and ensure a good balance between the supply and demandof essential commodities.The industry and trade sector aims to increase exports by 25% in the second half of thisyear to reduce the trade deficit, said the MoIT minister Vu Huy Hoang, adding that it
  • 399. strives to keep the trade deficit of less than $20 billion, and to ensure an adequate supplyof essential commodities. (VOV Jul 8, News Jul 9 p1&5, Capital Security Jul 9 p1&5)Vietnam Grants Automatic Export License to Iron, Steel ItemsThe Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade has decided to temporarily apply thegranting of automatic export license to iron and steel items, state media reported.The ministry demanded granting automatic export license to iron and steel must beconducted under the form of confirming merchants’ application for iron and steel export.When doing export procedure, beside the export file under Customs body’s regulations,exporters will have to present to the Customs agency application for iron and steel exportthat has been confirmed by regional Export-Import Management Department under theMinistry of Industry and Trade.The ministry said regional Export-Import Management Department will considerconfirming traders’ application for iron and steel export for next times when these tradershave exported 80% onwards of the volume that has been granted with automatic exportlicense earlier. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 9)Industry:Vietnam Prepares for $10 Bln Oil Refining-Petrochemical Project in SouthSate-owned oil monopoly PetroVietnam and relevant ministries and agencies July 8gathered in Vung Tau city to discuss measures speeding up preparations for $10 billionLong Son oil refining-petrochemical project in southern Ba Ria – Vung Tau province,state media reported, citing PetroVietnam sources.The Vietnamese government has approved in principle the project that will cover a total1,320 hectares, PetroVietnam said.The project comprises an oil refinery costing at least $6 billion and a petrochemicalcomplex valued at around $3.78 billion to be abjection to the refinery, PetroVietnamattributed.PetroVietnam, Vietnam National Chemical Corp (Vinachem), and two Thai firms SCGChemical and Thailand Plastic Company-TPC are set to carry out the project with hopedcompletion in 2013.Once implemented, the project will push around 1,044 households with 4,016 people inLong Son island of Long Son commune in Vung Tau city, the municipal governmentsaid.
  • 400. Ba Ria – Vung Tau province will grant licenses for Long Son oil refining-petrochemicalindustrial zone, oil refining-petrochemical and port project soon, said Tran Minh Sanh,chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.Without major oil refineries, Vietnam now has to import almost of petroleum products.The country was estimated to have spent $5.92 billion importing 6.81 million metric tonsof petroleum products in the first six months of this year, up 68.9% on year and 4.4%,respectively.The first oil refinery Dung Quat is under construction in central Quang Ngai provincewith expected operation in next February to process 6.5 million tons of crude oil a yearand meet more than 33% of the domestic demand. (Young People Jul 9 p17, The PeopleJul 9 p2, VTC News Jul 8, Vietpan)EVN Loses VND2.1 Tln due to PetroVietnam-sourced Power PurchasesState-owned Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVN) have so far lost up to VND2.1 trillion($127.27 million) due to power purchases from the national oil monopoly PetroVietnamgroup, said EVN general director Pham Le Thanh.EVN buys PetroVietnam-sourced power at 8 US cents/kWh but sells out at only 5 UScents/kWh, Thanh told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper in a recent interview.EVN purchases all of electricity generated by PetroVietnam; however, in factPetroVietnam produces so modest power amount that hits only 150 MW June 30 out oftotal expected 1,800 MW, Thanh attributed.In early May when rains came more frequently and the water levels of hydroelectricitylakes rose considerably, EVN mobilized maximal capacities of its hydropower plants tofeed the national demand instead of using PetroVietnam’s expensive power.The EVN’s leader agreed to a suggestion of universalizing power generation whilepointing out that competitive power price is an essential factor to attract investors.Regarding recent consecutive blackouts, Mr. Thanh said it is unavoidable as the nationalpower system is facing a power shortage of around 2,000 MW due to unstable operationsof some newly-operated power plants, breakdowns at some turbines, suspension of someoutdated turbines for maintenance, and low water levels at main hydropower lakes.EVN always prioritizes production and people’s essential demand like hospitals, schools,clean water supply, traffic signals and jails; however, it seems to disagree with powersupply for public lighting system at night.Of 36.44 billion kWh Vietnam produced in the first half of this year, EVN produced25.33 billion kWh, up 10.7% on year while the rest of 11.11 billion kWh was mobilizedfrom local and foreign sources, up 15.6% on year.
  • 401. EVN plans to spend $160 million on buying 3.5 billion kWh of electricity from China in2008, up 31% compared to 2.67 billion kWh of electricity of last year. (Youth Jul 9 p3,Vietpan)Vietnam Steel Production Up 6.7%, Consumption Up 8.2% in H1Vietnam’s rolled steel output reached 1.96 million tons in the first half, up 6.7% on-yearand steel sales hit 1.82 million tons, a rise of 8.2% on-year, the Thoi Bao Kinh Te VietNam newspaper reported, citing the Ministry of Industry and Trade.In the period, the world’s steel market as well as Vietnam’s was impacted by China’spolicy on limiting steel ingot exports, so Vietnamese ingot import reduced.At present, price of ingot imported from China is standing at $1,200-$1,300/ton.Abiding by the government’s direction on curbing inflation, selling price of constructionsteel by enterprises under the Vietnam Steel Corporation is some VND2 million/tonlower than joint ventures’.Construction steel prices are forecast to increase in final months of the year. (Thoi BaoKinh Te Viet Nam Jul 9 p1)250,000-ton-of-clinker-per-day Plant Goes on StreamCong Thanh cement plant was officially put into operation yesterday [Jul 8] in northerncentral Thanh Hoa province after two years of construction.The production line, test-run from July 7-8, turned out more than 1,000 tons of clinker.The factory has a planned capacity of 250,000 tons of clinker a day in the first phase.The new cement plant is expected to make annual revenues of VND650 billion ($39.4million) and contribute VND30 billion to the local budget each year. (Thoi Bao Kinh TeViet Nam Jul 9 p2)Military-Run Company Starts EUR15 Mln Shipbuilding ContractThe Song Thu Company under the Ministry of Defense July 7 began building the firstvessel under a EUR15 million contract signed with the Netherlands’s Damen ShipyardGroup, Vietnam News Agency reported.The first fast crew supplier 5009 (FCS2009), designed by Damen, will be is 50.3 metersin length, 9.2 meters in width and 4.2 meter in height.
  • 402. The ship will have a steel hull and large deck and is capable of accommodating 80people.Over the past five years, Song Thu and Damen have joined hands to build ships used forcleaning up oil spills and for Vietnam’s maritime police and navy to conduct rescuework.The Vietnamese shipbuilder June 10 launched a 5,600 HP tug boat central Danang city,the first of four boats being built under a VND300-billion contract signed with the UnitedArab Emirates, the news source said.State media said the firm has seen a sharp increase in revenues with around VND400billion ($25 million) last year, up from up from VND160 billion in 2006, VND102 billionin 2002 and VND60 billion in 2001. (Vietnam News Agency Jul 8, Vietpan Database)380 Firms Gather for Int’l Precision Engineering ExhibitionMore than 380 companies have arrived at Hanoi to participate in the fourth VietnamInternational Precision Engineering, Machine Tools and Metalworking Exhibition andConference (MTA) which was opened today [July 9], Vietnam News Agency reported.Eighty percent among those are from 25 foreign countries and territories, includingprestigious international trademarks.Businesses at the MTA Vietnam 2008 will showcase their best and the latest advancedtechnologies to Vietnam’s automatic, precision engineering, electric, electronics andother industries, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) said.The technologies will include the latest solutions for the production of metal and sheet-metal cutting, cutting tools, metal forming, test and measurement tools, that are expectedto help increase business profits and efficiency.This is the first time the exhibition has been held in Hanoi after three previous successfuleditions in Ho Chi Minh City, according to the VCCI, the event organizer.The four-day event will take place at the Giang Vo Exhibition Center. (Vietnam & WorldEconomy Jul 8 p8)Agriculture:Vietnam Rubber Export Prices Hit RoofExport prices of Vietnamese rubber were still high over the past six months and hitrecord highs in June, helping increase the country’s export revenues by 7.2% in the firsthalf of 2008, an official from the Vietnam Rubber Association (VRA) said.
  • 403. Tran Thi Thuy Hoa, general secretary of the VRA said Vietnamese rubber export priceshit roof at $2,875 a ton in June, up 31% on year and by $600 a ton from January 2008.In June, Vietnam exported 40,000 tons of rubber, bringing the country’s total rubberexport volume to 227,892 tons in the first six months of 2008, down nearly 20% on year.The exports brought in $574 million to the country, up 7.2% on year, Hoa said.Major importers included China, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Germany.Vietnam expected to export around 780,000 tons of rubber worth $1.5 billion in 2008, up4% and 2.3% on year, respectively. (The Youth July 9 p14)Vietnamese Paper Producers Ask for Zero Import TaxVietnam Pulp and Paper Association (VPPA) has suggested the Government reduceimport tax on paper to 0% from current 5% in order to prevent paper prices from soaring,local media reported.The association said prices of paper products increased by 21% in Vietnam so far thisyear, forecasting that the prices will surge further in the near time due to increased oilprices, thin paper material supply and high pulp import cost.“Vietnamese paper producers can not help raising prices as pulp imports account fornearly 70% of demand,” the Vietnam Agriculture reported, citing the association.Meanwhile, local producers are finding hard to access bank’s loan to import pulp andmaterial materials as lending interest rate has reached 21% from 8% last year.The VPPA forecast domestic demand for paper will hit 1.98 million tons yearly by 2010,including 1.15 million tons of packing, 385,000 tons of newspaper, and 325,000 tons ofother kinds of paper.To meet demand, local paper industry will have to build pulp mills with above100,000-150,000 tons per year, and paper mills with above 200,000-250,000 tons a year.In the first half of 2008, spent $403 million on importing 509,000 tons of paper, up44.9% on year in value and 29.6% in volume, the General Statistics Office said. (VietnamAgriculture July 9 p3, Vietnam Economic Times July 9 p1)Vietnam PM Okays 560,000 Ton Fertilizer Plant in Thanh HoaVietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has agreed to construction of a fertilizerplant with total capacity of 560,000 tons yearly in Nghi Son IZ, Tinh Gia district, centralThanh Hoa province.
  • 404. The plant is part of the national chemical development program by 2010 and toward2020.HCM City-based Cong Thanh Cement JSC, the project investor, will invest around $670million to build the plant.The project is expected to create jobs and increase domestic fertilizer supply for northerncentral region.Vietnam reportedly spent $1.029 billion importing 2.185 million tons of fertilizers in thefirst six months of 2008, up 130.9% on year in value despite a slight rise of 17.8% involume, report by the General Statistics Office (GSO) showed. (Saigon Liberation July 9p11)Business:Vietnam Auto Sales Rise 141% in H1Auto sales in Vietnam rose 141% on year to 68,609 units in the first half of this yeardespite a considerable decrease in terms of volume last month, according to statisticsreleased by the Vietnam Association of Automobile Manufacturers (VAMA).On-year increase was led by sales of commercial vehicles, which were up 225% from ayear ago, while passenger car sales growing 90% to 12,296 units, the association said.The statistics also showed that local carmakers sold 9,749 units in June 2008, up 60%from a year ago but down 1,745 units over May as a result of the government’s policy tolimit consumption in the context of soaring inflation and high trade deficit.In the period, Japans Toyota topped the list with 12,510 units sold, followed by domesticcompanies Vinamotor with 14,594 units and Truong Hai with 11,295.Some joint ventures also saw growth. Honda sold 790 units in June (+ 164), Mercedes232 (+ 21), and Hino 388 (+ 104).The Ministry of Finance has two times raised the import tax on car parts so far this year.Car imports in the first six months surged 247% to $1.6 billion, with the volume of fullyassembled vehicles jumping more than 400% to 42,000 units, government figures show.Following table is the breakdown of car sales, market shares and the growth of the 17VAMA carmakers in January-June 2008. On Year Sale GrowthNo Car marker (Unit) (%)1 Vinamotor* 14,594 N.A.
  • 405. 2 Toyota 12,510 +533 Truong Hai 11,295 +1534 Vinaxuki 5,517 +1105 GM Daewoo 6,883 +1516 Ford 3,887 +897 Honda 3,606 +1158 VinaStar (Mitsubishi) 1,770 +29 Isuzu* 2,070 +5210 Visuco (Suzuki) 1,728 +7011 Mekong (Fiat, Ssangyong, PMC) 1,268 +23912 Hino* 1,497 +23013 Mercedes-Benz Vietnam 1,134 +3214 SAMCO 347 +4315 VMC (BMW, Mazda, Kia) 281 -4116 Vinacomin – Vinacoal* 222 +10017 Vindaco (Daihatsu) N.A -100% Total 40,087 +141%Note: *: not including bus chassis. (VAMA Release June 2008, GSO June 2008)Vietnam Fashion Industry Yet to Mature: SeminarThe lack of talented designers, unprofessional distribution networks and greatdependence of imported material imports have hindered Vietnam’s fashion industry, saida seminar organized in Ho Chi Minh City July 4.Dang Minh Hanh, director of the Fashion Design Institute (Fadin), said most localdesigners have not been trained thoroughly and have uncreative designs.Viet Tien, one of the top brand names in Vietnam fashion, requested 50 professionaldesigners from Fadin, which could only provide five. The Viet Tien Garment Companyplans to use VND100 billion ($6.06 million) to recruit professional designers.Fashion with no outstanding features cannot meet the demands and tastes of potentialcustomers, said Nguyen Trung Tin, deputy chairman of the HCM City PeoplesCommittee.Only 30% of locally made clothes are designed by Vietnamese designers, while 70% arecopied from international designers, according to the International Garment&TextileTraining Centre.Tin also emphasized the important role of distribution networks in Vietnams fashionindustry.
  • 406. Vietnamese fashion still lacks access to international trading centers because theavailable distribution is limited, unprofessional and unconcentrated, said Tin.The Viet Tien Garment Company and Vera International Corporation have now set up amore effective distribution outlets to establish brand recognition and product orientationvia a chain of retail shops where customers can become exposed to its products first hand.(VietNamNet Jul 7, Vnexpress Jul 7)Vietnam Airlines Once Again Postpones Direct Flight to the U.S.The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines will not be able to launch a direct flight to theU.S. this year as scheduled, the Tien Phong (Pioneer) newspaper reported, citing the CivilAviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV).The administration explained that it has to delay the flight because it has not yetincreased its flight safety management ability.Vietnam Airlines had planned to launch the flight late this year, after several times ofdelay to meet strict requirements on flight safety by the U.S.The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has supported $1.4 million to athree-phase project helping Vietnam increase flight safety management ability.Pham Ngoc Minh, general director of the Vietnam Airlines said the carrier will face a lotof difficulties in opening the fight, noting that competition by other international airlinesis the biggest hindrance.Currently, around 11 or 12 airlines are offering services on the Vietnam-US route.An aviation analysts said Vietnam may set up direct flight to the U.S. late second quarterof 2009 at soonest. (Pioneer July 9)Foreign Investment:Vietnam Gtel, Russia VimpelCom Set up Joint VentureVietnam’s GTel and Russian telecommunications provider Vimpel-CommunicationsJuly 8 inked a cooperative pact to establish a mobile telecommunications joint venture inVietnam called GTEL-Mobile, the Thanh Nien newspaper reported Wednesday.Under the deal, Gtel will hold a 60% stake in the joint venture and VimpelCom willinvest $267 million for a 40% stake in Vietnamese joint venture.Global Telecommunications Corp., a Vietnamese state-owned business, and its subsidiaryGTEL TSC, are VimpelComs partners in the venture. VimpelCom will receive 40%earnings in GTEL-Mobile, while Global Telecommunications will hold 51% and GTELwill own 9%.
  • 407. Vietnam earned VND33 trillion ($2 billion) in revenues from telecom activities in thefirst half of 2008, up 32% on year, according to the Ministry of Information andCommunications.Local telecom companies also reported 12.8 million new phone subscribers in the six-month span, raising the total number of phone subscribers in the country to 61.8 million.Of the figure, mobile phone subscribers account for 78.8%.At present, Vietnam’s average teledensity is 69.5 phones per 100 residents. (YoungPeople July 9 p2, Youth July 9 p6, The People July 9 p2, Vietnam Economic Times July9 p13, Saigon Liberation July 9 p1)Infrastructure:Vietnam Southern Province to Say “No” to New IPs by 2010The southern province of Dong Nai has said “No” to any more new industrial parks (IPs)or upgrade industrial clusters into IPs from now to 2010, following a decision of theprovincial People’s Committee to limit pollution.The committee said the province will also pay more attention to collecting and treatingindustrial solid waste at the current IPs which are now in alarming pollution.Dong Nai now tops the country in the number of industrial park with 27 cover more than7,000 hectares, of which, 55% are filled by projects.However, just 11 IPs among these have built waste treatment systems; therefore; only20,000 cubic meters of sewage released from province’s 13 industrial parks are treatedeach day.Under the decision, 94 companies in Bien Hoa IP are scheduled to be moved to otherareas to ease pollution in the Dong Nai River.The committee said that halting construction of new IPs will help province further focuson upgrading infrastructure and calling investment into existing parks, with prioritiesgiven to hi-tech projects.The province’s IPs have to date attracted 928 foreign direct investment (FDI) projectsworth some $13.1 billion, making Dong Nai rank the third position in FDI attraction inVietnam. (Vietnam & World Economy July 8 p5, Vietnam News Agency July 7)Tourism:EU to Fund EUR12 Mln for Vietnam to Develop Tourism Human Resources
  • 408. The European Union (EU) has pledged that it will fund EUR12 million to help Vietnamdevelop tourism human resources from now up to 2010, the Lao Dong Xa Hoi newspapersaid, citing the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).Of the sum, EU will finance EUR10.8 million, and EUR1.2 million from thecorrespondent capital of Vietnam, the newspaper said.The project aims to improve standard and quality of tourism human resources and helpthe government and businesses maintain quantity and quality of trained human resources.The project will also focus on raising the quality of tourism human resources that willmeet professionalism requirements and award 13 certificates for restaurant and tourismoperators.Vietnam’s tourism sector reported VND37 trillion ($2.3 billion) revenues in the first halfof this year, fulfilling 60.7% of its yearly plan.The country is targeting to receive 4 million-4.4 million foreign visitors and 19million-20 million domestic tourists with total revenues of VND56 trillion, or $3.5 billionthis year.The tourism sector now contributes 8% to Vietnam’s national GDP. (Social Labor July 8p2, VietNamNet Bridge)Politics & Law:CPVCC Meeting to Debate Vietnam Societal FoundationsThe Communist Party of Vietnam’s Central Committee (CPV) has started a week-longmeeting to discuss urgent economic issues related to agricultural production, status offarmers and working class, and the role of intellects in stormy urbanization today [July9], Vietnamese state media said Wednesday.Communist Vietnam, a success story known for its sustainable and high GDP growthrate, is shifting to a market-oriented economy by building more IPs and EPZs, but isneglecting its 4,000-year agricultural production strengths, implicit threats underminingthe country’s food security, analysts said.Fundamentals of Vietnam’s agriculture-based society are being shaken by fasturbanization, which is turning Vietnam into a massive construction site and pushing asidemore farmers whose lands taken reached up to 50,000 hectares each year for non-agriculture purposes between 2001 and 2007, they said.Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Cao Duc Phat recently warned that withsuch a rapid urbanization and industrialization pace Vietnam is facing food securityproblems.
  • 409. Between five million and six million Vietnamese still lack foods and this group is alwaysmost vulnerable to any economic restructuring, the World Bank’s recent report said.And more than 70% of the country’s population is farmers according to state media.Le Dang Doanh, a leading economist in Vietnam, has recently warned of unprecedentedimpacts by FDI pouring into the Asean country’s real estate.Now it is high time for policy makers and one-ruling party to take a review, they said.At the plenum this time CPVCC, one of Vietnam’s most powerful body, will also discussthe role of working class and intellects in the context of global economic integration withunprecedented and tough challenges from WTO club, the Lao Dong newspaper saidWednesday.As up to 50% of the university graduates are unqualified and have to be retrained,according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training’s latest statistics.Former Minister of Trade Truong Dinh Tuyen, who has a radical voice, proposed thatintellects need favorable conditions to contribute to the country’s policy making.Party Chief Nong Duc Manh recently mentioned contributive roles of intellects to thecountry’s development, a rare change seen in the ruling leadership. (Labor Jul 9 p1, HCMCity Law Jul 9 p3, Vietpan Database)Vietnam Condemns Terrorist Attack to Indian Embassy in AfghanistanVietnam strongly condemns the barbaric attack on the Indian Embassy in Afghanistan’scapital of Kabul on July 7 and sent deep condolences to families of the victims,Vietnamese foreign ministry spokesman Le Dung said.The Vietnamese spokesman made the statement July 8 in response to correspondents’questions about Vietnam’s reaction to the suicide bombing at the Indian embassy, whichleft 41 lives and injured 150 others.UN Security Council’s July President, Vietnamese Ambassador to the UN Le LuongMinh released Monday a statement, saying the members of the Security Council haveunderlined the need to bring the perpetrators, organizers, financers and sponsors of thisreprehensible act of terrorism to justice, and urge all States, in accordance with theirobligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, tocooperate actively with the Afghan authorities in this regard.As the UN Security Council President, Vietnam will chair discussions and meetings inJuly on a series of complicated issues such as those related to Kosovo and Myanmar, thedeployment of the UN-African Union joint peacekeeping force in Darfur, and the nuclear
  • 410. issues of Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. (Vietnam News Jul 9 p3,Website of Government Jul 9)Brazilian President Starts Vietnam VisitBrazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will arrive in Vietnam today to start histwo-day visit at the invitation of the host President Nguyen Minh Triet, local media said.The trip is part of the Brazilian President’s Asian tour to Japan, Vietnam, East Timor andIndonesia.Luiz, being accompanied by Brazilian foreign minister, a delegation of governmentofficials and businesses, is scheduled to hold talks with President Triet, Party GeneralSecretary Manh, Prime Minster Dung, National Assembly Chairman Trong, meet withlocal businessmen and attend a conference “Vietnam-Brazil: Building New Partnership”.Vietnam and Brazil offered a joint statement on building the bilateral comprehensivepartnership on the occasion of Vietnamese Party Chiefs visit to the South Americannation May last year.Brazilian Ambassador to Vietnam Lima Neto affirmed the trip will usher in a newchapter in the relationship with Vietnam.The Brazilian diplomat believed more leading Brazilian businesses would invest inVietnam following the visit.Neto also said he saw untapped potentials for the two countries’ future cooperation inculture, sports and tourism, apart from investment and trade. He underlined his country’spossible assistance to Vietnam in developing a more professional football.Vietnam and Brazil will celebrate 20th diplomatic ties anniversary in 2009, theambassador said, adding a Brazilian film festival will be held in Hanoi this week and apainting exhibition will take place in Brazil next year to congratulate the event. (LaborJul 9 p2, VNA Jul 8)Czech Pledges 47.3 Mln Krones to Vietnam This YearThe Czech Republic has committed to grant 47.3 million krones to Vietnam this year, upfrom 10.5 million krones in 2004, Czech Charge d’ Affaire in Vietnam Roman Musil July8 said.Czech Republic has added Vietnam to list of countries that will receive top priorities, heaffirmed.The Czech Republic has granted a total $18 million ODA for Vietnam. The two-waytrade was $130 million last year, doubling the figure five years ago.
  • 411. Prime Minister of Czech Mirek Topolanek has recently paid a four-day trip to Vietnamwith a series of cooperation pacts and contracts worth up to $2.6 billion signed betweenthe two sides. (Labor July 9 p2)Labor & Education:600,000 Sit for 2nd Session of University Entrance Exam TodayAround 600,000 students are taking part in the second phase of this year’s universityentrance exams, accounting for 66.79% of the total applicant turnout for the phase,according to statistics from the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET).The rate is roughly the same with that of the first session, the ministry revealed.The examinees take tests for group B (math, chemistry, and biology), group D (math,literature and foreign languages), group C (literature, history and geography) and groupsM, N, H, R, S, T and K.As planned, they participate in math, biology, history, literature tests today and will taketests for the other subjects tomorrow.The phase will end July 10 and the exams for three-year junior colleges will begin onJuly 15-16.This year, the total number of applicants for the entrance exams is 2.2 million, an 18%increase compared to last year. The ministry decided to raise 2008 enrollment quota foruniversities, colleges and vocational training schools to 12%, 22% and 12% on year,respectively.The ministry has postponed plans to merge the high school graduation exam anduniversity entrance exam until 2010 after public concerns about apprehensions on themerger.Vietnam reported 2.6 million holders of university and higher education degrees by themiddle of 2007, accounting for 4.5% of the national total workforce by the time.(People’s Army July 9 p1, Youth July 9 p7, The People July 9 p1, Labor July 9 p2, NewHanoi Jul 9 p1)Health & Environment:Modern TB Hospital to be Built in Vietnam Southern ProvinceThe southern province of Dong Thap July 7 gave the green light to establishment of atuberculosis (TB) hospital worth VND94.8 billion ($5.92 million), the Young Peoplenewspaper reported.
  • 412. The modern hospital with 100 sickbeds will occupy 22,611 square meters in My Thocommune, Cao Lanh district, said the provincial authority.The project, which will run from 2008 to 2011, is expected to help more TB patientsreceive treatment.Vietnam now ranks 13th among 22 countries having the largest number of (TB) patientsworldwide.Up to 44% of Vietnams population are infected with TB, said a recent meeting held inHanoi to mark International Tuberculosis Day [March 24].The country diagnoses around 145,000 new TB patients annually with the fatality rate of23 per 100,000 residents or 20,000 deaths. (Young People Jul 9 p2)Vietnam Revokes License of Drug Firm for Illicit Price HikeThe Vietnam Drug Administration under the Ministry of Health has decided to withdrawHo Chi Minh City-based Viet Ha company’s license to import finished medicines fromJuly 8, expect for import of drugs for urgent epidemic prevention, due to its illegal drugprice hike, local media reported today [July 9].The company’s branch in Hanoi intentionally raised prices of imported medicines higherthan those listed by the administration, said Truong Quoc Cuong, Head of theadministration.The company also was asked to adjust these drug prices to the old prices and informed itto the administration before July 10.The withdrawal showed the ministry’s determination to avoid massive and unreasonableincreases in the local drug market.Medicine prices have increased 8.93% since early 2007, said the administration.According to the ministry’s estimate, Vietnam will purchase $1.36 billion worth of drugsthis year, up 16.5% from the previous estimation of foreign health organizations.On average, the country’s per capita medicine consumption is estimated to reach $15.2this year, up 13.43% on-year.Domestic drug production value is estimated to reach $749 million and total importspending will be $815 million in 2008. (Youth Jul 9 p2, News Jul 9 p1, The People Jul 9p8)Vietnam Loses VND814 Bln due to Calamities in Jan-June
  • 413. Vietnam suffered losses of over VND814 billion ($49.3 million) caused by naturaldisasters in the first half of this year, up VND720 billion ($43.6 million) on year, theVietnam News Agency said, citing the General Statistics Office.The long cold spell in early 2008 destroyed 200,000 hectares of paddy, killed 122,000cattle, 1,000 pigs and 290,000 poultries.The localities supported VND199 billion ($12 million), VND81 billion of which comesfrom the governments preventive funds, to help people overcome difficulties.Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment and chief of GSO, Nguyen Duc Hoa,emphasized that the country needs to prepare well to tackle with the unusual weather tominimize damages and losses due to the calamities.Last year, natural disasters cost Vietnam VND11.5 trillion ($697 million) and left 1,350people death, injured and missing. (VNA July 9, GSO)Stock Market:Local Listed Firms Delay Overseas ListingMany Vietnamese listed companies including large-scaled businesses such as Vinamilk,SSI and FPT have to delay their overseas listings and wait for proper time due tounfavorable domestic and world economic situations, the Securities Investmentnewspaper reported.These enterprises had planned to list on the Singapore Stock Exchange within this year.In which, the State Securities Commission (SSC) has consider the listing of Vinamilk onthe exchange as a pioneer.Ngo Thi Thanh Tam, secretary for foreign affairs of the Saigon Securities Inc (SSI)confirmed that the company would postpone the listing on Singapore until early 2009because of economic difficulties.The stock market of the local country is also falling, so the listing at this time is not agood idea, Tam said. Previously, SSI had planned to float nearly 36 million shares on theSingapore bourse.Bui Quang Ngoc, deputy general director of the Corporation for Financing andPromoting Technology (FPT), said his firm has not yet had any specific listing plan for2008."Our company now has to cope with difficulties in the domestic economy, especially theissue of foreign currency to import equipment and goods for production and trading, sowe have not thought about the issue," Ngoc added.
  • 414. Meanwhile, a representative from Vinamilk, although worried about the currenteconomic challenge in the world, said the company will surely list in Singapore withinthis year.Procedures on the listing have been completed, and Vinamilk is just waiting for the replyfrom the Singapore exchange and from the SSC, he said.As planned, the milk producer will issue 5% of its registered capital to raise capital in theforeign market.Nguyen Vu Quang Trung, deputy director of the Hanoi Securities Trading Center, said hesupported domestic enterprises to float overseas. However, it is not high time now.(Securities Investment Jul 8)Sacombanks Property Value Rises Nearly 100%-Savills VietnamThe assets value of 68 realty categories the listed Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Bank(Sacombank) is holding nationwide is now VND1.64 trillion ($102.5 million), rising97.74% compared with its initial value, according to the appraisal report of SavillsVietnam Ltd.The property value of Sacombank has increased by 168% in Central and WesternHighland region, 73% in HCM City and 75% in the Western and 35% in the Northernregions.STB’s property at No.324 Chanh Hung St., Ward 5, District 8, HCM City is now valuedat VND32 billion, up 223.8% over the beginning price, or the general warehouse in SongThan IP (Binh Duong) is worth VND208 billion, up 517.2%.Sacombank set up Sacombank Financial Group in May, which is specializing in financialand non-financial services.Savills Vietnam Co. Ltd. is a member of the U.K.-based Savills Group, the world leadingreal estate service provider. It was set up in May 2007 after Savills acquired ChestertonPetty Vietnam. (www.sacombank.com.vn, Vneconomy Jul 9, CafeF, New Hanoi Jul 8)Golden Bridge Holds 49% Stake in Click&Phone SecuritiesNhap and Goi (Click&Phone) Securities Company said early this week that it scaled upits registered capital to VND135 billion ($8.4 million) from VND30 billion after itrecently sold a 49% stake, or 6.615 million shares, to Golden Bridge.With the stake holding, the Seoul-headquartered Golden Bridge Investment andSecurities Ltd has become a strategic partner in the Vietnamese stock broker.
  • 415. Click&Phone and Golden Bridge are also working to set up Golden Bridge Research(GBRV) Ltd. specializing in investment and business consultancy, marketing andinvestment promotion.With the support of Golden Bridge, Click&Phone will improve its capacity to affirm itsposition on the Vietnams stock market and penetrate into the regional securities market,said Dao Huu Hanh, chairman of Click&Call.Golden Bridge is now managing two funds investing in Vietnam, with total capital of $63million. Currently, it is holding a 24.8% stake in another Vietnamese stock broker,Haiphong Securities Co. (Haseco). (Investment Jul 9 p2, Vietnam Economic Times Jul 8p10)Techcombank Okayed to Set up Securities CoVietnam Technological & Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) has got thump-up from the State Securities Commission to set up Techcombank Securities Co. Ltd.The company is allowed to carry out such services as securities brokerage, dealing,issuance underwriting, investment advisory and custody.Techcombank is required to prepare technical facilities and human resources for the newcompany.Vietnam has licensed 93 securities companies by the end of June 2008. (VietnamEconomic Times Jul 8 p9)TCM to Offer VND1 Tln Convertible BondsThanh Cong Garment and Textile Joint Stock Company (TCM) announced that it wouldissue 10 million convertible corporate bonds valued at VND1 trillion ($62.5 million) todomestic and foreign individuals and institutions.TCM will issue the 3-year bonds in many tranches in one year with at an annual couponequal to average 12-month savings interest rate of four state banks including Agribank,Vietcombank, BIDV and Vietinbank at the time of issuing.The bonds will be converted at 1-to-3 ratio in the first and second year, and 1-to-2 ratio inthe third year.The garment makers bond issue is aimed to raise fund for its real estate projects.In the first quarter, TCM netted profit of VND9.8 billion and obtained revenues ofVND270.8 billion. (Vneconomy Jul 8)
  • 416. Jul 9: Vietnam Shares End Up on Lower Inflation HopesVietnams shares closed higher Wednesday for the second straight day as local investorscontinued to buy blue chips on hopes that inflation will slow down in coming monthsafter the government asked ministries, agencies, localities and businesses not to raiseprices of essential goods.“Many investors start to believe inflation will be abating in July after several banks havejust reduced their interest rates, including the state lender BIDV," a trader with Thu DoSecurities said. "It means that the governments measures to stabilize macro economy aretaking effects."“Investors are eyeing at bluechip stocks because of their high liquidity, while pennystocks were sold for profit-taking after they had risen over the past two weeks," he said.VN-Index today gained 2.84 points, or 0.65%, at 439.55.Market volume totaled 14 million shares valued at VND508.4 billion Wednesday, downfrom 14.7 million shares valued at VND521.9 billion Tuesday.STB, the most active stock today, rose 2.9% at VND25,100 on 2.8 million shareschanging hands.DPM, the second most active stock, closed at VND51,500, up 3% from yesterday,becoming the most advancer. Of total 1.8 million shares traded, foreign investors bought411,430 shares and sold 212,200 shares.HPG jumped up 2.5% at VND62,000 on 579,010 shares, including 91,820 shares boughtby foreigners.Some other blue chips closed higher, such as FPT up 2.7%, PVD up 2.8%, PPC up 3%and SSI up 2.9%.SAM ended down 2.62% at VND26,000, pulled down by strong foreign selling. Of total589,350 shares changing hands, foreign players bought 13,510 shares and sold 227,280shares.VNM lost 2.6% to close at VND112,000. Foreign investors bought 164,360 shares andsold 64,810 shares among total 287,040 shares traded.In total, 86 stocks ended higher, 55 lower, 11 unchanged and one untraded.Among four fund certificates, three closed higher and unchanged. (HOSE July 9)Vietnam NewsJuly 8, 2008
  • 417. Inter-bank Forex Rate: $1=VND16,522Banking & Finance:Interest & Forex Rates Start to Fall in VietnamDomestic monetary market has started to cool down with interest rates and foreigncurrency exchange rate seeing remarkable falls, mostly thanks to a series of measurestaken by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the Vietnam News Agency reported.Statistics from the SBV showed that interest rates for VND deposits offered by state-owned commercial banks hovered around 17%-18%/year last week while joint stockcommercial lenders kept the rates at 18%-18.5%, down 0.5%-1% against late June.Last week, KienLong Bank introduced the highest ever interest rate in Vietnam at 20%per year. However, after just one day in existence, the SBV forced it to reduce the rate to19% per year.In the inter-bank market, the interest rates for VND loans with less-than-one-weekperiods also decreased. The overnight interest rate is currently stayed at 17.43% per yearand the rate for one week loans is at 19.85% per year.Regarding the foreign exchange rate, the SBV said that domestic forex market haschanged positively after the central bank decided to double VND/USD daily trading bandto +/-2%.July 2, the VND/USD exchange rate among commercial banks varied from VND16,840to VND16,848, 1.35% higher than those offered before the decision was made.The exchange rate on the free market on the same day was between VND17,400 andVND17,550, a decrease of 2.25%.Analysts believed that interest rates for both VND deposits and loans will be suitablyadjusted soon thanks to the SBVs efforts to improve safety of credit system.The SBV affirmed that the public would be timely informed of the bank’s measures tomanage the country’s banking system, especially information related to interest rates,exchange rates and foreign currency management. (VNA Jul 8)Vietnam: Domestic Banks Trapped, Chance for Overseas Banks-State MediaMany domestic banks in Vietnam, which are still being trapped in property and stocks,are struggling to raise funds while overseas banks are emerging as tough rivals withrobust assets growth recently, the state-run newswire www.vietnamnet.vn published bythe Ministry of Information and Communications said Tuesday.
  • 418. Due to not loaning local property and stock investors in recent months [apart from moneythey bought government-bonds] foreign-invested banks have their good liquidity, rapidgrowth and capacity raised in many areas in Vietnam, the newswire said.In the first half this year, foreign banks and joint venture banks saw their total assetsgrowing 33% and outstanding loans expanding 50%, much higher than 8% and roughly20% by the local banking systems.So far, the outstanding loans the foreign-invested banks have lent have accounted foronly 9.3% of Vietnam’s total banking sector, however, their dollar loans have made up29.5% of the country’s total dollar lending, the newspaper said.Vietnam’s retailing banking sector is a promising land with 85 million people, and theyare focusing on small and medium businesses.HSBC, ANZ and Standard Chartered are taking the lead among them. Standard Charteredopened a branch and launched retail banking services July 1, 2008. ANZ plans to openfour more transaction offices by the end of the year, and some more branches in Hanoiand HCM City thereafter.Meanwhile, most domestic banks postponed plans to expand networks due to financialdifficulties between Jan and Jun while foreign banks tried to enlarge their networks.(VietnamNet Jul 7)Taiwanese Insurer Cathay Enters VietnamCathay Vietnam Life Insurance Ltd Co will officially operate in Vietnam from today[July 8], more than half a year after obtaining business license from the Ministry ofFinance, the Dau Tu Chung Khoan (Securities Investment) newspaper reported.Taiwan-based Cathay insurer is the first Asian company setting up life insurance arm inVietnam so far, the paper said.Cathay Vietnam has $60 million in chartered capital, which is more than the minimumVND600 billion ($37.5 million) as regulated by Vietnam law.At present, Cathay has over eight million customers in Vietnam and targets to expandbusiness to China.Vietnam is now home to eight life insurer, including the only state-run Bao Viet. Theother seven are all foreign firms. (Securities Investment Jul 7 p7)Trade:Vietnam PM Urges to Regularly Control Goods Prices
  • 419. Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has sent a dispatch to provinces and cities,asking to regularly inspect and control the selling prices of goods in order to preventspeculation, the government of Vietnam said on its Web site Tuesday.Provinces and cities have to boost market management activities to ensure goods to besold at the right quoted prices and to avoid hoarding, speculation and smuggling ofgoods, especially essential commodities such as food, oil and gas, steel, cement, fertilizerand medicines.Violations will be heavily punished.The PM also urged ministries and agencies, businesses and localities to boost productionto ensure the supply of goods to meeting consumption demand of people.The state economic groups and corporations must focus on production to enrich supply ofcommodities in domestic market, while obeying regulations on price management,helping the Government to stabilize market.Recently, prices of many commodities have kept s