BUSINESS NEWS 28/7

BUSINESS NEWS 28/7

Thaco launches promotion to celebrate Mazda 3’s 50,000 sales mark

Truong Hai Automobile Joint-Stock Company has sold 50,000 Mazda3 cars, which are the top selling model in the C segment this year.

To mark the occasion, the company has launched a promotion in July, which includes a discount of VND 30 million (US$ 1,300), a maintenance package worth VND20 million (US$ 870) for three years or 50,000km and car accessories worth VND20 million (US$ 870).

In Viet Nam, Mazda3 is distributed by Thaco in many versions, all equipped with G-Vectoring Control accelerator control system, high-class leather interiors, six-speed automatic transmission with integrated sports driving mode, electronic handbrake, alloy wheels, automatic headlights, automatic rainwalls, anti-glare mirrors, and Cruise Control automatic station system.

The version 2.0 comes with a high-end LED system and a multi-coloured HUD monitor system.

Mazda 3 also has a series of safety systems to offer absolute peace of mind to customers, including Dynamic Stability Control system, anti-lock braking system, electronic brake force distribution system, emergency signal system, emergency brake assist system, hill Launch assist system, traction control system, rear vehicle monitoring system, and six airbags.

With its technological advantages and conveniences, the Mazda3 appeals to various categories of customers, especially those who are dynamic, young and passionate about going through new experiences.

Motorcycle sales decreases in second quarter

Members of the Vietnam Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers witnessed sales of more than 749,500 units in the second quarter of this year, marking a decrease of 4.4 per cent from the same period last year.

The figures were recently released by the Vietnam Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (VAMM). The association has five members: Honda Vietnam, Yamaha Motor Vietnam, Suzuki Vietnam, Piaggio Vietnam and SYM Vietnam.

VAMM members offer a wide range of products from domestic assembly to imports, including manual motorbikes, scooters and motorbikes with high engine displacement. Each product has several versions priced from VND18 million (US$772) to VND1.2 billion, depending on the model and brand.

The range ensures domestic consumers have ample options when looking to buy a motorbike.

The VAMM sales figures do not represent the total sales of the domestic market because they do not include other imported brand names that are not members of the association such as Kymco, Ducati, Kawasaki, BMW, KTM, Benelli, Harley Davidson, Triumph, Royal Enfield and Motorrad.

The Vietnamese motorcycle market also has the newly launched VinFast brand with two versions of its Klara electric motorbike going on sale from November 20 last year. VinFast is not a member of VAMM.

According to insiders, the market is considered to very saturated but still has potential. The association's reduced second quarter sales numbers could be due to the increased participation of non-member brands in the market.

Speaking at a recent conference reviewing motorbike sales in Ha Noi, President of VAMM Keisuke Tsuruzono said that in the 2019 fiscal year (from April 2018 to March 2019), there were 3.37 million vehicles sold, an increase of 2.7 per cent compared to the previous fiscal year.

Sales of Honda Vietnam reached 2.56 million vehicles, up 7.6 per cent compared to fiscal year 2018 and accounting for 76.8 per cent of the total.

Honda Vietnam successfully opened its first Honda Moto store in HCM City this year and has expanded to other provinces and cities. It has also introduced 18 models of motorcycles and new versions of motorbikes with larger engines to satisfy domestic consumers.

In the recent meeting, Chairman and General Director of Piaggio Vietnam cum Executive Vice President of Asia Pacific Gianluca Fiume told local media that the company’s business result revealed double-digit growth in sales. The biggest contribution came from the Piaggio Medley and the high-end Vespa GTS.

According to Fiume the Vietnamese motorbike market has clearly polarised into separate affordable and high-end segments. Many people now see their vehicles are more than just a means of transportation; scooters show the class of the vehicle and the owner.

Viet Nam’s economy has been rapidly developing, improving incomes and leading to increased sales of high-end scooters.

In the future, the high-end segment is likely to grow faster than the rest of the motorbike market. This is why, 10 years ago, Piaggio set a target to turn Piaggio Vietnam into the main production and trade centre in the Asia-Pacific region to serve Vietnamese consumers and export markets.

Development of domestic agricultural sector crucial: Prime Minister

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc wants Viet Nam to become one of the world's top farming nations in the next decade, according to a Government's resolution issued recently.

"In the next 10 years, Viet Nam must be among the top 15 countries with the most developed agriculture in the world, with the domestic agricultural processing industry standing at the top 10 in the world,” the PM said in a resolution published on the Government's news website chinhphu.vn.

He said "Agriculture is one of three key economic sectors that Viet Nam needs to focus on developing, besides information technology and tourism".

Viet Nam would be a global farming deep-processing centre and a logistics centre of the global agricultural trade, he said.

He said the key was developing enterprises investing in agriculture and a good legal system.

To that end, the Government wants 80,000 to 100,000 businesses having effective investment in agriculture by 2030.

Officials expect growth of 3 per cent per year in farming, forestry and fishery production value and 6-8 per cent in farming, forestry and fishery export value by 2030.

To achieve these goals, the Government has issued a resolution on tasks to improve institutions, reform administrative procedures, reduce barriers to business in agriculture and improve State management.

According to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong, the agricultural sector has recorded great achievements in recent years.

However Viet Nam's economic productivity is still low mainly due to small scale agricultural production. In addition, the local farming sector faces fierce competition in the global market.

The minister said his ministry would continue to improve institutions and focus on administrative reforms.

The industry would restructure the agricultural sector and develop production structure according to key groups of farming products.

Key products needed to develop under value chains, prioritising products with export potential such as forest, seafood, rice and fruit, Cuong said.

The Government needed to complete institutions, reform administrative procedures and remove difficulties for businesses and farmers, he said.

This would help millions of farming households connect with businesses, creating close ties between production and processing, he said.

The State should create the best conditions for large-scale agricultural production, the mechanisation of agricultural production and use of high technology in agriculture.

It should also have policies to draw investment in developing the agriculture and rural infrastructure and support services for agriculture.

Currently, many large businesses have developed projects in the agricultural sector, including 50,000 businesses investing in production, processing and consumption of farming products and providing services for agriculture.

However, few businesses are in production chains and only 5 per cent of the businesses have achieved VietGAP certificates.

Viet Nam spent $11.4 billion on material imports in first half of year

Viet Nam spent US$11.4 billion to import materials for garment and textile production in the first half of the year, up 5.6 per cent from the same period last year, according to Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS).

Cotton imports reached $1.52 billion, fibre $1.23 billion, fabric $6.75 billion and auxiliary materials $1.89 billion.

VITAS said in the six months, the world economy slowed due to political fluctuations and conflicts, especially protection policies and escalating trade war.

This has significantly affected exports of textile and garment products, especially the yarn industry as inventories in some businesses have increased sharply, according to VITAS.

The country’s garment and textile sector earned $18 billion from exports, an 8.61 per cent year-on-year increase.

The figure included $14.02 billion of clothing and $1.02 billion of fabrics, up 8.71 per cent and 29.9 per cent respectively.

Local garment and textile producers have faced challenges in production and trading.

The association’s vice president Truong Van Cam said the number of orders in the first half of 2019 was equivalent to 70 per cent of the figure in the same period last year. In particular, consumption of yarn and raw materials faced many difficulties because the main export market China cut import volume. Meanwhile, garment products also experienced a drop in orders.

In 2018, by the middle of the year, many large enterprises in the industry had orders until the end of the year, but they now have orders with small quantities and signed by month. Many big buyers across the world are concerned that the US-China trade war will escalate, so orders are divided into small ones instead of large quantities.

The US remained the biggest buyer, accounting for 47 per cent of total orders. It was followed by member states of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with 17 per cent, the EU at 13 per cent and South Korea with 9 per cent.

Pham Xuan Hong, chairman of HCM City Textile and Garment – Embroidery Association said export growth of 8.61 per cent in the first half of the year was low compared with that of 2018, due to a lack of labourers and increasing production costs.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the EVFTA would help the export turnover of Viet Nam to the EU increase by 20 per cent by 2020; 42.7 per cent by 2025 and 44.37 per cent by 2030. However, the agreement was signed in June and it's unclear when it will take effect.

Experts said to maximise benefits of the EVFTA, the country should pay attention to developing the weaving and support industry for the garment and textile sector to reduce dependency on imported materials.

Vietnam steps up international audit cooperation

Auditor General of the State Audit of Vietnam (SAV) Ho Duc Phoc had a meeting with Auditor General of the Chinese National Audit Office (CNAO) Hu Zejun on July 22 in the framework of the 54th Asian Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) Governing Board Meeting in Kuwait.

As the CNAO is an important and traditional partner of the SAV, Phoc hoped both audit offices will continue collaboration in accordance with bilateral and multilateral cooperation frameworks, including enhancing delegation exchanges in IT auditing, big data auditing, IT application in auditing, environmental auditing, and auditing of economic responsibility, among others.

The SAV wants to receive further support and closer coordination from the Chinese side at multilateral forums, he said, wishing leaders of both audit agencies would hold regular meetings to boost collaboration as Vietnam is assuming the chairmanship, and China is holding the role as General Secretary of the ASOSAI during 2018-2021.

The move will help both sides successfully carry out the ASOSAI Strategic Plan for the term 2018-2021, and the Hanoi Declaration on Environmental Auditing for sustainable development.

Phoc stressed Vietnam expects to receive China’s endorsement for the country’s membership at the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI)’s governing board for the 2019-2025 tenure.

For her part, Hu Zejun affirmed her office will continue collaborative activities with the Vietnamese office as well as organise exchanges of experts and training courses in the fields of their interests.

The CNAO stands ready to share experience with Vietnam in improving capacity for auditors, she added.

Following the meeting, both officials signed a Memorandum of Understanding to consolidate and step up cooperation framework as well as effective collaboration in public auditing based on equality, mutual benefits and complying with regulations in each country.

The same day, Phoc met with President of Kuwait’s State Audit Bureau (SAB) Adel Al-Sarawi, during which Phoc congratulated the SAB on its 55th anniversary, and thanked SAB for supporting Vietnam to host the 54th ASOSAI Governing Board Meeting, creating a venue for the members to discuss measures to carry out the Hanoi Declaration and build the ASOSAI strategic plan for new tenure.

Phoc expressed his hope that both sides will have more cooperative activities in oil and gas auditing, IT auditing and mining auditing.

Reviewing the success of the 14th ASOSAI Assembly, Adel Al-Sarawi said the Hanoi Declaration is an important document, outlining specific tasks to build stable relations between the two audit agencies and among ASOSAI members as a whole.

Touching on challenges and advantages in auditing, he said both sides will continue research to re-sign their cooperative agreement, organise delegation exchanges in the auditing fields of their strengths.

Thanh Hoa promotes investment, trade, tourism in Moscow

Vietnamese and Russian firms attended the 2019 Thanh Hoa investment, trade and tourism promotion conference held in Moscow on July 22 as part of the Vietnam Year in Russia and the Russia Year in Vietnam.

Addressing the event, Vietnamese Ambassador in Russia Ngo Duc Manh showed his delight at the growth of the Vietnam-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership as well as the direct cooperation between localities of both sides.

He held that the conference will help the two sides have deeper understanding of each other’s potential and strengths, thus discovering new cooperation opportunities, contributing to deepening the bilateral ties between the two countries.

Meanwhile, Vice President of the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry Suren Vardanyan said that Moscow pays special attention to expanding collaboration with Vietnam and Thanh Hoa province in particular, especially in economy, trade, health care, tourism, renewable energy and vocational training.

He thanked the Vietnamese Government for supporting trade and investment promotion activities with Russia, and lauded the Hanoi-Moscow multi-functional complex (Incentra)’s role in connecting businesses of both sides.

Russian Ambassador to Vietnam K. Vnukov said that Thanh Hoa is one of the Vietnamese localities with strengths in industry and agriculture, and a promising destination for foreign firms.

He pledged that the embassies of both countries will work hard to help their enterprises seek partnership opportunities in areas of mutual interest.

For his part, Trinh Van Chien, Secretary of the Thanh Hoa Party Committee underscored that the conference is an opportunity for the province to introduce its people and land to Russian friends, while marking a new milestone in cooperation between Thanh Hoa and Russia.

Head of the Vietnamese Business Association in Russia Le Truong Son said that the association is ready to connect businesses of the two countries towards a target of 10 billion USD in two-way trade in 2020.

Within the conference’s framework, a number of memoranda of understand were signed among businesses of Vietnam and Russia in tourism, culture, trade promotion, construction and investment.

Best time for Australian investors to enter Vietnam: dialogue

Opportunities for Australian firms to invest in Vietnam have never been better than now when the Southeast Asian economy is growing rapidly, said participants at a Vietnam-Australia business dialogue held in Sydney on July 22.

In his opening speech, Vietnamese Ambassador to Australia Ngo Huong Nam expressed his delights at the two nations’ trade growth, which averaged 12 percent in the past decade, the highest recorded between Australia and an ASEAN member state.

He said 2019 has all needed conditions for the ties to thrive, mentioning the Vietnam – Australia strategic partnership agreement as well as the recently-taking-effect Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific (CPTPP) that both are members.

The diplomat noted the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZAFTA) that came into force in 2010, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), whose negotiations are likely to end this year, are driving force to propel the bilateral trade forward.

Nam urged Vietnamese and Australian firms to seize opportunities to turn the two countries’ sound political relations into practical economic benefits.

Bui Van Khanh, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Vietnam’s Hoa Binh province, said local authorities will offer an open business climate and highest preferential tax levels for investors in line with the law.

He introduced Hoa Binh’s sectors most favoured for investment attraction including support industry, clean agriculture, eco- and cultural tourism, and infrastructure development.

Leading Vietnamese companies like TMS group, Dai Nam Son and FPT group took the occasion to showcase their strengths and call for cooperation from their Australian peers in real estate, trade, tourism, education, and IT.

Participating Australian firms said they want to know more about Vietnam’s business climate and investment opportunities.

Byron Patching, cofounder of the Australian-based XAct Solutions, said now is among best times to invest in Vietnam, particularly in real estate, shopping and tourism.

In 2018, Vietnam – Australia trade surpassed 7.7 billion USD, up 19 percent on year. Currently, Vietnam is the 15th biggest trade partner of Australia, while Australia is Vietnam’s 7th largest trade partner.

Australia is directly investing in about 400 projects in Vietnam worth over 2 billion USD. Meanwhile, the number of Vietnamese-funded projects in Australia has so far amounted to some 50, with total value exceeding 500 million USD.

HCM City to host Vietnam M&A Forum in August

The Vietnam M&A forum 2019, an annual event of mergers and acquisitions for domestic and foreign enterprises, will return in its 11th edition at GEM Conference Centre in Ho Chi Minh City on August 6.

The event has been co-organised by Vietnam Investment Review (VIR) and AVM Vietnam since 2009 under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

At a press conference held in Hanoi on July 23, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Vo Thanh Thong said Vietnam is promoting M&A activities in tandem with privatisation of state-owned enterprises in various sectors like transportation, infrastructure, food, agriculture, telecommunications, trade, service, tourism, and construction.

Themed “Going for breakthrough”, this year event looks to evaluate, analyse and seek solutions to improving legal frameworks for M&A activities, ensuring sound development of the M&A market while reducing negative impacts of the M&A deals.

The forum will serve as a bridge to connect domestic and foreign investors as well as create favourable conditions for foreign capital to run into the country, Thong stressed.

Main activities at the Vietnam M&A Forum 2019 include a seminar on M&A, award ceremony for best M&A deals, intensive training course on M&A, and special issuance “Overview of Vietnam’s M&A market 2019”.

After a decade of strong growth with thousands of M&A transactions worth nearly 50 billion USD, the M&A market has entered a new era with various opportunities.

Value of M&A deals in 2018 totalled 7.64 billion USD, or 74.9 percent of 2017. In the first half of 2019, M&A transactions were worth 1.9 billion USD, accounting for 53 percent of the amount recorded in the same time last year.

Remarkable transactions were in consumer finance, retail sale, seafood, logistics and education.

Unlike 2017 that Vietnam lured a huge amount of capital from Thailand through M&A, the year 2018 saw the dominant presence of investors from Singapore, Hong Kong (China), the Republic of Korea and Japan. Particularly, the Korean-based SK Group’s M&A deal with Vingroup, worth billions of US dollars, made up 25.64 percent of the total M&A value from July 2018 to July 2019.

Experts said M&A value can reach 6.7 billion USD in 2019, or 88.16 percent of the figure in the previous year.

State-owned blue chips not right for covered warrants

Securities companies participating in the new covered warrant market may find it less attractive to trade covered warrants of large-cap State-owned companies due to their low free-floating ratios.

Covered warrants are a new investment tool that allows holders to buy or sell a specific amount of equities, currency or other financial instruments, usually to or from a bank or similar financial institution, at a specified price and time. The underlying assets could also be stocks, commodities or indices. They offer lower investment costs and higher leverage ability than conventional financial products, and are expected to help investors limit losses and make higher profits.

A firm's free float ratio is the percentage of outstanding shares that are available for trading on the stock market. The higher a company's free-float ratio is, the more attractive the shares are to investors and the less vulnerable they are to price manipulation, tinnhanhchungkhoan.vn reported.

In addition, securities companies are accountable for hedging risks when issuing covered warrants for the selected companies’ stocks. Therefore, any stock with a high free-float ratio and large number of shareholders will have a more attractive and safer covered warrant.

 

Large-cap State-owned companies are becoming less attractive to investors because of their low free float ratios.

Having a large portion of shares owned by the State makes companies vulnerable to big deals, so they have a large impact on the stock market. Minority shareholders are rarely able to influence the way a company is run, limiting the quality of corporate governance and efficiency and making their shares less suitable to be traded on the covered warrant market.

The new covered warrant market was launched on June 28. Sixteen covered warrants of six listed stocks, including dairy producer Vinamilk (VNM), Phu Nuan Jewellery JSC (PNJ), steel producer Hoa Phat (HPG), Military Bank (MBB), retailer Mobile World (MWG) and tech group FPT (FPT), are being traded on the new market.

Those private equity firms may not have the biggest volumes of listed shares or the biggest market values but they have very high ratios of free-float shares, which makes it easier for investors to trade their shares and covered warrants. FPT has a free float ratio of 78.97 percent. The numbers for PNJ, WMG and MBB are 78.14 percent, 62.81 percent and 57.17 percent, respectively.

At the moment, 26 of the 30 largest stocks by market capitalisation and trading liquidity in the VN30 basket are eligible for covered warrant trading.

Those 20 other firms meet the guidelines but have not yet had their covered warrants issued by securities firms. If the first covered warrants are successful, the other 20 will likely be issued soon.

To be traded on the covered warrant market, a stock must be a large-cap in the VN30 basket, have a high daily average trading volume and a minimum free float ratio of 20 percent.

The four other blue chips – Vietcombank (VCB), Vietinbank (CTG), brewer Sabeco (SAB) and PetroVietnam Gas (GAS) – are not yet available because their free-float ratios are below 10 percent.

The State, through the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PVN or PetroVietnam) is the major shareholder in PV Gas, holding a 95.76 percent stake. Major shareholders in Vietcombank, Vietinbank and Sabeco own at least 90 percent of each company.

But after the VN30 basket review by the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange takes effect on August 8, the number of large-cap firms’ stocks available for covered warrant trading will be reduced to 24.

The bourse last week announced that Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BID) and insurance group Bao Viet (BVH) will be added to the VN30 basket to replace DHG Pharmaceutical JSC (DHG) and HCM City Infrastructure Investment JSC (CII).

But BID and BVH will not be eligible for covered warrant trading for the same reason as Vietcombank, Vietinbank, Sabeco and PV Gas.

The State Bank of Vietnam is the biggest shareholder in BIDV, holding a 95.28 percent stake, while the Ministry of Finance and the Japanese group Sumitomo Life hold 89.5 percent of Bao Viet.

HCM City to host food-beverage, packing, medi-pharm expos

Three international exhibitions on food and beverage; packing; and medical and pharmaceutical products are set to take place in Ho Chi Minh City in early August.

The 23rd edition of the International Exhibition on Food and Beverage (Vietfood & Beverage 2019) and the International Exhibition on Food Processing, Packing Technology and Equipment (VietFood & Beverage – ProPack 2019) will be held from August 7 to 10.

As many as 550 firms will introduce their products at about 650 stands at the events, including eight national pavilions of India, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, China and host Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the 2019 Vietnam Medi-Pharm Expo in HCM City will be held from August 1-3.

This year, the expo will feature 450 pavilions of more than 400 firms from 35 countries and territories.

According to the organisers, various trade promotions will be arranged within the framework of the expo, including symposiums; business networking and a special programme for VIP buyers, which is hoped to attract about 15,000 customers.

Airlines important factor in Vietnam’s tourism growth: VNAT

More airlines joining the Vietnam’s aviation market and improved airport infrastructure have greatly contributed to the increasing number of foreign and domestic tourists, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

Vietnam is among the world’s fastest growing aviation markets in the recent decade with an average rate of 17.4 percent, the International Air Transport Association has asserted.

The country is home to 28 airports, including 10 international ones.

As many as 68 foreign airlines from 28 countries and territories across the five continents are operating regular international flights to Vietnam. They, together with five Vietnamese airlines, are operating 130 regular international routes and charter flights from/to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, and Hai Phong, among others.

Notably, the VNAT revealed that tourist arrivals from Thailand recorded a year-on-year jump of 45.5 percent in the first six months of 2019.

The surge is attributable to various new direct flights linking Vietnam’s famous tourist attractions of Phu Quoc, Da Nang and Da Lat and Thailand’s destinations of Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket, according to experts.

Thailand is now among the 10 largest sources of holidaymakers to Vietnam, while China and the Republic of Korea remain the biggest.

Kien Giang province to sign deals at investment promotion conference

Kien Giang will sign a number of Memoranda of Understanding and cooperation deals with nearly 20 business and investment organisations and associations in various fields such as agriculture, industry, trade, and tourism at an investment promotion conference which will be held in the Mekong Delta province on July 29.

The information was released at a press conference in Rach Gia city on July 23 to introduce the investment promotion conference.

Themed “Kien Giang – Potential and opportunity for sustainable investment”, the event is expected to draw 500 delegates, including senior officials from the government and some cities and provinces as well as domestic and foreign investors and businesses.

Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Pham Vu Hong said the conference is an important event to introduce the province’s potential, advantages, mechanisms, policies, planning schemes, and prioritised investment projects, mainly in clean agriculture, high-tech agriculture, organic agriculture, aquaculture, and farm produce processing technology.

The province pledges to create investment opportunities for businesses to make effective use of investment in the fields of local strengths, he said.

Kien Giang is calling for investment in developing tourism, industry, trade, Ha Tien border economic zone, building urban areas - especially marine urban, and treating waste and sewage, Hong said.

Kien Giang will provide investors a list of 118 investment projects in the province, he added.

The provincial authorities will grant investment licenses to nearly 20 investors with a total registered capital of over 30 trillion VND (1.29 billion USD).

Individuals and organisations with remarkable contributions to the local socio-economic development will be honoured at the event.

Over 491 million USD invested in processing farm produce in H1

Over 11.4 trillion VND (491.3 million USD) was poured into 11 projects of agricultural product processing in the first half of 2019, according the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Since 2018, over 20 trillion VND was invested in processing agricultural products with 30 projects being operational nationwide. They are hoped to create a breakthrough in processing and exporting farm produce.

In the first half of this year, as many as 1,634 agro-forestry-aquaculture enterprises were established, lifting the total of enterprises operating in the agricultural field to nearly 11,000.

Large-scale firms such as Vinamilk, Nafoods, TH, Dabaco Vietnam, Masan, Lavifood, Ba Huan and Bien Dong have promoted investment into high-tech application in production and business.

Head of the MARD’s Department of Planning Nguyen Van Viet said the ministry is directing the implementation of a project to improve the value of agro-forestry-aquaculture products in processing and reducing post-harvest losses.

Attention has been paid to enhancing deep processing of products with great market advantages and promoting product restructuring to increase added value.

The MARD will continue to support and facilitate the construction and operation of large-scale and modern processing plants of vegetables, fruits and livestock products in 2019, including a hi-tech breeding-dairy cows and milk processing plant worth 3.8 trillion VND (over 163.7 million USD) in the central province of Thanh Hoa.

Vietnam imports over 75,400 cars in first half of 2019

Vietnam imported a total of 75,437 assembled cars in the first six months of 2019, six times more than in the same period last year, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

The value of imported cars also increased by more than five times during the January-June period, reaching 1.63 billion USD.

Of the imported cars, 54,927 vehicles were nine-seat cars or smaller, up six-fold year-on-year, and 17,879 were trucks, also up more than six-fold.

In June alone, a total of 10,540 cars were imported with a total value of 254 million USD, a year-on-year increase of 26.5 percent.

Thailand was the biggest source of cars imported into Vietnam last month with 7,575 units. It was followed by Indonesia with 1,468 and China with 653.

Vietnam also imported 274 cars from the Republic of Korea and 150 vehicles from Japan. These five markets accounted for 96 percent of all vehicle imports into Vietnam in June.

Vietnam imported 7,145 cars with nine seats or fewer in June, worth a total of 136.9 million USD, accounting for 67.8 percent of its total automobile imports.

There were 2,731 trucks imported worth a total of 77.1 million USD and 654 vehicles with special purposes worth 40.3 million USD.

June also saw Vietnam purchase 291 million USD worth of car components, down 18.4 percent month-on-month. Suppliers of parts were mainly from the Republic of Korea, Japan, Thailand, China, Indonesia and Germany.

Vietnam exports 2.24 billion USD worth of steel and iron in H1

Vietnam exported 3.44 million tonnes of steel and iron worth 2.24 billion USD in the first half of this year, up 21 percent in volume and 4 percent in value from the same period last year.

The country mainly shipped steel and iron to the markets of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the United States (US) and the European Union (EU).

In the ASEAN bloc, Cambodia was the largest importer of Vietnamese steel and iron during the January-June period with 882,000 tonnes, valued at 527.7 million USD, 48.2 percent higher in volume and 37.5 percent higher in value from the first half of last year.

It was followed by Indonesia with 366,000 tonnes worth 245.3 million USD and Malaysia with 373,700 tonnes worth 230.7 million USD.

Vietnam recorded significant growth in exports to China, Brazil, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the Philippines.

In contrast, the nation’s steel and iron exports to two other major outlets – the US and the EU – saw strong declines in both volume and value, the department noted.

About 285,000 tonnes of steel and iron were exported to the US, earning the country 223.2 million USD, representing a reduction of 35 percent in volume and 41 percent in value.

Exports to the EU, meanwhile, dropped 30 percent in volume and 41 percent in value to 204,000 tonnes and 137 million USD.

Statistics from the department revealed that Vietnam also spent 4.82 billion USD importing 7.15 million tonnes of steel and iron in the first half of the year, up 4 percent in volume but down 2 percent in value compared to the same period last year.

The country's major providers of steel and iron were mainland China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Taiwan and ASEAN nations.

Vietnam aluminium profile association launched

The association of Vietnamese aluminium profile for the north made its first public appearance in Hanoi on July 23.

A workshop on the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) was held as part of the launching event for businesses to discuss opportunities and challenges for the aluminium sector.

Vice Chairman and Secretary General of the association Vu Van Phu said Vietnam’s aluminium exports to the EU make up only 5 percent.

Vice President of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCharm) Nguyen Hai Minh said the tariff for Vietnamese aluminium exports to the EU will be reduced by zero percent within eight years when the EVFTA takes effect. However, the most important thing in the removal of tariff is that businesses must meet the market’s conditions to enjoy incentives.

With this deal, European businesses will shift their investment to Vietnam, then export to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and move towards the Asian market, he added.

The official suggested businesses, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), change their mindset and working style to make use of opportunities from the EVFTA.

Drought may hit 65,500ha of farmland in central region

If extreme heat continues in the central region until the end of the dry season, about 65,500ha of rice and annual crops will suffer from drought and water scarcity, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

The affected area will include 55,400ha of rice and 10,100ha of annual crops.

Additionally, 138,800 local households may face water shortage if the scorching weather lingers on until the dry season’s end, which falls in late July in the north of the central region and late August in the south of this region, the MARD reported on July 23.

In the north central region, drought and water scarcity have hit about 21,600ha of rice and crops, accounting for 4.5 percent of the total farming area. Meanwhile, 16,340ha in the south central region have been affected, equivalent to 4.6 percent of the total.

As a result of saltwater intrusion, water shortage has also been reported on 5,800ha of plants and affected nearly 114,000 households in the central region.

The MARD said in this region’s northern areas, water levels on rivers and streams are currently 35 – 60 percent lower than the average, even over 70 percent lower on the Ma River in Thanh Hoa province and the Ca River in Nghe An province. Local hydropower reservoirs also have only 30 – 60 percent of their capacity filled, and 55 small ones have dried up.

In southern areas, rivers and streams have also shrunk. Some rivers have recorded a decline of over 70 percent in their water flow, such as the Vu Gia and Thu Bon rivers in Quang Nam province and Da Nang city, and the Ba River in Phu Yen province. While only 25 – 55 percent of local reservoirs’ designed capacity is filled on average, 281 of such facilities have run out of water so far.

The MARD blamed the drought and water scarcity on high temperature, low humidity and the strong foehn wind from the southwest, resulting in intensive evaporation which in turn has led to higher irrigation water demand and lower water levels in reservoirs.

In the face of this situation, the ministry asked the Prime Minister to direct other ministries, sectors and localities to coordinate with it to cope with drought and saltwater intrusion.

Vietnam could face power shortage: ministry

Vietnam could face an electricity shortage of 6.6 billion kWh in 2021 and 11.8 billion kWh in 2022. The shortage could increase to 15 billion kWh in 2023, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

Phuong Hoang Kim, director of the ministry’s Electricity and Renewable Energy Authority, said the reason for the shortage was due to delayed progress in 47 out of 62 power projects with capacities of more than 200MW in the Vietnam Power Master Plan VII.

It was expected that the electricity sector would still meet the country’s power demand in 2020. However, there would be risks of a shortage if the demand is higher than forecast, poor water flow to hydropower reservoirs or a lack of coal and gas for electricity production, Kim said.

In the first half of the year, electricity consumption increased 10 percent from the same period last year because of prolonged hot weather.

The power consumption was expected to continue to increase by 10 percent at year-end.

Currently, power projects have been implemented in three investment models including those invested by Vietnam Electricity (EVN), the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) and Vietnam National Coal and Minerals Group (Vinacomin); build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects and independent power producer (IPP) projects.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong said the main reason for the delayed progress was due to capital and contractor issues. Power projects are often on a big scale with total investment of more than US$2 billion each and long construction times. Therefore, it was not easy to find capable contractors. In addition, the removal of the Government guarantee mechanism for power projects has made it difficult to raise capital.

In addition, it took a long time for BOT projects to negotiate power prices with EVN to ensure their profits, thus causing delays.

Vuong added that prolonged land clearance and low power tariffs were not attractive enough for investors.

He proposed that the Government should promote the implementation of renewable energy projects as they take a shorter time to complete.

According to EVN, it took only six months to implement a solar power project while that of a 220kV or 500kV plant was three to five years.

He added that the ministry would consider importing electricity from Laos and China to resolve the power shortage. However, this would be a temporary solution. The country should accelerate the progress of large power projects.

Trinh Quoc Vu, deputy director of Energy Saving and Sustainable Development Department said the sector should improve businesses’ awareness to save power. Some of the firms signed a commitment with EVN and the department to save 10 percent of power consumption this year.

Minister Tran Tuan Anh asked EVN and relevant agencies to quickly complete projects in the Power Master Plan VII while updating regulations to attract investment into the sector.

Anh also asked to review regulations on responsibilities of investors of delayed projects and localities’ leaders.

Vietnam gets its first solar-powered TV studio

Jet Studio on July 22 announced that its solar power system has been connected to the national power grid, which makes it the first television production company in Vietnam to operate completely on solar energy.

The film studios and office complex of Jet Studio cover 8,000 square meters of land. JetStudio’s solar power system spans an area of 864 square meters, and includes over 400 solar panels with a total capacity of 160 kilowatts, which is expected to have a life span of 20 years.

The system can generate enough electricity for the film studios as well as the office complex to operate. Moreover, when solar production exceeds demand, the firm can sell spare solar power to electricity companies, according to Nguyen Thanh Nhum, director of Jet Studio.

Jet Studio has been a familiar TV show producer among local people, offering several television programs such as Nguoi ke chuyen tinh (The Love Story-Teller ), Hay nghe toi hat (Hear Me Sing), 60 phut ruc ro (Shining 60 minutes).

The use of solar power marks an important milestone for Jet Studio as it has become the first entertainment company and film studio operator in the country to switch to clean energy for creating a green working environment and encouraging innovative ideas among staff members.

 
 
 
 
 
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