Detailed policies needed to help firms get loans hinh anh 1

Many businesses suggested more detailed policies should be issued to help them access bank loans as there remain difficulties in lending.

According to the Vietnam Banks Association, the banking system has implemented many policies, such as restructuring repayment terms, exempting and reducing fees, and keeping the debt group unchanged for banks, to support businesses according to Circular 01/2020 of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV).

The deposit interest rate has also hit the lowest level of many years, ranging from 2.7-4 percent for less than 6-month terms, 3.7-5 percent for 6-12 month terms and 4.6-6.5 percent for over 12-month terms.

However, Pham Binh An, Deputy Director of the HCM City Development Research Institute, said firms are still facing trouble in accessing bank loans.

According to An, after four months of strict social distancing recently due to the latest outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, production and business of many firms have faced challenges.

Surveys showed about 70 percent of enterprises had to suspend operations while about 15 percent of firms dissolved or are waiting to be dissolved. Only 16 percent of firms are trying to maintain operations.

An said due to the temporary shutdown and moderate operation, the financial health of enterprises is naturally difficult. About 86.4 percent of enterprises said they could maintain operations for less than three months. The numbers are very alarming as if the difficulties continue, firms will be exhausted.

According to An, firms are facing a dire need for capital, but the capital injection is facing many bottlenecks.

He said although the Government and the central bank required commercial banks to reduce lending interest rates, not all banks have followed the request and firms still have to wait for banks to consider many conditions and criteria to see whether or not they can borrow.

“It would be very difficult for firms to get credit support policies without the intervention of the SBV and the Government. Therefore, instead of just calling on and encouraging the participation of banks in supporting pandemic-affected firms, it is necessary to issue more specific policies," An told diendandoanhnghiep.vn.

Lam Thuy Ai, Deputy General Director of Mebipha Production and Trading Co., Ltd., said many small firms in HCM City have almost gone bankrupt and they could not borrow from banks due to having no collateral.

According to a Government policy on supporting employees and employers facing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, firms can borrow from the Bank for Social Policies at zero percent interest to pay employees' salaries, but it is extremely difficult for small- and medium-sized enterprises to enjoy the policy as it requires them to have business plans and no bad debts at credit institutions, Ai said.

To help firms in access to bank loans, Nguyen Dang Hien, General Director of Tan Quang Minh Trading and Production Company Limited (Bidrico), suggested banks should raise the loan limit for firms from the current 70 percent to 85 percent of collateral and extend due debts until the end of 2021.

The Alliance for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) recently also proposed the Prime Minister to implement support policies for firms.

Specifically, it suggested the PM direct the Ministry of Finance to set up a 100 trillion VND lending guarantee fund for SMEs to help the firms get access to loans without needing real estate collateral. To qualify for the policy, corporate borrowers must prove they have good operations with healthy financial statements before the pandemic besides having import-export or sales contracts and orders within the next six months./.

VinFast’s sales up 51.4 percent in September

Automaker VinFast, a subsidiary of conglomerate Vingroup, sold 3,497 vehicles in September, posting a month-on-month surge of 51.4 percent despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The data showed VinFast’s upward trend in its sales following a long social distancing period in various localities across the country.

The number of vehicles delivered to customers in the first nine months of 2021 was 25,527.

The automaker is set to launch its VF e34 electric car at a ceremony on October 15, which received more than 25,000 pre-orders in just three months./.

Foreign experts highlight Vietnam’s production, export strengths

Within the region, Vietnam ranks high on economic performance, fuelled by a powerful gain of manufacturing and export capability, according to economists Shirley Shen and Aidan Yao from the Singaporean-based AXA Investment Managers Asia.

In a research & strategy insight, the pair said Vietnam’s successful integration into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was key to igniting its trade engine. The nation’s membership in the bloc since 1995 has allowed it to enjoy zero tariffs when trading with other ASEAN member states. Vietnam also signed free trade agreements with other major economies including China, the European Union, the UK, and Japan, creating a fertile environment for trade relations to grow.

In addition, a rapid increase in manufacturing competitiveness has also contributed to Vietnam’s rise as a regional export powerhouse, with manufacturing value-added increasing by the most in the past decade.

The economists noted Vietnam has also been very successful in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), thanks to favourable government policies. By 2020, the number of industrial parks in the country had grown to 369, an increase of 180 percent from 2005.

According to the insight, the Vietnamese government offers a variety of tax benefits and streamlines regulations for foreign entities. This has been reflected in an impressive gain in Vietnam’s ranking in the World Bank’s “ease of doing business” index – up 23 places to 70 from a decade ago./.

Experts disagree with VIMC's VND20 trillion port proposal in HCM City

Viet Nam Maritime Corporation (VIMC) wants to build a VND20 trillion (more than US$869 million) container terminal in Can Gio District in HCM City, but experts have raised concerns over the proposal.

State-owned VIMC has sent a document to the Ministry of Transport (MoT) proposing the investment policy for the terminal, saying Hiep Phuoc and Tan Thuan ports, exploited by the Sai Gon Port Joint Stock Company with more than 65 per cent of VIMC’s equity, were not able to meet demand.

According to VIMC, Hiep Phuoc port was built to serve the relocation of Nha Rong- Khanh Hoi port. However, the port project was not yet capable of receiving the entire volume of ships and displaced goods because the depth of the main channels in the port area was not stable, affecting the exploitation ability.

Tan Thuan port, which was in charge of loading and unloading goods such as iron and steel, fertiliser, rice, and containers with a throughput of about 10 million tonnes, was to be relocated to implement urban development plans for Thu Thiem No. 4 bridge project, it said.

Based on the master plan for the local seaport system in the 2021-2030 period, VIMC aims to develop a terminal port in Can Gio district.

It said the scope of the new port area included the land and water area to the left of the Sai Gon - Vung Tau channel, the Binh Chanh area, the Nga Bay estuary, the Cai Mep River and the Go Gia Island area. The scale included container, bulk cargo and international passenger terminals which could receive vessels with a tonnage of up to 150,000 DWT or larger, as well as passenger ships of 225,000 gross tonnage.

VIMC proposed the MoT to consider, support and approve the policy of allowing Sai Gon Port to deploy an investment project in a container terminal in the Can Gio district.

The project will take place in two locations including the first adjacent to Cai Mep-Thi Vai Channel, in the territory of Phu Loi Island, and the second adjacent to Sai Gon-Vung Tau Channel, in Long Hoa Commune.

According to VIMC’s calculations, the wharf to be built at two locations will have a length of 1,500m. The first is expected to receive ships of up to 200,000 DWT and the second will receive ships of up to 150,000 DWT.

While the proposal of VIMC was waiting for a response, most experts on wharf and urban planning expressed disagreement with the project.

As an urban planning expert, architect Ngo Viet Son said: “Port construction must be in a regional connection while at present, most ports in urban areas of HCM City, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Long An have very poor transport infrastructure, pushing up commodity prices, increasing traffic jams and the risk of traffic accidents due to a lack of infrastructure.”

Therefore, he said old ports need to be upgraded rather than scattered investment placed in other new ports.

Son thought VIMC’s proposal lacks an urban vision as it did not consider the port in relation to the surroundings and had no environmental assessment that will greatly harm the biosphere reserve of the district.

The architect said the city needs a proposal for the container port ecosystem to function well with a comprehensive vision in relation to regional connectivity.

Son said to develop the marine economy, the city should have a regional cooperation mindset between the neighbouring port clusters, which should be also connected with the railway and highway inland to promote the role of the ports.

Agreeing with Son, Vu Kim Cuong, former deputy chief architect of the city said: “The city should exploit the full capacity of the available ports,” adding “Can Gio is a biosphere reserve that can develop ecological urban areas, the city should not let huge transport pass through it."

He suggested: “If a city wants to develop towards the sea, it can develop something to the east through Dong Nai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.”

He added that as the available ports in the city were not operating at full capacity, the city should exploit the potential of hundreds of millions of tonnes per year before considering building a new port.

Regarding VIMC's proposal, MoT’s leaders told local media such a proposal of a container terminal in Can Gio was not suitable for the ministry to process, adding they will instruct VIMC to send the proposal to the People's Committee of HCM City and the Prime Minister for approval of the investment policy. 

Bright prospects ahead for local wood furniture industry in remainder of year

Vietnam raked in US$10 billion from exporting wooden furniture, including interior, exterior, and fine art decor products in the first half of the year, thereby representing an annual rise of 70%, according to figures given by the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City.

The association stated that local businesses in the wood processing industry are trying to speed up production activities amid increasing demand for orders from international buyers ahead in the remaining months of the year.

Statistics released by the Ministry of Industry and Trade reveal that there remains plenty of room for wooden furniture exports to grow moving forward as major consumer markets such as the United States, the UK, France, and the Netherlands have all increased their purchases by roughly 50% against the same period from last year.

During a recent webinar on Vietnam Furniture Supply Chain Recovery Plan, Bui Thanh An, deputy director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency, noted that international buyers have highlighted the local wood industry’s resilience amid the complicated nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She added that various associations and relevant organisations have been also proactive in providing support and devising orientations for local firms.

Benjamin Petlock, senior agricultural attaché from the US Embassy in Vietnam, said that Vietnamese furniture products have received positive feedback in the US market, noting that there are bright prospects in relation to import-export activities between both two sides in the near future.

Experts believe that, despite challenges caused by COVID-19 resulting in global supply chain disruption, high transportation costs, and raw material prices, supply chains will be re-established rapidly as countries have devised clearer strategies to live safely with the pandemic.

Several local businesses have therefore seized upon the opportunity to adapt to the “new normal” situation by retaining workers, seeking a stable source of raw materials, and applying modern machinery to reduce dependence on human resources with the aim of improving overall product quality.

Prime Minister offers congratulations on Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has sent a letter to businesspersons nationwide, congratulating them on the occasion of the Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day (October 13).

In his letter, the PM said the Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day this year coincides with the time the entire world is still facing the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused highly negative impacts on every socio-economic aspect.

Despite that context, Vietnamese entrepreneurs have always shone with their “heart - talent - intelligence - prestige”, he noted, adding that the Party, State, and people recognise and highly value entrepreneurs’ sense of responsibility, role and major contributions to the country, the community, and society.

The Government leader emphasised that over the past nearly two years, businesspersons have concurrently contributed to national development and actively taken part in the COVID-19 combat. Particularly, in response to the appeal issued by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, many of them have made important, precious and practical contributions to COVID-19 prevention and control.

He pledged the Government will continue creating the best possible conditions for Vietnamese and foreign entrepreneurs and businesses to do long-term business and investment in the country.

It will carry out more measures to help entrepreneurs surmount difficulties and stretch their reach further, he said, adding that a programme on socio-economic recovery and development, safe and flexible adaptation to the pandemic, and effective control of COVID-19 are being built.

The Government and authorised agencies still step up reforming institutions, removing difficulties and obstacles, mobilising resources, and streamlining administrative procedures, thereby creating an open and equal business environment for enterprises to develop and integrate into the world.

PM Chinh expressed his belief that with their intelligence, talent, vision, mettle, humanity, and patriotism, every businessperson will manage to overcome difficulties and contribute to sustainable development of the country./.

HCM City pleads with workers to return to work

HCM City agencies and businesses are sending text messages to workers who have returned home, pleading with them to return to work.

Pham Duc Hai, deputy head of the city Steering Committee for Pandemic Prevention and Control, said between just October 2 and 4 more than 5,279 businesses registered to resume operations.

Many others are in the process of getting employees, machinery and equipment and facilities ready to reopen, he said.

The number of workers now in industrial parks and export processing zones is just 135,000, or 46 per cent of the normal requirement, and a severe shortage looms.

It also threatens the Saigon Hi-Tech Park though not to the same extent as the industrial parks and export processing zones.

It normally employs around 50,000 workers, but only 40,000 live in the city while the remaining 10,000 live mostly in the provinces of Binh Duong and Dong Nai, and it is urging them to return to work at the earliest.

Nguyen Van Lam, deputy director of the city Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, said all migrant workers who have returned to their hometowns would get text messages from city authorities or businesses.

Nevertheless, they have to meet certain safety criteria related to COVID-19 testing and vaccination, he said.

People living in the city who are looking for jobs could contact 127 licensed employment agencies, he added. 

Foreign experts highlight Vietnam’s production, export strengths

Within the region, Vietnam ranks high on economic performance, fuelled by a powerful gain of manufacturing and export capability, according to economists Shirley Shen and Aidan Yao from the Singaporean-based AXA Investment Managers Asia.

In a research & strategy insight, the pair said Vietnam’s successful integration into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was key to igniting its trade engine. The nation’s membership in the bloc since 1995 has allowed it to enjoy zero tariffs when trading with other ASEAN member states. Vietnam also signed free trade agreements with other major economies including China, the European Union, the UK, and Japan, creating a fertile environment for trade relations to grow.

In addition, a rapid increase in manufacturing competitiveness has also contributed to Vietnam’s rise as a regional export powerhouse, with manufacturing value-added increasing by the most in the past decade.

The economists noted Vietnam has also been very successful in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), thanks to favourable government policies. By 2020, the number of industrial parks in the country had grown to 369, an increase of 180 percent from 2005.

According to the insight, the Vietnamese government offers a variety of tax benefits and streamlines regulations for foreign entities. This has been reflected in an impressive gain in Vietnam’s ranking in the World Bank’s “ease of doing business” index – up 23 places to 70 from a decade ago.

Vietnam raises US$16.91 billion from corporate bonds in nine months: VBMA

Over US$16.91 billion has been raised from sales of corporate bonds in the first nine months of this year, according the Vietnam Bond Market Association (VBMA).

Some VND350 trillion (US$15.38 billion), or 91% of the total sales, were mobilised from private placements; while VND12 trillion worth of corporate bonds were sold at public offerings, accounting for 3% of the total. 

The remainder, or US$1 billion worth of bonds, were sold to the international market. They included US$500 million worth of bond from Vingroup, US$200 million worth of green bond from developer BIM Land SJC, and US$300 million worth of convertible bond from developer Novaland.

The group of commercial banks remained the largest issuer during the period, selling VND132.3 trillion worth of corporate bonds. It was followed by the real estate developer group which have issued VND126.7 trillion worth of bonds, about 11% of which were unsecured or backed by shares.

Vietnam seeks to expand export markets for farm produce

Representatives of trade promotion agencies and business communities of India and three countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), namely Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, gathered at an online India-Mekong trade connection programme on October 11.

This formed part of a series of activities of a project to strengthen international integration of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of India and the GMS countries, towards promoting global value chains and trade between India and the GMS countries, which is financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Le Hoang Tai, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, emphasised that farm produce and food are key exports of Vietnam.

In the first nine months of 2021, Vietnam earned 20.1 billion USD from exporting food and agricultural products, up 10.8 percent over the same period in 2020. The growth was attributed to a significant increase in both export volume and value of many agricultural products.

The export markets of Vietnam's agricultural products have expanded to more than 180 countries and territories. In particular, there is a shift from medium-segment markets to higher segment markets.

Tai said the participation in new-generation free trade agreements and extensive international economic integration bring great opportunities for Vietnam, adding that Vietnam can cooperate with India, Cambodia and Thailand to expand export markets for its agricultural products.

Vivek Sharma, General Director of Aarna Agro & Angel Fine Foods, said that the Vietnamese market can utilise very well equipment serving agricultural production.

Vietnam has imported many products from India such as cotton, spice products, especially rice, he added.

Participants expressed their interest in tariffs and import-export procedures of the GMS countries and India./.

Rapid vaccination and targeted policies key to Viet Nam’s endemic growth

As the world is transitioning from pandemic to endemic, Viet Nam needs to ensure its vaccination progress and greater adeptness at targeting control measures and support policies to follow suit.

Experts predicted COVID-19 could become endemic which means the virus may never go away but we can turn it into something much less threatening like influenza and live with it safely.

This is also Viet Nam’s priority in the coming months.

It is not only people around the world who are tired of the pandemic control measures that have been implemented over the past two years, many governments cannot suffer more lockdowns given their devastating impacts on the economy.

Viet Nam’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 6.17 per cent in the third quarter as stringent social distancing in key production areas, especially in HCM City – the country’s economic engine – disrupted most economic activities in the last two months. It is the first quarterly decline recorded in the history of GDP statistics since 2000.

In its update on ASEAN+3 Regional Economic Outlook 2021 published on October 7, the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) scaled down its growth forecast for Viet Nam to 2.6 per cent this year from 7 per cent in March’s report.

AMRO’s forecast is in line with other institutions like World Bank (WB) and Asia Development Bank (DB) which also lowered their projections for Viet Nam’s growth this year to 4.8 per cent and 3.8 per cent, respectively.

AMRO Chief Economist Hoe Ee Khor attributed their low forecast to the shutdown in the country’s key production hubs where companies had to allow workers to sleep in the factory. Even when Viet Nam started to ease lockdown measures, many could not get back running immediately.

“The last time when it broke out in Da Nang, Viet Nam was still able to continue very quickly. But this time, the infection is much greater than it experienced before,” Khor told Viet Nam News.

He compared Viet Nam’s experience to what other ASEAN countries suffered last year so they could mitigate impacts on growth this year. Despite that, ASEAN’s growth in 2021 was still projected down from 4.9 per cent to 2.7 per cent and ASEAN+3 from 6.7 per cent to 6.1 per cent.

The Vietnamese government is targeting a 6.5-per-cent GDP growth this year, but last month Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said GDP growth may reach 3.5-4.0 per cent by year-end.

“But we’re confident that Viet Nam will bounce back more strongly next year. The country will catch up and compensate for what happened this year,” Khor said, noting projections for Viet Nam’s growth increased to 7.5 per cent in 2022 from 6.8 per cent in its March report.

Firms advised to take advantage of CPTPP to increase exports to Mexico

Despite continuous trade surplus with Mexico, Vietnam’s market share in this market is only 1.3 percent. Therefore, businesses should take advantage of incentives from the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to expand the presence of Vietnamese goods in Mexico, experts said.

According to the Department of European and American Markets under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, despite impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, import and export turnover between Vietnam and Mexico in 2020 achieved positive results.

Two-way turnover reached 3.68 billion USD last year, up 6.12 percent year-on-year. Of the total, Vietnam’s exports were valued at 3.16 billion USD, up 11.7 percent and imports 523 million USD, down 18.58 percent.

In the first eight months of this year, the trade turnover hit 3.24 billion USD, a year-on-year surge of 36.08 percent, making Mexico become Vietnam’s second largest trader in Latin America, and the fourth in America, after the US, Canada and Brazil.

Of the total, the export value of Vietnamese goods enjoyed a year-on-year jump of 43 percent to reach 2.92 percent. This is the highest growth rate among CPTPP markets.

However, according to the assessment by the Department of European and American Market, the market share of Vietnam’s exports in this market is only 1.3 percent. There is still large room for Vietnam to continue increasing the export of goods, especially when both Vietnam and Mexico are signatories of the CPTPP.

Notably, the agreement clearly states that Mexico commits to eliminate 77 percent of tariff lines from January 14, 2018, equivalent to 36.5 percent of import turnover from Vietnam, and 98 percent of tariff lines in the 10th year from the date when the agreement came into effective.

Enterprises are advised to study the Mexican market’s demand, understand more about the CPTPP to bring into full play opportunities it brings about, and step up trade promotions, especially e-commerce platforms./.

Vaccination, targeted control measures

The road to recovery is paved with vaccinations.

Viet Nam has put utmost efforts to speed up its vaccination programme. The country has administered 50.6 million doses of vaccine to date with about 13.7 million people now fully inoculated.

However, its vaccination rate is still falling far behind other countries in the region, with only 14.2 per cent of the population fully vaccinated, even lagging behind its target of 70 per cent by early next year.

Like other countries which are struggling with the Delta variant, Viet Nam is adapting and learning to function within the more uncertain environment. The pandemic has accelerated digitalisation and led to the emergence of new business models and types of firms.

With the country’s rapid vaccination programme, manufacturing sentiment also improved. The latest survey of the General Statistics Office (GSO) showed enterprises in the processing and manufacturing industry were optimistic about the business outlook in the fourth quarter, with 73.7 per cent assessing it to be stable or better.

The strong turnaround in global demand and restart of travel with the launch of bubbles, corridors and sandboxes for vaccinated travellers will also support Viet Nam’s recovery.

However, from the case of Singapore which fully vaccinated 80 per cent of its population, the risk of repeated waves is very high and the Singaporean government recently decided to re-impose some mobility restrictions to minimise severe illnesses and deaths in the community.

Given Viet Nam’s low level of vaccination and a relatively stretched healthcare system at the moment, maintaining a good balance between reopening the economy and controlling infections and health risk remains very challenging for some time.

“As such, carefully targeted control measures will be essential, which should be frequently reassessed for flexible and gradual adjustments with a view toward a full reopening of the economy,” Khor said.

In addition, to pave the way for a resilient recovery, besides efficacious vaccine and treatments, targeted financial support to the corporate sector, especially small and medium enterprises, should be provided to facilitate resumption of business activities, according to Khor.

He also noted regulations concerning logistics and labour movement should be enhanced and harmonised to ensure a smooth reopening and economic recovery.

 

The Vietnamese Government has shifted its strategic policy direction to “living with the virus safely” and provinces are coming up with roadmaps to reopen the economy safely.

The Government has tasked the Ministry of Planning and Investment to draft a resolution on economic recovery and development in the next two years. The resolution, expected in October, will not only continue the existing support programmes but also expand to include more entities in need of help; increase the support levels to a greater extent to not only help businesses pull through difficulties but keep up with the recovery momentum of the world.

As Viet Nam’s vaccine diplomacy has demonstrated its big success when bringing back more than 50 million doses to the country, Minister Nguyen Chi Dung said the Government is speeding up vaccination for priority people while seeking more vaccine sources, facilitating the safe reopening of the economy and accelerating recovery. 

Hanoi affirms status as nation’s economic locomotive

Sixty-seven years ago, the capital city of Hanoi was liberated from the French colonial rule on October 10. So this month has a special meaning to the Hanoians and is always a time for the city to look back at what it has done in the past and embrace the future.

Liberation has marked a new chapter for the city’s development era as a locomotive of the national economy.

During the anti-US war, Hanoi became the economic pillar of the north, providing food supplies and reinforcements to the southern battle fields. After the country gained independence in 1975, the city continued to be a hub for economic reconstruction and development as well as social and cultural affairs. It has seen robust economic growth since then, with significant improvement of people’s living standards.

From 2015 – 2020, the economy of Hanoi expanded 7.23 percent in average annually, contributing 16.46 percent of the national Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and 19.05 percent of the State budget revenue, though the city accounts for just 1 percent of the country’s total area and 8.1 percent of the population.

Like many other parts of the country, Hanoi has suffered greatly over the last two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fourth coronavirus wave, which started in late April, has been wreaking havoc on the city’s economy, with a number of sectors, particularly transport, trade, services, and hospitality struggling. Hanoi’s Gross Regional Domestic Products (GRDP) in the third quarter of 2021 declined 7.02 percent against a year earlier. The nine-month GRDP slightly edged up 1.28 percent against the same period last year.

Thanks to the city’s relentless efforts to tackle difficulties and maintain supply chains, Hanoi has managed to record encouraging economic performance. The State budget revenue exceeded 176.7 trillion VND (nearly 7.7 billion USD) in the first three quarter of this year, up 5.4 percent year on year. Its exports reached over 1.29 billion USD in September, up 1.5 percent month on month and 2.8 percent year on year.

The agriculture, forestry, and fisheries sector expanded 3 percent year on year from January – September and the services sector rose by 0.85 percent year on year. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was kept under good control, picking up 1.54 percent during the period.

Entering October, Hanoi has made a comeback after two months of social distancing order to contain the spread of COVID-19, with a new strategy of flexibly and safely living with the virus and gradually reopening in order to revive the economy.

The city is striving to fulfill its economic goals for the fourth quarter of the year and the entire 2021, which would lay as a basis for growth in 2022 and the following years.

From the start of October, all sectors and all-level administrations must begin building recovery and development plans, urged Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Chu Ngoc Anh. He also highlighted the need to build a set of standards for safe resumption of business and production in the context of COVID-19, come up with measures and mechanisms to support local enterprises, and organise dialogues to listen to the business community about their  challenges.

Despite various difficulties induced by the pandemic, Hanoi is turning eye towards the future. It has adopted plans for local socio-economic development and mid-term public investment over the next five years, in which the city developed two scenarios for economic growth given the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19.

Accordingly, its GRDP growth is expected to range between 6.5 – 7.5 percent annually from 2021 – 2025. The city also aims to rapidly evolve into an industrialised and modernised city and the main driver of the Northern Key Economic Region./.

Vietnam enjoys surge in export revenue in Indonesian market

Vietnam’s exports to Indonesia earned the country US$2.51 billion in the first eight months of 2021, a surge of 44.2% year on year despite complicated developments of COVID-19.

Ten product groups with highest revenue in the Indonesian market in the period included computers, electronic products and accessories, plastic materials and fiber. Their combined revenue reached US$1.81 billion, accounting for 72% of the total.

The highest rise was seen in the export revenue of computers, electronic products and accessories at 127.2%, which topped US$328.38 million.

Meanwhile, decreases were reported in the export revenues from machinery, equipment and spare parts (14.4%), and telephones and accessories (10.9%).

In August, Vietnam imported US$624.44 million worth of goods from Indonesia, down 9.5% over July. The sharpest fall was recorded in the import value of automobile at 55.7%, followed by that of automobile parts at 39.5%.

The result brought the total import value from Indonesia in the first eight months to US$4.39 billion, up 51.9% year on year.

At the same time, Indonesian investment in Vietnam in the first nine months of 2021 hit US$5.49 million, bringing Indonesia to the 39th position among 94 countries and territories investing in Vietnam this year.

As of September, Indonesian investors had 86 valid projects in Vietnam with total investment of US$611.57 million.

Livestock exports enjoy robust growth over eight-month period

Vietnam raked in US$294.4 million from exporting livestock products during the past eight months, representing a year-on-year rise of 15.2%, according to the Agro-product Processing and Market Development Department (Agrotrade).

Milk and dairy products are among the leading items, with export turnover reaching US$77.1 million, marking a rise of 22.1% compared to last year’s corresponding period, while meat and meat products grossed a turnover of US$67.5 million, an annual rise of 21.8%.

Furthermore, the export turnover of leather and animal feathers reached US$12.1 million, accounting for 4.2% of the total and representing an annual fall of 51.1%. Elsewhere, egg exports of all kinds increased by 24.9% on-year to US$4.4 million. 

Nguyen Quoc Toan, director of Agrotrade, said that the livestock industry surmounted numerous challenges caused by COVID-19 to enjoy high growth in both export volume and turnover in the reviewed period.

He went on to emphasise that livestock industry should seek ways to expand export markets, develop processed products such as salted eggs and processed chicken to avoid technical barriers from importers that have set forth high food safety and hygiene standards.

Moreover, he underlined the need to gain greater insights into the import demand to associate production activities with the requirements of each export market, expand production activities, and continue exporting processed poultry products to potential markets.

HCM City’s shopping malls become busier as restrictions eased

Ho Chi Minh City residents are returning to one of their favourite pastimes - in-store shopping - now that lockdown restrictions have eased. The southern city’s shopping malls have begun drawing in large crowds after reopening their doors.

Under regulations, visitors must strictly follow the “5K message” and show a vaccine passport. Pandemic prevention measures are still in place, to reduce the risk of any outbreak and improve the shopping experience.

Shopping malls on the outskirts of the city are also popular destinations for families on weekends. Some 60-70 percent of outlets have opened their doors again, with essential goods being the most sought-after items.

Shopping malls are a symbol of Ho Chi Minh City’s robust development. Despite grave concerns about the pandemic, the southern city hopes to stimulate consumption in the year-end period, contributing to the post-pandemic economic recovery./. 

Geographical indication of Binh Thuan dragon fruit protected in Japan

The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) has granted a Geographical Indication (GI) certification for dragon fruit grown in the south central province of Binh Thuan of Viet Nam after three years the Binh Thuan Dragon Fruit Association had submitted the application for the status in Japan.

The protected status is hoped to be a "passport" for the trademark “Binh Thuan dragon fruit” to make inroads into the Japanese market, and at the same time affirms the prestige of the product.

It is also expected to offer new opportunities to Binh Thuan to promote export of dragon fruit to other markets, especially choosy markets such as Europe, the Republic of Korea, and New Zealand.

Dinh Huu Phi, general director of the National Office of Intellectual Property under the Ministry of Science and Technology, emphasised that the GI certification for Binh Thuan dragon fruit has contributed to increasing the value, competitiveness and export advantage for Vietnamese products.

According to Phi, the GI certification allows Binh Thuan’s dragon fruit to gain a stronger foothold in the Japanese market. This is also an important milestone, paving the way for the promotion of applying for the protected status for Viet Nam’s other agricultural products in this fastidious market.
Binh Thuan is among the provinces producing the most dragon fruit in Viet Nam with an annual output of nearly 700,000 tonnes.

Earlier, Thieu lychee grown in Luc Ngan District in the northern province of Bac Giang was granted a GI certificate from the MAFF. 

Cement sales rise despite difficulties caused by COVID-19 pandemic

Sales of cement products reached about 77.47 million tonnes in the first nine months of this year, up 3.5 percent year on year despite difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Ministry of Construction's Department of Construction Materials.

In September alone, sales in both domestic and foreign markets were 6.7 million tonnes, 1.31 million tonnes lower than the figure in August due to impacts of COVID-19 on construction projects.

In the first nine months of 2021, domestic sales of cement products were similar to the figure recorded in the same period last year at 45.58 million tonnes, while a rise of 19 percent was seen in the export volume of the products to about 31.88 million tonnes.

Experts attributed the result to the cement sector’s efforts in flexibly regulating the domestic and export consumption to adapt to the situation.

They held that the domestic cement sales will surge in the time to come thanks to the Government’s endeavours in speeding up the disbursement of public investment capital.

Pham Van Bac, Director of the Department of Construction Materials, said that the demand for cement normally rises in year-end months, especially when COVID-19 is put under good control.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Quan Cung, Chairman of the Vietnam Cement Association (VNCA), said that the cement sector has maintained good production and sales even when many other economic sectors are suffering adverse impacts from the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections.

In the fourth quarter and following years, the sector is expected to continue to expand in both domestic and foreign markets, he said, adding that the target of selling 104-107 million tonnes of cement products this year is feasible.

Currently, there are 24 cement production chains receiving approval from the Prime Minister for investment until 2030, with a total capacity of 36.31 million tonnes per year. In 2030, the country expects 109 chains with a combined production capacity of 140.35 million tonnes per year./.

Petrovietnam reports steady growth despite pandemic

Viet Nam’s State-owned oil and gas group PetroVietnam has shown remarkable resilience in reaching its revenue targets, despite the hardships caused by the pandemic.

In September, the group's production and business activities faced widespread disruption due to social distancing, particularly to supply chains for petroleum products. However, PetroVietnam implemented a series of measures to manage the situation and maintain their business activities.

This has ensured Petrovietnam’s crude oil output reached 8.2 million tonnes in the first nine months of this year, 13 per cent higher than was forecast. Total revenue hit VND437.8 trillion (US$19 billion), exceeding its target by 16 per cent, CEO Le Manh Hung said in the group’s business update on Monday.

As of the end of September, the group’s contribution to the State budget also increased 17 per cent year-on-year to VND66 trillion.

PetroVietnam also saw success in investment activities. Su Tu Trang oil field has been brought into production as planned. Development projects in BK-18A and BK-19 oil fields are also on schedule and are ready to be being operations by the end of October and November, respectively.

The group is working hard to kick-start Song Hau 1 and Thai Binh 2 coal-fired power plants. Song Hau 1 is expected to begin commercial operation in early November.

On September 9, Fitch Ratings assigned a standalone credit profile of BB+ and asserted the long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating at BB with a “positive outlook” to PetroVietnam. This is the third year in a row Fitch Ratings evaluated PetroVietnam’s credit rating at BB+, reflecting the group’s impressive achievements in recent years amid the pandemic.

In the fight against COVID-19, PetroVietnam has donated nearly VND555 billion to the National Vaccine Fund and by the end of September had spent VND776 billion to support prevention efforts. Vaccination campaigns within the group have also been sped up to ensure the workforce can operate. So far, most of the group’s employees have been given the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Petrol prices up nearly 1,000 VND per litre from October 11

Retail petrol prices increased by nearly 1,000 VND per litre from 3pm on October 11 following the latest adjustment by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance.

The retail price of E5RON92 bio-fuel increased 967 VND to a maximum of 21,683 VND (0.95 USD) per litre, while that of RON95-III rose 934 VND to no more than 22,879 VND per litre.

The prices of diesel 0.05S and kerosene, meanwhile, went up 959 VND and 979 VND to 17,545 VND and 16,622 VND per litre, respectively.

According to the two ministries, the prices of petrol and oil in the global market have been rising in recent times due to the increasing demand as economies around the world are gradually recovering, resulting in the domestic price hike this time.

They review fuel prices every 15 days to keep domestic prices in line with the global market./. 

Ministry suggests designating Bamboo Airways to run regular flights to US

The Transport Ministry has suggested the Foreign Ministry send a diplomatic note to the US on the designation of Bamboo Airways as an operator of regular flights between Vietnam and the US.

According to Article 3 of the air transportation agreement between Vietnam and the US, each of the signatories has the right to designate as many airlines as it wishes to operate international air transport in line with the deal. The designations shall be informed to the other side in document via diplomatic channel, and should specify charter or scheduled flights, or both, the Transport Ministry said in in its document sent to the Foreign Ministry.

In preparation for tapping direct flights to the US next year, Bamboo Airways has been granted a business license for international and domestic air transport and an air operator certificate (AOC) for the B787-9 aircraft in the North American region.

On September 23 and 24, it operated a round-trip flight of Hanoi - San Francisco - Hanoi as licensed by aviation authorities of Vietnam and the US.

The Transport Ministry said Bamboo Airways completed technical conditions and submitted a dossier to the US Department of Transport to seek permission for regular flights.

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines was already designated to operate regular flights between the two nations, and it is still preparing its flight plan./.

BIDV and AFD enhance co-operation

BIDV and Agence Française de Developpement (AFD) on Friday in Ha Noi held a working session to strengthen co-operation in the implementation of AFD projects in Viet Nam.

They specifically focused on the implementation of the SUNREF green credit line to support businesses investing in the field of environmental protection, climate change response and green growth.

Since 2017, AFD and BIDV have successfully implemented a SUNREF green credit line worth US$100 million. This is the first financing AFD has granted to a commercial bank in Viet Nam in the form of a direct concessional loan without government guarantee. It is considered one of the AFD’s fastest implemented projects in the world.

In addition, AFD also selected BIDV as the bank to serve many projects such as the Ialy Hydropower Plant extension project worth EUR74.7 million; Se San 4 Solar Power Plant project worth EUR24.2 million,

With no added flooded area, the Ialy hydropower plant extension project aims to take advantage of water overflows to increase electricity production, but more importantly to improve peak load supply and the electricity system stability, reinforcing its availability to integrate more renewable energy.

At the working session, Fabrice Richy, former director of AFD Viet Nam said that BIDV is a bank with extensive experience and reputation in managing foreign entrusted capital sources and providing comprehensive and modern banking products and services to customers. Over the years, BIDV has always been trusted and chosen by AFD as a re-lending bank, serving AFD's capital sources in Viet Nam.

Herve Conan, director of AFD Viet Nam said in the future, the AFD team would be ready to support and further extend the achievements of BIDV and AFD.

The two sides also agreed to strengthen capabilities and expand co-operation contents in the next five years on the basis of results achieved in the past period.

Tran Long, BIDV’s deputy general director said: “AFD's financing to Viet Nam have supported BIDV's customers to get preferential medium and long-term loans, access to international standards on sustainable development for project implementation.

"BIDV hopes that the long-term and close co-operation relationship between AFD and BIDV will continue to be promoted in the coming period.” 

Market extends rallies, VN-Index inches closer to 1,400 points

Shares climbed higher on Monday as investors’ sentiment improved, supporting pillar stocks.

On the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE), the market benchmark VN-Index jumped 21.36 points, or 1.56 per cent, to 1,394.09 points. The index extended rallies after rising 2.8 per cent last week, and inched closer to the threshold of 1,400 points.

The market’s breadth was positive with 221 stocks climbing, while 188 stocks slid. The liquidity was higher than the last session. Of which, over 764.3 million shares were traded on the southern bourse, worth nearly VND22.8 trillion (US$1 billion). The trading volume rose 26.6 per cent over the last trading session.

The benchmark’s bullish sentiment was driven by strong gains in many large-cap stocks, especially in real estate, bank and manufacturing stocks.

The VN30-Index, tracking the 30 biggest stocks on HoSE, reported a gain of 33.73 points, or 2.28 per cent, to 1,510.27 points. Of the VN30 basket, 28 stocks increased while only two declined.

Vingroup (VIC) was the market’s most influencer yesterday, up 2.91 per cent. Other two stocks of the trio stocks of the Vin family, including Vinhomes (JSC) and Vincome Retail (VRE) also contributed to the market’s uptrend, up 1.38 per cent and 4.46 per cent, respectively.

Supporting the market’s bullish sentiment, many big bank stocks witnessed outstanding performance, data compiled by vietstock.vn showed, with gains of at least 2 per cent.

These stocks included Techcombank (TCB), up 4.45 per cent, BIDV (BID) up 2.04 per cent, Vietinbank (CTG) up 5.26 per cent, MBBank (MBB) up 3.97 per cent, and VPBank (VPB), up 2.51 per cent.

Hoa Phat Group (HPG) and Masan Group (MSN) also climbed more than 1 per cent yesterday.

Investors will focus on the third quarter business statements this week.

On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX), the HNX-Index also finished higher yesterday on back of pillar stocks. The index climbed 2.24 points, or 0.65 per cent, to 374.34 points.

During the session, investors poured nearly VND2.1 trillion into HNX, equivalent to a trading volume of more than 99.75 million shares.

Meanwhile, foreign investors were net buyers on both main exchanges, with a total value of VND427.97 billion. Of which, they net bought a value of VND423.92 billion on HoSE, and a value of VND4.05 billion on the northern market. 

Top 10 ICT firms account for 61 per cent of the country’s ICT sector

As many as 76 information, communication and technology (ICT) firms honoured in the Top 10 leading ICT companies in Viet Nam in 2021 have a revenue of VND186.6 trillion (US$8 billion), accounting for nearly 61 per cent of the whole industry.

The information was revealed at a ceremony to honour the firms held in Ha Noi on Saturday. Launched by the Viet Nam Software and IT Services Association (VINASA) in April, the awards received 194 nominations in 18 sectors from 167 businesses, increasing 14 per cent and 67 per cent in terms of the number of nominations and businesses respectively over last year.

Accordingly, 104 nominations were selected from 76 IT firms to honour the Top 10 ICT companies in Viet Nam in 2021.

Statistics from the organisation board showed that more than 90 per cent of participating firms have been implementing research and applying new technology in the development of new products and solutions.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Nguyen Van Khoa, VINASA’s Chairman, said: “The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially this fierce fourth wave, have caused a lot of difficulties for society and have had a heavy impact on the economy. However, it is also the driving force for industries and fields to transform, speeding up the digital transformation process. This is an opportunity and a great field for Vietnamese ICT businesses to explore and serve the country.”

Pham Duc Long, Deputy Minister of the Information and Communications (MIC), said: “Vietnamese IT enterprises have made great contributions to the prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic by quickly building and deploying many digital technology platforms and solutions, ensuring smooth communication, helping tens of millions of officials, employees, students, agencies, organisations, businesses, schools as well as people across the country maintain daily operations."

IT applications and solutions deployed in pandemic prevention and control, medical examination and treatment activities at hospitals and medical facilities across the country have made an important contribution to disease control. In addition, IT businesses have contributed more than VND1.6 trillion to the Government's COVID-19 vaccine fund, actively responding to the “Song va May tinh cho em” (Internet connection and computers for students) programme.

The MIC highly valued big contributions from the IT business community and expects the TOP 10 leading ICT firms in Viet Nam in 2021 would continue to enhance their pioneering role in making Viet Nam a digital country with rapid and sustainable development, he added.

The awards this year still saw the participation of the country’s big IT firms such as Viettel, VNPT, MobiFone and FPT. FPT has been honoured seven times in all three main areas this year, including the traditional IT industry, the digital transformation priority field, and the new technology field with competitive advantages.

FPT has constantly researched and developed the Made by FPT solution ecosystem and digital transformation platform, prioritising all resources and effectively contributing to the digital transformation process of the Government, organisations and businesses.

In the 2021-23 period, FPT has set a strategic goal to be in the Top 50 leading companies in the world in providing comprehensive digital transformation services and solutions by 2030. It would also focus on promoting research, in-depth solutions development based on Blockchain technology, Lowcode, AI, Cloud and Analytics.

The Top 10 IT companies with impressive growth were announced for the first time to honour firms with high growth rates. Most of the companies have been providing ICT services to international markets. They have been flexible in finding growth opportunities despite difficulties caused by COVID-19.

Rikkeisoft, one of Top 10 Software Export Enterprises in the awards this year posted 10 per cent growth rate despite many export sectors being severely affected by the pandemic.

Nguyen Viet Lam, Rikkeisoft’s deputy general director, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is both a challenge and an opportunity for the IT industry. Businesses that can adapt flexibly and seize opportunities about the trend shift from the pandemic will gain advantages, maintain growth momentum, and even develop well. This shift is not only in Viet Nam but also in foreign markets. Therefore, Viet Nam's IT enterprises providing solution services to foreign markets have seen growth. In the coming years, these needs will continue to thrive.”

Rikkeisoft has continuously expanded research and development in areas requiring higher competence, typically digital transformation, and has seen remarkable growth. During the quarantine period, seeing the sharp increase in the demand for digital transformation in the retail and e-commerce industry, Rikkeisoft has focused its resources to meet the projects in this industry. Its customers are all Japanese supermarkets or leading retail chains. The company's revenue for this industry alone reached over $3 million in the first three quarters of 2021.

In particular, high-tech fields such as AI & Blockchain have also achieved great success. Projects invested and developed by the company such as Oraichain, Rikkei Finance, Polka Foundry, Swaperry, Kaby Arena, HeroVerse have raised nearly $12 million from foreign funds, and total valuation of more than $100 million.

Launched in 2014, the Top 10 ICT award aims to honour businesses with big contribution to the country’s ICT industry.

Vietnam remains Laos’s largest sugar importer

Vietnam remains the biggest sugar importer, third largest trading partner and the third biggest foreign investor of Laos, after Thailand and China, Vientiane Times reported on October 11.

The newspaper quoted data from the Lao Ministry of Industry and Trade as saying that trade between Laos and Vietnam has been maintained although both nations are struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. During January-September, the total value of Laos's sugar exports reached US$73.1 million, of which US$61.3 million worth of the product was exported to Vietnam.

It also cited data from the Vietnam Sugar and Sugarcane Association as saying that Vietnam purchased 399,189 tonnes of sugar from Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Myanmar and Malaysia in the first half of 2021, a tenfold increase compared to that of the same period last year.

According to the article, Vietnam’s removal of sugar import quotas for ASEAN member states in 2020 not only provides a great opportunity for Lao businesses to approach and gain a foothold in the neighbouring country's market.

VinFast’s sales up 51.4 percent in September

Automaker VinFast, a subsidiary of conglomerate Vingroup, sold 3,497 vehicles in September, posting a month-on-month surge of 51.4 percent despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The data showed VinFast’s upward trend in its sales following a long social distancing period in various localities across the country.

The number of vehicles delivered to customers in the first nine months of 2021 was 25,527.

The automaker is set to launch its VF e34 electric car at a ceremony on October 15, which received more than 25,000 pre-orders in just three months./.

Vietnam business news

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

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS OCTOBER 11

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS OCTOBER 11

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