BUSINESS IN BRIEF 26/10

India unlikely to impose anti-dumping duty on Vietnamese batteries

The Directorate General of Anti-dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) under the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry has recommended not to impose anti-dumping duty on AA dry cell batteries imported from China and Vietnam.

The Vietnam Competition Authority cited the DGAD’s announcement on the final findings of its probe on batteries imported from the two countries as saying that imposition of the duty on the imports “is not required”.

The DGAD found that the imported products did not caused significant damage to the domestic industry.

Though during the period of investigation (from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, significant volume of the imports entered the Indian market at dumped prices, it has not impacted the domestic industry as it caters to a different market segment, the DGAD said.

The complaint against Vietnamese and Chinese batteries was filed by the Association of Indian Dry Cell Manufacturers.

HCMC proposes tax incentives to reduce E5 petrol price

The HCMC Department of Industry and Trade has proposed the city’s authorities ask the Government to assign related ministries to draw up new tax incentives supporting ethanol producers to reduce the price of E5 bio-fuel.

The policies including reduction or exemption of tax and environment fee with an aim to encourage people to use the bio-fuel rather than the equivalent fossil fuel A92 in the process of completely replacing A92 with E5.

Currently, the city has three major units producing and supplying E5. According to their report, they are capable of supplying 166,000 cubic meters of E5 fuel per month to 532 petrol stations in the city.

Particularly, the supply includes 30,000 cubic meters a month from Petrolimex Saigon, 40,000 cubic meters a month from Saigon Petro Co., and 96,000 cubic meters a month from PetroVietnam Oil Corporation (PV Oil).

Ethanol for producing E5 is supplied by Phuong Dong Biological Energy Co Ltd, Bio-Petroleum and Petrochemical Joint Stock Co. (PVB), PetroVietnam Central Biofuels Joint Stock Company (BSR-BF), and Tung Lam Co.

As of October 10, some 280 out of 532 petrol stations (53%) citywide had been distributing the bio-fuel in the city. Their average consumption reaches only 8,330 cubic meters per month.

The small price gap between E5 and A92 makes E5 consumption low, according to the department. In addition, according to wholesalers, all domestic ethanol producers have stopped operation due to unstable input and output, leading to the price of E5 rising. 

On the other hand, the world oil price has stayed low for long so many enterprises have imported fossil fuels for reserve and boost consumption of A92 and A95 fuels.

Australia supports Vietnam’s macadamia industry

The Vietnam Macadamia Association (VMA) has just signed a memorandum of understanding with the Australian Macadamia Society (AMS) to promote the macadamia industry’s development in the two countries, Vietnam Plus reports. 

The signing ceremony between VMA and AMS took place at the 2016 Australian Macadamia conference, held from October 18-20 in Australia, LienVietPost Bank said.

According to the agreement, AMS will give active support for VMA in terms of building farming techniques, and raising product quality to international standards.

Hoang Hoe, vice chair of the VMA, said Australia has provided assistance in building the macadamia industry in Vietnam over the past ten years. The cooperation contributes to the development of the industry on a global scale.

In the last two years, LienVietPost Bank and Him Lam Corporation have jointly played a leading role in implementing programs to develop macadamia into a new industry in Vietnam. Since October 2016, LienVietPost Bank has offered two credit lines for macadamia farmers, attracting great interest from many households in Lam Dong Province.

Can Tho’s port receives first large container ship

The container ship of Tan Cang Shipping Company under the Saigon Newport Corporation anchored at the Tan Cang-Cai Cui Port in Cai Rang district, the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on October 24. 

Tan Cang Pioneer V.1631S is the first container ship to go through the newly-opened Quan Chanh Bo canal, paving the way for high-capacity ships to enter the Hau River. 

The ship has a capacity of 610 TEUs. In the first voyage, it carried 102 TEUs of imported products including lime, coal and building materials and 85 TEUs of exported rice, rice bran and aquatic products. 

It is also the first container ship to carry goods directly from Hai Phong city in the north to Can Tho city without going through HCM City. 

Tan Cang–Cai Cui Port covers an area of 7ha and can receive ships of up to 20,000 tonnes. The port will serve as the entrepot and logistic centre for businesses operating in the Mekong Delta.

WB helps HCM City develop solar power


The World Bank (WB) will support Ho Chi Minh City to develop a solar power network.

A research group on energy and minerals introduced the WB project at a working session with Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Van Khoa in the city on October 25.

The group will work with local relevant agencies to install solar panels on the roofs of multi-story buildings, which is expected to generate 110 MWP of power, according to a research in 2013.

The installation of solar panels will also help generate jobs and profits, a representative of the group said, adding that the project will enable Vietnamese businesses to expand this model.

Khoa said HCM City is particularly keen on developing solar energy, which has been defined in the city’s electricity development planning scheme in 2015-2020 approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. It also conforms to the national renewable energy development strategy through 2030, with a vision towards 2050.

The WB project is hoped to help the city realise its target of having renewable energy making up over 1.74 percent of the total energy consumption by 2020, he said.

The municipal People Committee will set up a working group in the near future to cooperate with the WB research group, he noted.

Hai Phong seeks investment from Japan, Thailand

A conference entitled “Hai Phong city – North Vietnam’s new manufacturing centre” took place in Bangkok, Thailand, on October 25 to seek to attract more investments from Thailand and Japan.

The event was co-organised by the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) under Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI) and the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro). 

According to Dang Xuan Quang, deputy head of the FIA, Vietnam’s signing of a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union and its participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations are reasons to draw more investments from foreign businesses, including those from Japan and Thailand. 

Representatives of northern Hai Phong city called on Japanese and Thai enterprises to boost investment in the city and affirmed the city always creates favourable conditions for investors. 

Hai Phong city has the biggest sea port in the north of Vietnam. It is well connected with Hanoi and is a pillar in the northern economic development triangle. 

The city has attracted 13.63 billion USD in foreign direct investment in 480 projects. 

So far this year, it lured around 3 billion USD. 

Deputy Chairman of Jetro Haruhiko Ozasa spoke highly of the dynamic, stable investment environment in Vietnam and said many Japanese enterprises expressed their interest in investing in Vietnam. 

Representatives of ministries and localities from Vietnam, Japan and Thailand answered questions from enterprises on investment procedures and policies in Vietnam. 

Vietnam has attracted 23.52 billion USD in FDI in 2015 and 16.43 billion USD in nine months of 2016, reported the Ministry of Planning and Investment. 

Japan has 3,212 operating projects with a combined capital of 42.03 billion USD, being the second largest investor in Vietnam, while Thailand has invested 7.73 billion USD in 443 projects in Vietnam, making it the 10th biggest investor.

Vinh Phuc to invest over 1.27 trillion VND in developing rural roads

The northern province of Vinh Phuc aims to build concrete roads in all of its rural areas by 2020 as part of its new-style rural area building programme from 2017 -2020.

According to a recently-approved project on rural road development for 2017-2020, the construction of rural roads will cost a total of 1.27 trillion VND (57.42 million USD), including over 160 billion VND (7.2 million USD) from the provincial budget.

For localities already having concrete rural roads, they will mobilise capital resources for upgrading their existing road networks.

Vinh Phuc has nearly 4,140 kilometres of roads, of which 3,525 kilometres are rural roads. To fulfill the transport criterion in the new-style rural are building programme, the province annually spends 85 billion VND on building rural roads. 

By the end of 2015, 90 percent of local rural roads had been upgraded to concrete ones.

Seminar urges better corporate mangement

A seminar on Viet Nam’s economic and financial future, outlining opportunities and challenges in corporate financial management in Viet Nam, with insights from experts in the field, was held on October 25 in Ha Noi.

The seminar, themed “Corporate Financial Management: New Challenges and Opportunities”, featured two keynote presenters, Dr. Can Van Luc, senior advisor to Chairman of the Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV) and Dr. Trần Vinh Dự, partner in transaction advisory service of Ernst & Young Viet Nam, together with Nguyen Vu Quang Trung, Deputy CEO of HNX and Adam Awty, Chief Operating Officer of Commercial for CPA Australia.

The four speakers lauded the development of Viet Nam, especially in the financial sector, but did note concerns over challenges to come.

“Strong financial management is critical for corporate governance and business success and this requires assurance of high quality human resources in the accounting finance profession,” said Awty.

Luc’s speech detailed the country’s financial forecast for 2017, including corporate solutions and government policy suggestions, while Du‘s presentation focused on corporate financial management.

“The seminar is a good opportunity for businesses to get updated forecasts on key macro-economic indicators. We have major opportunities and challenges lying ahead as part of the country’s economic reforms including integration into the ASEAN Economic Community and the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said Luc.

Suggestions for improving financial management included stricter investment regulations, better human resources and human capital training and selection, aiming to enhance the competitive ability of the business sector in Viet Nam.

Presenters agreed Viet Nam’s economy has a positive future, with a good anticipated inflation rate, an increase in exports, service and manufacturing and more foreign direct investment. The stock market has also been on the rise this year, as has the insurance market, both indicating progress for the economy.

The seminar was jointly hosted by CPA Australia and the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX).

Eway introduces new healthcare, advertisement products

Eway JSC introduced their new product on healthcare for the Vietnamese called eDoctor at the Eway X10 2016 event held on Monday.

eDoctor allows users to easily access easily healthcare services not only for themselves, but also for their families, both online and at home.

Eway also introduced AdStiq, a customised advertisement platform, to participants. AdStiq is built on the Data Management Platform, with the capacity to analyse customers’ data on mobile and desktop based on demography, hobby and behavior, allowing advertisers to reach their customers.

At the event, Eway also announced new technological achievements on affiliate marketing.

Dang Cong Nguyen, Eway CEO, said large technology companies in the world, such as Google, Apple and Facebook, held annual events to announce their achievements and new products.  Eway had made a similar attempt with Eway X10, held yearly in October, to mark the company’s developments, highlight achievements in the domestic and international markets and introduce new products developed by the company in the past year.

Eway JSC was established in 2009 with its head office in Ha Noi. It, currently, also has offices in HCM City, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.

Eway’s vision is to become the No.1 affiliate distributor in Southeast Asia and among the top 3 for online marketing in Asia by 2020, the CEO said. 

Asean could grab 10% of globe’s tourism investment dollars: Study

Travel and tourism investment in ASEAN over the next decade is forecast to total US$782 billion, or 7.4 per cent of all investment in the region.

One in 10 of all tourism investment dollars is forecast to go into ASEAN countries over the next decade, according to new research by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

The council said investment spending would be dominated (95 per cent) by five major destinations – Thailand, Singapore, Viet Nam, Indonesia, and Malaysia – which together accounted for over 80 per cent of ASEAN’s international arrivals and tourism contribution to gross domestic product.

The study, ‘Travel & Tourism Investment in Asean’, looked at the years 2016 to 2026.

Travel and tourism investment in ASEAN over the next decade is forecast to total $782 billion, or 7.4 per cent of all investment in the region. This represents growth of 6.3 per cent per year, nearly 2 percentage points faster than the global average, WTTC said.

Some countries may fall short of investment in infrastructure.

However, it said that given the strong demand for travel to this region, some countries were still at risk of not investing enough to ensure infrastructure meets the needs of the forecast tourism |growth.

The report highlights the investment needed in ASEAN to support the region’s forecast travel and tourism growth over the next decade.

ASEAN is one of the world’s most tourism-dependent regions. The industry contributes 12.4 per cent of GDP, nearly 4 per cent above most other world regions. However, according to the report, ASEAN’s tourism infrastructure currently only ranks ahead of Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.

As such the outlook across the 10 constituent countries of ASEAN is mixed. Myanmar, Cambodia and the Philippines are classified as “infrastructure-constrained”.

Forecast investment is not deemed to be sufficient to ensure that poor existing infrastructure can be improved to meet the needs of future tourism demand and to maintain competitiveness.

Viet Nam and Laos are identified as having “improving infrastructure and growth prospects” although future investment will need to be channelled effectively and targeted at priority areas.

Thailand is the only country classified as “future focus critical,” where relatively strong existing infrastructure and future demand growth need to be supported by a continued investment focus.

Malaysia and Brunei are expected to balance future infrastructure investment needs with forecast demand growth.

Singapore and Indonesia are classified as “having high levels of infrastructure spending and forecast growth that should allow them to sustain projected levels of demand.”

David Scowsill, president and chief executive officer of the WTTC, said: “Our research shows that investment in infrastructure is critical to the future sustainability of travel and tourism. As one of the fastest-growing tourism markets, public and private sector leaders across ASEAN must prioritise tourism investment and channel it effectively to ensure the region’s infrastructure can meet this increasing demand.”

WTTV said Singapore and Indonesia were leading the way in terms of their infrastructure development but across ASEAN much more was required. 

Moody’s assigns ratings for TP Bank

US rating agency Moody’s for the first time assigned long-term local and foreign currency deposit and issuer ratings of B2 to Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TP Bank), with stable outlook.

Moody’s Investors Service rates the lender’s short-term local and foreign currency deposit and issuer at ‘not prime’.

The bank’s baseline credit assessment (BCA) and adjusted BCA has been rated at B3. Moody’s has assigned Counterparty Risk Assessments of B2(cr)/NP(cr) to the bank.

“The B2 long-term ratings assigned to TP Bank reflect: (1) its BCA of B3, and (2) a one-notch uplift based on Moody’s expectation of a “moderate” probability of support from the government of Vietnam (B1 stable),” Moody’s said in a statement released Monday.

TP Bank’s asset risk is elevated but largely in line with the average for other rated banks in Vietnam. Around 6 per cent of its adjusted gross loans were problematic at end of June 2016. “Moody’s expects that TP Bank’s asset risk will remain elevated in the next 12 to 18 months, because of rapid loan growth. TP Bank’s loan growth amounted to 42 per cent in 2015 and 30 per cent in the first half of 2016, which Moody’s views as above-market growth.”

In a move to strengthen its capital buffer in order to accommodate asset growth, TP Bank successfully attracted the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to be its shareholdersafter making a quasi-equity investment of VND403.1 billion (US$18.35 million) in dividend preferred shares in the third quarter of 2016. This transaction has improved the bank’s regulatory Tier-1 ratio by around 100 basis points, but had a neutral effect on Moody’s tangible common equity (TCE) ratio, because Moody’s does not include preferred shares in its calculation of core capital.

In terms of government support for TP Bank, Moody’s uses the same “moderate” support assumption as for other private sector banks in Viet Nam. As a result, TP Bank’s B2 long-term ratings incorporate one notch of uplift from its B3 BCA. The “moderate” support assumption is mainly underpinned by the bank’s market share of around 1.2 per cent of system assets as of June 2016.

TP Bank was one of the nine banks classified by the central bank as weak lenders that needed restructuring in 2009. The bank is privately owned and major shareholder groups include SBI Holdings and related companies (around 20 per cent combined stake), DOJI Group and related individuals (19.9 per cent), FPT Corporation (around 9 per cent) and IFC (4.99 per cent). 

Mobile services poised to strongly affect consumer behaviors

Mobile telecommunications services will strongly affect shopping behaviors of consumers, experts said at Mobile Marketing Forum Vietnam 2016 (MMA Forum) that opened in HCMC last week.

Rodhit Dadwal, chief executive officer (CEO) of Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) for the Asia-Pacific region, said the strong development of the mobile market leads to the development of advertising channels and digital media, especially video ads, which is a new trend contributing to changes in daily living and consumer habits. 

The advertising and digital communications market in Asia and the trend of access to online videos in Vietnam are growing. It is estimated that the ratio of users accessing Youtube to watch videos in Vietnam now is six times higher than years earlier.

Vietnam has more than 121 million mobile subscribers. This is a good condition for enterprises, advertising and digital marketing companies to develop advertising campaigns on the mobile platform.  

Joe Nguyen, senior vice president of ComScore market research firm in the Asia-Pacific region, said the number of personal computer (PC) users is decreasing while the number of mobile device users is on the rise. 

In Asian countries, mobile devices are always the first choice of users when they want to access the Internet. Most people in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia surf the Internet through smartphones more frequently than PCs, according to Google.

A report of Nielsen in 2015 showed that nine out of 10 Vietnamese people consider smartphone as a personal device to access the Internet. At the same time, Vietnamese users on average spend 24.7 hours per week on the Internet.

State still holds majority stakes in equitized SOEs

The State continues holding controlling stakes in State-owned enterprises (SOEs) that have gone public between 2011 and this September, according to a Ministry of Finance report. 

As many as 557 SOEs had their equitization plans approved in the period and 426 of them already launched their initial public offerings (IPOs). 

These equitized SOEs have total chartered capital of over VND184.25 trillion with the State holding 81.1%, strategic investors 7.3%, employees 1.6%, labor unions 0.6%, and other investors 9.4%.

In specifics, the State owns more than 90% of 70 equitized SOEs, including Vietnam National Petroleum Group (94.99%), Vietnam Steel Corporation (93.6%), Vietnam Airlines (95.5%), Airports Corporation of Vietnam (92.5%), Lilama Corporation (98%) and Viglacera Corporation (93%).

Besides, the State holds a stake of over 65% in each of 82 SOEs, more than 50% in each of 96 SOEs and less than 50% in each of 156 others.  

According to the report, the equitization plans for 49 SOEs were approved in January-September this year. Their actual value is VND31.9 trillion with State ownership accounting for around VND23.3 trillion.  

Equitized SOEs last year reported better earnings results than they did in the pre-equitization years. Their chartered capital edged up 72%, total assets up 39%, equity up 60%, revenue up 29%, pre-tax profit up 49%, contribution to the State budget up 27% and the average salary up 33%.

The number of SOEs totaled 652 in 2015, down from around 1,500 in 2010.

Vietnam’s agriculture yet to benefit from satellite imaging

The remote sensing (RS) satellite imaging system is widely used in agriculture in developed countries but it is still little used for agricultural production in Vietnam, heard experts at a conference held in Can Tho City on October 24.

RS satellite images can be used for different purposes, including monitoring the progress of paddy growing, keeping track of paddy output, monitoring forests, supervising natural disasters, and managing urban areas, said Lam Dao Nguyen, director of the Vietnam Southern Satellite Technology Application Center under the Vietnam National Satellite Center.

Tran Huu Hiep, head of the Southwest Steering Committee’s Department of Economic Affairs, said Vietnam has demand for satellite images, and the potential for developing the RS satellite imaging system of the country is big.

However, the application of those images in real life is still far below expectation, he told the Daily on the sidelines of the conference that discussed the use of RS satellite imaging in monitoring paddy cultivation in the Mekong Delta.

Hiep explained that the RS satellite technology is still new as it has been developed in Vietnam since 2013, and the country is still in the progress of studying to further develop it.

To better use satellite images, he suggested a close collaboration among departments and agencies which have data aside from further works of scientists and RS centers.

Nguyen of the Vietnam National Satellite Center said the cost of using RS satellite images used to be big, making access to such images difficult.

Yet he also said that Vietnam has had its own RS satellites while other countries have also started providing satellite images for Vietnam for free.

“In the coming time, Vietnam will have more imaging sources to serve production activities, especially agricultural production in the delta,” he said.

VINASA introduces top 50 Vietnamese leading IT enterprises

Vietnam Software & IT Services Association (VINASA) has released a publication about top 50 Vietnamese information & technology enterprises this year with three languages of English, Vietnamese and Japanese. 

In addition, the VINASA has also introduced its website www.leadingitcompanies.com.  

General Secretary of VINASA Mrs. Nguyen Thi Thu Giang said that the enterprises are worth what they have achieved.  

Total turnover from the enterprises reached nearly VND 28, 000 billion (US$ 1. 25 billion), accounting for 35. 3 percent of turnover of Vietnam’s software and digital technology last year. 

Total number of IT employees is 30, 523 people, an estimate of 19 percent of  the industry.

Coteccons to freeze foreign ownership at 40%

The Coteccons Construction Company will temporarily freeze its foreign ownership limit at 40 per cent of charter capital in order to conduct a private placement for strategic investors in the fourth quarter. 

The real estate giant plans to issue 14.43 million shares to strategic investors before the end of the year, with a par value of VND144.3 billion ($6.46 million). The shares cannot be sold for one year after purchase.

In early October the Ton Poh Fund sold 77,460 shares in Coteccons, bringing its holding down from 2.2 million shares (5.08 per cent) to 2.12 million (4.32 per cent).

The fund is therefore no longer the major shareholder of Coteccons. The sale was conducted when the share was trading from VND260,000 ($11.6) to VND273,000 ($12.2) (unadjusted price).

On October 18 Coteccons finalized the lists of shareholders for its issuance of 16.37 million bonus shares, with a ratio of 3:1 (shareholders receive one bonus share for every three they hold). The par value was VND164 billion ($7.34 million).

At the close of trade on October 19 the share stood at VND188,000 ($8.42), for a capitalization of VND12.31 trillion ($551.49 million).

Coteccons recorded positive financial results in the third quarter of 2016, with total revenue reaching VND5.3 trillion ($237.4 million), up 39 per cent year-on-year. Though cost of goods sold in the period went up only 38 per cent, its total profit increased 59 per cent year-on-year, to VND459 billion ($20.56 million).

Total revenue for the first nine months was therefore VND13.46 trillion ($603 million), a 64 per cent increase year-on-year, and after-tax profit was VND961 billion ($43 million), up 114 per cent. Its earnings per share (EPS) in the first nine months was VND19,445 ($0.87).

Its 2016 net profit target was VND800 billion ($35.84 million), which it has exceeded by 20 per cent already.

As at the end of the third quarter, total assets stood at VND9.16 trillion ($410.36 million). Cash and equivalents were VND2.14 trillion ($95.87 million), up 46 per cent compared to December 31, 2015, with total bank deposits and bonds at VND1.74 trillion ($77.95 million).

Accounts receivables as at the end of the third quarter were VND2.37 trillion ($106.17 million), down VND232 billion ($10.4 million) compared to the start of the year.

Cost of construction in progress as at the end of the third quarter was VND992 billion ($44.44 million), with many projects still under construction, including D.Capitale Tran Duy Hung, Masteri Thao Dien, and Preche Thao Dien.

Export revenue surges 7% in Jan-Sep

As of late September, trade turnover valued nearly US$ 253.44 billion, up 3.9% against the same period last year, according to the Viet Nam Customs.

In the January-September period, export volume reached nearly US$ 128.58 billion, posting a year-on-year surge of 7% or US$ 8.43 billion. Import turnover valued US$ 124.86 billion, up 0.9% against the same period last year or US$ 1.07 billion. Viet Nam ran a trade surplus of US$ 3.72 billion.  

The Viet Nam Customs reported that in September, trade turnover hit over US$ 29.97 billion, representing a month-on-month decline of 5.2% or nearly US$ 1.65 billion. Export turnover reached nearly US$ 15.42 billion (down 4.2% against last month). Import turnover was US$ 14.55 billion, down 6.2% against  those of August.

In September, the biggest hard currency earners included telephones and spare parts (over US$ 2.91 billion of export turnover); garments and textiles (US$ 2.17 billion); computers and spare parts (US$ 1.74 billion); footwear (US$ 9.41 billion); aquaculture (US$ 666 million).

Export of gems and precious metals accelerated

Viet Nam’s export of gems and precious metals reached US$729.85 million in revenue in the first nine month of this year, a year-on-year increase of 63.44 per cent.

These statistics were revealed by the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

It’s reported that the country’s gems and precious metals are exported to 14 countries and territories including Switzerland, United States, United Arab Emirates and Japan, as well as South Korea and France.

Switzerland was the largest importer with turnover of $324.83 million, accounting for 45 per cent of Viet Nam’s total exports and representing a 23-fold increase compared with the same period last year.

The second largest importer was the United States with an import value of $243.33 million, 8.73 per cent lower than the same period last year, accounting for 32 per cent of Viet Nam’s total exports.

It was followed by Japan, which imported gems and precious metals worth $38.77 million, a year-on-year increase of 15.56 per cent.

The growth rates of exporting gems and precious metals to South Korea and Germany were 46.77 per cent and 7.48 per cent, respectively.

However, exports to a number of countries and territories also declined, such as Belgium, France, Australia and Taiwan, with year-on-year reduction of 38.35 per cent, 13.11 per cent, 3.52 per cent and 29.91 per cent, respectively.

Steel imports rise 25% in 9 months

Viet Nam spent US$5.84 billion importing 13.92 million tonnes of steel and iron products in the first nine months of the year, the General Department of Customs’ statistics revealed.

The numbers were up 24.7 per cent and 2.3 per cent in volume and value, respectively, against the same period last year.

Imports from China were at 8.22 million tonnes, worth more than $3.25 billion, accounting for nearly 60 per cent of the total volume and 55.7 per cent of the total value. Import numbers from Japan and South Korea were 2.11 million tonnes and 1.33 million tonnes, worth $907 million and $722 million, respectively.

With this import value, iron and steel products was ranked fifth among the country’s 10 largest imported products in the first nine months of the year.

The Viet Nam Steel Association attributed the increase in steel imports to rising construction demand in the domestic market. Domestic steel sales surged 27.8 per cent year-on-year, the association reported.

In another movement, the US Department of Commerce (DOC) last week announced the preliminary results of the administrative review of the anti-dumping duty imposed on some of Viet Nam’s oil country tubular goods (OCTG).

The review was conducted at the request of Viet Nam’s SEAH Steel VINA Corporation (SSV) on OCTG for the period from February 25, 2014, to August 31, 2015. OCTGs are essentially tubes that are used in oil and gas production.

As per a notice published in the US’ Federal Register on October 14, the DOC’s review has determined that SSV did not sell the concerned merchandise in the US at rates below the normal value during the period of review (POR). The weighted average dumping margin for the POR for SSV is zero per cent.

However, the anti-dumping duty of 111.47 per cent, announced on July 11 for other Vietnamese OCTG exporters, remains unchanged.

In the notice, the DOC said that interested parties can submit case briefs within 30 days after the date of publication of these preliminary results in the Federal Register. Rebuttals to case briefs, which must be restricted to issues raised in the case briefs, can be filed within five days after the deadline for filing case briefs.

Exporters who want a hearing must submit a written request to the assistant secretary for enforcement and compliance within 30 days of the date of publication of this notice, the DOC has said.

The DOC will issue the final results of the administrative review, which will include the results of analysis of all issues raised in the case briefs, within 120 days of publication of the preliminary results. 

TTC Tourist celebrates newly-opened TTC Resort Premium

TTC Group officially opens its TTC Resort Premium in the central coastal province of Ninh Thuan on October 25.

TTC Resort Premium-Ninh Thuan is located at the Ninh Chu beach area, Yen Ninh Street, Phan Rang-Thap Cham City, and is just 5km from Phan Rang City.

The resort has 96 fully-equipped guest rooms and bungalows with free internet access. TTC Resort also has an outdoor swimming pool, private tennis course, elegant conference room and modern gym, as well as a luxury treatment spa, an inviting restaurant across the beach, a cool bar and pick up services.

On this occasion, the group has offered a 30 per cent discount on all-inclusive services and room rate from October 25 to November 30, 2016. 

CPA Australia to host the second Career Expo in Vietnam

Following the success of the 2015 Career Expo in Vietnam, CPA Australia will host Career Expos in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, on Saturday October 29 and Sunday October 30, respectively.

The event offers hundreds of students and graduates the opportunity to meet with more than 50 well-established employers and leading universities in the field of accounting and finance.

The expo will feature a keynote presentation by Alex Malley, chief executive of CPA Australia and author of the best-selling professional mentoring book, The Naked CEO, which has been translated into Vietnamese and will be officially launched at Ho Chi Minh Book Street and Career Expo.

Malley will be at Ho Chi Minh Book Street (Nguyen Van Binh Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City) on Friday October 28, from 15:00-18:00, where he will provide a motivational speech and sign copies of his book.

Malley, who has personally responded in video to over 1,500 career-related questions on CPA Australia’s online mentoring community thenakedceo.com, believes that helping prepare the next generation of leaders is the world’s greatest succession plan and Career Expo is part of CPA Australia’s contribution to this endeavour.

“The overwhelming reception to The Naked CEO book, combined with the thousands of conversations I have had with young people on thenakedceo.com and at many events, underscores their universal enthusiasm for insights and opportunities that will help them better navigate the professional world,” Malley said.

“I believe helping prepare the next generation of leaders is the world’s greatest succession plan: our Career Expo is part of CPA Australia’s contribution to this endeavour. I will speak about the importance of being courageous and passionate when entering the workforce. Feelings of fear and embarrassment should never hold someone back from embarking on new experiences and opportunities – it is the only way of discovering what they are truly capable of,” he said.

CPA Australia’s Career Expo is an international series of events held annually across 14 cities throughout the Asia Pacific.

Vietnam among top places for business expansion in Southeast Asia: survey

In the Southeast Asia region, Singapore tops the list of most favorable expansion destinations for Asian companies, with 32% of respondents saying they will invest more, followed by Vietnam, according to a recent survey by United Overseas Bank.

Approximately one in four companies will consider Vietnam because of the country’s stable political setting as well as the favorable economic conditions of low inflation and accommodative monetary policy.

Vietnam’s young and active workforce adds value to its attractiveness as an expansion destination. When it comes to labor cost, no country in the region except Myanmar can beat Vietnam.

Vietnam has become a magnet for investment even for investors from Southeast Asia. Malaysian, Thai and Singaporean companies are the keenest on Vietnam, with 38%, 35% and 29% respectively planning to pour more money in the next three to five years.

In the first nine months, the country has attracted US$16.43 billion foreign investment, latest data from the government shows.

However, according to the survey, fewer firms are operating in Vietnam than originally anticipated in 2014. Meanwhile, in Malaysia and Singapore the number of running enterprises has exceeded the expectations.

There remain some obstacles affecting businesses in Vietnam such as corruption, red tape and the lack of a long-term strategy.

Asia’s rising importance continues unabated in the global economy. The region’s share of global economy has jumped from 18% in 1980 to 31% in 2015, and is forecast to reach 45% by 2030.

A total of 2,500 business leaders and key financial decision makers of Asian enterprises based in six regional countries and territories — China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand — participated in the survey.

Five industrial corridors developed for Red River Delta

The Minister of Industry and Trade has approved the industrial development plan for the Red River Delta till 2025, with vision to 2035.

Five industrial corridors will be developed including Ha Noi-Hai Phong, Ha Noi-Noi Bai-Ha Long, Ha Noi-Viet Tri through Vinh Yen City, Ha Noi-Lang Son economic corridors and coastal economic corridor.

The plan aims to make the Red River Delta to become a region with modern technologies, competitive integration, high quality and environmentally friendly products, meeting fundamental requirements of the economy and having a skilled working force by 2025. 
The industry sector will make up 40-45% of the regional economic structure.

By 2035, the region will promote advanced technology, produce international-standard products, intensively join the global value chain and provide skilled labor forces.

To achieve the goal, the region should transform economic structures, accelerate advantageous areas such as electronics, mechanics, automobile, health equipment, pharmaceutical industry, cosmetics, building materials, garments, footwear, agriculture, aquatic and forestry processing.

Internal and external regional connections will be enhanced to form an industrial production network and commodity distribution to effectively and economically use resources, improve the competitiveness of the industry and encourage auxiliary industries.

KDC achieves 80 per cent of profit target on sale of division

Food producer KIDO Group announced on Thursday it achieved 80 per cent of the year’s profit target by the end of the third quarter after selling the remaining 20 per cent of is snack business to a foreign investor.

A financial statement it released on Thursday said profit for the period was worth VND1.19 trillion (US$54 million).

Sales in the first three quarters topped VND1.4 trillion ($63 million), up 30 per cent year-on-year, with the ice cream segment alone contributing VND1.1 trillion ($50 million).

KDC said the segment would continue to grow since a plant in the northern province of Bắc Ninh would begin production next month.

KDC has received approval from the State Securities Commission to buy 65 per cent cent of Tuong An Vegetable Oil Company.

KDC used to be a confectionery manufacturer, but sold its snack business to the US’s Mondelez International Company last year to focus on foodstuff production.

High potential seen in Vietnam-Mercosur partnership

President of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur)-ASEAN Chamber of Commerce Rodolfo Caffaro Kramer has highlighted prospects for broader cooperation between Vietnam and Mercosur in trade and beyond. 

He said Vietnam is an important trade partner of Mercosur, which comprises five members of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, and six associate members of Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Suriname. 

The second Vietnam visit of South American diplomats and enterprises aims to boost trade among Mercosur members and Vietnam through building a “bridge” for businesses of both sides, Kramer told the Vietnam News Agency. 

Along with meetings with representatives of major Vietnamese firms, the delegation will work with leaders of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry to discuss the organisation of a visit of ASEAN businesses to Mercosur member countries, he revealed. 

Regarding the impacts of the establishment of the ASEAN Community to the Mercosur, Kramer said that this is a very positive thing to Mercosur, especially in investment. 

According to Kramer, the liberalisation of trade, investment and services as well as the simplification of administrative procedures among the ASEAN members will create favourable conditions for South American firms in Southeast Asia, helping them save time and cost.

He praised the ASEAN Community as an extraordinary model of regional integration that still preserves each member’s diversity and achieves an equal integration level. 

Trade between Mercosur and ASEAN has yet to match their huge potential, he said, asserting that this means there is room for both sides to bolster their partnership. 

Founded in 1991, Mercosur is considered a huge economic bloc with a total population of 275 million, or 70 percent of the South American region, and a combined GDP of 4.58 trillion USD, accounting for 82.3 percent of the region’s GDP. 

The Mercosur-ASEAN Chamber of Commerce was set up in December 2013, headquartered in Montevideo, Uruguay. It has set up representative offices in Hanoi, Jakarta, Manila, Asuncion, and Buenos Aires.

Local markets introduce ROK food to customers

Many supermarkets in Vietnam will showcase food of the Gyeongi-do region of the Republic of Korea (ROK) this coming October 20-29, dishes that are sure to grab the attention of local customers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Although Korean food is not as widely known as Chinese or Japanese food, it is gaining more and more in popularity in Vietnam, say the organizers. Like in most Asian countries, rice is the staple of the ROK diet.
   
The featured foods will include chicken Bulgogi, Barbacoa Bibimbap, Dakdoritang, and Kimchi Fried Rice. In addition to these four dishes are Savory Vegetable Noodle, Spicy Chicken Wings, and Asian Buckwheat Noodle that use Korean sauce.

A wide range of ROK products such as seaweed, as well as Korean ginseng, beef bone soup shagol gomtang, doganitang, gogi gomtang, mushrooms, herbal teas, and champagne Sansamgadeuk Myeongsul will also feature during the event.

Participating retail establishments include Lotte Mart, K-mart Keang nam, K-mart My Dinh, K-mart Trung Ha, Metro Mart, Big C and the King BBQ restaurant among others.

Foreign reserves hit record high of US$40 billion: central bank

With over US$40 billion in foreign currency reserves, Vietnam can cover three months of imports.

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) purchased more than US$100 million in the past two days, capitalizing on a slight strengthening of the Vietnamese dong.

The US dollar/Vietnamese dong exchange rate hit VND22,300 per dollar earlier this week. Following the central bank’s aggressive purchase, the dong edged slightly downward.

The dong’s daily mid-point rate against the US dollar, which the central bank adopted earlier this year, dropped 0.14% from its 22,000 level last week.

During a recent cabinet meeting, SBV Governor Le Minh Hung said current reserves exceed the record high of US$40 billion and represent enough funds to cover three months of imports. He estimated that the SBV had purchased US$11 billion worth of foreign currency toward the end of September.

According to Hong Kong-based lender HSBC, Vietnam’s foreign exchange reserves (excluding gold) reached an estimated US$38 billion in June.

The bank cited the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as saying that Vietnam’s foreign exchange reserves sharply declined to some US$27.9 billion at the end of last year during a campaign to curb dollar hoarding and stabilize the foreign exchange market.

HSBC reported that Vietnam managed to enlarge its foreign reserves to around US$33.6 billion in the first quarter of this year. The lender further estimated that the central bank’s stockpile of foreign currency had increased by US$8 billion over the first five months of this year.

On October 18, the dong fell further to around VND22,309 – VND22,310 per dollar on the interbank market at the beginning of the trading day. Abundant supply and good liquidity however stopped the dong from falling further against the dollar. The dong closed at VND22,306-VND22,307 per dollar.

Commercial banks forecast that the dong/dollar exchange rate is highly likely to continue strengthening to VND22,300 per dollar due to abundant supply in the final months of the year.

“Excess liquidity in the banking system will remain in the next few weeks. Inflation is expected to remain low, edging up by 0.2% – 0.3% in October. We think, in the short-term, the exchange rate will continue to hover around VND22,300 per dollar,” said a banker in Ho Chi Minh City.

Local lenders agreed that the dong/dollar exchange rate shifts are based on local demand and a supply principally maintained by large importers.

They view the supply of foreign currency as stable, but expect demand to soar in the coming months, according to local bankers.

Earlier this year, the SBV decided to ease exchange rate rules, setting the official mid-point rate of the Vietnamese dong against the US dollar on a daily basis.

Vietnam previously adopted a system that permitted the dong to trade around a fixed range that the central bank adjusted from time to time.

During an exclusive interview with VnExpress in April, SBV Director Bui Quoc Dung said Vietnam isn’t ready to allow the dong/dollar rate to float freely according to market forces.

Dung claimed Vietnam’s financial market hadn’t fully developed and domestic businesses remain ill-equipped to manage the risks associated with foreign currencies.

VEF/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/Dantri/VET/VIR

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