BUSINESS IN BRIEF 11/3
Vietnamese firms showcase farm produce at Japan expo
Seventeen Vietnamese firms are showcasing their products at the 42nd FOODEX, Japan’s largest international food and beverage exhibition, which is underway at Chiba Prefecture.
Vietnamese enterprises are displaying farm produce such as fruits, vegetables, cashew nuts, rice products, seafood products and juices. The participating businesses hail from HCM City, Ha Noi, Nghe An, Bac Giang, Hai Phong, Ninh Binh, Dong Thap, Ben Tre, Tien Giang, Dong Nai, Lam Dong, Binh Duong, and Phu Quoc.
The four-day event is a great opportunity for firms to connect with potential clients, Vietnamese Trade Counsellor to Japan Nguyen Trung Dung said.
Vietnamese agricultural products have huge potential in the Japanese market, Dung said. He said businesses would be able to the tap this market effectively by conducting more promotional activities and ensuring that they have a steady, high-quality supply of products.
Kazuki Mizutani from VOX Trading Company in Japan said there is room for Vietnamese firms to boost the export of farm produce to Japan. To do so, they must improve product quality and offer them at reasonable rates, he advised.
Wood processing sector has room for development
The wood processing sector will have more room for development as Vietnam participates in more free trade agreements, according to the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (HAWA).
At the Vietnam International Furniture & Home Accessories Fair (VIFA – EXPO 2017), which opened on March 8, Huynh Van Hanh, Vice President of the HAWA, wood processing is a sector with high growth, less dependence and an added value of 40 percent.
He advised enterprises to invest in technology and design to boost their competitiveness.
He said the export of wood and wood products is expected to hit 8 billion USD in 2017.
Pham Thanh Kien, Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, said this year’s fair attracts 313 enterprises, up 24 percent, and has 1,532 booths, an increase of 23 percent, from 2016.
The event will conclude on March 11.-
Tuna export revenue forecast to grow on better catch
The volume of tuna caught in three central coastal provinces in the January-February period of 2017 rose by 20% year-on-year to 3,540 tons, meaning that local enterprises this year will have abundant tuna supply for export sale.
According to a report of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the three central provinces that are strong in tuna fishing are Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa. Thanks to higher volumes, the export value of Vietnamese tuna this year is expected to pick up substantially against 2016 when many local enterprises could not secure sufficient material for export processing.
Phu Yen in the first two months harvested only 432 tons, down 27% year-on-year, but the other two provinces enjoyed bumper catches, with Binh Dinh netting 2,276 tons, up 22% year-on-year, and Khanh Hoa obtaining 832 tons, surging 68%.
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers ( VASEP), Vietnam’s exports of tuna frozen fillets to the European Union (EU) last year took a market share of 12%. The country’s tuna exports last year could have been much higher, but due to the falling fishing volume, local enterprises were forced to import materials from neighboring countries and boost export prices, resulting in its lower competitiveness in the European market.
The European Commission has recently proposed the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) impose restrictions on tuna fishing boat fleets and fishing activity in its member countries, paving the way for Vietnam’s tuna shipments to the EU to rise in the coming time.
Last year Vietnam fetched US$500 million worth of tuna export, a rise of 9% after three consecutive years of decline.
Govt gives green light to expressway in north
The Government has approved an expressway project which would connect Hoa Binh Province and Son La Province’s Moc Chau in northern Vietnam, VnEconomy reports.
Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has asked the Ministry of Transport to work with provincial authorities of Hoa Binh and Son La and relevant agencies to map out a detailed construction plan for submission to the Prime Minister for consideration.
The two northern mountainous provinces will be responsible for implementing the project under the public-private partnership (PPP) format, and working with the Ministry of Transport to make clear their rights and responsibilities in the project.
Hoa Binh-Moc Chau expressway would be linked with the 85-kilometer Hoa Binh-An Lac Expressway with four lanes and would allow for a maximum speed of 80 kilometers per hour.
The project is estimated to cost more than VND20 trillion (US$877 million) and take over 42 months. It would cut travel time from the capital of Hanoi to Moc Chau District, Son La Province by around two hours, reducing traffic on National Highway 6, and promoting tourism in the two provinces.
NFSC: Oil price rise piles pressure on inflation
The world oil price has inched up in recent months, placing pressure on inflation in Vietnam, the National Financial Supervisory Committee (NFSC) said.
NFSC said in a macro-economic report that inflation in the country has been on the rise since September last year due to the rising prices of world oil and domestic public services. Inflation in 2017 will be higher than in 2016 if agencies do not take bold steps to put a new cycle of inflation under control.
The report showed February’s inflation grew 0.69% compared to the beginning of this year but a hefty 5.02% over the same period last year, driven by a price increase of 9.97% in the transport group over the year-earlier period. Domestic retail prices of fuels in January grew around 13% year-on-year, sending transport costs surging.
Higher inflationary pressure resulted from healthcare and educational services price rises of 57.21% and 10.07% against the year-earlier period in a number of provinces and cities as part of their road maps to adjust up prices of public services.
Core inflation in February expanded 1.51% year-on-year but the country’s inflation has steadily grown since last September due to periodical and seasonal factors.
NFSC said inflation often rose in the month coinciding with the Lunar New Year holiday (Tet). There will be a new cycle of inflation after prices of public services are revised up, contributing some 2.4 percentage points to last month’s inflation.
Notably, inflation started to go up in September last year, NFSC said. The committee added the long-term growth of inflation last month was 0.6 percentage point higher than in February last year.
The factors would make this year’s inflation higher than in 2016 if they are not put under control, NFSC said.
Speaking at a recent Government cabinet meeting in Hanoi, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc assigned Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue to tell the State Bank of Vietnam and the ministries of planning-investment, finance, industry-trade, health and education-training to find ways to achieve the inflation growth target of no higher than 4% this year.
SCIC divests from 11 firms this year
State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) divested a total of VND12.1 trillion (US$530 million) from 11 enterprises through share auctions in the first two months of the year, showed a report of the Ministry of Finance.
The amount was well above VND1.299 trillion SCIC invested in these enterprises thanks mainly to the first-phase sale of shares at Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk). SCIC fetched almost VND11.3 trillion from this Vinamilk share sale.
The report said SCIC and other State-owned enterprises divested around VND14.2 trillion in the January-February period, which was much higher than the total book value of VND3 trillion.
Last year, SCIC sold its stakes at 73 firms, with a total of over VND16.11 trillion collected, compared to the book value of more than VND3 trillion.
Next month, the ministry is expected to propose the Government issue a new decree replacing Decree 59/2011/ND-CP on equitization of State-owned enterprises and approve the establishment of a coffee development fund in the country.
The ministry clinched four borrowing agreements totaling US$203.2 million in January-February, including two worth US$23 million last month, the report said.
The State Treasury had issued VND26.9 trillion worth of Government bonds to mobilize funds for budget spending and debt payments in the year to February 28.
In the first two months, budget collections totaled VND185.8 trillion, up 15.8% year-on-year, and budget spending was estimated at VND175.8 trillion, up 8.4% over the year-earlier period.
HCMC gets first food safety chief
Pham Khanh Phong Lan, ex-deputy director of the HCMC Department of Health, has been picked as head of the city’s newly established Food Safety Board.
HCMC chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong yesterday handed over an appointment decision to her with a term lasting until December 6, 2019.
Le Minh Hai serves as her deputy. He was formerly deputy director of the Rehabilitation and Occupational Disease Hospital in HCMC. The second deputy head is Huynh Thi Kim Cuc, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
This is the city’s first agency responsible for food hygiene and safety.
Voters had repeatedly proposed the health and other agencies of the city carry out regular inspections into wholesale markets to prevent the trading of food of unclear origin.
Statistics show the demand for meat citywide ranges from 1,000 to 1,200 tons a day. Imports of frozen food amount to around 264,000 tons a year. City residents annually consume one million tons of vegetables and 170,000 tons of seafood.
The management of food safety in the city involved different agencies but their responsibilities were unclear, leading to poor food safety control.
Data indicates the city had six food poisoning cases with 512 victims but none of them were life-threatening. To prevent food poisoning, a major scheme for pork management, identification and traceability at Hoc Mon and Binh Dien wholesale markets has been carried out on a trial basis.
The municipal authorities also have plans to organize training courses this year to equip food producers and traders with best food safety practices.
HCMC supports small- medium sized & startup enterprises
Center for the Ho Chi Minh City Trade and Investment Promotion and Institute for Cadre Development of HCMC yesterday co-signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on long- term cooperation to train and support small- medium sized and startup enterprises.
Cooperative contents include training programs to improve knowledge and skills in the fields of business, export- import, trade and investment promotion, market researching and development…
The MoU will take effect in five years of 2017- 2020.
Tourists to Da Nang by sea up 30 percent
The number of tourists visiting Da Nang city by sea has increased 30 percent since the beginning of this year.
According to the central city’s tourism authorities, the Da Nang port has welcomed 30 ships with nearly 65,000 passengers and crew members.
The number of tourists to Da Nang by sea recovered in 2016 following two years of decline. Last year, the city welcomed 70 ships with more than 136,000 tourists and crew members, a 2.6-fold increase from 2015.
Da Nang developed new tours and services to better serve tourists like forming a tourism cyclo and improving service quality in the Champ Museum, Ngu Hanh Son, and Hai Van Pass.
Da Nang port was upgraded to accommodating big cruise ships as well.
Da Nang hopes to welcome 95 cruise ships and about 160,000 passengers and crew in 2017.
Ford to train more women employees in Asian market
Ford, the US automobile manufacturer, plans to step up its efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including an increased focus on recruiting and training women employees to gain an edge in the battle for talent in fast-growing Asia markets, including Vietnam.
The company has announced that in the past five years it has grown the number of woman working in its operation across Asia Pacific by more than 125 percent and increased the number of woman in senior leadership roles.
“Women have been traditionally underrepresented in the auto industry, especially in Asia, and we see that as a massive untapped opportunity,” said Dave Schoch, President of Ford Asia Pacific.
“Recruiting and retaining the best talent is a big challenge in Asia. Increasing women in our workforce is not only the right thing to do; it's key to winning in China and other fast-growing Asia Pacific markets.”
A Nathan Associates study in 2016, APEC Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics), found that women and girls across the 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum encountered stereotypes and other cultural constraints that discouraged them from aspiring to careers and leadership in STEM or STEAM fields.
To address this, Ford has been investing in STEAM programmes in India, China and Australia since 2014, and is looking to expand this support to other Asia Pacific markets.
As part of Ford’s Better World effort, the goal is to encourage young men and women to cultivate an interest in STEAM fields and keep them engaged throughout the education process, from early years to senior school and university.
For International Women’s Day on March 8, Ford is holding a number of special events across Asia Pacific, including Vietnam, to celebrate and recognise the many contributions of its women leaders and employees.
From engineers to designers, they are involved in every aspect of the company, upholding Ford’s commitment to quality and customer experience.
SCG acquires construction material operations in Vietnam
SCG, a leading business conglomerate in the ASEAN region, announced today (Mar. 8) that it has acquired the assets of Vietnam Construction Materials Company, Ltd. for US$156 million.
The acquisition is highly aligned with our strategic goal to establish leadership positions in resilient, attractive markets and further enhance our mix of vertically integrated operations, said SCG in a prepared statement.
We plan to create a more efficient operating dynamic in Vietnam by combining the efforts of this separately owned business into one cohesive SCG unit. Additionally, the purchase provides a highly strategic platform to capitalize on leading market positions and growing regional demand to serve as a supplier of choice.
26th ASEAN Exchanges CEOs meeting held
ASEAN Exchanges convened this past weekend in Bali, Indonesia, for the 26th ASEAN Exchanges CEOs meeting, where they reaffirmed their collaboration in promoting ASEAN capital markets as an asset class.
The meeting is symbolic. as the seven ASEAN exchanges - Bursa Malaysia, the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange, the Indonesia Stock Exchange, the Philippine Stock Exchange, the Stock Exchange of Thailand, and the Singapore Exchange - met six years ago in Bali to formally introduce the ASEAN Exchanges collaboration.
Mr. Tito Sulistio, Chairman of the 26th ASEAN Exchanges CEOs Meeting, said: “The ASEAN Exchanges collaboration has made great strides forward since it was formalized in 2011 to foster greater diversity, innovation and investment opportunities. Trade value, market cap, and trading interests have all trended positively upwards in the years since its inception. Product innovations were systematically introduced every year in an effort to grow trade value and the quality of the ASEAN capital market product.”
In the last 12 months, ASEAN Exchanges collaboration ushered in the introduction of the ASEAN 5 FTSE4Good ESG Index and new MSCI ASEAN centric indices.
Mr. Sulistio added: “Today, growth in the seven exchanges of ASEAN and ASEAN-based intermediaries has exceeded expectations, by expanding from market-centric, domestic institutions to large regional intermediaries with an ASEAN focus. Compared with 2011, domestic-based investment banks and equity houses today have successfully transformed from country leaders into regional ASEAN leaders able to compete head on with some of the large global players.”
These institutions have defined efficient cross-border trade linkages within their own platforms and provided efficient inter-broker services to domestic-focused entities looking to expand their investments to ASEAN. Going forward, the collaboration will continue to introduce products and services, to catalyze new methods of streamlining access to and within ASEAN and build greater cross border harmonization.
The ASEAN Exchanges collaboration will continue to work with best-in-class partners from around the world to build greater liquidity among members in the region.
The ASEAN Exchanges CEOs reaffirmed the intention to continue to collaborate while focusing on harmonizing regulatory frameworks, facilitating the issuance of ASEAN products, the cross-exchange listing of ASEAN products, and mutual recognition of capital market professionals. These initiatives will be profiled through ASEAN Exchanges-driven marketing platforms within ASEAN as well as outside.
Bien Hoa-Vung Tau expressway to be constructed under BOT form
More than VND8.2 trillion will be invested to build the first stretch of an expressway connecting Bien Hoa City of Dong Nai Province and Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province.
According to Transport Engineering Design Inc. (TEDI), Bien Hoa-Vung Tau Expressway will have a total length of 46.8 km, of which 38 km will be developed in the first component of the project to link Bien Hoa City and Tan Thanh District of Ba Ria-Vung Tau. The remaining 8.8 km belongs to the second component and connects Tan Thanh and Cai Mep-Thi Vai port complex.
Build-operate-transfer (BOT) format has been chosen for the first component.
Project Management Unit 85 (PMU 85) under the Ministry of Transport has said it would complete procedures to begin work on the project in 2018.
With a maximum speed of 100 km per hour, Bien Hoa-Vung Tau expressway will help improve traffic in the southeastern region and facilitate cargo movement from HCMC, Dong Nai and Binh Duong to Cai Mep-Thi Vai port complex and vice versa.
When in place, the expressway would help reduce traffic National Highway 51, which is currently the artery between Bien Hoa and Vung Tau cities.
Business to get free tax help
The HCMC Tax Department will soon establish a division responsible for assisting newly established businesses to prepare, file and pay taxes.
Nguyen Nam Binh, vice director of the department, told the Daily that each of the communication and taxpayer support offices of 24 district tax bureaus citywide would also have such a tax help division.
Those divisions are mandated to provide timely assistance for startups and household businesses converted into companies to prepare, file and pay taxes.
The city has thousands of newly established businesses a month. The city government also encourages household businesses to upgrade themselves into companies as part of a broader scheme to boost the number of enterprises in the city to half a million by 2020.
Three more groups of items join billion-dollar export club
An additional three groups of items brought export revenue of more than US$1 billion each in the first two months of 2017, according to data of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
They are machinery, equipment and tools; vehicles and vehicle parts; and wood and timber products.
Machinery, equipment and tools brought total export revenue of US$1.92 billion while vehicles and vehicle parts registered export sales of US$1.05 billion and the last group obtained over US$1 billion in January-February, the Vietnam News Agency reports.
January-February exports of the country rose by a staggering 15.4% year-on-year to US$27.3 billion. Of the figure, the domestic sector made up US$7.6 billion, up 12.2%, and foreign-invested enterprises accounted for US$19.7 billion (including crude oil), up 16.8% against the same period of last year.
In the year to end-February, export revenue from mobile phones and phone parts had amounted to around US$4.83 billion, a 2.6% year-on-year pickup. Textile-garment exports reached US$3.65 billion, jumping 12.2%.
According to the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), local enterprises have secured good export orders this year.
The period saw exports of computers, electronics and components in the first two months rising by 34.4% year-on-year to more than US$3.1 billion while export sales of footwear grew 10.7% year-on-year to around US$2 billion.
Overall, the seven sectors brought US$17.64 billion in export revenue in the two-month period, accounting for 64% of total exports.
AVC favors coconut leaf-shaped design for new airport terminal
The Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) has opted for the coconut leaf-shaped design for the passenger terminal of a new international airport in the southern province of Dong Nai.
ACV, the project’s investor, has asked the Ministry of Transport to seek approval from the Prime Minister for this design for Long Thanh International Airport’s passenger terminal, VnEconomy newspaper reports.
The design is inspired by the coconut leaf, the popular image of Vietnam’s countryside and riverine culture. Inside the departure lounge, the check-in counters would look like boats in the river in rural Vietnam.
Functional facilities would be developed in a way that creates vibrant space, greenery and interior landscape.
ACV said the design is simple in structure, so it would facilitate construction work and save cost. Like other international airports, materials for the interior and exterior of the terminal should meet the requirements for durability, aesthetics and technical characteristics.
Do Tat Binh, ACV’s deputy general director, said the corporation had finished the consultation process.
The airport would require a total of more than VND336.63 trillion (US$14.76 billion) and around 5,000 hectares of land. It would affect around 4,700 households in six communes in Long Thanh District.
Around 40 kilometers from HCMC and 30 kilometers from Bien Hoa City, the airport would handle 100 million passengers and five million tons of cargo a year when it is fully in place.
FWD introduces insurance coverage with few exclusions
FWD Vietnam Life Insurance Co Ltd on March 7 introduced a minimized list of two to six exclusions across all its insurance products, becoming the first life insurer in the country to provide the widest insurance coverage.
This is the shortest exclusion list in the industry. Usually a life insurance product has 10-15 terms of exclusion, even up to 20, making many customers hesitant to buy.
Anantharaman Sridharan, general director of FWD Vietnam, said, “We are proud to be the first life insurer in Vietnam to introduce the shortest and simplest list of insurance exclusions in the market, providing even better protection at no extra cost. Applying minimum exclusions enables our customers to follow their passions and live a life to the fullest.”
Ngo Trung Dung, acting secretary general of the Insurance Association of Vietnam, said these changes in FWD’ insurance exclusions are an important milestone for Vietnam’s life insurance sector. This development will make insurance products simpler and easier to understand and more relevant to local customers.
IR 50404 rice eases off record high
The price of low-grade rice IR 50404 in the Mekong Delta has slightly declined by VND100 to VND200 a kilo after it rose to a record high last week.
Nguyen Van Tai, a rice trader in Cai Lay District, Tien Giang Province, said IR 50404 is now priced at VND4,700-4,800 a kilo, down VND200 against last week. At Ba Dac market in Cai Be District of the same province, it has edged down by VND100 to VND6,900-7,000 a kilo.
Another rice trader in Cai Lay, Nguyen Thanh Hon, said the fresh type of IR 50404 was traded at VND4,900-5,000 a kilo last week but the current price is VND200 lower than that.
Despite the fall, IR 50404 is still VND200-300 higher than in the same period last year.
The director of a major rice exporting firm in the Mekong Delta said the quotas which the Philippine food authority issued for private traders to import rice from Thailand, Pakistan and Vietnam expired late last month.
News about this expiration has affected the rice price since the contracts which Vietnamese traders won from Philippine partners provided a major price and consumption boost.
However, Philippine traders have asked their government to extend their import contracts until end-March so that they could fulfill them. Approval for this proposal is not yet forthcoming but local rice exporters are still pinning hopes on it, which is a needed price support.
Another factor that has helped prevent the Vietnamese rice price from a nosedive is the Philippines will invite tenders for supply of Vietnamese and Thai rice through a government-to-government contract (G2G).
Thailand has agreed to sell 200,000 tons of rice to China which also consumes 30-35% of Vietnam’s annual rice export volume. Therefore, rice enterprises in Vietnam can still have export opportunities elsewhere.
ACV prepares 5-year investment plan
Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) has announced an investment plan for five years (2016-2020) with capital of VND31.6 trillion ($1.4 billion).
It will focus investment in airports that have high growth potential for tourism and play an important role in national security. Infrastructure will be upgraded at airports such as Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, and Da Nang International Airport.
ACV also plans to expand aircraft aprons and hangars at Tan Son Nhat, Da Nang, Noi Bai, Lien Khuong, Buon Me Thuot, Can Tho, and Con Dao airports.
It submitted the plan to the Ministry of Transport and is waiting for approval from the government. Last year it proposed an increase to aviation service charges this year, which would mainly affect passengers of domestic flights leaving or arriving at Tan Son Nhat, Noi Bai, Cam Ranh, Phu Quoc, Vinh and Phu Bai airports. The plan, however, has not yet been approved.
The Vietnamese Government has recently granted permission to Aeroports de Paris (ADP) to buy 20 per cent of ACV and become its strategic partner. The contract is expected to be finalized shortly.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc met Mr. Augustin de Romanet de Beaune, Chairman and CEO of ADP, last week and pledged to create favorable conditions for the strategic partnership.
ACV needs to raise capital to improve Vietnam’s airport infrastructure. It is expected to invest $16 billion in building Long Thanh International Airport in Dong Nai province over the next decade to ease overloading at Tan Son Nhat. ADP has also expressed interest in investing in the project.
ACV’s chartered capital stands at VND21.7 trillion ($951 million). It expects to list 2.1 billion shares on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HoSE) later this year.
In November last year it entered the Unlisted Public Company (UPCoM) market under the code ACV, with a total of 2.18 billion shares and a registered stock value of more than VND21.7 trillion ($976.5 million).
ACV is a joint stock company operating under the form of the parent - subsidiary company, with the State holding a majority stake. In October 2015, the government approved its equitization plan, with State ownership to fall to 75 per cent. In March this year it held its first shareholders meeting.
It is the largest enterprise by charter capital on UPCoM and manages 22 airports throughout the country, of which seven are international and 15 domestic, with 21 being directly managed by the corporation, and it also has a range of joint ventures with other companies.
Nghi Son Economic Zone to be expanded
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved the expansion of the Nghi Son Economic Zone (EZ) in the central province of Thanh Hoa through 2035, with a vision to 2050.
The zone will cover 106,000 hectares, encompassing the entire area of the old Nghi Son EZ, the remainder area of Tinh Gia district and several communes of Nong Cong and Nhu Thanh districts.
The expansion aims to make Nghi Son EZ a dynamic economic development area in the south of the Northern Key Economic Zone.
The Nghi Son EZ is also expected to be an attractive destination for investment and a regional transit centre, ensuring economic development and national security.
It is hoped to become a multi-sector industrial complex focusing on petrochemical refineries and basic industries as well as building deep seaports and a human resources training centre.
The main goals from now to 2025 include improving the investment environment and constructing socio-economic infrastructure to attract investors.
After 2025, the EZ will develop industry, services, trade, finance, culture and society, eco-tourism and resorts, and green urban models.
The PM called for clear assessment of the role, position, potential, and development of the EZ.
The planning scheme is built in accordance with Government Decree No/44/2015/ND-CP dated May 6, 2015 on construction planning.
The Nghi Son EZ, established in mid-2006, is about 200 kilometres to the south of the capital city of Hanoi.
It also houses the Nghi Son seaport and the Nghi Son Oil Refinery and Petrochemical Complex – the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia.
Reference exchange rate goes up 12 VND
The daily reference exchange rate for VND/USD was set at 22,258 VND per USD on March 9, up 12 VND from the day before.
With the current +/- 3 percent VND/USD trading band, the ceiling exchange rate is 22,925 VND per USD and the floor rate is 21,591 VND per USD.
The opening hour rates at commercial banks saw strong fluctuations.
Vietcombank listed its rates at 22,790 VND (buying) and 22,860 VND (selling) per USD, both up 40 VND from March 8.
BIDV raised both its rates by 25 VND, to 22,780 VND (buying) and 22,850 VND (selling) per USD.
Meanwhile, Techcombank cut both its rates by 20 VND, listing the buying rate at 22,740 VND and the selling rate at 22,840 VND per USD.
Electricity of Vietnam to gauge consumer satisfaction
The Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) Group said that it plans to sign an agreement with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) to gauge consumer satisfaction.
The EVN said, in January 2017, it began supplying electricity used for daily life to 20,000 new customers in urban areas, 45,000 customers in rural areas and for production to over 16,000 customers.
In the two past months, the EVN’s customer care centres received and dealt with more than 252,700 requests from customers.
According to the EVN, in March, the system’s average transferred electricity output is 536 million kWh per day.
In the two months, the group’s total electricity output, including purchased power, was 26.56 billion kWh, up 7.4 percent from the same period last year, of which hydroelectricity accounted for 35.8 percent, coal-fueled thermal power 39.7 percent and gas-fueled turbines 23.3 percent.
Commercial electricity output exceeded 25 billion kWh, an increase of 8.1 percent, of which electricity for industry and construction increased by 10.6 percent, electricity for business and production rose by 6.7 percent and agriculture climbed by17.9 percent, management and consumption up 4.5 percent.
The EVN also worked with the General Department of Irrigation to release 4.67 billion cu.m of water to serve the winter-spring crop agricultural production for midland and Red River Delta provinces.
ROS, HBC, DXG Added to FTSE Vietnam Index in Q1 Review
FTSE recently announced it will add ROS, HBC and DXG to its FTSE Vietnam Index in the first quarterly review of 2017.
FTSE, a London-based provider of indexes, late on March 3 announced that it would add three tickers FLC Faros Construction (ROS), Hoa Binh Construction (HBC) and Đat Xanh Real Estate Service & Construction (DXG) to its FTSE Vietnam Index in the first quarterly review of 2017.
FTSE, in the meantime, will remove five other Vietnamese stocks namely KDC, PVT, PDR, HVG and HQC from the basket for calculation of the index.
FTSE Vietnam Index is the underlying index for db x-trackers FTSE Vietnam UCITS ETF, run by Deutsche Bank, one of the two most active foreign-run ETFs in Viet Nam.
The changes will be applied after the close of business on Friday, 17 March 2017 and will be effective on Monday, 20 March 2017, FTSE said in a statement.
Together with Hoang Huy Investment Financial Services (TCH), ROS was also added to the FTSE Vietnam All-Share Index while Hung Vương JSC (HVG) and real estate developer HQC were deleted.
According to Saigon Securities (SSI) and BIDV Securities (BSC), FTSE Vietnam UCITs ETF would buy in between 4 million and 4.7 million shares of ROS to refresh its portfolio.
US-based MSCI Inc on February 10 included ROS and brewer Sabeco (SAB) into the basket for calculation of the MSCI Frontier Markets Index.
The stock price of ROS ended down 0.6 per cent at VND167,000 (US$7.32) per share on Wednesday, up 12.15 per cent from the close on February 28.
Furnishing, handicrafts fair opens in HCM City
A wide range of indoor and outdoor furniture, handicrafts, and interior furnishing and accessories are on display at the 2017 Viet Nam International Furniture and Home Accessories Fair (VIFA-EXPO 2017) that opened in HCM City on March 8.
This year the number of exhibitors has increased by 23 per cent to 313 and the number of booths by 24 per cent to 1,532, Nguyen Quoc Khanh, chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (Hawa), said.
Vietnamese and overseas firms based here account for a third of the exhibitors while the rest are foreign.
The number of foreign firms has gone up by 72 per cent. They are from 14 countries and territories, including Singapore, Taiwan, the US, Australia, Canada, China, and Italy, and have brought 100 brands, he said.
To serve international visitors, expected to number 4,500, the association has turned to the HCM City Tourism Association for assistance with hotels, transport, visas, travel, and other arrangements, Khanh said.
Inaugurating the event, Bui Huy Son, head of the Viet Nam Trade Promotion Agency, said despite intense competition and trade barriers Viet Nam Nam’s wood and wood product exports last year topped US$7 billion to remain among the country’s top 10 export items.
This was made possible by enterprises improving their production capacity and design and product quality and effective support from business groups and trade promotion agencies.
The fair offers an opportunity for trade promotion by bringing local and international companies together, he said.
A seminar on technical standards for wood glue quality was held on the opening day.
Organised by the city Department of Industry and Trade, Hawa, and Hawa Corporation, the fair at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre will go on until March 11.
Vietnamese high-quality goods fair opens in An Giang
A trade fair on Vietnamese high-quality goods organized organised by the Association of Vietnamese High-quality Goods Enterprises and the An Giang Province Trade and Investment Promotion Centre is currently underway.
The trade fair opened on the Tuesday evening of March 7 in Long Xuyen City, An Giang Province.
This fair, on until March 12, has on display high-quality goods of 150 Vietnamese enterprises at 350 pavilions, including consumer goods, electrical appliances, processed wooden products and machines for agriculture.
The organisation board also organized organised many other activities, including trade promotion activities and seminars to connect enterprises to develop special farming products in Viet Nam as well as in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta region.
An exhibition was held to present typical high-quality products produced by Vietnamese enterprises over the past 21 years to encourage further development of such products.
Delta raw shrimp prices soar
Prices of raw shrimp have been increasing rapidly in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta since early February when shrimp processors returned to work soon after Tet (Lunar New Year), according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
In major shrimp farming provinces such as Kien Giang, Ca Mau and Soc Trang, the price of thirty-pieces-per-kilo (ppk) size black tiger shrimp has risen by VND20,000 (90 US cents) per kilogramme to VND230,000-240,000.
The price of 40 ppk shrimp rose by VND10,000 to VND180,000-190,000.
White-legged shrimp prices have increased by similar levels to VND150,000-165,000 and VND140,000-150,000 for 50 and 60 ppk sizes.
The prices are expected to remain high or continue to rise until the peak harvest season three months from now.
Farmers are also preparing to begin a new brackish-water shrimp crop though activities have seen a downturn due to unpredictable weather, wide day-night temperature gaps and unseasonable rains that affect the water and cause possible shrimp disease outbreaks.
But despite all that the output of brackish-water shrimp is expected to be higher than last year.
Nearly 98 per cent of the country’s 448,000 hectares of brackish-water shrimp farms is in the delta.
Winners of furniture association annual design contest announced
Pham Quoc Trang has won the Hoa Mai Prize for furniture design in the annual contest organised by the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (Hanwa).
The HCM City-based freelance designer said his Oblique Collection is inspired by the texture trend.
Nguyen Hoang Nam and Nguyen Duc Huynh won the first and second runner-up prizes for their works titled Swing Armchair and Boat Desk.
The association also awards five consolation prizes to designs with the best functionality, marketability, aesthetics, creativity and uniqueness, and environment friendliness.
The winning works are on display at the four-day Viet Nam International Furniture and Home Accessories Fair that opened on March 8 at the Sai Gon Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Organised since 2002, the contest seeks to unearth new design talents for the furniture industry.
According to Hawa, many young designers who have taken part in the competition have since contributed significantly to the industry.
This year the competition attracted 251 entries from design schools, universities, furniture companies and freelance designers nationwide, and was sponsored by the American Hardwood Export Council and some Hawa member companies.
Vietnam, Australia strengthen cow-breeding cooperation
The Department of Animal Husbandry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) jointly held an Asian exhibition and conference on beef and dairy cattle, which opened in Ho Chi Minh City on March 8.
Addressing the opening of the event, Hoang Thanh Van, head of the Department of Animal Husbandry, noted the strong growth of cattle breeding in Vietnam, with an average 7.5 percent rise in the number of dairy cows and a 3-5 percent increase in beef cattle each year.
The breeding farms have been expanded in scale, he added.
However, Van said that the sector has satisfied only 6.5 percent of total domestic demand for beef and 36 percent of milk demand, resulting in a sharp increase in imported dairy and beef cattle, mostly from Australia.
Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Graig Chittick said that Australia and Vietnam have shared long-standing cooperation in cattle breeding in such forms as provision of breeding stock, transfer of breeding techniques and expert training.
He held that the cooperation and trade in this field between Australia and Vietnam as well as other countries in Asia is a foundation for maintaining sustainable supply chains of milk and beef amidst increasingly fierce competition.
The exhibition and conference is a good chance for Vietnamese management officials, scientists, enterprises and cow breeding farmers to access new products, services and technology of Australia’s livestock breeding sector.
During the two-day event, products serving livestock breeding will be showcased, while various workshops on breeding technology will be held.