Vietnam’s exports this year could grow by 3-4 percent despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The ministry said in the first nine months of the year, the country’s export activities still maintained positive growth while many economies in the world and the region saw negative growth. This shows local production activities have gradually recovered after being hit by the pandemic.

Statistics from the ministry showed that the export turnover in January-September period increased by 4.1 percent over the same period last year.

Imports decreased by 0.7 percent compared to the corresponding period last year.

Therefore, in the third quarter of 2020, the import turnover reached 68.5 billion USD, up 3 percent over the same period last year and 18.5 percent over the previous quarter, showing that production began to recover, increasing import demand.

Industrial production, exports and domestic trade for the whole year of 2020 are expected to be more positive than the assessment in July./.

Fifteen targets on economic restructuring in 2016-2020 fulfilled

Fifteen among 22 targets set in the National Assembly’s Resolution 24/2016/QH14 on economic restructuring during 2016-2020 have been or are likely to be fulfilled in 2020, according to the Government’s report presented to the legislature’s 10 session.

Delivering the report on October 20, the first day of the 14th NA’s 10th session, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said five major targets have been surpassed, creating a breakthrough in economic restructuring in the past five years.

He highlighted the remarkable changes in both the way of thinking and actions of all agencies and all-level administrations in building plans and directing their implementation in this regard. Macro-economic balances and the economy’s structure have been strengthened, with inflation under control, public debt ratio dropping and debt payment pressure easing, financial infrastructure consolidated, market confidence enhanced and national credit rating improved.

Affirming the Government’s report, a verification report of the NA’s Economic Committee said the targets on productivity and technology modernization have been fulfilled. The country led the group of 29 lower-middle income countries and third in ASEAN in terms of innovative ranking. The targets regarding public debt were overfulfilled, contributing to maintaining macro-economic stability, ensuring the safety limit in public debt and national finances, and reducing the pressure on the State budget.

However, seven targets are likely to be missed, the committee said, expressing support of a proposal for a new economic restructuring plan for the next five years. It also suggested directions and major tasks for the new plan./.

Indonesia holds online halal products' management training for MSMEs

The Indonesian government is holding an online training on digitalisation of marketing and management of halal products of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to facilitate boosting capacity and productivity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said the programme is conducted by the government with the involvement four digital partners -- LinkAja Syariah, Tokopedia Salam, Blibli Hasanah, and Bukalapak. The programme scheduled to be held from October to December this year and is open to the public and can be held on a large scale in future.

After participating in the training program, participants, deemed to have met the qualifications, will receive halal certification and be directed to access coaching services in the regional MSME integrated business service centre, he said, adding the first stage of training prioritised groups of ministries and agencies as well as community organisations.

The programme will be followed by about 1,000 MSME businesses, according to Minister of Cooperatives and SME Teten Masduki.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about an indirect change in consumer behaviour in the way they shop, with the current switch to online transactions through digital platforms.

However, business transformation through the utilisation of digital technology cannot be optimally conducted right away by MSME players. They are constrained by problems of product quality, production capacity, and digital literacy that had yet to be mastered.

According to the State of Global Islamic Economy data for the 2019-2020 period, the spending of Muslims stood at 2.2 trillion USD in 2018, and is projected to reach 3.2 trillion USD by 2024./.

Da Nang’s tourism targets Singaporean market after pandemic

The central city of Da Nang, in coordination with the Vietnamese Trade Office in Singapore, has held an online seminar to introduce potential for tourism development and tourist products of the city to the Singaporean market.

The event, taking place on October 19, simultaneously connected participants in Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia.

During the seminar, representatives from Da Nang’s Tourism Department briefed on the results of COVID-19 control work in Da Nang, highlighting Vietnam’s capacity in disease response and control in the “new normal” situation.

They announced the city’s policies designed to spur sustainable development of tourism after the pandemic.
Da Nang tourism businesses presented their strengths and adaptability measures to promote post-pandemic recovery.

Head of the Vietnamese Trade Office in Singapore Tran Thu Quynh said the office will continue to help promote Da Nang’s tourism destinations in Singapore by arranging for the city to publish information on its tourism products on Singaporean magazines.

To support Da Nang’s tourism sector in addressing difficulties caused by the pandemic, the municipal Department of Tourism has maintained and expanded connection with international markets through virtual meetings and conferences./.

Vietnam, India eye stronger trade ties

An online business forum was held on October 20, aiming to enhance trade and investment ties between Vietnam and India, especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event was co-organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Investment Promotion Centre-South Vietnam (IPCS) under the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The forum offered an opportunity for Vietnamese and Indian businesses to learn about mechanisms, policies and laws, investment opportunities and market potential of the two countries.

Indian Deputy Minister of External Affairs Riva Ganguly Das affirmed that Vietnam is a pillar in India’s Act East policy and an important partner in the country’s Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative which is based on shared values and interests in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region,

She said two-way trade expanded from only 200 million USD in 2000 to 12.34 billion USD in the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

As of June, India had about 278 projects in Vietnam with total invested capital of 887 million USD, according to Vietnam's Foreign Investment Agency.

However, the Indian official said, the bilateral trade has yet to match economic development of the two countries, suggesting them make greater efforts to expand and enhance the relations not only in trade but also in other spheres.

Vietnamese Ambassador to India Pham Sanh Chau said Vietnam and India boast potential to boost their investment links, citing the forecast of certain international banks that the two-way trade would increase an additional 1.1 billion USD each year./.

Political commitment key to Vietnam’s FDI attraction achievement: expert

Bold measures Vietnam has implemented to become a hub for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the past decade required real political will and commitment, according to an article published in the South China Morning Post on October 19.

The article’s author - Shireen Muhiudeen who is a regional fund manager with more than 30 years' experience, said the FDI inflow into the Southeast Asian country grew 10.4 percent between 2013 and 2019 on an annual basis and posted a record high of 16.12 billion USD last year, an 81 percent increase overall.

She pointed to a number of bold measures that contributed to such growth like instituting transparency in business and governance processes, and obliging state-owned enterprises to operate in non-competitive areas.

The article said a huge increase in FDI into the country began from 2013 onwards, with Samsung considered a major contributor, which is thought to have invested around 17 billion USD in the country since 2008. Proactive implementation of business-friendly investment policies and industrial zones, as well as the ample supply of young workers, has helped Vietnam attract FDI from other nations, including Japan – one of the new investors in Vietnam’s energy sector.

The writer went on to note that “attracting FDI has not always been so easy”. She said when Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization in 2007, it initially followed the same approach adopted by some of its neighbours and encouraged state-owned enterprises to try and compete with foreign investors.

“But a spate of attacks on foreign-owned factories in 2014 spooked investors, leading the government to ban state-owned enterprises from competing with FDI projects, which helped spur the foreign investment rally seen from 2013-2019.”

According to the article, some may argue that Vietnam’s geographical proximity to China and its young labour force of 95 million are the country’s added advantages, but the appeal of a stable political environment cannot be underestimated.

“Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia have all experienced their fair share of political upheavals and uncertainties in recent years, and would do well to look to Vietnam to understand the importance of stability,” the article said.

It added that investors also pay close attention to inflation rates, want a stable foreign exchange rate and dislike bureaucratic red tape – something Hanoi has been committed to reducing by implementing e-tax and e-custom services.

The article noted that over the past decade or so, Vietnam has moved from focusing on labour-intensive manufacturing towards more automated processes, and is now entering its next phase.

According to the article, investors are keenly awaiting the release of Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment’s draft FDI strategy for the next 10 years, which is expected to prioritise hi-tech, high-value and environmentally-friendly projects./.

Some international airlines selling flights to Thailand

Ten international airlines have started selling tickets to Thailand and the first group of special tourists is set to land in Bangkok on October 20, the Transport Ministry of Thailand said.

All foreign arrivals will be required to follow procedures set by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration, including a mandatory 14-day quarantine in alternative state quarantine (ASQ) facilities.

The airlines selling tickets to Thailand are Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Swissair, Austrian Airlines, EVA Air and KLM, The Nation newspaper reported on October 20.

According to the newspaper, a flight from Shanghai carrying Thais as well as a group of 41 tourists with special tourist visa (STV) is set to land in Suvarnabhumi Airport on October 20 afternoon, while another group of 100 tourists from Guangzhou is scheduled to land in Bangkok on October 26.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand has announced that Thailand has opened its skies, but flights are only allowed to land under strict regulations.

Thai airlines, meanwhile, have yet to seek permission for international destinations as airports overseas are open under conditions that will not generate enough profits.

Dong Nai hands over land for Long Thanh airport to construction ministry

The southern province of Dong Nai handed over land for the first phase of the Long Thanh international airport project to the Ministry of Transport at a ceremony held on October 20.

Dang Minh Duc, Director of Dong Nai’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said the land clearance for the priority area covering 1,810ha has been basically completed.

The provincial People’s Committee is conducting procedures to hand over nearly 2,590ha of land to the Ministry of Transport for joint management, according to the official.

In his remarks, Deputy Minister of Transport Le Anh Tuan lauded Dong Nai’s efforts in the land clearance work, as well as coordination of ministries and agencies, and the support of local residents in this regard.

According to Cao Tien Dung, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, Dong Nai has completed the assessment of the remaining 3,190ha for the second and third phases of the project, and expects to approve the land clearance plan this year.

Efforts have been stepped up in infrastructure building at the resettlement area so that locals can receive their land this month, as well as job generation for local residents.

Long Thanh International Airport, a key national project, was approved by the National Assembly in 2015.

In the first phase, a runway and passenger terminal each along with other supporting works will be built to handle 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tonnes of cargo each year. It is expected to be completed by 2025.

Once fully operational, the airport is expected to reduce the load on HCM City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

Some 4,800 households and 26 organisations are expected to be relocated to make way for it.

In the second phase, a runway and passenger terminal each will be built to serve around 50 million passengers and 1.5 million tonnes of cargo a year.

After the third phase, the airport will be able to serve 100 million passengers and five million tonnes of cargo./.

Campaign underway to promote gender equality in workplaces

A campaign called “Career has no gender” has been launched to promote gender equality in workplaces nationwide, Le Thanh Hang, Director of the Vietnam Business Coalition for Women’s Empowerment (VBCWE), said on October 20.

This is the first-ever comprehensive and systematic campaign on gender equality at the workplace and women’s economic empowerment in Vietnam, she noted.

A range of activities are to take place, including seminars and political consultations.

According to Oxfam, an international confederation of 20 NGOs working with partners in over 90 countries and territories to end the injustices that cause poverty, gender inequality is one of the oldest and most pervasive forms of inequality in the world. It denies women their voice, devalues their work, and makes their position unequal to men’s, from the household to the national and global levels.

Despite important progress made over recent years, in no country have women achieved economic equality with men and they are still more likely than men to live in poverty.

Women do the lowest-paid work around the world. Globally, they earn 24 percent less than men, and at the current rate of progress it will take 170 years to close the gap. Seven-hundred million fewer women than men are in paid work.

Struggling to eliminate gender inequality, Vietnam fell 10 places to 87th in the 2019 global rankings.

With an average score of 0.7 on a scale of 1, it has made little progress towards gender equality, according to the 2019 Global Gender Gap Report released by the World Economic Forum.

The campaign is therefore expected to raise awareness among employers and the general public about gender equality.

The VBCWE was launched in February 2018 through the Investing in Women (IW) programme funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), for the purpose of pursuing gender equality at the workplace and women’s economic empowerment in Vietnam./.

Tetra Pak, MM Mega Market to collect used beverage cartons at supermarkets

Swedish food processing and packaging solutions provider Tetra Pak has cooperated with MM Mega Market Vietnam to launch public drop-off stations for collecting used beverage cartons at seven MM Mega Market centres in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in 2020.

Consumers can take used beverage cartons to those public drop-off stations for recycling. Cartons are then collected periodically twice a month by Lagom and NHC – Tetra Pak’s partners – and transported to Dong Tien paper factory in Binh Duong povince for recycling.

MM Mega Market is a large wholesaler and retailer in Vietnam with a network of 20 centres in 15 provinces and cities nationwide. MM Mega Market is known as a pioneer in environment protection with practical initiatives such as encouraging customers to use reusable bags and cardboard boxes for goods packaging instead of plastic bags.

“We expect that the partnership with the large-scale retailer of MM Mega Market significantly increases the number of cartons collected in the community, thereby realising our ambition of recycling 100 percent cartons provided to the Vietnamese market in 2030,” said Ly Quynh Trang, Director of Sustainability, Tetra Pak Vietnam.

“The cooperation between Tetra Pak and MM Mega Market is a partnership between two businesses that have a common goal of sustainability and environmental protection. We want to make carton collection and recycling increasingly accessible to consumers to save resources and protect the environment," said Tran Kim Nga, Foreign Relations Director of MM Mega Market Vietnam.

As a Sweden-based company with a strong commitment to quality and sustainability placed at the core of its business, Tetra Pak has continuously promoted the collection and recycling of beverage cartons provided by the company to the Vietnamese market. To date, Tetra Pak has 56 public drop-off stations in Vietnam so that consumers can bring their used beverage cartons for recycling.

In addition, the company piloted the School Recycling programme in HCM City in 2017 and officially implemented it on a large scale in Hanoi in 2019. Tetra Pak also collaborated with other leading consumer goods and packaging companies to establish the Vietnam Packaging Recycling Organization (PRO Vietnam) with a common goal of all packages by PRO members to be recycled by 2030./.

Banks urged to diversify loan products to prevent “black credit”

Commercial banks should diversify their loan products, lower interest rates and simplify procedures to improve accessibility to official credit channels in an effort to keep people away from illegal sources, Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam Dao Minh Tu said.

According to Ngo Hong Vuong from the Ministry of Public Security, “black credit” remained rampant in many localities with high rates, which were seriously affecting social order.

“Black credit” was now increasingly associated with organised crime and illegal debt collection measures, he said, adding that the punishments were not strong enough.

Deputy Minister of Public Security Nguyen Van Thanh said that the focus would be placed on checking, investigating and handling lending activities which were showing signs of violations, especially peer-to-peer lending and online lending apps and websites.

In the long term, it was necessary to improve the legal framework for online lending and peer-to-peer lending to increase punishments and tighten management, Thanh said.

Tran Lan Phuong, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies, said that the bank was implementing a number of solutions to expand credit for production and consumption with an aim to keep people away from “black credit”.

For example, a household could be provided with loans worth up to 100 million VND (4,300 USD) without mortgaged assets. Poor, near-poor and households who just escaped from poverty could have lending terms of up to 120 months.

Pham Toan Vuong, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank), said that Agribank was pushing consumer credit services nationwide with simple document requirements.

According to Tu, the central bank would join the Ministry of Public Security to increase communication and improve awareness of citizens of “black credit” as well as enhance accessibility to banking services, especially for those living in remote, rural and mountainous areas.

Tu urged credit insitutions to diversify their credit products, improve banking services, reduce rates and simplify lending procedures so that more people could get access to official loans.

With a nationwide network, credit institutions, financial companies and micro-finance organisations must meet the legitimate borrowing demand, especially of those with low income and who did not have bank accounts, Tu said.

Relevant ministries and organisations must enhance cooperation to implement drastic measures in improving awareness about problems and harms of “black credit”, Tú said, adding that strict punishments must be implemented for violations in lending.

According to the World Bank’s report about ease of doing business 2020, Vietnam ranked second in ASEAN and 25th out of 190 economies in term of the ease of getting credit./.

Indonesia records agricultural trade deficit of 2.81 billion USD

Indonesia recorded a deficit of 2.81 billion USD in trade of agricultural products in January-August this year, with exports valued at 2.4 billion USD and imports touching 5.21 billion USD, according to the country’s Ministry of Trade.

The ministry’s director general of national export development, Kasan Muhri, said that many of Indonesia's agricultural products are absorbed by large countries, one of which is China. However, the export potential of a number of commodities, including fruits such as dragon fruit, swallow's nest, bananas, could be exploited further, he pointed out.

Apart from being the largest export destination country, China is also the country of origin for Indonesia’s biggest imports, he noted.

During the period, the largest shipments of Indonesian agricultural products, valued at 471 million USD, were sent to China, followed by the United States, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong (China), and Singapore, the ministry noted.

China was also Indonesia's largest agricultural importer, with a share of 19.6 percent.

Agriculture is one of the sectors that have shown positive growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the ministry’s records, the exports of a number of agricultural commodities rose sharply in January-August – vegetable exports were up 68.69 percent; coconut 189.19 percent; guava, mango, and mangosteen 134.49 percent; and, nutmeg 32.17 percent.

Indonesia’s foreign trade in the first three quarters of this year totalled 220.9 billion USD, down 12.04 percent year-on-year. The country posted a trade surplus of over 13.5 percent, with exports valuing 117.2 billion USD, down 5.81 percent, while imports plunging 18.15 percent to 103.7 billion USD./.

Siemens CEO urges German firms to invest in Vietnam

CEO of German tech giant Siemens AG and Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Committee for German Business (APA) Joe Kaeser has called upon German firms to invest in Vietnam as part of efforts to diversify supply chains.

Speaking at an APA teleconference on October 19, Kaeser said that Asia, not just China, is an important investment destination.

He stressed that a number of multinational groups have poured a great deal into Vietnam while Germany is also stepping up vocational training in the country.

Enterprises, he said, could quickly seek business opportunities in the country.

German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier called on German firms in Asia to seek alternatives in diversifying regional supply chains.

Germany supports globalisation and wants to diversify supply chains, he said, adding that it needs to build greater resilience to future crises.

The APA conference was first held in 1986 with the aim of bolstering economic ties between Germany and the Asia-Pacific.

This year’s discussions focused on the economic toll from COVID-19, the modernisation of trade policy to ensure global supply chains, and the digitalisation strategies in Asia and Europe./.

EVN’s solar power buyback up 2.6 times in first nine months

Vietnam Electricity (EVN) purchased a total of 8.16 billion kWh of renewable power in the first nine months of this year, of which 7.23 billion kWh, or 88.6 percent, were generated by solar power projects.

The nine-month solar power buyback was 2.6-fold higher year-on-year.

EVN’s electricity output in September, including imported power, totalled 21.32 billion kWh, a year-on-year increase of 8.17 percent, thanks to surging demand amid the post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

The State-run corporation produced 710.7 million kWh per day on average, with the highest daily figure touching 778.75 million kWh.

Electricity output reached 185.37 billion kWh in the first nine months, up 2.68 percent year-on-year.

 

EVN has broken ground on 107 power projects this year and put into operation 100 110-500kV transmission lines./.

Canada may not slap anti-dumping taxes on Vietnamese corrosion-resistant steel

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on October 16 made a final decision on the anti-dumping and countervailing investigation of certain corrosion-resistant steel (COR) sheets imported from several countries, including Vietnam, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Trade Remedies Authority.

After an 11-month investigation, the Canadian authority found that the Vietnamese Government did not subsidise companies to produce and export COR products. Therefore, it will not apply anti-subsidy tariffs on COR sheets imported from Vietnam.

Canada also decided to cut anti-dumping tariffs for Vietnamese exporters who had cooperated extensively during its investigation. The anti-dumping tax is now set at 2.3-16.2 percent of the export price, which is much lower than the preliminary determination of 36.3-91.8 percent.

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal is continuing its inquiry into the question of injury to the domestic industry, and will make a finding on November 16. If there is no damage established, Canada will not levy anti-dumping tariffs on Vietnamese COR steel.

Last month, the CBSA also announced that it launched an investigation into whether certain concrete reinforcing bars originating in or exported from Vietnam are being sold at unfair prices in Canada. The investigation took place from June 1-30.

It stemmed from a complaint filed by ArcelorMittal Long Products Canada G.P, AltaSteel Inc., and Gerdau Ameristeel Corporation. The CBSA has ordered steel makers being investigated to reply to questionnaires no later than October 29./.

Control of legality of imported timber tightened

The development and activation of a geographic origin and timber species risk category plays an important role in controlling the legality of imported timber, heard at a recent seminar in Hanoi.

The Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (Viforest) and associations in the field of wood processing and exports held the seminar on identifying and controlling risks in exporting and importing Vietnamese wood products.

In order to fulfil commitments under the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VPA/FLEGT), the Prime Minister issued Decree 102/2020/ND-CP on Vietnam's timber legality assurance system (VNTLAS).

One of the important contents of the decree is to develop mechanisms to strictly control the legality of imported raw wood. These mechanisms are based on criteria of risk classification by geographic regions and timber types.

Do Xuan Lap, Viforest chairman, said that building and activating the list of geographic region and species risk categories played an important role in controlling the legality of imported timber.

These were necessary to maintain and develop the industry, fulfilling the Government's commitments to the international community.

In addition to timber from domestically planted forests, the country still imports raw materials every year, including those from tropical countries such as countries in Africa, Laos, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea.

To Xuan Phuc, an expert from Forest Trends, said that timber from these countries was often considered risky wood because these timber suppliers did not meet the criteria for a risk-free geographical area.

The amount of tropical wood imported into Vietnam annually is about 1.5 million cubic metres (m3), equivalent to 30 percent of the total volume of wood imported into the country. Most of this is from Africa.

The wood business community should diversify the supply of raw wood, reducing the proportion of imported supplies from tropical countries, and increase the proportion from low-risk sources, the expert noted.

In addition, the Government and timber associations needed to come up with mechanisms and messages to encourage the use of locally available raw materials, he added.

This would not only help the industry reduce risks in the use of raw materials, but also had direct meaning for millions of afforestation households today./.

Da Nang’s tourism targets Singaporean market after pandemic

The central city of Da Nang, in coordination with the Vietnamese Trade Office in Singapore, has held an online seminar to introduce potential for tourism development and tourist products of the city to the Singaporean market.

The event, taking place on October 19, simultaneously connected participants in Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia.

During the seminar, representatives from Da Nang’s Tourism Department briefed on the results of COVID-19 control work in Da Nang, highlighting Vietnam’s capacity in disease response and control in the “new normal” situation.

They announced the city’s policies designed to spur sustainable development of tourism after the pandemic.
Da Nang tourism businesses presented their strengths and adaptability measures to promote post-pandemic recovery.

Head of the Vietnamese Trade Office in Singapore Tran Thu Quynh said the office will continue to help promote Da Nang’s tourism destinations in Singapore by arranging for the city to publish information on its tourism products on Singaporean magazines.

To support Da Nang’s tourism sector in addressing difficulties caused by the pandemic, the municipal Department of Tourism has maintained and expanded connection with international markets through virtual meetings and conferences./.

Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical JSC reports Q3 profits

Vietnam’s largest refining and petrochemical firm, Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical JSC (BSR), has estimated that its third-quarter profits stood at more than 171 billion VND (7.37 million USD).

It sold more than 925,000 tonnes of products, exceeding the quarterly plan by 24.8 percent, posted total revenue of over 9 trillion VND, and contributed more than 972 billion VND to the State budget.

The numbers reflect the significant efforts BSR has made amid many difficulties caused by COVID-19, which has impacted the firm in terms of both material supply and product consumption.

It reported total revenue of more than 31.7 trillion VND in the first half of this year, down 38 percent against last year.

A loss of 4.25 trillion VND was incurred in the first half after it enjoyed a post-tax profit of 704 billion VND in the same period of 2019.

BSR reported revenue of more than 13.7 trillion VND in the second quarter alone, down by more than half compared to last year. It also incurred a loss of nearly 1.9 trillion VND in the quarter.

It has trimmed its total revenue and post-tax profit targets for 2020 by 21.5 percent and 59 percent year-on-year to 80.7 trillion VND and 1.18 trillion VND, respectively, if crude trades at 60 USD a barrel on average in the year.

The board will make an adjustment if there is any change in the movement of oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic.

BSR has filed for listing on the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX), the northern market regulator has said.

It plans to list more than 3.1 billion shares, representing charter capital of 31 trillion VND.

BSR currently trades on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) with the code BSR. If approved, it will become the largest listed firm by charter capital on HNX.

It is also expected to develop a plan in which its parent company - the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) - cuts its ownership down from 92.12 percent./.

Vietnam unlikely to reach target of 1 million firms by 2020

Vietnam is unlikely to reach its target of 1 million enterprises with efficient operation by 2020, according to a draft report recently issued by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).

The draft report, reviewing the implementation of the Government's Resolution 35/NQ-CP on supporting and developing enterprises in 2016-20, shows that in the five-year period, the Vietnamese private sector cannot achieve goals set for contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) and total social investment.

Five years ago, the ministry expected the private sector would contribute 48-49 percent to GDP by 2020, however, the rate is now about 43 percent.

In the period, the GDP growth rate of the private sector was not the highest, but only lower than the foreign investment sector’s GDP growth rate.

The ministry said that the trend of the private sector’s GDP growth rate is going up, especially in 2018 and 2019, with the rate higher than the national growth rate at 7.3 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, the foreign investment sector’s tended to drop markedly.

“There is still a lot of room to promote the private sector's contribution to the economy, posing a big problem for the strategies and policies in the future,” the draft said.

“If the upwards trend is maintained and makes a breakthrough, the target of contributing 48-49 percent of GDP can be achieved soon,” the ministry said in the report.

In terms of total social investment, the private sector is set to contribute 49 percent to this area by 2020, however the rate is now 46 percent.

The ministry said that although the figure is now lower than the target, it has steadily increased compared with previous years (43.2 percent in 2018 and 46 percent in 2019).

“This is a good sign that many resources of investment capital are being effectively mobilised for total social investment.”

The ministry said that Vietnam would achieve the targets of the total factor productivity (TFP), which accounts for 30-35 percent of GDP and the social labour productivity, which annually increases five percent.

It will also gain around 30-35 percent of local businesses engaging in creative and innovative activities every year as set.

The resolution 35 was inked by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on May 16, 2016./

Private sector may not reach targets, says MPI report

Viet Nam is unlikely to reach its target of one million enterprises with efficient operation by 2020, according to a draft report recently issued by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).

The draft report, reviewing the implementation of the Government's Resolution 35/NQ-CP on supporting and developing enterprises in 2016-20, shows that in the five-year period, the Vietnamese private sector cannot achieve goals set for contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) and total social investment.

Five years ago, the ministry expected the private sector would contribute 48-49 per cent to GDP by 2020, however, the rate is now about 43 per cent.

In the period, the GDP growth rate of the private sector was not the highest, but only lower than the foreign investment sector’s GDP growth rate.

The ministry said that the trend of the private sector’s GDP growth rate is going up, especially in 2018 and 2019, with the rate higher than the national growth rate at 7.3 per cent and 8.9 per cent, respectively. Meanwhile, the foreign investment sector’s tended to drop markedly.

“There is still a lot of room to promote the private sector's contribution to the economy, posing a big problem for the strategies and policies in the future,” the draft said.

“If the upwards trend is maintained and makes a breakthrough, the target of contributing 48-49 per cent of GDP can be achieved soon,” the ministry said in the report.

In terms of total social investment, the private sector is set to contribute 49 per cent to this area by 2020, however the rate is now 46 per cent.

The ministry said that although the figure is now lower than the target, it has steadily increased compared with previous years (43.2 per cent in 2018 and 46 per cent in 2019).

“This is a good sign that many resources of investment capital are being effectively mobilised for total social investment.”

The ministry said that Viet Nam would achieve the targets of the total factor productivity (TFP), which accounts for 30-35 per cent of GDP and the social labour productivity, which annually increases five per cent.

It will also gain around 30-35 per cent of local businesses engaging in creative and innovative activities every year as set.

The resolution 35 was inked by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on May 16, 2016. 

HCM City banking sector to continue supporting businesses hit by pandemic woes

Banks in HCM City are focusing on measures to mitigate the difficulties faced by businesses due to the Covid-19 pandemic and help them get back to health, a State Bank of Vietnam official has said.

Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the SBV’s HCM City branch, said the central bank is working with local authorities, the HCM City Union of Business Associations and other agencies to ease funding difficulties faced by businesses.

The SBV and the city authorities had organised a programme to connect banks with enterprises and business households to enable the latter to get loans at low interest rates, he said.

By the end of August outstanding loans under the programme had reached VND289 trillion (US$12.45 billion), with 75,164 loans given, he said.

Loans to enterprises in the export processing zones and industrial parks had increased by 12.7 per cent as of the end of July to VND180.58 trillion ($7.78 billion), he said.

Preferential credit packages

Besides extending loan repayment schedules, many banks have also launched preferential credit packages for corporate customers.

For instance, Viet Capital Bank has launched several preferential credit packages for SMEs worth a total of VND6 trillion.

HDBank also has a preferential loan package that offers a credit limit of up to VND2 billion at interest rates of 8.6 per cent and maximum tenor of 60 months.

Saigon-Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank has deployed a programme for microbusinesses with flexible policies.

Asked whether loan interest rates would continue to decrease to support businesses during the peak business season at the end of the year, Minh said after the SBV cut the interest rate cap for a third time this year, banks had reduced their deposit rates for six months to less than 4 per cent.

Lending interest rates still have room to decrease, but maybe not sharply since banks have already gradually cut them to a low level to assist customers affected by the pandemic, according to Minh.

“A decrease in interest rates will stimulate credit growth in the remaining months of 2020. This is also the peak business season of the year, so credit demand will increase compared to other months of the year.

“The banking sector will provide enough capital for businesses as well as the economy.” 

Funds cut stakes at ACB

Two investment funds have cut their stakes at Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ACB) after the lender saw its market value soar in the last three months.

The two shareholders are First Burns Investments Limited and Asia Reach Investments Limited.

The funds are related to Dominic Timothy Charles Scriven, a member of the board of managers at ACB, also the founder and executive chairman of Viet Nam-focus investment firm Dragon Capital.

First Burns Investments Limited has sold 32.9 million ACB shares to cut its ownership to 53.5 million shares or 2.48 per cent of the capital from 86.4 million shares (4 per cent stake).

Asia Reach Investments Limited has also offloaded 13.7 million ACB shares to cut its stake to 54.3 million shares (2.51 per cent of the capital) from 68 million shares (3.15 per cent of the capital).

The two funds registered their transactions on October 9. The two deals were finalised on October 12.

Three days earlier, nearly 40 million ACB shares were transferred in put-through transactions at VND24,000 (US$1.03) per share. On October 12, nearly 5.9 million ACB shares were also traded at VND24,000 apiece.

ACB shares, listed on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange with code ACB, moved between VND23,000 and VND23,800 per share on October 9-12.

The northern lender has recently filed for moving its shares to the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange from the Ha Noi Stock Exchange.

Accordingly, the bank plans to cancel listing on HNX and switch to list entirely its 2.16 billion shares on HoSE.

The bourse-switching plan is expected to complete in the coming weeks.

The Ha Noi-based lender has seen its shares rocket in the last three months. ACB shares have soared a total of nearly 51 per cent since July 27.

ACB shares gained 2.4 per cent to VND25,300 apiece on Monday.

In the first six months of 2020, ACB reported net revenue of total VND6.53 trillion, up 13.4 per cent on-year.

The result was driven by the bank’s impressive earnings from trading securities, which jumped from a loss of VND8 billion in the six-month period of 2019 to a profit of VND662 billion in January-June this year.

In addition, income from foreign currency trading surged 98 per cent on-year to VND295 billion in the first half.

However, as income from other business activities slumped 83 per cent on-year to VND102 billion and expenses for salary and bonus, operation, and risk provision rose sharply, ACB posted only a 5.4 per cent on-year increase in pre-tax profit, which reached VND3.82 trillion in the first half of the year. 

China, US make up more than 50% of export value for Vietnamese tra fish

China (Hong Kong) and the United States remain the two largest export markets for Vietnamese tra fish, with their market shares accounting for more than 50% of the total export value of local tra fish to 133 foreign markets, according to figures released by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP). 

Tra fish exports continue to endure a drop due to the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic
Despite making up a significant proportion in terms of the export structure, Vietnam's  tra fish exports to the US market have yet to recover due to the adverse impacts caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Furthermore, since the end of September and early October, pangasius exports to China (Hong Kong) have enjoyed a rebound, with the majority of demand being centred around large-sized pangasius.

By the end of September pangasius exports to ASEAN, the nation’s third largest export market, had recorded a drop of 30.3% to US$102.8 million, of which export value to three major markets within the region, including Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia, endured a decline of 27.4%, 1.4%, and 25.8%, respectively.

Throughout the nine-month period pangasius exports to the EU market experienced a downward trajectory, with the total export value to the fastidious market recording a drop of 33.8% to US$98.4 million.

In terms of EU importers, the Netherlands and Belgium saw a sharp fall of 27.7%, while exports to Germany and Spain decreased by 35.4% and 17.2%, respectively, in comparison with the same period from last year.

Most notably, pangasius exports to the UK market enjoyed a surge of 68.4% to US$4.8 million in September alone, with the total export value to the market during the reviewed period seeing an annual rise of 27% to US$30.78 million.

This rise means that the UK is the only location among the top 10 largest export markets of Vietnamese Tra fish to successfully maintain positive growth.

With a recovery occurring in some major export markets coupled with a boost in trade promotion activities by local enterprises, the price of raw pangasius by mid-October recorded an increase of VND3,500 to approximately VND22,000 per kilo for tra fish weighing between 0.7 and 0.8 kilo compared to the previous month.

Moreover, the prices of some large sized pangasius also recorded an increase to VND23,500 per kilo, which marks a positive outlook for the market ahead during the remaining months of the year.

Despite this, experts have advised farmers and export enterprises to remain cautious about expanding aquaculture areas for raw Tra fish moving forward.

Indian media outlet highlights Vietnamese achievements in FDI attraction

Indian news website LiveMint has published an article providing details on progress made by both Vietnam and Bangladesh in terms of the global race to replace Chinese exports and become new production hubs for international investors.
 

Vietnam is leading the global race to replace some of China’s export production
The article outlines how the nation has earned recognition in its bid to become an Asian Tiger, an accolade of rapid economic development that has been held by the Republic of Korea, Taiwan (China), and China itself over the past several decades.

The country’s exports witnessed a rise of 18% on-year in September, largely through an increase of 26% in terms of exports of computers and components, along with a 63% jump in machinery and accessories exports during the third quarter. Most notably, more than half of Samsung’s smartphone production originates from the nation.

Most notably, the publication states that the country is leading the global race to replace some of China’s export production, adding that it is now grappling with problems caused by success.

Despite the nation’s outlook looking “particularly strong," a banker based in Ho Chi Minh City states that the current challenge is ensuring that Vietnamese ports, roads, and airports are able to keep up “with the next US$100 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI).” 

Ruchir Sharma, an emerging markets strategist from Morgan Stanley, dubs the country as the “next Asian Miracle” and points out that FDI averages more than 6% of Vietnamese GDP, the highest ratio in comparison to any emerging country.

Bill Stoops, chief investment officer of Dragon Capital based in Ho Chi Minh City, the largest listed equity investor nationwide, says Vietnamese exports have undergone dramatic changes, adding that 10 years ago it largely focused on crude oil and agriculture. Indeed, last year saw fish as the only non-manufacturing product among its top ten exports.

“Also, about 65% of the country is still rural so there is an endless supply of people willing to move to cities. I am not concerned about Vietnam’s ability to accommodate more FDI," said Stoops.

The article describes how the past four weeks have provided evidence from India and Indonesia that both Vietnam and Bangladesh are in the race to surpass China’s role as the world’s factory.

It states that the China + 1 strategy to manage global production a decade ago as led to the Chinese Government forcing up the wages of factory workers, therefore opening up fresh opportunities in other markets.

Source: VNA/VNN/VNS/VIR/VOV/SGT/NDO/Dtinews