A buoyant banking sector drove Vietnamese stocks higher on Monday, soothing the sentiment of sceptical traders during morning declines.

On the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE), the VN-Index jumped 7.59 points, or 0.57 per cent, to 1,328.05 points.

The market breadth was negative with 158 stocks climbing, while 261 stocks fell and 41 ended flat.

The liquidity was also high as local investors poured nearly VND25.5 trillion into the southern market, equivalent to a trading volume of over 737.2 million shares.

Bank stocks led the market's trend yesterday. Sacombank (STB) was the biggest gainer with a rise of over 6 per cent.

It was followed by Vietinbank (CTG), Tien Phong Bank (TPB) and Bank for Investment and Development (BID), rising over 3 per cent. HDB also moved up 2.9 per cent.

Many other bank stocks also jumped more than 1 per cent such as VPBank (VPB), MBBank (MBB), Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) and Vietnam International Commercial Joint Stock Bank (VIB).

Gains in large-cap stocks were also the main driving force for the market's rally. The VN30-Index, which tracks 30 biggest stocks on HoSE, settled 1.1 per cent higher to finish yesterday at 1,474.78 points.

Of the VN30 basket, 14 stocks increased while 16 dropped.

Hoa Phat Group (HPG) was the most notable gainer in the group as it hit the daily limit rise of 7 per cent yesterday.

Hoa Sen Group (HSG) also soared by 6 per cent. Positive information from business results in April may have helped boost HSG's stock prices. Its sale volume was estimated at 216,390 tonnes. Revenue is estimated at VND4.55 trillion, up 104 per cent over the same period last year. HSG's post-tax profit was estimated at VND538 billion, up 498 per cent.

“Investment money flowed into the market. Meanwhile, the trend of net buying of foreign investors declined on HoSE. However, strong increase in market liquidity along with positive market breadth is supporting the uptrend of the market,” said BIDV Securities Co.

“VN-Index is likely to move in the range of 1,320-1,350 points in the next sessions.”

Foreign investors net bought VND7.21 trillion on HOSE, including Viet Nam National Petroleum Group (PLX) (VND148 billion), Masan Group (MSN) (VND57.2 billion) and SSI Securities Co (SSI) (VND54.5 billion). Foreign investors were net buyers on HNX with a value of VND11.32 billion

On Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX), the HNX-Index rose 2.38 per cent to close yesterday at 317.85 points.

During the session, nearly 188.6 million shares were traded on the northern market, worth over VND4.5 trillion. 

Up to 420,000 C/O certificates for exports to FTA-benefited markets

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Export and import management agencies nationwide granted 420,000 certificates of origin (C/O) for 21 billion USD worth of goods shipped to the markets Vietnam has signed free trade agreements (FTAs) with in the first four months of 2021.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) said from August 1, 2020, when the EU-Vietnam FTA (EVFTA) took effect, to April 4 this year, authorised agencies and organisations provided about 127,300 sets of the C/O form of EUR.1 for over 4.78 billion USD worth of exports to EU member countries.

Besides, enterprises shipping goods to the EU also conducted self-certification of origin for more than 10.88 million USD worth of commodities to utilize preferential tariffs under this trade deal.

The considerable value of goods given C/Os to be exported to the EU indicates that Vietnamese businesses have been moving to complying with the rules of origin in the EVFTA, according to the ministry.

Compared to the total exports to the markets having FTAs with Vietnam, the goods using C/Os to benefit from preferential treatment accounts for 33.1 percent.

The figure respectively stands at 52.01 percent, 38.35 percent, and 31.6 percent when it comes to shipments to the Republic of Korea, Japan, and China.

So far, Vietnam has signed 15 bilateral and multilateral FTAs, which covers 60 economies. Notably, the pacts include the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EVFTA, which are new-generation FTAs./.

Nearly 60,000 firms temporarily suspend, stop operations in five months

As many as 59,800 businesses temporarily suspended or stopped their operations to await dissolution procedures and completed dissolution procedures in the first five months of 2021, up 23 percent year-on-year.

The General Statistics Office (GSO) reported that nearly 12,000 businesses left the market on average each month.

Meanwhile, nearly 55,800 were newly-established with a total registered capital of 778.3 trillion VND (33.8 billion USD) and a combined workforce of 412,400, up 15.4 percent in the number of firms and 39.5 percent in capital volume compared to the same period last year.

Almost 22,600 enterprises resumed their operations, up 3.9 percent annually, raising the total new and back-to-work firms to 78,300 during the January-May period, or an average of 15,700 new companies each month./.

State budget revenues hit 24.48 billion USD in Jan–May

State budget revenues managed by tax agencies reached 562.36 trillion VND (24.48 billion USD) in the first five months of 2021, equivalent to 50.4 percent of the yearly estimate and up 11.9 percent year-on-year.

In May alone, the State budget collections were estimated at 73 trillion VND, equal to 6.5 percent of the estimate and up by 20.1 percent compared to the same period last year.

The sum included 69.5 trillion VND from domestic revenues, and 3.5 trillion VND from crude oil, equivalent to 6.4 percent and 15.1 percent of this year’s estimates, respectively.

Revenues excluding land-use fees, dividends and remaining profits, lottery revenue and revenues from the difference between revenue and expenditure of the State Bank of Vietnam was 53.6 trillion VND, equal to 6.1 percent of the estimate, and up 7.7 percent compared to same period last year./.

Fresh Vietnamese lychees hit the shelves in Japan

About 50 tonnes of fresh Vietnamese lychees grown in Bac Giang province have arrived in Japan and they are now available for sale at local supermarkets.

Do Hoang Phuong, director of Toan Cau (Global) Import-Export Food Joint Stock Company, one of the enterprises exporting lychees to Japan, says the juicy fruit has won Japanese consumers’ trust for its superior quality, deliciousness, and safety.

“After the first successful consignment of lychees to Japan, which was highly appreciated by local consumers, we are continuing to purchase lychees for export to this market. On average, our company exports between four to six tonnes of the fruit every day to Japan,” Phuong says.

According to Nguyen Van Tho, deputy director of the Center for Industry and Trade Promotion of the Bac Giang Department of Industry and Trade, this year Japanese importers have agreed to import about 1,000 tonnes of lychees from Bac Giang. The 20-tonne batch shipped to Japan recently has been sold out in the market at the price of 1,650 Yen or US$15 per kilogram.

“We will ramp up the export of the fruit to this demanding market following positive feedback from importers and consumers,: Tho notes.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reports that so far this year about 50 tonnes of fresh lychees have been exported to Japan.

This year Bac Giang has developed 28,100ha of land under lychee cultivation which is expected to churn out 180,000 tonnes of fresh product. The lychee growing areas meeting the VietGAP and GlobalGap standards are 15,200ha and 82ha respectively.

Besides Japan, the United States and Australia are also Vietnam’s potential export markets of the juicy fruit.  

Customs sector helps exporters utilise benefits of FTAs

The customs sector will continue to introduce measures to help Vietnamese enterprises fully tap the benefits brought about by free trade agreements (FTAs) Vietnam has signed with foreign partners, an official from the General Department of Vietnam Customs has said.

According to Au Anh Tuan, Head of the Customs Supervision and Management Division under the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the customs sector has actively supported and removed difficulties facing exporters amid the complexities posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has targeted reducing costs for administrative procedures and customs clearance time and promoting the application of new technologies in information sharing to facilitate export activities.

According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), Vietnam’s export turnover in the first four months of 2021 recorded the highest growth rate in a decade for the period, rising 28.3 percent year-on-year to 103.9 billion USD.

Experts attributed the result to new generation FTAs that took effect in late 2020.

The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are helping Vietnam expand its markets, increase its trade surplus, and enjoy greater benefits from extensive tariff reductions on Vietnamese goods and services exported to other parties to the agreements, they noted.

According to Tran Thanh Hai, Deputy Director of the Agency of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), businesses must clearly understand how the FTAs can benefit their sector and their products, and adjust their raw material supply and production to meet requirements relating to origin and to enjoy tariff incentives.

Meanwhile, Director of the WTO and Integration Centre under the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, said relevant ministries and sectors need to continue to assess the impact of each FTA on the business community, especially on each specific group and economic sector.

She emphasised the necessity to increase the dissemination of information on markets and business cooperation opportunities as well as trade promotions and business matching between domestic companies and foreign partners.

Businesses should work to bolster the competitiveness of their products and their management capacity, and be more adaptive and flexible to seize opportunities in production chains to promote business cooperation.

According to Trang, foreign-invested enterprises are often more interested in and knowledgeable about FTAs than local private enterprises.

Many Vietnamese enterprises do not fully understand what is to be gained from tariff regimes and the institutional benefits brought about by FTAs, she said, noting that this not only sees many local businesses miss opportunities but also results in them encountering obstacles when they do wish to take advantage of the opportunities.

MoIT has reported that, from August 1, 2020, when the EVFTA took effect, to April 4 this year, authorised agencies and organisations in Vietnam granted about 127,300 sets of the certificate of origin form EUR 1 for nearly 4.8 billion USD worth of exports to the 27 EU member countries.

Exporters to the EU also conducted self-certification of origin on more than 10.88 million USD worth of goods, to access preferential tariffs./.

Inflationary pressure still present: GSO official

The average consumer price index (CPI) in the first four months of this year inched up 0.89 percent from the same period last year, the lowest rise for the first four months of a year since 2016 and clearing the way for the country to achieve its goal of keeping inflation at below 4 percent for the year as a whole, according to an official from the General Statistics Office (GSO).

“However, we should not be too optimistic about this since inflationary pressure remains and is likely to build up in the months to come,” GSO Deputy Director General Nguyen Trung Tien told the Vietnam News Agency.

The CPI, he said, will tick up on account of the global economy’s positive outlook, as noted by international organisations, and rising global COVID-19 vaccination rates.

In Vietnam, domestic businesses are becoming more adaptive to the “new normal”, with the gradual revival of production, trade, and services and growing demand for capital, fuel, and materials. This will drive up prices and add pressure to overall inflation, he explained.

Increases in the global prices of fuel and materials is another factor behind rising domestic prices, he continued, citing the fact that the average Brent crude price in the first four months increased nearly 24 percent compared to the end of last year and over 49 percent year-on-year.

The average price for Brent crude in 2021 is forecast to reach 60 USD per barrel, up about 40 percent compared to 2020, which is likely to push up domestic fuel prices by roughly 25 percent, adding 0.9 percentage points to the CPI.

He urged authorities not to loosen inflation control measures, saying they should maintain a close watch on local supply and demand and the price of essential goods, and take proactive and timely action. The Ministries of Industry and Trade and Finance, meanwhile, must effectively use the petrol price stabilisation fund to minimise the impact of fuel on overall CPI, he added.

“We believe the inflation target of around 4 percent, set by the National Assembly, is attainable,” Tien affirmed.

He further noted that International Monetary Fund (IMF) experts have been sent to Vietnam annually to review and assess sources of data, methods, and representative items Vietnam uses to calculate the CPI. Vietnam’s CPI has been used in reports from other international organisations, such as the UN Statistics Division (UNSD), the World Bank (WB), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the method the country uses to calculate the index is regarded as being in line with international practices./.

Export turnover grows 30.7 percent in five months

Vietnam shipped overseas 130.94 billion USD worth of goods in the first five months of 2021, up 30.7 percent annually, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

Of the sum, the domestic sector contributed 33.06 billion USD and the FDI sector (including crude oil) 97.88 billion USD, increasing 16.6 and 36.3 percent year on year, respectively.

During the period, 22 products recorded an export value of over 1 billion USD each and together they accounted for 87.3 percent of the nation’s total export.

The export of the group of heavy industrial goods and minerals reeled in about 70.7 billion USD, up 33 percent from the same period last year. It was followed by the groups of light industrial goods and handicrafts at 47.32 billion USD (up 33 percent) and of agricultural and forestry products at 9.69 billion USD (up 13.5 percent). The group of aquatic products posted 3.24 billion in export revenue, an annual increase of 12 percent.

The US remained the biggest export market of Vietnam, spending 37.6 billion USD on imports from the Southeast Asian country, an year-on-year rise of 49.8 percent. China came second with 20.1 billion USD, up 26 percent. The EU and ASEAN followed with 16.1 billion USD and 11.5 billion USD, increasing by 20.8 and 23.7 percent.

In May alone, Vietnam’s exports valued at 26 billion USD, down 2.1 percent over the previous month and up 35.6 percent from the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the country’s import in the five-month period hit 131.31 billion USD, an annual growth of 36.4 percent, with China named Vietnam’s biggest import market./.

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European, US business executives in VN urge faster COVID vaccination

The Government needs to allow companies to vaccinate staff at their own cost, members of the European Chamber of Commerce in Viet Nam (EuroCham) have said.

The business group said it asked the members how private companies can support the Government’s vaccination drive and it is impacting their business operations.

Four in five (79 per cent) business executives polled agreed that businesses should be able to inoculate their workforce, saying this would reduce the burden on public funds while also helping accelerate the Government’s vaccination drive, it said.

EuroCham supported the Government’s ambitious target to vaccinate 75 per cent of the population, saying it would be essential to revive international trade and investment that is critical to VietNam’s economic growth.

Eurocham’s members also want the Government to ease quarantine regulations for investors and experts who have been vaccinated in their home countries.

Over two-thirds of those polled (70 per cent) said their companies face obstacles due to the current restrictions, 79 per cent said the three-week quarantine would keep specialists out of Viet Nam, affecting foreign investment and hurt the operations of companies who depend on them.

Some 81 per cent said the Government should reduce the quarantine length for vaccinated foreign experts and their families arriving in Viet Nam to one week.

Alain Cany, the chairman of EuroCham, said: “Viet Nam has been one of the world leaders in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Swift border closures, strict quarantine measures and targeted local lockdowns have kept infections low and enabled domestic business activities to resume.

“However, this is not a permanent solution and it cannot continue for much longer without damaging economic growth. While Viet Nam’s borders are closed, other countries are rolling out vaccinations and reopening their doors to the world. So there is now a real risk that Vietnam could fall behind unless it implements its own mass vaccination program at scale and pace.

“The private sector including foreign enterprises can help speed up Viet Nam’s vaccination efforts. Our companies can provide both world-leading equipment and the international expertise essential for a successful mass vaccination programme.

“Viet Nam has set the global standard for COVID-19 prevention. The challenge now is to match that success with an ambitious and accelerated mass vaccination programme. If this can be achieved, there is no doubt that Viet Nam will rebound and recover. This will also help meet the government’s twin goals of protecting the population and boosting economic growth.”

Last week the American Chamber of Commerce in Ha Noi (Amcham) had published a similar survey, saying its members repeatedly stressed the need to get more people vaccinated, with 88 per cent saying they or their company would pay for vaccinations.

The survey found 81 per cent of members saying their company would bring more people to Viet Nam if the mandatory quarantine period is reduced from 21 days to seven.

However, foreign ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said on Thursday there is no plan to adjust policies related to foreign arrivals, including the mandatory 21-day quarantine.

The country has no specific policy for the so-called vaccine passports, she said.

But she added: “Amid the complicated developments of the coronavirus pandemic around the world … policies and measures pertaining to monitoring and quarantining of people entering Viet Nam are always flexible … to both … protect public health and to resume business activities.”

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has issued a resolution approving the establishment of a COVID-19 vaccine fund.

It will accept and manage financial and vaccine donations from local and foreign sources meant for importing vaccines, researching and producing them in Viet Nam and immunising the population. 

Businesses in Lao Cai, China’s Yunnan step up cooperation

Business associations of the northern border province of Lao Cai and Chinese province Yunnan signed a framework agreement for the development of their relations at a virtual conference late last week.

They sealed six deals, focusing on the establishment of an information exchange mechanism and the organisation of exchanges within five years (May 2020- May 2025) in a friendly and equal manner.

The two associations also agreed to assign units for contacting and supporting enterprises implementing investment cooperation.

At the event, Director of the Lao Cai Department of Industry and Trade Hoang Chi Hien said in the first five months of 2021, trade between the two localities remained stable and even grew significantly from the same time last year despite COVID-19.

He attributed the outcome to efforts made by their business communities, authorities, and agencies.

Wang Xiaohua, Deputy Director of the Yunnan Trade Department, stressed Lao Cai and Yunnan have set up a diverse and multifaceted collaboration mechanism over the years to lift their ties to new heights.

The official called for investment and expansion of logistics infrastructure to create a more favourable environment for their economic and commercial engagements. 

Investments into Vietnamese startups down by half in 2020

Vietnam has seen capital invested into local startups decrease by 48 per cent to $451 million in 2020 but showed resilience with good prospects to recover from the turbulence caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The figure was revealed in the Vietnam Innovation and Tech Investment Report 2020 by Do Ventures and the Vietnam National Innovation Center (NIC), a unit of the Ministry of Planning and Investment.The decrease is mainly attributable to to the absence of outsized deals that were already closed last year by later-stage companies.

"Nevertheless, the total number of deals fell only slightly by 17 per cent as we recorded 60 deals in the second half of 2020, virtually equal to the same period in 2019. After the slowdown during the first quarter, venture capital investing began to pick up from the second quarter," said the report.

The persistence of early-stage investments is significant to the health of the broader venture capital ecosystem. As more than half of the recorded deals were conducted by local funds, local capital availability in the Vietnam market has proved to be one of the key supports for early-stage entrepreneurs to keep thriving during these uncertain times.

Accordingly, payment and retail went on being the dominant sectors of large amount funding thanks to their fundamental roles in the growth of the internet economy. Employment (HRtech) and real estate (proptech) continued seeing rising interest, while education (edtech), healthcare (medtech), and business automation (SaaS) have gently gained favour from drastic changes in consumer and business behaviours. 

The interest in the Vietnam market was unwavering regardless of the global crisis, as the number of investors entering the country in 2020 went through only a minor drop compared to last year. The most active investors still came from Vietnam, South Korea, and Singapore, while there was a remarkable fall in the number of Japanese investors.

Though the Vietnamese tech investment landscape experienced an inevitable hit due to the global crisis, Vietnamese entrepreneurs have done their best with available resources during an unprecedented time. Challenges could always be interpreted as opportunities that welcome the birth of new disruptive business models.

Furthermore, the government’s increasing efforts to foster the internet economy and create a conducive business environment to attract foreign investors will stand Vietnamese startups in good stead when investment activities progressively resume at the normal pace. 

Vu Quoc Huy, director of NIC said that NIC is researching and proposing to develop a legal environment for innovation in Vietnam, as well as other specific policies, programmes, and regulatory sandbox to support innovative businesses. The recently released Vietnam Innovation and Tech Investment Report 2020 aims to equip investors with information about the innovation and tech investment activities in Vietnam, thereby enhancing both domestic and foreign capital inflows.”

On the same note, Vy Le, general partner of Do Ventures, said that the entire 2020 was brimming with challenges and the situation probably will not change soon. However, there are always  opportunities in every difficulty. In particular, it is the Vietnamese founders’ ability to rise above obstacles and bring in new values to society.

Authorities cracking down on agricultural pretenders

 

Farms neglecting agricultural production after installing rooftop solar power projects are being warned by local authorities to resume production soon in line with their project’s licences or face sanctions. 

Gia Lai Department of Industry and Trade (DoIT) has reviewed and reported that 173 of 441 solar power projects in the Central Highlands province have violated rooftop solar power regulations but still enjoyed the incentivised feed-in tariff (FiT).

Pham Van Binh, director general of the DoIT, said that these projects have not developed any building or agricultural production under the panels, wasting the true potential of some land plots.

The offending solar projects have been set up in the guise of agricultural farms and “bypassing” procedures by applying in-principle approval at commune level and requesting for changing land-use purpose at district level. However, after these procedures for businesses were approved, post-checking has yet to be carried out frequently.

Regarding handling of the violations, Binh said that the DoIT asked businesses to complete changing land-use purposes as well as develop agricultural farms in accordance with the registered documents until the end of June. The department will report to Gia Lai People’s Committee to receive direction and guidance of the penalties for these violations.

“The local authorities will further tighten the management of such farms and land. The leaders of the province will later conclude the responsibilities of the DoIT, district-level authorities, and sanctions for businesses,” Binh said.

This drastic move may place some pressure on developers such as Solar Tay Nguyen, Phu Manh Company, Thai Duong Gia Lai Agricultural Investment, and more. Solar Tay Nguyen’s agricultural activities involve chicken farms over hectares of land, Phu Manh produces mushrooms, and Thai Duong plants trees.

“The coverage of these agricultural projects makes up only 10-20 per cent of total area of the projects and generates tiny revenues – so they do not meet the requirement of solar power projects on agricultural land,” explained a DoIT representative.

In many districts across Gia Lai, solar farms without any planting or agricultural production under the panels is a common description of solar power projects which applied the FiT of rooftop solar power as per Decision No.13/2020/QD-TTg released in April 2020 on the mechanism of encouraging development of solar power in Vietnam.

Ho Minh Hau, head of the Infrastructural Economy Division at Chu Se People’s Committee, said that most solar power projects on agricultural farms in the district have yet to do planting or husbandry. “Agricultural production is mentioned on paper only, and in fact some projects are ‘disguised’ by some chickens, vegetables, and mushrooms, most of them gaining from solar power only and leaving the actual land useless,” said Hau.

Despite connecting to the national grid for a long time and enjoying a good FiT which was applied under Decision 13 a year ago, most of the solar power farms in Kte village of Chu Se district’s Hbong commune are filled only with weeds, in just one example. Many dozens of metal pillars are planted alongside to prop up corrugated iron roofs and the hundreds of solar panels above.

According to Decision 13, the FiT for solar power projects on agricultural farms is VND1,943 (0.08 US cents) per kWh, higher than other renewable power projects. However, Document No.7088/BCT-DL from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) dated September 2020 on guiding investment into rooftop solar power stipulated that the solar panels of these projects should lay on a building or roof (in accordance with the Law on Construction 2014), which is operating in proper function and purpose.

However, in order to gain more profits, numerous businesses have tried to circumvent the law. “They feed some chickens only and tell the local authorities that animals have just died because of disease, or they have sold them. They don’t want to invest into husbandry or cultivation because the land and conditions here are quite difficult to do so, so the investment and risks will be high,” said Hau.

According to a recent report from the DoIT sent to Gia Lai People’s Committee, there are nearly 3,250 solar power projects in the province with a total installation capacity of 603.8MWp. The inspection team of the department has already checked 440 projects. Of these, 10 are on the rooftops of warehouses and factories and 430 on the roof of farms.

Over 250 of the 430 projects have been developing and operating agricultural farms under solar panels, although around 170 projects have yet to carry out any agricultural work.

Binh from the DoIT said, “As of July 15, if the investor of rooftop solar power projects do not fix the troubles related to lines and substations, as well as fire prevention and fighting, their contracts of purchasing power with Gia Lai Electricity Company will be halted, and specific sanctions will be applied.”

Explaining to the inspection team, some businesses have said that with the deadline to connect to the national grid to enjoy high prices as laid out in Decision 13 being December 31, 2020, agri-projects were forced to install rooftop solar panels first and develop the more traditional aspects of the farm later.

Thanks to policies promoting solar power development, within a single year the power load of Gia Lai has increased by 600MWp. Of this, numerous projects combined between solar farm and agricultural farm were registered to enjoy the FiT.

Gia Lai is one among numerous provinces hosting rooftop solar power projects that may be causing violations. Dak Lak, Bac Lieu, Binh Thuan, and Dak Nong provinces are also booming with rooftop solar power ventures, with ‘agricultural projects’ being listed on documents only but with no real agricultural operations in sight.

“The trouble in Gia Lai is also a common concern in rooftop solar power across the country, so details should be submitted to higher management levels like the MoIT to ask for new policies or sanctions for all,” Binh said.

Firms should facilitate Gen Z to develop

Enterprises should consider applying new thoughts or amend regulations to meet the demand of Gen Z, including those born in 1996-2010, and create favorable conditions for them to develop as they will be an important part of the country’s workforce, said experts at a virtual seminar held on May 28.

At the seminar, themed “Gen Z: risky or profitable investment of enterprises,” which was jointly held by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), PwC Vietnam and ManpowerGroup, speakers agreed that Gen Z has been surrounded by technologies, interactive devices and the Internet.

Experts gave multiple solutions for enterprises to engage Gen Z effectively, including tapping into their digital mastery, using social networks to recruit, recognizing the power of peers and focusing on well-being policies.

In addition, they needs to match their business plans with individual development.

Additionally, it is essential to focus on outcomes and the results achieved, rather than hours spent on tasks.

Nguyen Xuan Son, ManpowerGroup's operation manager of enterprise account outsourcing and staffing services in HCMC, said Gen Z was optimistic and eager to learn and always wanted to develop themselves.

Therefore, enterprises should create a working environment that facilitates them to develop and a specific promotion roadmap.

Trinh Thi Thanh Ha, vice chairwoman of ACCA Vietnam’s member committee, cited a survey conducted by ACCA and the International Federation of Accountants to say that 53% of Vietnam’s Gen Z cited job security as a key concern and 48% considered personal well-being and mental health as a worry.

Gen Z prefers organizations that provide them with opportunities to acquire skills and a good work-life balance. Job insecurity may be their biggest concern, but that doesn’t mean they will accept any job.

Vietnam’s Gen Z can be the most productive remote workforce amid the Covid-19 pandemic. They are positive about the impact of technology on their jobs, but also the most worried, Quach Thanh Chau, partner and deputy general director of PwC Vietnam, cited PwC Vietnam’s Digital Readiness Survey as saying.

He added that they wanted to develop soft and business skills as well as specific digital skills.

According to the data from Vietnam’s General Statistics Office, the working age population of Vietnamese Gen Z was some 13 million in 2019, accounting for 19% of the Vietnamese working age population. By 2025, Gen Z is expected to take up about a third of the total Vietnamese workforce.

Foreign investment inflows into Vietnam up slightly in Jan-May

Vietnam attracted capital worth nearly US$14 billion from foreign investors during the first five months of the year, improving 0.8% against the 2020 figure, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

In the five-month period, 613 new foreign direct investment (FDI) projects were granted investment registration certificates in the country, with total registered capital of nearly US$8.83 billion, down 49.4% in volume but up 18.6% in value versus last year’s figures.

Also, despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, FDI firms operating in Vietnam during the period still adjusted their capital upward for business expansion, with an additional US$3.86 billion pumped into 342 existing FDI projects, up 11.7% compared to the year-ago figure.

Besides this, capital contributions and share purchases made by foreign investors declined over 56% to US$1.31 billion.

Further, FDI businesses disbursed US$7.15 billion of capital to implement projects in the country, rising 6.7% versus the same period last year.

According to the ministry’s report released on May 26, the processing and manufacturing sector in the year to May attracted the largest amount of FDI capital at US$6.14 billion, equivalent to 43.9% of the total value. This sector earlier always accounted for around 70% of the FDI capital pledges.

Power generation and distribution came second, absorbing US$5.43 billion of capital, or 38.8%, followed by the property sector with US$1.05 billion and the wholesale and retailing sector with US$522 million.

Further, 70 countries and territories invested in Vietnam during the period, with Singapore topping the list with US$5.26 billion of capital, followed by Japan and South Korea.

European enterprises urge Covid-19 vaccination drive in Vietnam

European business leaders have urged the Government to go further and faster in the Covid-19 vaccination drive, proposing harnessing the power of private enterprises and allowing companies to vaccinate their own staff using their own funds.

Four in five business leaders, or 79% of European companies, agreed that businesses should be able to inoculate their workforce. This would reduce the burden on the State budget, while helping to accelerate the Government’s vaccination drive, according to the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham).

Chairman of EuroCham Alain Cany said, “Vietnam has been one of the world’s leaders in preventing the spread of Covid-19. Swift border closures, strict quarantine measures and targeted local lockdowns have kept infections low and enabled domestic business activities to resume.”

“However, this is not a permanent solution and it cannot continue for much longer without damaging economic growth,” Cany said, adding that while Vietnam’s borders are closed, other countries are rolling out vaccinations and re-opening their doors to the world.

As such, there is now a real risk that Vietnam could fall behind unless it implements its own mass vaccination program at scale and pace.

Cany also said the private sector, including foreign enterprises, could help speed up Vietnam’s vaccination efforts.

“Our companies can provide the world-leading equipment and international expertise needed for a successful mass vaccination program. Therefore, Vietnam’s roadmap to recovery should harness the contribution of European business. But the planning needs to begin now so we can hit the ground running as soon as vaccines are available,” he said.

Dr. Guido Hildner, German Ambassador to Vietnam, said, “The vaccination progress in Germany is decisive for economic recovery. For this reason, we encourage and support our partners such as Vietnam to do whatever possible to further speed up their vaccination programs.”

EuroCham members also encouraged the Government to ease quarantine regulations for investors and experts who have been vaccinated in their home countries. Over two-thirds of business leaders reported that their companies have faced obstacles from the current restrictions.

Meanwhile, 79% said that the three-week quarantine would lead to fewer specialists coming to Vietnam. This could hit foreign investment and hurt the business operations of companies who depend on these essential technicians.

More than four in five EuroCham members, or 81%, believe that the Government should now reduce the quarantine regulations for vaccinated foreign experts and their families to one week at the most and simplify the procedure to address this issue.

Online food orders rise 10-30% amid dine-in restrictions

The number of food orders placed via online channels in HCMC has risen 10-30% over the past week after the city restricted dine-in services to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Employees of some coffee shops and food stalls in the city said the number of customers choosing takeaways or placing an order via food delivery apps has risen significantly in recent days.

Many food stalls and restaurants have registered to become partners of food delivery apps such as Grabfood, Baemin, Gofood and Now to offer food delivery services to their customers.

“Food stalls have been asked to stop dine-in services, leading to an upsurge in food orders placed online. Sometimes we have to wait 45 minutes to one hour to get the food for our customers,” Toan, a food delivery man in District 6, shared.

Pham Le Tuan Kiet, business development manager of Gojek’s GoFood service, said, “Although a number of restaurants that are located in affected areas have been closed, the number of orders placed via the app has increased month-on-month.”

According to Kiet, GoFood has kept a close eye on the situation to temporarily hide restaurants in pandemic-hit areas on the app and cooperated with relevant agencies to inform the partner drivers, restaurants and customers if they are in affected areas.

A representative of Baemin said the company has encouraged partner drivers to restrict direct contact while receiving or delivering food and drinks. Baemin has also helped partner drivers in Danang City to undertake Covid-19 tests.

The revenue of the online food delivery segment in Vietnam is projected to reach US$377 million in 2021. It is expected to achieve an annual growth rate of 14% between 2021 and 2024, resulting in a projected market volume of US$557 million by then.

The average revenue per user in the online food delivery segment is projected to amount to over US$33 in 2021. The number of users is expected to reach 15.5 million by 2024.

Over VND2,800 trillion set for public investment projects in 2021-2025

The Government will submit a plan to invest over VND2,800 trillion from the medium-term public investment in various projects, mainly traffic ones, in the 2021-2025 period, up VND870 trillion against the figure in the previous five-year period, to the National Assembly at its sitting in July.

In the next five years, a series of major traffic projects will be developed, including a 1,700-kilometer seaside road from Quang Ninh Province to Kien Giang Province, a north-south expressway section and the Long Thanh International Airport.

The Government will invest over VND97.9 trillion in 74 key projects for regional connection, while spending VND8.1 trillion to complete 10 subcomponents of the projected seaside road from Quang Ninh to Nghe An.

Despite the surge, the capital will still meet only 70% of the investment demand from the ministries, departments and localities in the coming years, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

Nguyen Bich Lam, former head of the General Statistics Office, told Tuoi Tre Online that the hike in public investment in the next five years would boost economic growth, especially in the context of the complicated development of Covid-19 and difficulties facing private enterprises.

In the next 10 years, the investment in traffic projects, mainly expressways and seaside roads, which help link provinces and cities, including the HCMC-Moc Bai, Trung Luong-My Thuan and My Thuan expressways, will bring about numerous benefits and facilitate the transportation of goods, Lam said.

To optimize public capital, the ministries, departments and localities should deploy projects and complete them as soon as possible, he added.

Vietnam’s export turnover to US reaches nearly US$131 billion

According to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, the United States has maintained the largest export market of Vietnam this year as the total export turnover to the market in the first five months of the year is estimated to reach US$130.94 billion, an increase of 30.7 percent compared with the same period last year. 

Of which, the total commodity export turnover to the United States market reached US$37.6 billion, an increase of 49.8 percent over the same period last year. It is followed by China with US$20.1 billion, the European market with US$16.1 billion, an increase of 20.8 percent and the Asian market with export turnover of US$11.5 billion surging 23.7 percent, etc.

The whole country also recorded 22 commodities with export turnover of over US$1 billion, contributing to 87.3 percent of the total export turnover. Especially, there had been six commodities reaching the export turnover of over US$5 billion, accounting for 63.8 percent of the total export turnover.

In the first five months of the year, the agriculture-forestry products and aquaculture-fishery products were two kinds of the commodities with remarkable export turnover growth hitting US$9.69 billion and US$3.24 billion, increasing 13.5 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

HCM City attracts over 1.34 billion USD worth of FDI in first five months

The inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Ho Chi Minh City surpassed 1.34 billion USD in the first five months of this year, down 16.52 percent year-on-year, according to the municipal Statistics Office.

Of the total, 378.8 million USD went to 187 new projects, primarily in the field of commerce (236.3 million USD) and real estate (125.8 million USD).

Meanwhile, 416 million USD was added to 42 existing projects.

Foreign investors channelled 267.4 million USD of capital into seven processing and manufacturing projects, 85.5 million USD into 11 science and technology projects, and 32.9 million USD into 15 commercial projects.

Countries posting high additional investment included Japan (270 million USD), Singapore (72.4 million USD), and the UK (27 million USD).

Capital contributions and share purchases in 726 transactions accounted for 542.7 million USD.

In terms of domestic capital attraction, the city licenced the establishment of 14,543 companies with registered capital of 245.6 trillion VND (10.66 billion USD), up 5.8 percent and 36.6 percent year-on-year./.

Hoa Phat Group purchases iron ore mine in Australia

The Hoa Phat Group has announced that it had received approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board to purchase an iron ore mine in the country.

Upon completion of the transaction, Vietnam’s largest steelmaker will own the Roper Valley mine, which has estimated reserves of 320 million tonnes. It is set to exploit 4 million tonnes per year.

The group has gradually gained access to Australia’s largest iron ore producing areas.

It is mulling the purchase of new iron ore mines in the country in a bid to ensure at least half of its long-time supply, or 10 million tonnes annually.

The group is also looking to buy coking coal mines in Australia in the time to come to take the initiative in the production of the material, which makes up one-third of steel prices and is primarily imported from Australia./.

HCM City’s State budget revenue enjoys year-on-year rise of 22.8 percent

Ho Chi Minh City’s State budget collection is estimated to hit 174.6 trillion VND (7.57 billion USD) during January-May, equivalent to 49 percent of the yearly estimates and up 22.8 percent year-on-year.

The figure also represented a rise of 5.7 percent compared to that of the same period of 2019 when the COVID-19 pandemic had yet to break out around the world.

Of the total, domestic revenue in the city was estimated at 123.69 billion VND, equal to 49.8 percent of the estimates and accounting for 70.8 percent of the total and up 21.1 percent over the same period. Revenue from import-export activities is estimated at 50.9 trillion VND, equal to 47.1 percent of the estimates and up 27.3 percent year-on-year. Revenue from crude oil is estimated at 5.86 trillion VND, equal to 68.6 percent of the estimates and up 3.2 percent year-on-year.

Meanwhile, local budget revenue in the period is estimated at 34.18 trillion VND, accounting for 19.6 percent of the total collection, equivalent to 41.6 percent of the estimates and up 7.5 percent year-on-year.

This year, the largest city of Vietnam is assigned to collect 364.89 trillion VND for the State budget, down 10.1 percent from the 2020 estimates and 1.7 percent compared to last year’s real revenue./.

Custom watchdog tightens control over origin fraud of Vietnamese rice

The Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department has detained three shipments of rice passing through Cat Lai port after detecting signs of fraud relating to their Vietnamese origin.

According to the Saigon port area 1 Customs Branch, the unit moved to seize dozens of containers of rice imported from India due to suspicions that their Vietnamese origin was fraudulent.

The shipments belonged to two import declarations registered by an enterprise based in Hanoi, with import procedures being carried out through Cat Lai port at the end of February and March.

According to information released by the customs declaration, these batches of rice actually originate from India. However, after a thorough examination and inspection was carried out, customs officials successfully discovered that all of the packages and labels on the imported rice stated that they had Vietnamese origin.

Most notably, the package of each bag of rice had the brands and addresses of factories and businesses located in the nation.

After being suspicious of the origin of these goods, the unit moved to seize all shipments for the purpose of investigation and clarification.

Furthermore, there has also been signs of origin fraud in Vietnamese white rice. According to Vietnam's Special Preferential Import Tariff relating to the implementation of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement, 5% broken and 100% broken white rice imported from India enjoy a tax rate of 0%.

Moreover, the price of these two types of rice from India is only approximately US$400 per tonne and US$280 per tonne respectively, roughly US$100 per tonne lower than the price of Vietnamese rice.

The price of imported rice from India to Vietnam is therefore much more competitive compared to Vietnamese rice.

The Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department has recently devised a plan aimed at strengthen inspection over origin fraud and counterfeiting of labeling of goods, the infringement of intellectual property rights, and the illegal transshipment of Vietnamese white rice.

Dragon Capital sells another 1.8 million shares of Dat Xanh

Dragon Capital's fund just sold 1.8 million shares of Dat Xanh Group JSC (DXG), reducing its ownership to 15.75 per cent from 16.09 per cent. The deal was executed on May 27.

Of which, Vietnam Enterprise Investments Limited sold one million shares, Norges Bank sold 379,000 shares, Samsung Vietnam Securities Master Investment Trust sold 300,000 shares, and Amersham Industries Limited sold 100,000 shares.

Previously, a group of funds managed by Dragon Capital sold 3.78 million shares of DXG on March 23.

The DXG shares were traded at VND28,100 on Monday morning, up 3.69 per cent.

Dat Xanh Services, a member of Dat Xanh Group, plans to sell nearly 72 million shares, equivalent to 20 per cent of new chapter capital. Revenue from the transaction will be spent for developing the company's projects.

In 2021, Dat Xanh projected profit after tax of around VND1.6-1.7 trillion. 

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

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS MAY 31

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS MAY 31

New COVID-19 outbreak puts brakes on trade, transport