VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS JULY 4

Vietnam to have 1,704 industrial clusters by 2025

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS JULY 4

Vietnam aims to have 1,704 industrial clusters by 2025, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien made the statement during an online meeting about managing and developing industrial clusters on July 2.

In 2020, Vietnam had 968 industrial clusters, covering 30,912ha. Of which, the infrastructure of 450 clusters was invested in by private firms. As of now, the authorities have approved technical infrastructure projects at 955 clusters that cover 29,782ha and have a total investment of VND115trn (USD4.9bn).

According to the industrial cluster development plan for 2025, Vietnam will have 1,704 clusters, covering 58,123ha.

250 clusters will be in northern mountainous areas, 515 clusters will be in the Red River Delta, 457 clusters will be in the central coast, 77 clusters will be in the Central Highlands, 146 clusters will be in the southeastern region and 259 clusters will be in the southwestern region.

Dien asked local authorities to quickly draft a development plan for their area and propose policies to attract investors. They must also have detailed rules to manage cluster operations.

He also urged for administrative reform, increase inspections and help firms deal with difficulties.

One in five countries approach pre-pandemic domestic flight levels while international travel lags behind

After flights were largely grounded and travellers stayed home in 2020, the return to travel has become one of the most anticipated and uncertain activities of 2021, according to Recovery Insights: Ready for Takeoff?, a Mastercard report on key travel trends.

The report said that while the global travel recovery remains uneven, one-fifth of countries studied have returned to at least 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels for domestic flight bookings; with Australia surpassing the global average with bookings at 116 per cent.

“Although many markets in Asia Pacific are yet to see international borders open, there are some early bright spots in domestic travel recovery,” said David Mann, chief economist, AP & MEA of the Mastercard Economics Institute. "As travel corridors continue to open and flourish across the US and Europe, Mastercard believes the pent-up demand in Asia Pacific, exacerbated by extended lockdowns, will follow a similar trajectory in both business and leisure travel, as the region cautiously re-opens its borders.”

The report’s key findings include: Business travel lags behind leisure travel by approximately four months globally. Business travel is showing recovery signs worldwide, with Australian domestic business travel bookings at nearly 80 per cent of pre-COVID levels, and US domestic business travel back up to just over half of its 2019 average level.

Globally fuel spending is up 13 per cent from its previous peak in 2019. Road trips—the big trend of 2020—are still holding their course. The report shows a robust demand for domestic ground travel, with fuel spending up in Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Australia, where areas such as Margaret River and Dunsborough are seeing a swell in local visitors.

With border closures still in place, pent-up savings are helping to drive sales across a variety of categories. For instance, sales at toupee and wigs stores have increased 81 per cent in Australia in the past year, compared to pre-pandemic, and sales for beauty salons and luggage stores are also up. Meanwhile, spending at boat dealers (+30 per cent) and bike stores (+62 per cent) grew across the world, as pent-up demand collided with greater savings due to fiscal stimulus and travel restrictions.

Mastercard launched Recovery Insights to help businesses and governments better manage the economic risks presented by COVID-19. Through this initiative, Mastercard has provided data-driven insights, analytics and other services to businesses and governments to help them understand ever-changing consumer spending trends and how to address them. 

ADB increases HDBank credit limit to $125 million

The Asian Development Bank has announced it will increase the trade finance limit for the Ho Chi Minh City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank from US$75 million to $125 million, and the rollover loan limit from $10 million to $25 million.

HDBank joined ADB's Trade Finance Programme in 2016 as the bank to issue L/C, and over the last five years the credit limit has increased exponentially, reflecting ADB's confidence in and appreciation for HDBank in terms of its brand reputation, transparency, capital efficiency, growth, and development potential.

The increased limits will help HDBank develop trade finance activities on a wider scale and enhance its competitiveness and position in the international market.

In June last year, within the framework of the Trade Finance Programme, the two banks signed a revolving credit agreement to support trading activities in Viet Nam, especially businesses facing difficulties due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ADB had then granted a revolving credit limit of $10 million to HDBank, and now the increase in limit to $25 million will better support HDBank’s trade finance activities.

With the increase in the trade finance and revolving credit limits, corporate customers in Viet Nam can easily access financing from HDBank amid the difficulties caused by the pandemic.

HDBank helps ensure international trading activities are safer to provide peace of mind to parties involved in foreign trade.

It not only participates in the ADB’s TFP as an L/C issuer for Vietnamese enterprises but also as the confirmation bank for L/Cs issued by other banks guaranteed by ADB.

Early last month Moody's Investors Service changed the outlook on the long-term deposit and issuer ratings of HDBank from stable to positive, affirming its internal capacity to adapt to ensure stability and move forward based on its development strategy amid the economic woes caused by the pandemic.

Shares mark third rising week on market divergence

Shares ended this week in the green, marking a third consecutive rising week.

On the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, the VN-Index closed Friday up 0.23 per cent at 1,420.27 points, expanding the weekly gain to 10.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, the HNX-Index on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange increased 0.7 per cent to end the day at 328.01 points. The northern bourse’s index climbed 13.4 per cent this week.

Although the indices gained on Friday, liquidity decreased slightly on large divergence among large-cap stocks.

A total of 854.5 million shares worth more than VND29.6 trillion (roughly US$1.3 billion) were traded in the two markets. Especially, value through order matching transactions decreased 4 per cent on HCM City’s market to nearly VND22.8 trillion.

Large caps were mixed. Half of the top 30 shares by market value and liquidity on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange declined while 14 increased. Only one was flat.

Mobile World Investment (MWG), PV Gas (GAS), VPBank (VPB), Techcombank (TCB) and FPT Corp (FPT) were among the gainers with growth of between 1-5 per cent, while Vietcombank (VCB), Vinamilk (VNM), Vingroup (VIC) and steelmaker Hoa Phat Group (HPG) weighed on the market.

Foreign traders were unexpectedly net buyers on Friday on the southern bourse with net buy value of VND1.9 trillion. They net sold VND246 billion on Thursday.

Shares of property company Novaland Invesment (NVL) topped the buying list of foreign investors with a net buy value of VND1.9 trillion, most of them traded through put-through transactions. NVL shares dropped by 1 per cent, however, closing Friday at VND119,000 ($5.13) per share.

According to BIDV Securities Co, the market sentiment is optimistic when the new trading system is about to be put into operation which helped the VN-Index continue to rise above 1,420 points.

The new transaction system for the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange provided by FPT Corp is set to go online on July 5. The system is under testing with the participation of 73 securities firms and is expected to process three to five million orders per session, much higher than the current limit of 900,000 transactions per day.

Analysts at Viet Dragon Securities Co (VDSC) predicted the VN-Index is heading to the target area of 1,430-1,450 points in the near future.

“Therefore, investors can follow the increase of the market and take profits at a good price area. In the meantime, it is possible to exploit some short-term opportunities in stocks with positive signals after the accumulation zone,” VDSC’s analyst Phuong Nguyen said in a note. 

Quang Ninh launches invest care group

The northern province of Quang Ninh has launched a group to support investors during their operation in the locality.

The Invest Care group is led by an official from the provincial people’s committee, while its members are leaders from local agencies and departments as well as localities who are in charge of investment issues.

The task force is responsible for updating the implementation of projects which do not use the state budget to timely help their investors deal with difficulties. The group can also help to send investors’ proposals to management agencies.

The group reports to the Quang Ninh People’s Committee every month on how they have helped investors solve problems related to their projects.

According to Vietnam Chamber of Industry and Commerce Chairman Vu Tien Loc, this is the first of its type in Vietnam so far, showing Quang Ninh’s efforts in administrative reform.

“We not only need investment promotion units but also those which specialise in supporting investors in necessary cases,” Loc added.

Quang Ninh topped the country’s Provincial Competitive Index 2020, marking four consecutive years it has held the title.

Vietnamese export turnover enjoys 28.4% surge in first half

The first half of the year witnessed the country’s export turnover rake in US$157.63 billion, representing an annual increase of 28.4%, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The nation’s export value throughout June hit US$26.5 billion, up 1.2% compared to the previous month and 17.3% over the same period from last year.

Most notably, five groups of products reported export turnover of over US$10 billion between January and June, accounting for 58% of the total export value.

Throughout the reviewed period, the nation spent US$159.1 billion on imports, marking an increase of 36.1% on-year.

As a result, the country endured a trade deficit of US$1.47 billion in the first half of the year, in comparison to a trade surplus of US$5.86 billion recorded during the same period from last year, according to the GSO.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) have stated that when the third wave of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks hit the country at the beginning of the year, it closely followed the market situation and proactively implemented a range of solutions. This was done in an effort to remove the difficulties facing firms and to promote production and business to meet growth goals.

Vu Ba Phu, director of the MoIT’s Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency, said the Ministry has paid special attention to boosting trade promotion through business-matching events. This is along with taking measures to fully tap into the benefits from various free trade agreements (FTAs) that the country has signed with partners, thereby boosting its exports.

More firms resume operation amid ongoing Covid-19 outbreak

More enterprises in industrial parks in Bac Ninh and Bac Giang provinces have resumed operations as the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak has been better brought under control.

Nguyen Xuan Ngoc, deputy head of the Management Board of Industrial Parks in Bac Giang, said that before the start of the outbreak, Bac Giang had 375 active firms. So far 242 firms with 39,000 employees had resumed operations. More firms will resume operation in the coming days.

As the outbreak occurred, firms were only allowed to operate when they could arrange for employees to work and live inside the factory. However, many firms were unable to find suitable accommodation for thousands of workers. Recently, Bac Giang authorities allowed workers who live in safe locations to return to work without having to stay at the factories.

"This policy has been applied since June 28. After three days, 18,000 people returned to work," Ngoc said.

Many factories in the supply chains for Apple and Samsung also started working again. After the outbreak, Foxconn's workforce dropped from 30,000 to over 6,000 and Luxshare-ICT's workforce dropped from 22,000 to 7,000.

There are also plans to organise shuttle buses to transfer workers living from other provinces and cities to Bac Giang. The provincial Management Board of Industrial Parks gave its approval to 20 firms with 3,000 workers. For workers who are from other provinces, firms must have dormitories or rent guesthouses for them.

"Every day, about 2,000-3,000 workers will return to work. By the end of July, about 60,000 people will return to work, accounting for 45% of the total number of workers before the outbreak," Ngoc said.

Nguyen Duc Long, deputy head of the Management Board of Industrial Parks in Bac Ninh also said over 900 firms with 255,000 workers in their province have resumed operations. The number of workers before the outbreak was 330,000.

In the coming time, Bac Ninh will continue to provide support to help firms resume operations. They are also planning to build more industrial parks and grant licenses to various projects with investments of over USD200m.

Gov’t considers extending tax incentives for automakers 

Extending tax incentives for domestic manufacturers is vital to help locally-produced cars compete with those imported from abroad.

The Ministry of Finance is tasked with reviewing current tax rates for automobile production and assembly for further extending incentives in this regard, said Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh.

Thanh made the statement in response to the recent suggestion by the northern province of Hai Duong to address concerns of automakers in a difficult economic environment, in which tax incentives are seen as a key measure.

According to the Hai Duong Province Party Committee, the automobile industry has been a spearhead industry contributing a significant part to GDP growth in countries around the world.

“In Vietnam, the industry makes up 3% of total GDP growth,” stated the provincial Party Committee.

At present, tax incentives for imported auto parts are one of the most important preferential treatments for car manufacturers in Vietnam. This is of particular significance to enhance competitiveness for local cars manufacturers/assemblers given the country’s commitment to free trade agreements to opening up the market for completely-built cars imported from abroad.

For the automobile industry to have time to adjust to new policies, the government should make the decision at least one year in advance of the effective date, stated the Hai Duong Party Committee.

“Issuing policies that have an immediate effect would cause difficulties for firms in drafting their business strategies,” it added.

As domestically produced auto parts are facing fierce competition from imported products in ASEAN, which are enjoying zero import tariff under the effect of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) since 2018, the government has been providing tax incentives for cars produced locally from November 16, 2017, to late 2022.

FAO supports Vietnam in building sustainable food systems 

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is working rigorously to help its member States to pursue better production, nutrition, environment and life.

FAO stands ready to provide Vietnam with the necessary assistance and normative advice to prepare for the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) and help the country build truly sustainable and inclusive food systems in the coming years, according to Nguyen Song Ha, Assistant FAO Representative. 

The commitment was made at the Sub-National Dialogue “Partnerships in Production and Trade for Transparent, Responsible and Sustainable Food Systems of Vietnam” with a specific focus on the Mekong Delta held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), in collaboration with the FAO and the Ministry of Health on July 2. 

Ha from FAO underlined the UNFSS is a focus of FAO’s strategic program in the next five years. The organization is working rigorously to help its member States improve production, nutrition, environment, and life.  

Speaking at the dialogue, Le Duc Thinh, Director General of the Department of Cooperatives and Rural Development (DCRD) said the Mekong Delta is one of Vietnam’s strategic regions for food production, processing, and supply that serves both domestic consumption and export. 

However, the Delta is facing significant threats posed by climate change, natural disasters, over-exploitation of resources including soil, water and ecosystems, lack of cohesion in the production and trade as well as effective coordination of basin management, Thinh added.  

“Fostering healthy relationships among actors would form a solid basis for sustainable food systems in all aspects,” he said. 

Under the dialogue, participants provided updates and facilitated exchange on the status, direction, solutions and initiatives to promote partnerships and collaboration among the food suppliers. 

This is the fourth out of a series of five national and sub-national dialogues in the run-up towards the UNFSS, which will be held in September.  

The UNFSS 2021 aims to strategize the actions to be taken to make food systems more inclusive, sustainable, resilient, and impactful to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the 2030 Agenda of the UN.  

The Summit will focus on five action tracks, including: ensuring access to safe and nutritious food for all, shifting to sustainable consumption patterns, boosting nature-positive production, advancing equitable livelihoods and value distribution, and building resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks and stress. 

Vietnam to become ideal investment environment for European investors 

Vietnam plans to organize a digital investment conference in Q3 this year, promoting investment into industrial parks or economic zones online.

Vietnam is pushing hard to reform the existing legal framework to better mobilize resources and create new motivation for growth.

Counselor Nguyen Manh Hai, head of Investment Section of Vietnam’s Embassy in Germany, gave the view at a virtual conference discussing investment opportunities of ASEAN countries, including Vietnam, with European businesses on July 1.

“For many years, the country has been working on shifting its economic structure to ensure higher growth quality, productivity, and economic competitiveness,” said Hai.

“Vietnam encourages the development and expansion of export-oriented and foreign-invested sectors,” he continued.

According to Hai, along with positive impacts from next-generation free trade agreements (FTAs) that Vietnam is a part of, including the EVFTA, UKVFTA, CPTPP, or RCEP), socio-political stability is a key reason making Vietnam an attractive investment destination for foreign investors.

Mentioning the FDI attraction policy, Hai said the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) is submitting to the government a strategy for FDI attraction in the 2021-2030 period.

“Such strategy would help boost economic growth by making sure that Vietnam’s business/investment environment is suitable to the form of investment activities that the country is looking forward to,” he noted.

Hai said Vietnam is scheduled to hold a digital investment conference in this third quarter while promoting investment into industrial parks or economic zones online.

Regarding the impacts of FTAs among Vietnam and the EU, UK, Hai said in 2020, Vietnam remained on the surplus side with US$29.3 billion in its trade relations with the EU.

 

The EU remained Vietnam’s second-largest export market, only behind the US, with a bilateral trade turnover of US$49.78 billion in 2020, a slight decline of 0.1% year-on-year despite Covid-19 impacts.

Vietnam, on the other hand, imported goods and products worth US$14.64 billion from Europe in 2020, an increase of 4.27% year-on-year.

“The EVFTA and UKVFTA not only facilitate trade relations between partners but also a key instrument to promote FDI inflows into Vietnam,” said Hai, referring to the removal of 99% of import tariffs and technical barriers.

Reopening the market for foreign investors a necessity

For HSBC Vietnam CEO Tim Evans, the attractiveness of Vietnam for foreign investors also came from a “hard-working, resourceful and entrepreneurial labor force.”

While the country’s access to numerous external markets through the signing of FTAs is a positive point, it is the growing consumer demand taking place within Vietnam that catches the eyes of investors.

“On a more macro level, Vietnam offers a stable government, consistency of policy, a stable currency, a low inflation environment, and the country sits on around US$100 billion of foreign exchange reserves, which further enhance the country’s appeal to foreign investors,” Tim told The Hanoi Times.

Tim, however, noted the most immediate issue that needs to be addressed is continuing to combat the Covid-19 situation.

He suggested this should be done in the form of a rapid rollout of the vaccine program and a border opening up to allow investors access to the market.

“Investors will not put their capital into a country unless they have access to the country,” Tim said.

“Longer term, the priorities need to be an investment into infrastructure, a continued focus on the ease of doing business, and a simplification of the tax code,” he stressed.

Farm produce reach Europe via Vietnam’s e-commerce platform

Over three tons of Bac Giang lychees meeting GlobalGAP standard recently passed customs clearance at Frankfurt airport, Germany thanks to a transaction via the Vietnamese e-commerce platform Voso.

It was the first time an agricultural product of Vietnam had been shipped to Europe through the “cross-border e-commerce” model on a platform developed and operated by the Southeast Asian nation, via a cooperation programme among the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam E-Commerce and Digital Economy Agency, Voso and Viettel Post.

Voso launched its Voso Global last March, offering high-quality Vietnamese farm produce to consumers in foreign markets, especially overseas Vietnamese. They could place orders and make payments via an international payment system. Products will be carried by air to Germany via Viettel Post’s partners and delivered to customers within 4-5 days.

Head of the Vietnam E-Commerce and Digital Economy Agency Dang Hoang Hai said previously, Vietnam exported farm produce to Asia and Europe, mostly via international e-commerce platforms like Amazon.

Now via Voso, Vietnam’s e-commerce industry has made a stride in bringing fresh and quality products to demanding markets like Europe.

General Director of the Viettel Post Tran Trung Hung said in the immediate future, the agency will partner with Voso to build its Vietnamese and English versions, thus better serving overseas Vietnamese in Europe and European consumers.

As the European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement already took effect, exporters, local enterprises, cooperatives and individuals with quality products could have more chances if they optimise cross-border e-commerce.

Disbursement of traffic projects reaches 40 percent of year plan: Ministry

The Ministry of Transport on July 2 revealed that at the end of June 2021, its sub-divisions disbursed about VND43,401 billion, accounting for 40 percent of the plan for the entire year, higher than that during the same period last year and the average disbursement rate of the country.

In order to achieve the plan, the Ministry has rationally allocated and resolutely transferred capital from projects with slow disbursement to projects with faster disbursement which are in desperate need of capital.
So far, the Ministry has adjusted capital for 11 projects with a sum of VND3,130 billion (US$136,163,976).

Regarding projects which are parts of the North-South expressway project, the Ministry has provided an additional sum of VND1,637 billion to use public funds for building the sections of National Highway No.45-Nghi Son and Nghi Son – Dien Chau.

Simultaneously, the Ministry of Transport has transferred an additional sum of VND647 billion to the My Thuan - Can Tho highway project. All key projects have satisfactory disbursement speed.

As per the plan, in the last six months of the year, the Ministry of Transport needs to continue disbursing VND26,090 billion. The Ministry ought to request investors and project management boards to regularly review and update the disbursement plan of each project to promptly detect hiccups along the way as well as propose solutions.

On the same day, the Ministry of Transport said it had reported to the Government on the implementation of the My Thuan - Can Tho expressway project proposing an urgent application of a specific mechanism for the implementation of the project.

According to the Ministry of Transport, the project has now implemented three thirds of construction and installation bidding packages from January 2021. Construction volume to June 2021 reached 4.9 percent, 0.9 percent of the construction volume lagging behind original schedule. The reason for the delay is mainly due to the difficulty in sand material supply for the roadbed.

Currently, the locality where the project is located and surrounding areas have been running out of sand, so just 206,850 cubic meters out of 2,329,000 cubic meters of road have been completed.

In addition, the project’s schedule slippage is because of slowness in relocation of technical infrastructure system and construction of resettlement areas.

To speed up the project, the Ministry of Transport proposed that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Government to allow the Mekong Delta provinces of Dong Thap and An Giang to immediately apply Resolution 60 on the implementation of a specific mechanism on mineral mining licensing to supply construction materials for the East North-South Expressway project.

In addition, the Ministry of Transport proposed localities to urgently complete the site clearance and technical infrastructure relocation in July 2021. At the same time, the construction of resettlement areas for project construction in the fourth quarter of 2021 must be completed for ensuring the project progress.

Digital banking boom in Vietnam during coronavirus pandemic

The novel coronavirus pandemic could act as a catalyst for digital banking adoption changing the consumption behavior of customers who do not want to go to banks for transactions in order to limit exposure. Therefore, the banking industry is increasingly promoting the digitalization of banking services via apps to attract more consumers.

The convenience of e-banking has attracted customers and provided service free of charge for customers. Digital products such as payment by quick response code (QR code), savings deposit, digital loans, and most recently Electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) have been used by many people.

Recently, VPBank has just launched VPBank NEO digital bank, which is a digital bank without transaction offices. VPBank NEO digital bank allows customers to open online accounts on smartphones using eKYC technology. It takes less than five minutes for customers to register for an online account through 2 steps ID verification and face verification.

After having an account, customers can immediately transfer money to others’ accounts as well as receive money, buy and sell bonds, and pay bills without charges. In addition, clients can register to open a virtual credit card for online payment within 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Nam A Bank also launched a modern multi-device integrated Open Banking digital transaction space to help customers conduct multi-channel transactions on just one application.

Additionally, the bank has also deployed VTM Onebank, a virtual bank branch, to enhance customer experience. VTM OneBank helps customers make transactions including depositing, withdrawing cash, opening savings accounts, opening debit cards without needing to go to direct transaction venues.

An electronic payment may reduce people's exposure to germs resulting in the digital banking boom. A survey of Visa Company, a digital payment company, shows a year on year increase of 34 percent in Vietnamese consumers’ payment transactions via Visa credit cards and debit cards in the first months of 2021.

Approximate 85 percent of consumers use e-commerce applications on smartphones to shop for goods and services at least once a week and 44 percent of shoppers have purchased commodities in social channels since the pandemic has spread.

Pham Tien Dung, Director of the Payment Department of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), said that in the first months of 2021, payment-related activities in the economy still took place transparently despite the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic.

In addition to the legal framework and policies in payment-related activities which continue to be improved for the application of new technologies, free-of-charge payment services offered by the State Bank and other credit institutions have met people's demand for online payment.

By the end of April 2021, online payments via internet banking transactions increased by 65.9 percent in quantity and 31.2 percent in value; payment-enabled mobile phones leaped by 86.3 percent in volume and 123.1 percent in value; QR code payment surged by 95.7 percent in quantity and 181.5 percent in value over the same period in 2020.

In fact, to reduce dependence on credit revenue, many commercial banks have increased their income by minimizing costs, including costs of capital mobilization.

One of the solutions to reduce the bank's cost of capital mobilization is to raise the ratio of deposit payable on demand or Current Account Savings Account (CASA) because it has the lowest interest rate, usually ranging from 0.1 percent to 0.8 percent a year. The more money a bank receives, the lower interest rate the bank will offer.

Techcombank said that in order to have a CASA rate of nearly 45 percent, the bank changed its traditional transaction method to online.

Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam Nguyen Kim Anh said currently, 95 percent of credit institutions have been developing and implementing digital transformation strategies. In addition, most banks have applied new technical and technological solutions in their operations and services. Of 19 banking operations and services, nine have been completely digitized by some banks.

Many banks have also applied artificial intelligence technology and big data to evaluate customers for a decision of disbursement to simplify procedures. According to the banking industry’s Digital Transformation Plan to 2025 with a vision to 2030, approved by the State Bank of Vietnam in May 2021, at least 70 percent of banking operations will allow customers to perform digitally.

HCMC seeks to build huge industrial park in Binh Chanh

HCMC authorities have written to the Government proposing adding the Pham Van Hai Industrial Park project covering 668 hectares of land in Binh Chanh District to the country’s master development plan for industrial parks.

The proposal to develop the new industrial park is aimed at replacing three industrial parks--Bau Dung and Phuoc Hiep in Cu Chi District and Xuan Thoi Thuong in Hoc Mon District--which were added to the master development plan in 2008, but have yet to be carried out.

The municipal government said that in 2018, the Government allowed the city to convert 668 hectares in Pham Van Hai Commune into industrial land.

The land set for the construction of the industrial park is still agricultural land, managed and used by the HCMC Plants Company. However, the land has brought about low economic effectiveness due to its heavy alum soil, salt intrusion and pollution from wastewater discharged from surrounding residential areas.

As such, the conversion of the ineffective agricultural land into commercial land is necessary to make the most of the city’s land fund, according to the municipal government.

The Pham Van Hai Industrial Park project is expected to attract more investors active in the hi-tech, electronics and mechanics fields and supporting industry, and become a highly competitive and qualified industrial park.

The city’s total industrial land approved is currently 7,000 hectares. Four of 23 industrial parks have yet to be developed, including the Bau Dung, Hiep Phuoc and Xuan Thoi Thuong industrial parks.

As for the Pham Van Hai Industrial Park project, the city had earlier proposed developing it with an area of 380 hectares, but the area has been adjusted up to 668 hectares.

Meanwhile, the city proposed eliminating the three industrial parks out of the list as over the past 13 years, they have yet to find investors, while the plan for land revocation and compensation was yet to be mapped out.

These long-stalled projects have heavily affected residents of Cu Chi and Hoc Mon districts, so they have proposed eliminating the three projects.

Securities, bank stocks underpin VN-Index uptrend

Securities and bank stocks were the major contributors that helped the benchmark VN-Index of the Hochiminh Stock Exchange rise 0.23%, or 3.19 points, to close at 1,420.27 points today, July 2.

The southern bourse saw over 706.8 million shares worth VND26 trillion changing hands, falling 6.2% in volume and down slightly in value compared with the previous session. Some 53.22 million shares worth nearly VND3.28 trillion were traded in block deals, including 15.9 million shares worth VND1.9 trillion of real estate developer NVL. Declining stocks outnumbered gainers by 212 to 169.

A number of bank stocks such as TCB, STB, HDB, TPB and VIB rose 1-2%. STB was the most actively traded stock on the southern market with 41.48 million shares changing hands.

VPB was the best performer among bank stocks in the VN30 basket, increasing 2.4% to VND72,100 and seeing some 31.9 million shares traded. EIB also rose over 2% to end at VND31,350.

BID and VCB were the only two bank stocks that lost ground.

Securities stocks were also the major gainers, with AGR and VCI shooting up to the ceiling prices. VDS surged 6.7% to VND28,500, CTS up 4.4% to VND25,900 and FTS up 5.8% to VND41,700. HCM and SSI grew insignificantly.

Some other bluechips that gained ground were tech firm FPT, fuel stock GAS and mobile phone retailer MWG, which rose 3.4% to VND91,900, 2.5% to VND96,600 and 3.8% to VND156,800, respectively.

In the group of speculative stocks, shipping firm VOS reversed course to shoot up to the ceiling price at VND7,390 after three consecutive sessions hitting the floor price.

Meanwhile, AAA, FLC, ROS, HNG, TTF and DLG tumbled into the red.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index added 0.7%, or 2.29 points, to end at 328.01 points, with declining stocks outnumbering gainers by 118 to 73. There were more than 139.5 million shares worth some VND3.35 trillion changing hands.

Among bank stocks, SHB and NVB were the biggest gainers, up 2.1% to VND29,000 and 6.7% to VND20,700, respectively.

Securities stocks also stole the limelight on the northern market. IVS surged 8.8% to VND11,100 and EVS soared 5.7% to VND35,100, while PSI and WSS shot up to the ceiling prices. VND, MBS and BSI rose 3.5-4.5%.

In related news, the State Securities Commission of Vietnam has approved the Hochiminh Stock Exchange’s proposal to put a new stock trading system provided by tech firm FPT into operation from July 5.

Duong Dung Trieu, chairman of FPT Information System, said the new system is capable of handling 3-5 million stock orders a day, replacing the current system that can process only some 900,000 stock orders a day.

Danang launches U.S.-backed urban energy security project

The central city of Danang has launched a US$14 million project promoting urban energy security in the city with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

This is part of the Vietnam Urban Energy Security project that runs until 2023 to promote the deployment of advanced, distributed energy solutions in urban areas in Danang and HCMC.

It addresses Vietnam’s rapidly growing energy demand and air pollution in urban areas by working with city governments and creating business opportunities for entrepreneurs.

The project supports the deployment of advanced distributed energy solutions such as rooftop solar, electric vehicles, waste-to-energy and other energy efficiency solutions.

At its completion, the project aims to deploy at least 40 megawatts of advanced, distributed energy systems in Danang, mobilize at least US$60 million in public and private investment for the systems and adopt at least five innovative solutions to address urban energy and environment issues.

“USAID is helping Vietnam transition to a more resilient energy sector, powered by renewable energy. We are excited to work with Danang to promote clean energy in the region, provide access to technical expertise and become a global convening center to help Vietnam realize its goals in renewable energy,” said Ann Marie Yastishock, USAID’s Vietnam mission director.

Investing in renewable energy and other advanced energy efficiency solutions will increase the competitiveness of Danang, attract green investments and directly benefit the citizens of the city with a cleaner environment.

In addition, these solutions will also contribute to the long-term mitigation of the impact of climate change to the city and its citizens.

The Danang City government has a strong commitment to respond to climate change, protect the environment and implement renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

The city has set priorities to accelerate renewable energy and energy efficiency deployment with specific target and action plans such as the Rooftop Solar Promotion Action Plan, the Renewable Energy Action Plan, the Electric Vehicle Charging Station Plan and the Energy Conservation and Efficiency Action Plan.

USAID is providing technical support to the Danang Department of Industry and Trade in operationalizing these strategies.

Some activities include establishing the Clean Energy Development Task Force to support the department as well as the power company to improve urban energy resilience and energy security, developing an Energy Efficiency Award for the city to recognize local enterprises that have implemented energy efficiency measures and undertaking a study to review city- and national-level regulations, policies and mechanisms to implement and enforce the Energy Efficiency Action Plan 2020-2030.

Over the past five years, USAID has committed over US$40 million to support the energy sector in Vietnam and plans to commit an additional US$36 million over the next five years.

Vietnam posts State budget surplus in Jan-Jun amid Covid-19

Vietnam posted a State budget surplus in the first half of 2021 as revenue outpaced spending despite Covid-19 raging in many parts of the nation, according to the Ministry of Finance.

As of late June, State budget revenue was estimated at VND775 trillion, meeting over 57% of this year’s target. Although the pandemic negatively affected socioeconomic development, State budget revenue in the year’s first half rose over 15% compared with the same period last year.

Revenues from crude oil and imports/exports met 80% and 70% of the entire year’s plan, respectively.

Sectors that contributed the most to the State budget were brewery, car manufacturing and assembly, banking, securities and real estate.

Sixty of 63 cities and provinces met their budget revenue targets.

From January to June, State spending was estimated at over VND694 trillion, meeting 41% of the year’s plan. State spending on investment and development reached more than VND133 trillion, meeting only 28% of the year’s target.

By the end of June, the Government spent some VND2.2 trillion on Covid-19 infection prevention and control, including VND1,237 billion for the Ministry of Health to buy Covid-19 vaccines, VND562 billion to buy medical equipment and VND376 to assist local authorities in the fight against Covid-19.

The Ministry of Finance forecast that State budget revenue will be severely affected by the pandemic in the second half of 2021 as the fourth Covid-19 wave hinders socioeconomic development in the southern cities and provinces, which are the country’s leading economic zones.

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

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS JULY 3

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