Banks cut transaction fees to aid customers amid pandemic hinh anh 1

Fees of ATM and POS transactions via the National Payment Corporation of Vietnam (NAPAS) will be cut by 50-75 percent from August 1. (Photo: VNA)

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has directed credit institutions to reduce some transaction fees from August 1 this year to support customers amid the outbreak of the latest COVID-19 pandemic.

Accordingly, fees of automatic teller machines (ATM), point of sale (POS) and interbank transactions via the SBV’s National Payment Corporation of Vietnam (NAPAS) will be cut from 50-75 percent from August 1 to the end of this year.

The move was made after NAPAS announced a reduction of 50-75 percent on its service fees on electronic switching for credit institutions which means that the profits of financial institutions will not be affected by the cut. However, the SBV also expects credit institutions to make a bigger reduction for their customers than that of NAPAS.

This is the second fee reduction from NAPAS this year. The firm last year also made another three fee cuts totalling 530 billion VND.

NAPAS’s move is aimed at helping to develop local cashless payment systems and promote the Government's plan to encourage electronic payments for public services during the pandemic.

Established in 2004 by the Vietnam National Financial Switching Joint Stock Company (Banknetvn), NAPAS has become the foundation of the national retail payment infrastructure.

The firm is administering and operating a switching system interconnected with more than 18,600 ATMs, 261,000 POS machines and 300 electronic payment companies. These are in the fields of aviation, telecommunications, hotels and tourism, and serve over 100 million cardholders from 48 domestic and international commercial banks operating in Vietnam./.

MPI, Amazon launch digital sales support programme for SMEs

The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) in collaboration with Amazon Global Selling Viet Nam has launched a programme to help small and medium-sized firms set up their digital sales channels.

Deputy head of MPI's enterprise development department Bui Thu Thuy said despite the pandemic, Viet Nam's import-

\export turnover in 2020 reached US$282.6 billion. However, 72.3 per cent of growth was from FDI firms. Domestic firms, especially SMEs, still have a lot of untapped potential for growth.

"We hope to see SMEs from Viet Nam making more cross-border sales through Amazon and other electronic platforms. The programme is designed to help them build brands and take advantage of digital trade," she said.

SMEs which join the programme will be provided with guidelines to set up online sales operations on Amazon and other international digital commerce platforms. In addition, sales experts from Amazon Global Selling Viet Nam will support SMEs in brand-building, making business plans and taking steps in the business digital transformation process. The ministry said it aims to support up to 100,000 SMEs by 2025 with the programme.

According to business experts, digital commerce has been identified as an ideal sales channel for SMEs, especially for those looking to enter foreign markets thanks to its relatively low setup cost. There are 1.9 million SMEs operating on their platform, according to an Amazon's report. 

Vietnamese qua sau make their way to Australia

Twenty-two tonnes of Vietnamese dracontomelon - locally known as qua sau - have arrived in Australia, said the Vietnamese Embassy's trade representative office in the country.

This is the first time qua sau was imported, marketed and distributed in Australia.

The souring agent, hugely popular and widely used in Vietnamese cuisine, fetches around AUD$18 per kilo or AUD$390,000 (VND6.5 billion) for the whole shipment.

The trade office has printed brochures to introduce the fruit's numerous uses and benefits to local merchants and consumers. It said the fruits have a lot of potential in Australia.

Despite the pandemic, Viet Nam's agriculture exports to Australia during the first half of the year recorded a 52 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2019, reaching US$40 million.

The trade office said it has plans to promote the dracontomelon during the ongoing Viet Nam Dragon Fruit Week in Australia. 

Ben Tre works to realise 10 billion USD export target

The Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre aims for an export value of 10 billion USD for 2021 – 2025, according to Vice Chairman of the provincial People Committee Nguyen Minh Canh.

The province is expected to see its value added increase from 1.4 billion USD in 2020 to 2.6 billion USD in 2025. Industrial products and handicrafts will continue to account for the biggest proportion of its total export turnover at 76.3 percent, followed by processed aquatic products (16.5 percent), and fruit and vegetables (7.2 percent). Top export markets for the province include the US, Canada, the EU, China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Australia, and ASEAN.

Canh said during the period, the province targets to export products of its strengths in terms of production, weather and soil conditions, while boosting the productivity of goods with high quality and high value added.

Coconut is the local key export earner, expecting to reel in 560 million USD in 2025, meaning an annual average increase of 10.05 percent in the five years.

To achieve such goals, the official noted the province will focus on boosting local exporters' capacity, developing products, material sources and markets for export, and building related infrastructure.

These works will cover the improvement of local business climate, the support for exporters to access technologies and loans, as well as the development of research and technology transfer regarding the processing of Ben Tre’s key export earners, among other activities.

The province has about 130 exporters and its products are found in 128 countries and territories. Turnover from its overseas shipments reached more than 656 million USD in the first half of 2021, up 14.11 percent from the same period last year./.

Disbursed public investment up 5.6 percent in seven months

The disbursed public investment declined in July due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, but it still grew 5.6 percent in the first seven months of 2021 as compared to the same period last year.

The General Statistics Office (GSO) reported that the disbursed capital sourced from the State budget was estimated at 38.3 trillion VND (nearly 1.7 billion USD) in July, down 1.7 percent month on month and 12.4 percent year on year.

The figure between January and July reached 210.8 trillion VND, equivalent to 44.3 percent of this year’s target and up 5.6 percent from the same period last year.

The sum comprises 35.2 trillion VND managed by central agencies and another 175.6 trillion VND by localities, respectively rising 12.7 percent and 4.3 percent year on year, statistics show.

The COVID-19 resurgence has affected the implementation of public investment projects in 19 southern provinces and cities which are applying social distancing measures under the Prime Minister’s Directive 16/CT-TTg, as well as some others imposing anti-pandemic measures under Directive 15/CT-TTg, the GSO said.

It cited localities as reporting that many projects have been halted or lagged behind schedule, but investors, management boards, and contractors are making efforts and pledge to accelerate project implementation after the social distancing period is over.

Vietnam exports 22 tonnes of frozen Indochina Dragonplum fruit to Australia

It is the first time a large batch of 22 tonnes of frozen fruits of Indochina Dragonplum (scientific name Dracontomelon duperreanum) trees from Vietnam has been shipped to Australia, the Vietnam Trade Office in Australia has said.

With the lowest selling price of 18 AUD per kg in the Australian market, the shipment would fetch more than 390,000 AUD.

As such, with its harvest season lasting from June to September, the potential of the export of the fruit is not inferior to that of other fruits being exported to Australia.

The fruit, called Sau in Vietnamese, is used in Vietnamese cooking for its sour taste. It is also often preserved in sugar to make a cooling drink in summer.

The trade office has worked closely with the Uu Dam company in promoting the fruit in Australia via advertisement on social networks targeting key consumption areas, sales promotion with prizes, and step-by-step introduction to large distribution systems. The office will soon launch an English-language cooking book featuring recipes using the fruit.

According to the agency, although many cities in Australian are under social distancing measures and the transport of goods for export faces many difficulties, in the first half, Vietnam’s export of fruits and vegetables to Australia posted a record growth of more than 52 percent compared to the same period in 2019, reaching more than 40 million USD. If other key agricultural products like cashew nut, peppercorn, coffee and rice are included are taken into account, the total export value amounted to 110 million USD./.

Newly established enterprises decreases 22.8 percent in July

As many as 8,740 enterprises with total registered capital of 122.8 trillion VND (5.34 billion USD) were established in July, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

These figures were sharply down by 22.8 percent and 25.3 percent in the number of newly registered enterprises and the registered capital respectively from the previous month.

This was considered a significant decrease since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic with complicated changes due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant.

Despite a sharp decrease in July, the number of newly established enterprises in the first seven months of the year still increased by 0.8 percent over the same period last year with 75,800 enterprises. As a result, more than 1 quadrillion VND would be added to the economy in the near future.

The country also had nearly 26,600 firms registering to increase their capital by a total of 1.36 quadrillion VND.

In addition, 29,600 enterprises returned to operation, up 3.6 percent over the same period last year, bringing the total number of newly established enterprises and those returning to operation in the seven month period to 105,400. On average, nearly 15,100 businesses were newly established and returned to operation every month.

However, the number of enterprises halting their business or waiting for dissolution also increased significantly by 25.5 percent compared to the same period last year with 79,700 enterprises. Of which, nearly 40,300 firms halted business, representing a 23 percent year-on-year increase; 28,000 enterprises stopped operating and were waiting for dissolution procedures, up 28.6 percent. Another 11,400 companies completed dissolution procedures, up 27.4 percent. Thus, on average, nearly 11,400 businesses withdrew from the market a month.

According to GSO, the complicated situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and implementation of social distancing in 20 localities have affected the business registration in the first seven months of the year.

The number of newly established enterprises in the period decreased in some sectors such as electricity, gas, water production and distribution by 63.7 percent; accommodation and food services down 10.7 percent; employment services, tourism, rental of machinery and equipment, furniture and other support services decreased by 10.5 percent; and construction 3.7 percent.

Phan Duc Hieu, Deputy Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), said that the pandemic has had a strong impact on the goods supply and demand chains, impacting business opportunities, causing the number of enterprises entering the market to decrease sharply.

In the context of many difficulties and challenges due to COVID-19, the Government has issued policies to support businesses as well as directed ministries and localities to provide them with favourable conditions.

Hieu expected that with the Government's strong solutions in fighting COVID-19, the disease would be controlled and repelled as quickly as possible. Production and business activities would be vibrant and newly established enterprises would increase again./.

Vietjet's profit reaches over 5.53 million USD in first half

The Vietjet Aviation Joint Stock Company (HOSE: VJC) announced consolidated revenue and pre-tax profit of over 8.38 trillion VND (365 million USD) and 127 billion (5.53 million USD), respectively, in the first half of this year.

Revenue in passenger transport in the period surpassed 5.81 trillion VND (253 million USD), generating a pre-tax profit of 13.7 billion VND (nearly 600,000 USD), according to its financial results for H1 released on August 2.

In the second quarter, Vietjet’s air transport revenue hit over 2.97 trillion VND, up 51 percent year-on-year thanks to high travel demand in April. The airline had also sought ways to lift the cargo sector despite the impact of the fourth wave of COVID-19 in Vietnam this quarter.

Its consolidated revenue totalled above 4.33 trillion VND in the second quarter.

Vietjet said it has ventured into financial and project investments aiming to expand its business portfolio in support of the air transport sector while optimising equity capital during the temporary aviation slowdown.

By the end of June, the airline's total assets reached 44 trillion VND. Its debt-to-equity ratio stayed at as low as 0.73 while the liquidity ratio remained at 1.5, which were considered in the safe zone and a good performance in the aviation industry.

From January to June, Vietjet had transported more than 4.8 million passengers on 34,000 flights. The airline had also focused on refining operation protocols and boosting its cargo operations, resulting in a 40-45 per cent year-on-year growth with a total of more than 37,000 tonnes of cargo delivered.

Together with strategic partners in the Sovico Group, Vietjet had played a very active role in the national fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by operating repatriation flights, donating to the National Vaccine Fund, granting ambulance vans to local health departments and sponsoring medical equipment for intensive care units (ICUs).

It had also airlifted healthcare workers and medical equipment free of charge while organising charity kitchens to provide meals for pandemic-affected citizens.

Still pursuing the customer-centric strategy, Vietjet is striving to be innovative and creative to digitalise all of its services and operation protocols, to optimise costs per flying hour and to expand its business in order to increase productivity and service quality./.

EVFTA - A catalyst for Vietnamese businesses: diplomat

The European Union-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) has created a favourable corridor for trade between the two sides and brought new impetus to economic cooperation between Viet Nam and the EU, Nguyen Van Thao, head of the Mission of Viet Nam to the EU, has said.

Thao, who is also Vietnamese Ambassador to Beligum and Luxembourg, told Vietnam New Agency in an interview on prospects for further promoting the EVFTA in the future.

He said the agreement took effect on August 1 last year at a hard time when EU countries were very heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the pandemic has continued to break out in Southeast Asian countries. Viet Nam is not an exception. The country has also suffered big impacted by the pandemic.

However, trade turnover between Viet Nam and the EU still reached US$50 billion last year, and grew by 4.5 per cent in the last five months of 2020.

This was an encouraging result given the context of 2020 when the EU’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined by 6.2 per cent, he said.

In addition, the EU's economy shrank 0.4 per cent in the first quarter of this year, but two-way trade turnover still increased by 15 per cent. Thus, Thao said, it affirmed the strong effect of the EVFTA.

According to the Ambassador, this positive outcome has shown that Vietnamese products have met the high standards of the EU market. At a time when the EU is facing many difficulties, Vietnamese goods can still enter this market, contributing to maintaining and diversifying supply chains in the context of global supply chain disruptions.

Thao emphasised that there’s huge potential between Viet Nam and the EU to tap.

EU countries want to import agro- forestry- fishery products outside the bloc at a value of more than $150 billion per year, while Viet Nam's export turnover of these items to the EU is about $5 billion, he said, adding that the incentives from the EVFTA with a tariff rate of 0 per cent, and harmonious trade conditions will help increase the country’s export turnover to the EU.

However, the ambassador said there is still much work to be done in the coming time.

It is necessary for the Vietnamese government to continue to exchange and negotiate with the EU to perfect standards, regulations and mutual recognition to help the two sides' goods penetrate more deeply into each other's markets, he said.

Thao said that trade and technical barriers need to be removed. It is essential for the Vietnamese side to push for early ratification of the EU-Viet Nam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) because trade and investment have a very close relationship. The agreement has now been signed and is awaiting ratification by the parliaments of EU member states.

EVIPA will promote two-way investment with high-tech and innovative services, the ambassador said, adding that applying new European technologies will help increase the competitiveness for Vietnamese products and enhance trade growth.

Referring to the skills that Vietnamese businesses need to supplement to stay firmly in the EU "playground" in the near future, Thao stressed that more capital should be poured in to improve the competitiveness for their products in terms of quality and scale to meet the high standards of the European market, while ensuring a sustainable supply for European customers.

In addition, it is a must for Vietnamese enterprises to learn about business opportunities as well as the legal system of the EU, the customs, and consumption habits of European people, the Ambassador said.

He also underscored the importance of coordination among Vietnamese businesses, saying if they work together, it will create a higher competitiveness in terms of quantity, negotiation, and building a network of relationships in Europe.

Only by doing so, can Vietnamese businesses succeed in the coming time and take full advantages of what the EVFTA brings about, the ambassador said. 

Agricultural production and circulation must be maintained during social distancing

Amid strict social distancing across the country, leaders of the agriculture industry told all localities to help facilitate both agricultural production and the trading and circulation of products and not to disrupt the supply in the near future.

At the online meeting, set up by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to connect suppliers and buyers of agro products, Le Thanh Tung, deputy director of the Department of Crop Production, said: “700,000 hectares of summer-autumn rice or 3.8 million tonnes of rice will be harvested in the southern provinces in August when about 1.1 million tonnes of vegetables and fruits from both the Mekong Delta and Lam Dong will also be harvested. However, the regional consumption demand is only about 500,000 tonnes.”

Tung told the meeting they should make plans to sell the rest in other regions as well as consider exporting. There were about 640,000 tonnes of mango, banana, dragon fruit, durian, grapefruit, orange, longan, pineapple and jackfruit due to be harvested this month, so markets needed to be found.

According to Tung, the period from May to August is not the busiest time for harvesting for most fruit trees in the southern provinces and the output is low. However, as consumption was slowing down in some places due to congestion in the transportation stage, there may be problems moving forward.

Nguyen Chi Thien deputy director of southern Long An Province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said that because of social distancing travel restrictions the province is running out of labourers to harvest rice as well as rice traders. The freight force of local cooperatives still faced difficulties in testing for COVID-19 too.

Thien said even for people who have COVID-19 test certificates they are only valid for 72 hours, it is difficult for them to transport dragon fruit to the north as their certificates will expire in the middle of the journey.

Long An has proposed the Ministry of Transport implement quick test points along the way to mitigate this problem.

Truong Kien Tho, deputy director of An Giang’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that there were thousands of hectares of rice to be harvested but there were less and less traders and farmers had no warehouses to store their rice.

Tho said: "Agricultural production activities should be considered essential and should be prioritised. If farmers stop production, it will delay the crop, affecting both the quality and output in the future so relevant groups should consider solutions for farmers to work and traders to trade under the social distancing directive.”

Vo Quan Huy, director of Huy Long An Co., Ltd said that if Viet Nam does not focus on maintaining production, the supply chain will be interrupted within the next two months. In addition, the circulation of agricultural production materials must be more open so as not to interrupt production activities.

Nguyen Dinh Tung, general director of Vina T&T Import-Export Company said the fixed time from 6 am to 6 pm to work outdoors was a problem, adding that farmers harvest from 4 am until 6.30 am to fit in with the nature of the work. Currently, his productivity is only about 20 to 30 per cent of what it was before.

Tung whose company specialises in exporting fresh fruits to the US, Australia and Canada added: “If the fresh fruit can not be picked up on schedule, it will affect the whole export shipment and the fruit quality. Previously, businesses could process and export a few containers of fruit every day, but now it takes many days to complete a container, incurring a lot of extra costs."

MARD Deputy Minister Tran Thanh Nam said as agricultural products are now abundant and there is an oversupply of some products, “it is important to focus on smoother transportation,” adding it was not only to meet the needs of consumption in each region, but also to connect with other regional supply chains to export.

Nam said in some localities with complicated COVID-19 developments, epidemic control had to be prioritised, leading to bottlenecks in the supply, circulation and distribution of agricultural products.

At the meeting, MARD suggested leaders of all cities and provinces do their best to facilitate the stable production and speedy circulation of agricultural commodities.

In the first half of 2021, Viet Nam’s agricultural sector earned US$24.23 billion from exports, an increase of 28.2 per cent compared to that of the same period last year.

HCM City focuses on helping locals buy produce

HCM City has been working on a number of solutions to ensure its populace can access the abundance of essential goods available in other provinces amid the strict social distancing in place.

Nguyen Nguyen Phuong, deputy director of its Department of Industry and Trade, said other provinces produce large volumes of foodstuffs and other essential goods, even to excess in certain cases.

Transportation of such goods to the city might still face problem sand smooth distribution within the city remains harder to achieve but solutions are being found expeditiously, he said.

As of July 30 only 27 out of 237 traditional markets remained open, none in the inner city, he said.

So people have to depend on supermarkets and other modern retailers, but some of them have also closed down and the rest could only remain open until 5pm due to the city’s new curfew, and this is making it harder to supply goods, he said.

Some places have few or no large supermarkets, and the small stores there could easily run out of stocks, he admitted.

His department is working on partially reopening traditional markets to increase the supply of fresh farm produce, and they could be even safer than supermarkets in terms of preventing virus infections, he said.

New sites for selling agricultural produce would be set up near markets that could not be reopened, with traders from such markets selling there, he said.

District authorities should assist distributors by providing vehicles to transport goods from suppliers so that more goods could be sold, he said.

 

More and more mobile sales trips are also being organised around the city, with schedules being uploaded on the department’s Communist Youth Union Facebook page.

Checks on transport of essential goods around the city have been made less stringent.

Delivery workers transporting such goods are now allowed to travel across the city instead of being confined to one assigned district as was the case for the last few days.

HCM City is the COVID-19 epicentre of the country with more than 90,000 cases since the fourth outbreak began in late April. Social distancing began on May 31, and more and more stringent preventive measures have been put in place as the number of cases keeps rising.

Newly established firms decreases in July

Viet Nam had 8,740 newly-established enterprises with total registered capital of VND122.8 trillion (US$5.34 billion) in July, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

These figures were sharply down by 22.8 per cent and 25.3 per cent in the number of newly registered enterprises and the registered capital respectively from the previous month.

This was considered a significant decrease since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic with complicated changes due to the rapid spread of the Delta mutation.

Despite a sharp decrease in July, the number of newly established enterprises in the first seven months of the year still increased by 0.8 per cent over the same period last year with 75,800 enterprises. As a result, more than VND1 quadrillion would be added to the economy in the near future.

The country also had nearly 26,600 firms registering to increase their capital by a total of VND1.36 quadrillion.

In addition, 29,600 enterprises returned to operation, up 3.6 per cent over the same period last year, bringing the total number of newly established enterprises and those returning to operation in the seven month period to 105,400. On average, nearly 15,100 businesses were newly established and returned to operation every month.

However, the number of enterprises halting their business or waiting for dissolution also increased significantly by 25.5 per cent compared to the same period last year with 79,700 enterprises. Of which, nearly 40,300 firms halted business, representing a 23 per cent year-on-year increase; 28,000 enterprises stopped operating and were waiting for dissolution procedures, up 28.6 per cent. Another 11,400 companies completed dissolution procedures, up 27.4 per cent. Thus, on average, nearly 11,400 businesses withdrew from the market a month.

According to GSO, the complicated situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and implementation of social distancing in 20 localities have affected the business registration in the first seven months of the year.

The number of newly established enterprises in the period decreased in some sectors such as electricity, gas, water production and distribution by 63.7 per cent; accommodation and food services down 10.7 per cent; employment services, tourism, rental of machinery and equipment, furniture and other support services decreased by 10.5 per cent; and construction 3.7 per cent.

Phan Duc Hieu, Deputy Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), said that the pandemic has had a strong impact on the goods supply and demand chain, impacting business opportunities, causing the number of enterprises entering the market to decrease sharply.

In the context of many difficulties and challenges due to COVID-19, the Government has issued policies to support businesses as well as directed ministries and localities to provide them with favourable conditions.

Hieu expected that with the Government's strong solutions in fighting COVID-19, the disease would be controlled and repelled as quickly as possible. Production and business activities would be vibrant and newly established enterprises would increase again.

Sacombank makes $73.4m profits from selling treasury stocks

Sacombank sold out all 81.56 million treasury shares (equivalent to 4.33 per cent of its charter capital) on the stock market on July 27 for more than VND2.438 trillion (US$106.2 million), earning a profit of VND1.684 trillion ($73.4 million).

It was one more important mandatory task in its restructuring approved by the State Bank of Vietnam after the merger.

Nguyen Duc Thach Diem, a member of the board of directors and CEO of the bank, said, “After handling Sacombank's treasury shares, we have completed one of the objectives of the restructuring project, contributing to increasing liquidity, increasing the efficiency of capital use as well as improving the capital adequacy ratio for the bank.”

Sacombank is making unrelenting efforts to soon accomplish the restructing project’s objectives to regain its position in the market and get approval to pay dividends to shareholders despite facing many new challenges, she added.

It also plans to sell all 13.87 million shares it owns in the Sacombank Securities Joint Stock Company, equivalent to a 10.21 per cent stake, in August as part of its strategy to restructure investments and increase revenues to supplement capital for its businesses.

At the end of the first half of the year the bank had total assets of VND504.5 trillion ($21.97 billion), deposits of VND 447.6 trillion ($19.5 billion) and loans outstanding of VND 361.1 trillion ($15.7 billion), up 6.1 per cent since the beginning of the year.

Its profit before tax was VND2.424 trillion ($105.58 million), or 60.6 per cent of its full-year target.

It recovered VND 6.61 trillion ($288 million) worth of bad debts and outstanding assets in the first half to reduce its non-performing loans ratio by 0.1 percentage point for the year to 1.54 per cent.

Its capital adequacy ratio (CAR) is 9.75 per cent, up 0.22 percentage points from the beginning of the year.

Share to keep positive trend on rising liquidity

Shares are expected to move positively this week on significant growth of both scores and liquidity, brokerages said.

On the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, the VN-Index increased 1.27 per cent to close Friday at 1,310.05 points, expanding the weekly gain to 3.3 per cent.

An average of 523 million shares were traded on the southern exchange during each session last week, worth VND17 trillion (US$738.6 million).

“The VN-Index exceeded the 1,300-point mark last Friday with an increase in liquidity,” said experts from BOS Securities Joint Stock Company (BOS).

“Technical indicators all show the possibility that the market will continue to gain in the coming sessions. Most likely, VN-Index will maintain its uptrend and head to the area of ​​1,330 points next week," they said.

Sharing the same view, MB Securities Joint Stock Company (MBS) said the stock market had gained significantly in both scores and liquidity, along with strong net buying of foreign investors.

“Cash inflow was strong and market breadth was also positive. Liquidity reached the highest level in the past three weeks. Foreign investors had returned to be net buyers with a total value of nearly VND500 billion in the week,” MBS said.

“The market has entered a new uptrend thanks to the support of liquidity and the boost from the group of large-cap stocks,” MBS said.

An expert from Saigon-Hanoi Securities Joint Stock Company (SHS) said this week, the market would likely enter a struggling phase when the profit-taking pressure increases in the resistance area of ​​1,300-1,350 points.

Construction materials stocks gained the most last week. Pillar stocks in this group increased strongly such as Hoa Phat Group (HPG), up 3.3 per cent, Hoa Sen Group (HSG), up 6.7 per cent, and Nam Kim Group (NKG), up 7 per cent.

They were followed by information technology stocks, with gainers such as FPT Corporation (FPT), up 3.9 per cent, and CMC Telecom (CMG) up 18.2 per cent.

Bank stocks also performed well with notable gainers of Vietcombank (VCB), rising 1 per cent, Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BID) gaining 2.2 per cent, Techcombank (TCB) rising 3.2 per cent, Military Bank (MBB) gaining 4.1 per cent, VPBank (VPB) climbing 4.3 per cent, Saigon-Hanoi bank (SHB) up 5.3 per cent, Vietinbank (CTG) up 5.8 per cent and Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) increasing by 9.5 per cent.

The consumer goods sector rose thanks to a 5-per cent increase in Ha Noi Beer Alcohol and Beverage Joint Stock Corporation (BHN), a 3.5-per cent increase in Saigon Beer Alcohol and Beverage Company (SAB), and a 12.6-per cent increase in Masan Group (MSN).

The remaining groups all had positive growth such as industrial, oil and gas, consumer services, finance, community utilities, pharmaceutical and medical services.

In the first six months of 2021, the stock market made impressive growth with the VN-Index being the world's strongest rising index with 15.8 per cent, said financial news site tinnhanhchungkhoan.vn.

The steep decline of the local stock market as the coronavirus ravaged economies lured many new punters to the market.

The number of newly opened trading accounts in six months reached 619,911 accounts, an increase of 58 per cent compared to the number of 2020. According to the Vietnam Securities Depository Center, June witnessed an unprecedented large number of 140,054 new personal accounts.

According to VSD, by the end of June, there were 3.4 million securities accounts of individual investors opened.

“The index is expected to gain but there will still be a strong divergence among stocks. The index needs to break through the 1,296-1,305 resistance zone to challenge the 1,350-1,380 resistance zone in the short term,” said Bao Viet Securities Co.

“Banking, securities and steel stocks may slowly recover and accumulate to create a new short-term base. Capital flow will focus more on mid-cap and small-cap stocks in industries such as real estate, seaports and exports,” it said.

“Investors should increase the proportion of stocks in the portfolio to 40-50 per cent. They may consider increasing short-term positions during fluctuations and corrections in the coming sessions,” it said.

Banking and finance sector prioritises cyber security

Digital transformation of the banking and finance sector has made cyber security and information safety a major concern.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased e-commerce, bringing new risks along with the new convenience.

Digitalization and the coronavirus pandemic have caused Vietnamese consumers to dramatically change their shopping behavior. Increasingly, they are purchasing products and services online and making payments electronically.

But Duong Manh Hung, CEO of the Vietnamese Network Security Company (Vsec), says new technologies in the banking and finance sector has led to increased bank fraud and other criminal behavior.

He added, “As the pandemic has gotten worse, e-payment has been used more widely, but it has brought risks in the form of bugs or security loopholes in the e-payment systems. Hackers take advantage of these loopholes to steal customers’ personal information or gain administrator access to sensitive data and functions.”

According to experts in financial security, customers’ personal information, passwords, and financial information are often vulnerable to cybercriminals. There are many opportunities to commit fraud, steal data, or install viruses and malware.

The situation is becoming more alarming as Vietnam's banking industry begins its digital transformation for the retail market, says IT expert Pham Minh Thanh.

“Hackers can directly attack the applications of banks and other businesses, websites, or online applications. They can also send fake emails to trick users or administrators into revealing sensitive information. Hackers can attack the infrastructure of a business and steal or corrupt its customer information," said Thanh.

The data networks of the government, banking and finance, and healthcare sector store valuable personal information, financial transactions, and critical infrastructure data, making them a tempting target for cybercriminals

Vsec’s Deputy Director Le Thanh Tung underlined the complexity and difficulty of information security and safety in the financial and banking sector by listing a number of recent cyberattacks.

“First, the customers who are using the bank’s services can be attacked directly. One popular fraud is making customers believe that a provided link is reliable. Thinking the fake link is a real link, customers “log in” only to have their username and password stolen. Customers may also be asked to provide an OTP code to make a money transfer. Many customers will do as they are instructed. This fraud takes place quite often. What we tell people is that no bank will ask their customers to provide passwords or OTP codes via phone or message or chat,” said Tung.

He touched upon the second fraud that involves collecting customer data entered at an ATM by installing a data reader device. Criminals can get passwords this way and create fake ATM cards. Banks are aware of and paying greater attention to this form of fraud, but it is still happening in some places.

Complete digital transformation is not yet compulsory for ordinary banks, but it is extremely important for fintech businesses, which have grown strongly in Vietnam in recent years.

For these businesses, securing users’ information is vital because all their transactions are online, said Nguyen Huy Du, CEO of DuCapital Holding, which specializes in developing new technology.

Du added, “Fintech companies are careful to select customers who have their own information security systems to protect themselves on top of the services offered by the fintech companies. Generally speaking, fintech companies have what I call a concept or an intention right from the very beginning when they organize money-related business activities in the digital environment.”

Vietnam is facing lots of challenges to its digital transformation – resources, user skills, culture, and awareness.

Here is Tung’s advice for businesses and individuals to ensure information security during this period of digital transformation: “Individuals and organizations should pay attention to the following factors: First, the human factor; second, creating regulations and processes to ensure information security; third, equipment infrastructure; and finally, solutions.”

Tung commented, “All of these factors are closely linked to information security, which we need to become knowledgeable about and take steps to reduce risks and be prepared for a timely response to any threat.”

Durian prices fall as Covid-19 restrictions keep produce on farms

Durian prices have sharply fallen in Dak Lak Province as farmers are unable to sell their produce due to the lockdown in various provinces and cities.

Durian harvest season arrived when Cu Kuin District applied social distancing rules to curb Covid-19. H'Li Ka from Ea Mta Village said the local people couldn't go out so they weren’t able to sell anything. She had to freeze some of the durian and many other households had to throw away the fruit.

Farmer Nguyen Van Nam in Village 8 said, "This time last year, traders would go directly to my garden and durian prices were from VND40,000 (USD1.70) to VND50,000 per kilo. Now no one comes, saying that they didn't know how to sell their durian. The prices dropped to only VND15,000 per kilo. I’ve worked here for 10 years and this is the first time the prices have dropped so low."

Dang Huy, a farmer in Cu M'gar, said he estimated to harvest 30 tonnes of durian but could only sell several kilograms at a time.

"I tried to sell to traders in other provinces but not many freight trucks operate now. Buon Ma Thuot City is also applying social distancing. I have suffered VND1bn (USD43,300) in losses and may fail to repay my bank debts," he said.

Nguyen Van Dung, chairman of Ea Tieu Commune, said the durian prices were only VND7,000 (3 US cents) to VND18,000 per kilo. He has asked the farmers to gather their durian in one place and he would help bring them to the checkpoints to sell to traders.

Pham Van Khoa, chairman of Ea Ktur Commune said they would review the losses of the farmers for compensation.

Farmers in Gia Lai Province are also facing difficulties. Farmer Le Cong Hung said he had 30 avocado, 20 jackfruit and 200 papaya trees but couldn't find any outlets even when the avocado price dropped to VND4,000 per kilo.

Nguyen Van Hop, head of Chu Se District Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said they would guide the farmers to advertise their products online. Doan Ngoc Co, deputy director of Gia Lai Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said they would work with the Department of Industry and Trade and local businesses associations to find the best solutions to help farmers.

Indian newspaper: VN emerging as post-pandemic economic power in region

Vietnam and India are emerging as economic powers in the region that will make a difference in the post-pandemic times, The Economic Times cited Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma as saying.

New Delhi – Vietnam and India are emerging as economic powers in the region that will make a difference in the post-pandemic times, The Economic Times cited Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma as saying.

The ambassador was speaking at a recent webminar on global trade and investment opportunities for Indian industry in Vietnam organised by India’s PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI).

Vietnam and India have emerged as global trade partners due to their policy initiatives and increase in their trade and investments, he said.

While applauding PHDCCI’s diligent efforts in fostering business and trade relations of India with other countries of the world, Verma discussed challenges faced in Vietnam related to disruption in production, supply chain, logistics, and many more yet at the same time arising of new opportunities in areas of technology, business practices, trade relations, diversifying partners and trade baskets.

Verma emphasised that there is a need for Vietnam and India to take advantage of each other’s economic strength for increasing business relations between the two nations, at the same time leverage each other’s global value chains to utilise each other’s trade network.

There is also a need to look at the domestic market, especially in India that can offer growth opportunities to Vietnam with focus on e-documentation and e-payments which help to increase business growth and foster B2B engagement, connecting MSMEs.

There is a need for structural improvement where the government and business partners need to work in sync and also improve shipping connectivity between the two nations.

He further added that mutual recognition of standards and certifications will have a positive impact on the trade and electrical machinery vertical.

Counselor Do Thanh Hai spoke about the flow of economic and trade opportunities between Vietnam and India despite the pandemic, saying the economic and trade exchange will pick up in the time to come.

There is a restructuring of the global supply chain and both nations have the capabilities to take advantage of the opportunity. With the strategic location of both nations and change in reforms, there will be an increase in trade exchange and will be a driving engine for the global economy in near future, he said.

Manufacturing enterprises worry about production disruptions

Manufacturing enterprises have expressed concern over disruptions in the supply chain after many businesses, especially in southern cities and provinces, were forced to shut down during the fourth Covid-19 wave, which began in late April.

According to stricter anti-pandemic measures that have been imposed recently, to maintain operation, manufacturing enterprises have to provide meals and accommodation at the factories, dormitories or hotels for their workers.

Besides, the workers are not allowed to travel to work by private vehicles. Therefore, the companies must have coaches or buses to transport the employees.

There are currently only more than 500 businesses in HCMC that can meet these requirements on Covid-19 infection prevention and control.

According to representatives of four industry associations including the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association, the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association, the Vietnam Electronic Industries Association, and the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association, up to 90% businesses active in these industries have closed down, causing disruptions in the supply chain.

In the textile and apparel industry alone, 97% of businesses have suspended their operations.

According to Pham Van Viet, chairman of the board of directors of Viet Thang Jean Company Limited, the company is able to provide accommodation at the factory for only 35% of its 3,500 workers, making it hard for the company to fulfill orders.

Truong Thi Chi Minh, vice chairwoman of the Vietnam Association of Supporting Industries, said up to 50% of the association’s member enterprises have seen their revenues decline sharply. During the fourth wave of Covid-19, many enterprises in the South have been temporarily closed down and even those that remain operational are unable to fulfill their orders.

“Many of them are small and medium enterprises, which are the most vulnerable to the pandemic,” she added.

Moreover, some manufacturers are concerned that delays in production, shipment and delivery as well as the inability to fulfill orders will prompt their customers to switch suppliers.

Some businesses said that if the pandemic prolongs and they are not able to resume operations soon, they will go bankrupt.

According to the industry associations, Covid-19 vaccination is the only solution for manufacturing firms to maintain production and hope for recoveries.

The four industry associations have recently written to the Government asking for help to import the Covid-19 vaccines after they have found a vaccine supply source in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The associations said they need support from the Government to negotiate with the Royal Strategic Partner in the UAE to facilitate import procedures.

The four suggested that the Government and the Ministry of Health either help them negotiate with the UAE firm for the purchase or appoint an eligible Vietnamese importer to do vaccine import procedures.

They expect the Government and the relevant agencies to create the most favorable conditions for them to access the vaccines soon so that workers of their member businesses can get vaccinated, helping maintain production amid the fast spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Kien Giang promotes tourism in difficult situation

Over the past two years, especially since the beginning of the year, the country’s tourism sector, including that of Kien Giang Province, has been severely affected by the COVID-19 epidemic.

However, amidst difficult situation, Kien Giang has still managed to maintain tourism stimulation and tried to fulfil the “dual goal” of preventing and controlling the epidemic while developing tourism
Two options for tourism development

In the first six months of 2021, Kien Giang’s tourism sector effectively implemented the “dual goal” by welcoming over 2.3 million tourists (reaching over 33% of the all-year plan) and earning over VND2.680 trillion (over US$11.6 million).

Regarding the field of investment, the province attracted two projects worth total over VND1 trillion (US$43.4 million)So far, Kien Giang Province has attracted 327 investment projects into tourism worth total nearly VND359.5 trillion (over US$1.56 billion), with a total area of 10.162 hectares. Specifically, 70 projects have been put into operation, 82 others are under construction and the remainder are in the process of preparing procedures. into tourism industry in Phu Quoc City, with a total area of 21.7 hectares.

According to Director of Kien Giang Provincial Department of Tourism Bui Quoc Thai, the province will implement a tourism growth scenario in line with the situation of COVID-19 epidemic and the locality’s reality under two options in the last six months of this year.

Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/SGGP/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes 

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS AUGUST 2

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS AUGUST 2

Vietnam earns nearly 19 billion from textile exports in H1