Thứ Ba, 10 tháng 1, 2017


HCMC to open flower trading center

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Authorities of HCMC this year will start construction on the first phase of an ornamental fish, tree and flower trading facility at Binh Dien commercial center in District 8, Dao Nhu Minh at Saigon Trading Group (Satra) told a conference last Saturday.
At the conference on establishment of flower trading centers in HCMC and Dalat City, Minh said that besides retail space, the center would provide financial, packing and cold storage services for flower growers and traders, thus contributing to the development of hi-tech agriculture.
Nguyen Vinh Luyen, director of the Center for Infrastructure Development in Dalat City, said the city this year is expected to open a flower trading center on 16.6 hectares at Minosa Pass, 10km from central Dalat City. The center is forecast to supply around 550 million branches of flowers a year.
The trading centers in both cities will ensure transparent pricing, improve the quality of flowers, guarantee profits for growers and traders, develop a flower farming industry and promote flower exports.
Flower farmers and traders would be able to receive assistance in terms of farming techniques, finances and seeds or seedlings to increase business efficiency and export opportunities.
HCMC targets industrial growth of 7% in 2017
The city’s industrial growth is expected to rise by more than 7% this year compared to last year, according to the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade.
Four key industries -- mechanical engineering, electronics, chemicals-rubber-plastics, and processed food -- are projected to expand 7.2%. Total retail sales of goods and services to surge 8-8.5%. The city will strive to keep its consumer price index (CPI) growth below the country’s.
Turnover from exports, excluding crude oil, will rise 8% while commercial electricity output will rise by 8.6% to 24.1 billion kWh.
To reach these targets, the industry and trade sector will focus on implementing the price stabilization program, developing domestic goods distribution systems, promoting exports, removing difficulties faced by enterprises and supporting production in HCMC.
Pham Thanh Kien, director of the Department of Industry and Trade, said at a review conference last Friday on the city’s 2016 industry and trade performance and a 2017 plan that the city will put into use a pork quality control application after a trial period.
Vice chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem said the city’s industrial sector holds the potential of achieving growth of more than 8%, and trading and services over 9%, helping the city’s gross domestic product (GDP) reaching 8.3-8.7% this year.
Industrial production in HCMC last year grew an estimated 7.33% over 2015, exceeding the target of 7%. In particular, the processing and manufacturing industry expanded 7.69% and four key industries 7.77%.
Tay Ninh calls for investment in hi-tech agriculture
The southern province of Tay Ninh will set aside 1,800 hectares of land for domestic and foreign investors committed to hi-tech agriculture.
The province last Friday held a conference to find ways to attract investment in hi-tech agriculture and organic farming in the coming years.    
Speaking at the conference, Pham Van Tan, chairman of the province, said local farmers mainly supply semi-processed goods which do not meet meet local and international quality standards.
Therefore, the provincial government plans to offer investors policy incentives for investors involved in hi-tech agriculture projects.
The province is strong in farm products such as cassava, rice, sugarcane and vegetables.
Le Thanh, head of the Institute of Vietnam Organic Agricultural Economics, said farmers in Tay Ninh Province could raise their income from VND85.5 million to VND110 million per hectare in the next five years if they concentrate on value-added produce.
Gov’t highlights untapped potential of Mekong Delta
Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ has instructed ministries and local governments in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta to prioritise investment in transportation and logistics services to help improve the region’s competitiveness.
Speaking at a conference on logistics services held yesterday in the delta city of Cần Thơ, Huệ said poor road connections and waterway transportation throughout the area have directly affected its socio-economic development. But investment in infrastructure remains low, and water transport has developed poorly despite the delta’s dense river network, its biggest advantage.
Huệ, chairman of the Southwestern Region Steering Committee, urged local authorities and ministries to submit their plans to the Government soon on the development of transport infrastructure and logistics services.
Huệ asked several agencies, especially the ministries of Industry and Trade, Transport, and Planning and Investment, to review and improve policies and incentives for logistics services, and asked the region to mobilise local and foreign resources.
The Southwestern Region Steering Committee said it would work with the delta provinces to carry out an action plan on logistics services development.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade will also help establish a regional logistics centre in accordance with a plan approved by the Prime Minister.  
Huệ said the regional logistics centre was essential because most enterprises are heavily dependent on HCM City and Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province, and a large-scale centre would help relieve the burden on HCM City ports and road networks linking the city with the region.
More than 70 per cent of imports and exports from the region are transported to the Cái Mép-Thị Vải Port in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province, raising transport costs and creating pressure on connecting road networks.
Experts at the conference urged the Government to develop policies and tax and land leasing incentives to encourage investment in waterway transport, such as container ports and terminals, as well as specialised ports.
Lê Duy Hiệp, vice chairman of the Việt Nam Logistics Business Association, said that Cần Thơ should be the delivery hub for exports from the region.
He said there should be multiple logistics centres, an upgrade of old facilities, and establishment of new centres easily accessible by road and waterway. “Up to 80 per cent of logistic service costs are in transport and goods handling, so the development of logistics infrastructure and centres plays a major role in promoting logistical operations and reducing costs,” he said.
The Mekong Delta contributes 60 per cent of Việt Nam’s seafood exports and more than 90 per cent of its rice shipments.
The delta has roughly 4,718km of national highways, 2,030km of provincial roads, and 72,851km of district and country roads. It has 13,000km of waterways, with 7,000km managed by authorities.
But the waterways, which connect it to the country and neighbouring states, have not proven very efficient. Marine traffic has not developed well since many river mouths have not been dredged, according to experts.
Trần Hữu Hiệp, of the Southwestern Region Steering Committee, called on enterprises to invest in major logistics projects in the region because the volume of goods transported via ports in the region is expected to surge - reaching 25-28 million tonnes a year by 2020, and 66.5- 71.5 million tonnes a year by 2030.
According to experts, logistics costs should account for 10-13 per cent of GDP in developed countries, and 15-20 per cent of GDP in developing countries. However, the logistics costs often account for 20-25 per cent of Việt Nam’s GDP, which has affected the competitiveness of exports.
At the conference, local and foreign investors signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with a number of agencies in Việt Nam.
Policy aims to boost HCM City industry
The trade and industry sector in HCM City plans to offer more support to local companies this year, Phạm Thành Kiên, director of HCM City’s Department of Industry and Trade, said at a meeting reviewing the sector’s activities last year.
Kiên said that representatives from the trade and industry sector would revise their approach this year and hold direct discussions with company officials about their difficulties. In the past, companies which faced challenges had to visit his department’s office.
This year, the trade and industry sector targets reaching an industrial production index growth of 7 per cent, while retail and consumption value is expected to increase by 8-8.5 per cent.
To reach the goal, Kiên said his sector would focus on stabilising prices as well as the market, while developing domestic distribution systems and increasing exports.
The department will also develop two sub-regions for the supporting industry, and with this investment, will aim to reach a localisation level of more than 65 per cent.
With the goal of organising a model market selling safe and clean food by 2020, the city plans to develop industrial material sources for clean and safe processing.
Lê Thanh Liêm, deputy chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said at the meeting that he had given guidance to the city about the revised policy and goals.
He said the industrial production index growth should be 8 per cent, while retail and consumption value must be 9 per cent.
This growth would ensure that the city reach GDP growth of 8.3-8.7 per cent this year, Liêm said.
Last year, the sector had good growth, with the industrial production index gaining 7.3 per cent, an increase of 33 percentage points compared to the annual target. 
VIB: 2016 results positive; shares listed on UPCoM     
 More than 564.4 million shares of Vietnam International Bank (VIB) made their debut on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) on Monday.
The reference price on the first trading day was VND17,000 per share. At this rate, VIB’s market capitalisation is nearly VND9.6 trillion (US$423 million).
“VIB’s listing is aimed at creating transparency in our activities, share price, market capitalisation and share liquidity so as to make it easier for investors to make investment decisions,” the bank said in its statement.
Last year, VIB maintained a stable growth momentum, as per the bank’s unaudited business results.
The bank made VND1.3 trillion in profit before provision and VND702 billion profit before tax, which is 4 per cent higher than the target set by the General Council of Shareholders early in 2016, and 7 per cent higher than in 2015.
Its total lending balance was around VND68 trillion, a 25 per cent growth against 2015, while its total assets amounted to approximately VND105 trillion.
According to the latest data, the bank’s non-performing loan (NPL) rate continues to be under control at under 3 per cent while its loan-to-deposit ratio (LDR) was 66 per cent, much lower than the maximum limit of 80 per cent set by the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV).
At the end of 2016, VIB shareholders’ equity was more than VND8.7 trillion, while the bank’s charter capital increased to around VND5.64 trillion, based on the General Council of Shareholders’ plan, which was approved by SBV.
Among the 10 local banks selected by the central bank for pilot implementation of Basel II, VIB has the highest readiness level and a high CAR of 10 per cent, based on Basel II standards.
In the past two years, VIB continued to have high dividend payment rates – it was 23.5 per cent and 25 per cent in 2014 and 2015, respectively, including payment in cash and by bonus share.
This year, VIB has set a profit target that is 10 per cent higher than the 2016 target.
“VIB will continue to develop its core bank activities, focusing on personal customers, SME customers and foreign-invested enterprises,” it said, adding that that the focus is on developing innovative solutions and using more technology to maximise its productivity, increase revenue and save costs. 
New policy aims to boost growth of local enterprises, support industry     
The trade and industry sector in HCM City plans to offer more support to local companies this year, Pham Thanh Kien, director of HCM City’s Department of Industry and Trade, said at a meeting reviewing the sector’s activities last year.
Kien said that representatives from the trade and industry sector would revise their approach this year and hold direct discussions with company officials about their difficulties. In the past, companies which faced challenges had to visit his department’s office.
This year, the trade and industry sector targets reaching an industrial production index growth of 7 per cent, while retail and consumption value is expected to increase by 8-8.5 per cent.
To reach the goal, Kien said his sector would focus on stabilizing prices as well as the market, while developing domestic distribution systems and increasing exports.
The department will also develop two sub-regions for the supporting industry, and with this investment, will aim to reach a localisation level of more than 65 per cent.
With the goal of organising a model market selling safe and clean food by 2020, the city plans to develop industrial material sources for clean and safe processing.
Le Thanh Liem, deputy chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, said at the meeting that he had given guidance to the city about the revised policy and goals.
He said the industrial production index growth should be 8 per cent, while retail and consumption value must be 9 per cent.
This growth would ensure that the city reach GDP growth of 8.3-8.7 per cent this year, Liem said.
Last year, the sector had good growth, with the industrial production index gaining 7.33 per cent, an increase of 33 percentage points compared to the annual target. 
Car rental cost doubles ahead of Tet

Automobile rentals have doubled in price in the run-up to Tet (Lunar New Year), which begins in late January.
In Ha Noi, most car rental agencies said they would rent cars for a minimum of seven to 10 days during the holiday at VND12 million (US$532), double the price on ordinary days.
Daily costs of car rentals will be at least VND1 million ($44.32), depending on the kind of car, a rise of 30-50 per cent compared to other days.
In Ha Noi, a Hyundai i10 car (2014-2015 model) will cost VND12 million for seven days beginning on January 26, the first day off for Tet for government employees.
Customers must deposit VND5 million and the rest will be paid upon returning the car.
Other car rental packages for Tet for seven days include rentals of Vios at VND14 million ($620.59), Camry VND17 million ($753.57), Hyundai Santa Fe VND20 million ($886.56), Toyota at VND15-17 million and Fortuna at VND15-20 million.
Luxury car models for rent such as Mercedes C250 cost VND1.7-1.8 million per day.
Most car rental agencies in Ha Noi said they could meet only 20 per cent of the demand.
Car rentals with a driver will cost an additional VND600,000-700,000 per day compared with VND400,000 on normal days.
Customers will have to negotiate the schedule and surcharge with the driver in case the trip exceeds the number of daily kilometres regulated by the car rental agency.
Car rentals that include a driver are more expensive, but if there are damages, the customer will not be responsible.
In HCM City, car rental activities have also become busier.
A representative of a car rental agency in Tan Binh District said the number of customers renting a car had increased since the beginning of the new year.
“The agency has nearly 50 cars from four-seat cars to nine-seat cars for rent. More than 80 per cent of customers have booked to rent,” he said.
Vu Ngoc Thieu, 48, of Go Vap District, who signed a contract to rent an Innova for 10 days, said although he was able to afford to buy a four-seat car, he preferred to rent.
“The streets are narrow and have become too crowded. My family only needs to use a car during the holidays. I decided to rent one, so I don’t have to worry about parking at my house,” he said.
Car rental prices have doubled in HCM City.
For example, Kia Morning (2010-2013 model) rental is now VND1 million a day, up from VND500,000 on normal days, the cheapest price of car rentals.
Rental prices for other cars such as Innova and Fortune (2010-2013) are VND1.8-2 million. The rental price for a Kia Sorento is from VND2.4 million.
According to a car rental agency in HCM City, due to high demand during the holidays, customers are advised to book early so they can choose their desired car.
“On average, we receive 20 phone calls to rent a car every day. Many customers have completed their bookings,” he said.
Unlike Ha Noi, in HCM City, customers will have to pay 100 per cent of the contract upon signing the contract and the minimum time for rent must be 10 days.
He also advised customers to check the status and condition of the car before accepting it. The procedure is to submit a family passbook and a motorbike for deposit and its registration certificate.
Most visitors in the city rent a car to travel to Vung Tau, a coastal city in the southeastern region, Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa Province, and Da Lat, a resort city in the Central Highlands region.
Tet is Viet Nam’s most important traditional celebration, which honours family reunions and recreation.
During the period, some families travel, while others decide to visit pagodas or return to their hometowns, expressing best wishes to each other and showing gratitude to their ancestors. 
Vietnam ministry to inspect 12 major real estate firms
The Vietnamese Ministry of Construction will carry out routine compliance inspections on 12 major corporations, including Vingroup, Sun Group, Bitexco, and Phu My Hung.
A leader of the ministry’s inspectorate told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on January 9 that the agency will cooperate with relevant provinces and cities to inspect the 12 companies with regard to their compliance to government laws, rules, and policies on property planning, quality control, and development during the 2011-16 period.
The firms to be inspected are Muong Thanh Group, Vingroup, Sun Group, Tan Hoang Minh Group, Bitexco Group, FLC Group, Empire Group, Dai Quang Minh Real Estate Investment Joint Stock Company, Phu My Hung Development Corporation, Citra Westlake City Development Co. Ltd., Phat Dat Corporation, and Hung Thinh Corporation.    
All have developed major projects across Vietnam.
The inspectorate will look into Muong Thanh’s projects in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa, the leader, who prefers to remain anonymous, said.
Bitexco will have their projects in Ho Chi Minh City inspected while Empire will get their Cocobay Da Nang Entertainment Complex checked.
An inspection will be conducted at Dai Quang Minh’s project to build four arterial routes in the Thu Thiem New Urban Area in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City.
Inspectors will also work with Phu My Hung on Scenic-Valley, Scenic-Valley 2, and their other projects in Ho Chi Minh City.
In Hanoi, the Ciputra residential complex developed by Westlake City Development Co. Ltd. will be inspected.
“These inspections are carried out on an annual basis by the inspectorate, and are not something unexpected or unusual,” the leader told Tuoi Tre.
The inspectorate will also look into the implementation of a national housing development strategy in 63 provinces and cities nationwide.
Any problems with the strategy will be addressed to the prime minister for modification.
Housing projects for low-income people, factory workers, and students as well as commercial housing are also on the radar, the leader said.
Lawbreakers will all be harshly punished, he added.
Housing crisis brews in Vietnam as low-income homebuyers forgotten
Industry leaders warn that the market will suffer a severe imbalance in supply if developers keep chasing after upscale buyers.
Major cities in Vietnam have been told to prepare for more urban challenges ahead as the housing market is expected to fail the large number of low to middle income earners over the next 10-15 years.
This group, believed to account for 80% of the market, has been consistently overlooked by developers who mostly focus on the lucrative high-end segment.
Housing demand is rising fast in Vietnam, which has one of the highest urbanization rates in Southeast Asia. Just 15 years ago, only 24.6% of its population lived in cities. Today, about 32 million people live in urban areas, accounting for approximately 34.1% of the total population.
Urban planners estimated that Vietnamese cities will be home to 40 million people by 2025. But not all will be able to find a home.
Since the country pushed through economic reforms 30 years ago, Vietnam's urban housing policy has been radically changed and reshaped by involving private developers. However, even as more products hit the market, they are mostly beyond the reach of low-income households and migrants.
Marc Townsend, general manager of property consultancy firm CBRE Vietnam, said that in the next 10 years, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will still struggle with the supply-demand imbalance of affordable housing. The company also believed home prices could increase by about 3% annually.
“By 2030, the largest cities Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will remain thirsty for low-cost housing,” said Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association.
He said Ho Chi Minh City’s supply of affordable housing has kept shrinking in recent years, estimated at 27% of the whole market in 2014, down to 25% in 2015 and then to 20% in the first nine months of 2016.
In an effort to meet the expected demand for low-cost housing, same developers have started going down market, shifting their attention from high-end condominium complexes to affordable apartments.
Property giant Vingroup, for instance, has recently unveiled its new brand Vincity targeting low-income residents. Apartments will range from VND700 million (US$30,800) to VND1 billion (US$44,000).
To put the figures into perspective, the country’s average annual income was estimated at US$2,200 last year, according to the General Statistics Office.
Vingroup planned to build between 200,000 and 300,000 of these affordable apartments over the next five years on the outskirts of seven cities, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
“The new supply of affordable home priced between VND700 million and VND1 billion is expected to catch up with the demand, as the result, mitigating the risk of a housing bubble,” said Chau from the association.
Stephen Wyatt from consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle said investors have been courting Vietnam’s expanding middle-class population with higher incomes and they prefer high-end apartments, which they believe can quickly bring back the money.
However, since 2015, experts have warned of an imbalance between supply and demand in the luxury segment. Sales of high-end homes fell 10% in the first nine months of 2016, while those in the affordable segment increased 10% from a year ago, according to Dragon Capital market data.
As several property giants announced large-scaled plans for affordable housing, the year 2017 may mark a big move for the real estate market, said Wyatt.
Mekong Delta asked to expand investment in logistics
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has urged investors to expand their investment in logistics in the Mekong Delta.
Speaking at a January 9 conference on logistics investment in the region, the Deputy Prime Minister asked localities to focus on promoting economic growth, and building sound administrative apparatus to ensure rapid and sustainable growth.
He asked the Ministries of Industry and Trade, Transport, and Planning and Investment to facilitate the development of logistical services.
A number of cooperative agreements were signed at the conference. Cargo throughput in the Mekong Delta is expected to reach 71 million tons by 2030.
Meanwhile, at an earlier conference to review the work of the Southwest Region Steering Committee in 2016 and discuss plans for 2017 in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, Deputy PM Hue also requested the Committee continue consulting the Government on incentives for the region to develop, with a focus on its strategic tasks.
The Southwest region posted a gross regional domestic product (GRDP) growth of 6.9%, higher than the nation’s average of 6.21%, in 2016.
The region saw an increase in total retail sales of goods, exceeding 13%, almost double the national figure. Regional budget collection also exceeded its target by 11.3%.
Logistics businesses urged to invest in Mekong Delta
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has called on logistics businesses to invest and expand investments in the Mekong Delta.
Deputy PM Hue made the call at a conference which was jointly held in Can Tho City by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Steering Committee for the Southwestern Region, and the Vietnam Logistics Business Association.
He urged the Mekong Delta localities to build a favourable business and investment environment, provide maximum support for and increase dialogues with investors to promptly remove bottlenecks.
The Deputy PM asked relevant agencies, especially the Ministries of Industry and Trade; Transport, and Planning and Investment, to continue reviewing mechanisms, policies and legal regulations to address shortcomings in the field.
The ministries were requested to facilitate logistics service development by mobilising domestic and foreign financial resources, while encouraging businesses of economic sectors to invest in this sphere.
The Steering Committee for the Southwestern Region will coordinate with localities to build a regional action plan to develop logistics infrastructure and services, including the building of a master plan on logistics development for the Mekong Delta.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Trade is requested to work with localities to speed up the building of a logistics centre in the region and call for investment in key logistics infrastructure projects.
Tran Huu Hiep, a member of the committee, pointed out restrictions in the region’s logistics infrastructure and services such as small-scale ports and the asynchronous operation between means of transport, especially waterway and road tranport.
He suggested businesses invest in key logistics projects in the delta between now and 2020 since the amount of cargo handled through the regional ports is forecast to increase in the coming time. 
Specifically, the delta is expected to receive 25-28 million tonnes of cargo per year by 2020, and 66.5-71.5 million tonnes of cargo by 2030, he noted.
The southwestern region comprises of 12 provinces, namely An Giang, Bac Lieu, Ben Tre, Ca Mau, Dong Thap, Hau Giang, Kien Giang, Long An, Soc Trang, Tien Giang, Tra Vinh and Vinh Long, and Can Tho city.
Vietnam spent about 20-25 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on logistics services, which is higher than the levels of 10-13 percent in developed countries and 15-20 percent in developing nations.-
Eight Tay Bac localities enjoy fruitful tourism cooperation
Eight Tay Bac (northwestern mountainous) provinces enjoyed a year-on-year rise of 11.8 percent in the number of visitors in 2016 thanks to their close cooperation in tourism promotion.
Last year, the localities, comprising Phu Tho, Lao Cai, Lai Chau, Dien Bien, Son La, Yen Bai, Ha Giang and Hoa Binh, welcomed nearly 18 million visitors, including 1.2 million foreigners.
At a conference held in Phu Tho on January 9 to review the localities’ tourism partnership in 2016, participants noted that the affiliation showed good results in terms of policies, expansion of products, promotion and development of human resources for the tourism sector.
However, they held that in the coming time, the localities should organise more regular exchanges to boost tourism towards exploiting their similarities and promote each locality’s unique.
They sought measures to further diversify tourism products and develop strong products of each locality, while stressing the need for higher quality human resources for the sector as more than 60 employees in the regional tourism are untrained.
In 2017, the eight localities will work closely to implement the National Tourism Year Tay Bac-Lao Cai 2017, while holding a Tay Bac tourism fair and join international events. They will also focus on building a waterway tour on the Da River.
On the occasion, the culture departments, tourism promotion centres and travel associations of the eight localities signed a cooperation programme for 2017.
PM approves pumped-storage hydropower project
The Prime Minister has given the green light to the construction of the Bac Ai pumped-storage hydroelectricity plant in the south central province of Ninh Thuan.
Invested by the Electricity of Vietnam, the project will be located in Bac Ai district’s Phuoc Tan and Phuoc Hoa communes.
It will consist of four turbines with combined capacity of 1,200MW.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade is tasked with examining the design and financial evaluation of the project. 
Pumped storage is the largest-capacity form of grid energy storage available. The method stores energy in the form of water pumped from a lower elevation reservoir to a higher elevation. Off-peak electric power is used to run the pumps. During periods of high electrical demand, the stored water is released through turbines to produce electric power.
PVEP, Halliburton Landmark cooperate in oil & gas exploration
The PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corporation (PVEP) and Landmark Software Services of Halliburton, a US multinational corporation, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in oil and gas exploration and exploitation.
The signing of the MoU aims to share knowledge in using advanced analysis technology Big Data and data science to contribute to improving effectiveness in oil and gas exploration and exploitation.
It also allows experts of both sides to exchange experience in order to use and analyse data scientifically.
The MoU will help PVEP and Landmark increase mutual support in case of market fluctuations.
The two sides will first organise conferences to determine key zones for data analysis to reduce drilling cost, share experience to create professional data models for PVEP and build procedures for data use in upcoming time.
Halliburton Landmark has provided geographic drilling software for almost all oil and gas contractors in Vietnam, including PVEP and its member units. It now continues to develop the most modern technologies to be applied in this field.
High hopes for Vietnamese economy
With stable economic growth and efforts of the government, Vietnam is expected to meet its growth target this year, according to economists and businesses. 
Economist Tran Du Lich said Vietnam had maintained economic growth and curbed inflation while speeding up the settlement of bad debts, reducing lending interest rates and restructuring equitised firms last year. 
A positive sign is the government’s determination to build a transparent and constructive cabinet that offers maximum support to businesses. 
Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association Le Hoang Chau said a 6.2 percent growth put Vietnam among the world’s fastest-growing economies last year. 
He suggested improving export quality, especially farm produce and aquatic products, and facilitating start-ups in information technology. 
In real estate, he said many projects have been delayed due to site clearance, not to mention difficulties in the cost of land use, administrative procedures involving project approval and credit policies. 
In order to develop a sustainable and stable real estate market, the government and localities should remove such hindrances, he said. 
Pham Xuan Hong, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Association of Garment Textile Embroidery and Knitting, hailed the government for achieving efficiency instead of chasing targets. 
Vu Thanh Tu Anh, Director of Research at the Fulbright Economic Teaching Programme in Ho Chi Minh City, said the biggest barrier to Vietnam during integration is capacity. 
Opportunities are aplenty but tapping them requires brainpower and vision, he said, citing that the garment sector is predicted to enjoy the most benefits when Vietnam accelerates global economic integration but is incapable of performing the dying, fabric and weaving stages. 
Chief economist Sebastian Eckardt from the World Bank in Vietnam forecast that Vietnam is likely to grow 6.3 percent this year thanks to strong domestic consumption and increasing investment.
Vice General Director of Him Lam Land Trading Corporation Ngo Quang Phuc said the business community has high hopes that under the leadership of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc the economy will be propelled forward.
RoK’s Inha University keen on Long Thanh airport project


Leaders of the Republic of Korea’s (RoK) Inha University showed interest in taking part in the consultation, design and planning of Long Thanh Airport in the southern province of Dong Nai during a working session with provincial leaders on January 9.
Inha University leaders held that the model of Long Thanh airport is quite similar to that of Incheon Airport in the RoK, which is operating effectively.
Along with growth in passenger number and goods volume, services and urban areas surrounding the airport are also contributing greatly to Incheon’s income, they noted.
They advised that Long Thanh airport should be developed under an airport city model, underlining the need for transportation connectivity between Ho Chi Minh City and the airport.
They also proposed a number of measures to effectively exploit the airport and the building of a city surrounding the airport.
At the session, Tran Van Vinh, Vice Chairman of the Dong Nai People’s Committee said that the Long Thanh International Airport is among major projects of Vietnam.
Covering a total area of 5,000 hectares, the airport is expected to serve 100 million passengers and handle five million tonnes of goods each year. It will have four runways and four terminals with a total estimated investment of about 16 billion USD.
The first phase of the project is scheduled to be completed by 2025, with an annual capacity of 25 million passengers and 1.2 tonnes of goods.
Vinh also revealed that Dong Nai plans to zone off 21,000 hectares surrounding the airport for developing services, urban areas, logistics, industrial parks, entertainment areas and themed parks. 
He also asked Inha University to continue supporting Dong Nai in studying Incheon airport model as well as the airport city model, and help the province in training personnel serving the project.
Airlines announce red hot TET holiday flight deals
A large number of airlines operating in Vietnam have released a whole bunch of last-minute sale fares for travel this TET holiday.
airlines announce red hot tet holiday flight deals  hinh 0 Vietnam Airlines is offering special deals on flights through March 31 to Seoul, the Republic of Korea starting at US$170 and US$350 from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, respectively.
Emirates Airlines is touting highly discounted special airfare on one-way and round trip tickets from Hanoi and HCM City to Yangon, North America, the Middle East and most locations in Europe.
Economy class round trip tickets start at US$130 on the Hanoi-Yangon route and range US$600-US$875 on others. All airfares are good for tickets purchased through January 17 for travel departing before November 30.
Meanwhile, Nok Air also has one-way tickets from Hanoi or HCM City to Bangkok on offer for the low price of just US$37. The special pricing applies for tickets booked through January 11 for departures January 12-September 30.
JW Marriott Phu Quoc set to open late this month
The JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort and Spa at Khem Beach on Phu Quoc Island off Kien Giang Province will be launched on January 25, just three days prior to the Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet.
The resort designed by renowned architect Bill Bensley offers a selection of 243 lavish rooms, suites, apartments and villas. Measuring a minimum of 54 square meters, the resort’s guestrooms provide generous space for indulgence. 
There are three restaurants and a bar, including Tempus Fugit (meaning “Time Flies” in English) with three distinctive dining experiences of authentic Vietnamese cuisine, contemporary Japanese kitchen and classic French delights; Red Rum, a beach side seafood grill, and Pink Pearl, serving exquisite Cantonese cuisine in a splendid beachfront mansion, and the Department of Chemistry Bar.
Guests can stroll along Rue de Lamarck and find many exquisite local crafts from selected artisan boutiques. For those cultural enthusiasts seeking enriching experiences, a full range of cultural events and daily rituals are scheduled to be explored. 
For a more leisurely pace, guests laze at the resort’s pristine beach or at one of the resort’s outdoor pools or experience Spa by JW.
The resort has 1,100-square-meter meeting space, 715-square-meter grand ballroom and spacious breakout rooms designed to suit every meeting purpose, from a world-class summit, conferences or a wedding reception.
The resort’s opening rate is priced from VND9 million (US$400) including breakfast for two persons and VND1.1 million (US$50) daily resort credit. The opening offer can be booked via 
For more information, access or JWMarriottPhuQuocEmeraldBay.
Vietnamese farmers prepare to sell rooster-shaped trees for Tet
Displaying decorative trees shaped like different animals has long been a hallmark amongst Vietnamese Lunar New Year decoration, with Mekong Delta farmers striving year-after-year to introduce new animal-like creations to the market.
This year, the Lunar New Year, or Tet, will start on January 28.  As each year honors an animal, 2017 is the Year of the Rooster, as indicated in the lunar calendar.
Artisans in Ben Tre Province have therefore pruned and clipped trees into various forms of poultry, ready to embrace the holidays.
Kumquat trees shaped as roosters, hens, and chicks are put on display along the National Highway No.57 in Cho Lach District, for visitors to stop by to place their orders.
Le Hoang Vinh, a tree-shaping artisan, said that while it is easy to make a rooster-shaped frame from zinc or iron, it can take up to a year of extensive care for trees to develop and maintain the defined shape.
“It is also important that the rooster-shaped kumquat trees are full of fruit,” Vinh added.
Aside from rooster-shaped trees, Cho Lach farmers also showcase trees dolphin, dragon, and buffalo trees. This year, about 100 of these decorative trees are up for sale.
“The animal-shaped trees have brought about economic profits and a positive reputation for Cho Lach farmers as some of the country’s best plant artisans,” Bui Thanh Liem, head of the district’s agriculture bureau, said.
Goods suppliers ready for Tet
Suppliers of necessities have readied themselves for the upcoming Tet, or Lunar New Year, with higher volumes of goods for the market than last Tet.
Van Duc Muoi, general director of Vietnam Meat Industries Company (Vissan), said the company expects to provide 3,000 tons of fresh meat, including pork and beef, and around 3,200 tons of processed food for the market during Tet.
Vinh Thanh Dat Food Joint Stock Co. in HCM City is stocking up on ten million poultry eggs per month from the beginning of the final lunar month to the end of the first lunar month, its director Truong Chi Thien said.
The volume is equivalent to that of last Tet and egg prices are expected to stay stable during the coming holiday season.
If the market has further demand, Vinh Thanh Dat can still provide more but Thien said he is afraid that consumption may not be that high.
Nguyen Cong Thua, head of Anh Dao Agriculture Cooperative in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, said the cooperative will launch 350 tons of products per day on the market during the last ten days of the old lunar year.
Due to unusual weather this year, the volume of vegetables in Lam Dong’s farms has fallen 20% year-on-year, Thua said and predicted that the market can fall short of farm produce.
Prices of vegetables may rise 30% in wet markets during Tet but will stay stable at supermarkets, he said.
The volume of goods prepared for Tet at supermarkets is higher than that of last year.
The Saigon Union of Trading Cooperatives, or Saigon Co.op, the operator of Co.opmart stores, has prepared more than 110,000 tons of goods, up 15% over last year, with the volume of products under HCM City's price stabilization program rising 5-30%.
Saigon Trading Corporation, or Satra, is expected to put on sale 21,300 tons of products, surging 29% compared to the level it registered with the city’s government.
Companies joining the price stabilization program will cut prices of many products in days near Tet. Supermarkets participating in the stabilization program will extend opening times in days before Tet.
In particular, from January 17 to 24, they will be operating from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. From January 24 to 26, they will open at 6 a.m. and close at midnight. On the 30th day, or the final day of this lunar year, they will close at noon.
After Tet holiday, which falls on January 28, supermarkets will resume operation from the second day of the first lunar month, opening at 8 a.m. and closing at noon.  
HCM City ensures sufficient Tet goods
Ho Chi Minh City is preparing a large quantity of goods, thereby meeting half of market demands during Tet (Lunar New Year festival).
At a meeting organized by the municipal People’s Committee on January 8, the local leaders said businesses will distribute goods worth more than US$400 million.
Nguyen Huynh Trang, Vice Director of the Department of Industry and Trade said 10,000 shops are selling Tet goods, mostly food, at lower prices. In addition, there are 198 food vans this month.
The municipal authorities asked banks which are running 4,200 ATMs to supply enough cash to customers during Tet holidays.
Coffee export reaches 1.79 million tonnes in 2016
Vietnam exported 1.79 million tonnes of coffee in 2016, earning 3.36 billion USD, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 
The figures represented increases of 33.6 percent in volume and 25.6 percent in value on a yearly basis. 
In 2015, the sector saw a fall by 20.63 percent in volume and 24.82 percent in value year-on-year.
Germany and the US continued to be the two largest markets for Vietnamese coffee, accounting for 15.2 percent and 13.1 percent of the country’s total coffee exports, respectively. 
In 2016, Vietnam’s total coffee tree area increased by 0.3 percent from 2015, to 645,400 hectares, producing 1.47 million tonnes, up one percent from 2015 in spite of a year-on-year drop of 0.4 percent in productivity due to droughts in the Central Highlands.
Additionally, the sector saw a growing contribution of processed products to total export value.
Vietnam is the world’s largest grower of robusta beans. It is the second biggest coffee exporter worldwide behind Brazil.
CBRE: Affordable housing to play key role in 2017
Property service provider CB Richard Ellis Vietnam (CBRE Vietnam) has estimated that over 43,800 apartments will be sold this year, with around 40% of them in the medium segment. The figure last year was 37,419 apartments.
In particular, there will be more than 13,000 high-end apartments and 1,627 luxury ones to be offered this year. The remainder will belong to the budget and medium segments, with around 40% of new apartments to be sold at US$800 per square meter.
Domestic investors and joint ventures are making adjustments in order to adapt their projects to the market trend.
Last year saw gradual adjustments making the market more balanced. As a result, the respective proportions of mid- and high-end apartments sold accounted for 48% and 30%, respectively. The mid-end segment achieved positive results, with more 15,000 units sold, 40% of the total.
Earlier, the HCMC Real Estate Association (HoREA), in its final report of 2016, estimated 30,000 homes had been launched in the city. Of which, low-cost and mid-end housing accounted for 79.7% and was the key segment of the real estate market.
HoREA chairman Le Hoang Chau said the property market this year may witness a major shift to the affordable housing segment, meeting the real need of the majority of average-income earners. In addition, there might be a big adjustment to address the supply-demand mismatch that is currently skewed towards the premium segment.
Duong Thuy Dung, head of CBRE’s Research and Consulting Department, predicted the market would see high consumption in the 2017-2019 period, with the medium-cost segment rising from the 40-50% proportion in previous years to 60% this year, followed by the luxury segment with over 50%.
“Limited available land in the central areas for residential projects is a key factor that helps lure potential customers in the luxury segment. The prices of high-class housing projects in HCMC are still lower than those of other cities in the region. Therefore, the segment is still attractive to local wealthy people, and overseas customers,” she added.

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