VIETNAM'S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES JUNE 18

Pork imports rise nearly 300 pct in five months

Vietnam imported about over 67,600 tonnes of pork from the start of the year to May 30, a year-on-year surge of 298 percent, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

There were about 678 million pigs worldwide in January, down nearly 12 percent compared to the figure in 2019.

Due to complexities brought by COVID-19, the ministry has assigned relevant agencies to hold talks with regional countries regarding the import of live pigs.

Animal health agencies of Vietnam and Thailand are discussing procedures to allow direct import of pigs from Thailand./.

Listed firms adjust to new production environment

The COVID- 19 epidemic greatly affected the production and business activities of Vietnamese enterprises. Some 30% of those listed on the stock market have posted declining profits, with a range of difficulties in need of attention when adjusting to the new production environment.

Most enterprises shared the same problems in the first quarter of 2020. This company’s first-quarter profits fell 50 percent compared to the same period last year. COVID-19 caused agricultural production to stagnate, affecting sales, revenue, and profits at many businesses.

The business results of these enterprises were down in the first quarter due to the closure of major export markets such as India. Social distancing measures meant that key meetings simply could not be held.

For investors and shareholders, the delay in holding the annual general meeting means they will have to wait for information on businesses. Though production has been restarted, there are still many challenges to address.

Many experts said that business results in the second quarter are certain to be less satisfactory than in the first quarter.

With supportive State policies, the Government is expecting that the economy will recover gradually and the business community will be the major driver.

Indonesia’s economy predicted to contract 3.9 pct

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has forecast that the Indonesian economy could witness a 3.9 percent contraction this year if it is hit by a second wave of COVID-19, noting that the contraction would be the first since the 1997 financial crisis.

The OECD report highlights the rocky path that lays ahead for Southeast Asia’s biggest economy as the government seeks to spur an economic recovery by reopening the economy this month after more than two months of partial lockdown.

The think-tank projected the economy to shrink 2.8 percent this year if the government manages to avoid a second wave of infections.

In the latest move, the Indonesian Ministry of Industry also planned to adopt measures to protect domestic garment industry.

According to data released on June 14, a total of 38,277 confirmed COVID-19 cases were recorded across the country, including 2,134 fatalities.

Quang Binh pursues sustainable cage fishing

Cage fishing has proven to be an effective model in many places around Vietnam. For farmers in Con Se village, Quang Loc commune, Ba Don town, in the central province of Quang Binh, the new model is helping them escape from poverty.

Cage fishing is considered an effective economic model that helps local framers sustainably escape from poverty, as it rakes in annual revenue of 28 billion VND. Local authorities have been exerting every effort to help fishing families find consumption markets.

Despite the difficulties, authorities in Con Se and local people have identified cage fishing as a new means of developing aquaculture, which is also a foundation for the development of the household economy and local trade, which in turn bolsters sustainable socio-economic development.

Ca Mau shrimp industry picks up

Shrimp exports and prices in Ca Mau Province are showing signs of recovery after being heavily affected by COVID-19.

According to Ca Mau People’s Committee, the province’s shrimp export turnover during the first four months of the year saw a 20 per cent drop year-on-year due to COVID-19. But shrimp export turnover is now only 10 per cent lower compared to the same period last year.

Since shrimp exports are picking up, the price of shrimp material is also rising. For instance, whiteleg shrimp (the 100 shrimp per kilo variety) is being sold for VND86,000 (US$3.7) per kilo, which is 20 per cent higher compared to mid-March.

The price for giant tiger shrimp, while still lower than before COVID-19, has seen an increase of VND10,000 – 15,000 per kilo compared to mid-March.

Duong Vu Nam, deputy director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, said that several markets for shrimp such as China, South Korea, Japan and some European countries are relaxing their COVID-19 prevention measures and resuming their imports.

Meanwhile, large shrimp suppliers such as India and Indonesia have been heavily impacted by the pandemic, which may lower global shrimp supply and provide an opportunity for Ca Mau’s shrimp industry.

To facilitate export growth quickly and sustainably, Nguyen Tien Hai, chairman of the People’s Committee, has instructed departments and authorities to push for more productive farming models and carry out demand and market price forecasts to help farmers with production.

Businesses should resume trade activities quickly with the countries that have controlled the pandemic early, and find new markets as opposed to waiting for existing ones where COVID-19 is still active, Hai said.

Ca Mau has one of the largest aquaculture farming areas in Viet Nam, at around 302,000 hectares, and exports nearly $1.2 billion worth of shrimp annually. 

EVFTA good opportunity for Indian investors in VN

The EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement is a good opportunity for Indian investors in Viet Nam, Vietnamese Ambassador to India Pham Sanh Chau said at an online conference last week.

At the event, jointly held by the Viet Nam Trade Office in India, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), and the HCM City Trade and Investment Promotion Centre, Ambassador Chau said the deal was officially ratified by the Viet Nam National Assembly at its on-going seating.

He said that the garment-textile industry will be one of the five sectors that have opportunities to increase exports to the EU, while calling on Indian companies to boost investment and establish plants in Viet Nam in areas India is strong in such as garment and textiles.

Indian Ambassador to Viet Nam Pranay Verma, for his part, said the two countries’ embassies will intensify cooperation and information sharing, and set up joint working groups to facilitate the work.

According to Verma, the Vietnamese market is potential for Indian businesses which have advantages in garment-textiles, pharmaceuticals, steel, agriculture and information technology.

At the event, participants discussed various issues and assessed the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on economies worldwide, including Viet Nam and India, and ways of weathering the crisis. 

Businesses join HCM City's demand stimulus programme

HCM City is organising a number of activities to boost retail demand as local lives return to normalcy after the social distancing period.

Nguyen Huynh Trang, deputy director of the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, said many businesses had signed up for two-month promotional programmes designed to stimulate demand.

Businesses in the programme can launch promotional activities and offer up to 100 per cent discount (as opposed to the usual limit of 50 per cent) as well as benefit from the programme’s general promotional activities in the media.

The programme will be held until the end of July at most of the city’s markets, supermarkets and malls. Online businesses can also benefit from the programme.

The total amount of goods signed up so far has reached over VND146 billion (US$6.3 million) in value.

The city is also working with other regional localities' departments of Industry and Trade to organise a trade fair to stimulate demand and promote the regions' respective strengths. The fair, to be held July 2 to 5 in Thu Duc District, will allow participating businesses to offer discounts higher than 50 per cent. Around 500 stalls are expected to be set up.

The first five months of the year saw a 4.9 per cent year-on-year decrease in total retail and consumer service revenue, at VND506.7 trillion, due to lower demand and a drop in tourism during the social distancing period.

While total retail revenue saw an 8.4 per cent increase at VND331.5 trillion during the period, the growth rate was lower than the 13.7 per cent growth rate in 2019 against the same period the previous year. 

VIB strives for $193 million pre-tax profit in 2020

Vietnam International Bank (VIB) has set a target of earning pre-tax profit of VND4.5 trillion (US$193 million) in 2020, according to the bank's business plan approved by the Board of Directors (BOD).

Under the plan, VIB expects its total assets to reach over VND220 trillion by year-end, up 20 per cent compared to 2019. The bank also targets its Return on Equity ratio at 26 per cent while striving for a 19 per cent growth in deposits.

The bank also plans to list its shares on Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange this year.

"The BOD is authorised to decide the listing time after completely increasing the charter capital by bonus shares," the bank said in a statement.

Last year, VIB posted revenue of more than VND8.11 trillion, up 33 per cent year-on-year.

The bank’s service revenue doubled last year’s figure to VND3.42 trillion, accounting for 22 per cent of its total revenue.

Meanwhile, provision expenses dropped 7 per cent to VND605 billion as its non-performing loan ratio declined to 1.7 per cent from 2.2 per cent. The bank also reacquired all bad debts it sold to the Viet Nam Asset Management Company.

Thanks to these positive figures, the bank’s pre-tax profit went up significantly by 50 per cent to more than VND4 trillion in 2019.

TAC to pay special dividend of 75 per cent

Tuong An Vegetable Oil Joint Company announced business targets for this year at its annual general meeting in HCM City on Friday.

It expects revenues to increase by 10 per cent to VND4.56 trillion (US$196 million) and profits by 13.2 per cent to VND193 billion ($8.3 million).

The dividend for 2020 will be 20 per cent.

A special dividend of 75 per cent will be paid in the future after TAC is acquired by KIDO Group.

TAC said it would seek shareholders’ votes for the takeover in July.

To achieve the year’s targets, the company announced a number of solutions like developing premium products.

Its chairwoman, Nguyen Thi Hanh, said measures would also be taken to expand the distribution system including through online sales.

The company would strive to increase awareness of its brands among consumers, she said.

Last fiscal year had been a tough one for TAC due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the volatility in the oil market, she said.

But revenues exceeded the target by 7.84 per cent to reach VND4.1 trillion ($176.4 million).

Profit was more than 25 per cent over the target at VND171 billion ($7.4 million).

Earlier, on Thursday, the company announced its results for the first half of 2020, with net revenues jumping by 30 per cent year-on-year to VND2.22 billion ($,94.7 million) and profits by 25.5 per cent to VND322 billion ($13.8 million).

The cooking oil market last year was worth VND31 trillion ($1.34 billion) and is expected to grow to VND35 trillion ($1.5 billion) in the next five years.

HDBank to pay dividend at a rate of 65%, focus on digital transformation

The HCM City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank (HOSE: HDB) plans to pay a dividend of 65 per cent for 2019, 50 per cent in stocks and 15 per cent in bonus shares.

The lender announced this at its annual general meeting in HCM City on Saturday.

The charter capital of HDBank, as it is known, will increase from the current VND9.8 trillion to nearly VND16 trillion after the dividend payment.

The bank aims to increase its charter capital to meet the State Bank of Viet Nam’s requirements to improve its financial capacity to develop its client network, expand market share and business scale, diversify banking services, and improve risk management capability.

The bank also aims to supplement its medium- and long-term capital, enhance its infrastructure, and build a headquarter with a modern information technology system.

This year HDBank expects its total assets to increase by 33 per cent to VND305 trillion, deposits to VND275 trillion, up 35 per cent, and loans outstanding to VND178 trillion.

It targets an increase of 13 per cent in pre-tax profit.

Return on assets and return on equity will remain at high levels of 1.69 per cent and 20.02 per cent.

To achieve the targets, this year, besides credit growth and expansion of its network, HDBank will also focus on increasing income from services and cross-selling products and offering new products and services to customers.

According to Le Thi Bang Tam, its chairwoman, 2020 is a key year in the bank’s five-year (2017-2021) development plan.

“HDBank identified 2020 as the year to accelerate digital transformation, enhance technology application on the big data platform and digitise processes, distribution channels, products and services, and its entire activity.

“This is a decisive innovation step in the context that the world is struggling to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, restore business activities and normalise social life.”

At the meeting the board of directors also submitted a plan to issue up to US$1 billion worth of bonds in the international market in tranches.

The bond will have a minimum term of three years and a maximum of 10 and be issued to investors outside the US and listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange.

The bank also plans to issue $500 million worth of convertible bonds in the international or Vietnamese market with a term of five years in 2020 or 2021.

With its current scale, it is imperative for HDBank to participate in the international bond market, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, the bank’s vice chairwoman, said.

“Currently, due to the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the governments of many countries have injected a lot of money into the international market at astonishingly low interest rates, even 0 per cent. So we believe that this is an opportunity to mobilise capital for the bank's recovery plans and investment projects.”

Thao also revealed plans to convert HDBank’s consumer finance arm HDSAISON from a limited company to a joint stock company and launch an initial public offering.

At the meeting, the board of directors announced the dismissal of supervisory board member Nguyen Thi Phung, and her replacement by Duong Thi Thu.

It was also announced that the supervisory board for the 2017-2022 term would have a minimum of three members instead of the previous four.

In the first quarter of this year HDBank’s total consolidated operating income increased by 27.8 per cent year-on-year to VND3.15 trillion. Pre-tax profit rose by 13.5 per cent to VND1.25 trillion.

The non-performing loans ratio of the parent bank continued to be closely controlled, with its 0.98 per cent rate placing it among the banks with the lowest ratios in the industry.

To mitigate COVID-19 risks, HDBank has adopted measures to ensure safe operations. Besides, it has rolled out credit packages to support SMEs, businesses that produce and distribute essential products and others in supply and distribution chains to help them overcome the tough situation.

In April 2020 Moody’s retained its B1 credit rating for HDBank though it had said earlier many banks were likely to have their ratings lowered.

It underlined HDBank’s stable financial capacity, low risk and long-term development opportunities.

Also in the first quarter HDBank was honoured as the best domestic bank in Viet Nam by The Asset, Asia’s leading banking and finance magazine. 

Rubber group targets increase in revenue and profit

The Vietnam Rubber Group JSC (GVR) targets revenue and post-tax profit up 8 per cent and 5 per cent this year, respectively.

The information was released during the 2020 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders (AGM) held in HCM City on Friday.

This was the group’s first AGM after moving its listing from the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) to the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) on March 17.

The group aimed to earn nearly VND24.7 trillion (US$1.05 billion) in revenue and more than VND4 trillion in profit.

It plans to pay 2019 dividend in cash at a rate of 6 per cent, equivalent to VND2.4 trillion. Dividend pay-out ratio for 2020 is expected to also stay at 6 per cent.

According to the Board of Directors, the prices of key export products, such as rubber and wood, all fell sharply and could not be consumed due to lower demand.

“The rubber industry is facing difficulties due to the impacts of climate change, natural disasters, floods and storms. The unpredictable development of the COVID-19 pandemic is also a challenge for the group,” said GVR General Director Huynh Van Bao.

The group plans to improve the quality of corporate governance, restructure its business activities, focusing on five main traditional business areas including planting, processing rubber latex; processing rubber wood; rubber industry products; industrial zone investment on rubber cultivation land and hi-tech agriculture.

The land fund which is unsuitable for rubber trees will be converted into cultivation land for other crops, the group said.

As of December 31, 2019, the group had divested capital from non-core member units and collected nearly VND2.4 trillion.

Bao said the divestment helped the group earned a significant source of capital to balance investment.

He said the group would proceed to convert 20 limited liability companies, in which it is holding 100 per cent of capital, into joint stock companies.

This created transparency for businesses, thereby attracting foreign investment more easily, Bao said.

This year, GVR will merge member units operating in the same industry. Quavan Rubber Co Ltd will be merged with Viet Lao Rubber Co Ltd, VRG Oudomxay with Quasa Geruco, Huong Khe Rubber with Ha Tinh Rubber, Dong Phu Dak Nong Rubber with Dong Phu Rubber. 

Delisted from HNX, shares of PetroVietnam Construction to list on Upcom

After being de-listed on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX), shares of PetroVietnam Construction JSC (PVX) will be traded on the unlisted public company market from June 16.

According to HNX, the shares were delisted from June 9 as auditors declined to comment on the company's consolidated financial statement and separate financial statement for 2019.

Under Decree No. 58/ 2012/ ND - CP on Securities Laws, if auditors refuse to conduct an audit of, or disagree with or refuse to provide an opinion on the most recent financial statements of a listed institution, the shares of the firm will be delisted. As a result, all 400 million shares of the firm are no longer allowed to list on HNX.

Instead, the exchange said the firm’s shares will be registered to trade on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM).

The reference prices in the first trading day on UpCoM will be VND1,000 each share, the figure it closed at after the last trading session on HNX on June 8.

The realty and construction firm has suffered losses for three consecutive years.

 

As of the end of 2019, the firm recorded losses of VND416 billion, VND414 billion and VND392 billion in the last three years. Accumulated losses by end of last year reached nearly VND3.9 trillion, closed to its equity capital of VND4 trillion.

General director of PVC Luong Dinh Thanh told local media: “Most of PVC's subsidiaries, affiliates and other long-term investments suffer from unprofitable business results due to the difficult real estate market and many stopped and delayed projects.”

“Because those companies could not cover expenses such as management costs, interest expenses, bad debts, as the parent company, the firm must set up provisions according to regulations," he added.

Thanh said the prolonged losses and financial difficulties led to the auditors refusing to give an audit opinion on PVC's 2019 financial statements.

With a history of 30 years, the firm has been the major construction corporation of the petroleum industry.

According to data recorded since 2009 when the firm started listing, the shares used to close at more than VND30,000 each in 2010.

Thai Vietjet announces five new Thai domestic routes

Thai Vietjet, a subsidiary of Vietnamese budget airline Vietjet Air, has announced and opened ticket sales from June 15 for five new domestic routes in Thailand.

These five new routes will connect the capital Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) with famous tourism and cultural destinations from North to South of Thailand including Hat Yai, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Ubon Ratchathani, and Surat Thani.

The five new routes extend Thai Vietjet’s domestic flight network to 12 domestic routes, connecting 11 destinations in Thailand.

In celebration of the new routes launching, more than 500,000 promotion tickets from only 5 THB (approx. 16 US cents) (excluding taxes and fees) are given away for five days from June 15 - 19 during the golden hours between 12:00 and 14:00 (GMT 7) on website www.vietjetair.com. The promotion tickets are available for the travel period from July 1 till end of December this year.

Thai Vietjet also organize a lucky draw with the prize of five-month free travel with Thai Vietjet for all customers booking tickets on the promotion site at skyfun.vietjetair.com.

Currently, Thai Vietjet is operating stable flight operation covering Thailand domestic network including routes between Bangkok and Chiang Mai/ Chiang Rai/ Phuket/ Krabi/ Udon Thani.

The new-age carrier Vietjet has not only revolutionized the aviation industry in Vietnam but also been a pioneering airline across the region and around the world. With a focus on cost management ability, effective operations and performance, Vietjet offers flying opportunities with cost-saving and flexible fares as well as diversified services to meet customers’ demands.

Vietjet is a fully-fledged member of International Air Transport Association (IATA) with the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certificate. As Vietnam’s largest private carrier, the airline was awarded the highest ranking for safety with 7 stars in 2018 and 2019 by the world’s only safety and product rating website airlineratings.com and listed as one of the world's 50 best airlines for healthy financing and operations by Airfinance Journal in 2018 and 2019. The airline has also been named as Best Low-Cost Carrier by renowned organizations such as Skytrax, CAPA, Airline Ratings, and many others.

Recently, Vietjet has also increased its Vietnam domestic flight network to 53 routes with eight new routes connecting Hanoi with Dong Hoi (Quang Binh province); Hai Phong city with Quy Nhon (Binh Dinh province); Vinh (Nghe An province) with Phu Quoc (Kien Giang province); Da Nang city with Phu Quoc, Da Lat (Lam Dong province), Buon Ma Thuot (Dak Lak province), Vinh and Thanh Hoa province. These new routes will commence operation from June 18./.

PV Power approves plan to build Nhon Trach thermal power plants

The PetroVietnam Power Corporation (PV Power) has approved an investment plan to build Nhon Trach 3 and 4 thermal power plants with combined capacity of between 1,300-1,760 MW.

The plants will be constructed in the southern province of Dong Nai with an estimated investment of over 32.48 trillion VND (1.39 billion USD).

In February 2020, PV Power signed a letter of authorisation with its foreign partners – Citibank and Ingbank – to arrange capital for the project.

The company also inked a contract with the PetroVietnam Gas Joint Stock Corporation (PV Gas) to provide and sold liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the project in mid-2019.

The construction of the plants is scheduled to commence in the second quarter of 2021.

MoIT to open online conference to bring Vietnamese products to Japan

The Viet Nam Trade Office in Japan and the Tokyo SME Support Center will host an online trade conference to promote Vietnamese agriculture products on June 30.

The move is part of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s series of online trade events seeking and expanding markets for domestic agricultural and food products.

The conference is a chance for enterprises which are exporting agricultural products, food and other consumer and health products to sell their products and connect with Japanese importers online.

In 2019, exports of agricultural and aquatic products to Japan reached US$1.81 billion, up 3.2 per cent compared to 2018. Of which, the largest export portion was from fishery products with $1.46 billion, up 5.8 per cent, vegetables and fruits reached $122.3 million, an increase of 28 per cent from 2018.

According to the representative of MoIT, Viet Nam's agricultural and food industry has seen prosperous development, adding: “The country is becoming a centre to supply quality and diversified agricultural products and food to the world.”

He also said: “Promoting exports of agricultural products and foodstuffs together with improving processing capacity, bringing local agricultural products and food brands not only to Japan but also to the world and help to affirm the position of Vietnamese agricultural products in global value chains and developing competitiveness in the context of more opened agricultural markets.”

As Viet Nam and Japan are both members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), after the agreement came into effect last year, Japan eliminated import duties on some key agricultural products of Viet Nam including coffee, pepper, cashews and other spices; a number of fruits and vegetables as well as processed and canned fruit products.

MoIT said: “It is a favourable condition and also an opportunity to promote cooperation in potential areas, increase the import and export turnover of goods between the two countries, enhance cooperation investment, technology transfer and cooperation, exchange experience and cooperate in vocational training for agricultural workers between Viet Nam and Japan.”

MoIT said Japan also has a great demand for medical products in the context of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding: “The current 200 enterprises producing medical equipment relating to pandemic prevention and control, such as masks, medical gloves, medical goggles and epidemic prevention clothes can take the chance to serve the market.”

In 2019, Viet Nam's total import-export turnover with Japan reached $39.9 billion, up 5.4 per cent compared to 2018. Of which, the local export to Japan reached $20.4 billion, up 8.4 per cent from 2018. 

Vietnam, China to hold online conference on agricultural trade

An online conference on agricultural product trade between Vietnam and China will be held on June 16-17. 

The Department of Trade Promotion of Vietnam will co-operate with China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) in Shandong Province to organise the conference to boost agricultural trade and make a bridge to connect traders in Vietnam and Shandong Province.

About 60 firms will attend the conference and discuss specific topics and problems. Products that will be introduced at the conference will include agricultural products, processed food, confectionery and beverage.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Shandong has been a leading province in China in agriculture. With a population of 107 million people, Shandong also has diverse demands for various kinds of food.

Statistics from General Administration of Customs of China show that in 2019, Shandong's foreign trade turnover reached USD281bn for the first time, in which USD156.3bn are from exporting and USD130,8bn are from importing.

Seafood sales growth rate in Shandong was 14.9%, and 40.7% for fresh and dried fruits consumption growth rate. Last year, Shandong imported USD4.93bn worth of food, in which USD2.42bn was for meat.

Even though Covid-19 has been controlled in both Vietnam and China, trade is still very difficult. The online conference aims to solve the problems and boost the agricultural trade for both countries.

Workshop on UNCITRAL Model Law regarding enforcement of arbitral awards

A consultation workshop was held in Ho Chi Minh City on June 15 on the study report on provisions of the UNCITRAL Model Law regarding the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards.

Co-organised by the Ministry of Justice, UNDP Vietnam and the British Embassy in Hanoi, the event gathered representatives from People’s Courts, civil judgement enforcement authorities in southern cities and provinces, commercial arbitration centres and law companies.

The workshop aims to collect comments from experts on the draft report and discuss the possibility of applying these provisions of the UNCITRAL Model Law in Vietnam from diverse perspectives of various experts.

In addition, the workshop shared and discussed international experiences on the application and implementation of the provisions of the UNCITRAL Model Law regarding the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards, thereby proposing recommendations to Vietnam.

"The settlement of commercial disputes through arbitral awards is an international practice applied by many countries around the world,” said Catherine Phuong, UNDP Vietnam Assistant Resident Representative. “However, this mechanism can only be effective if the decisions of arbitral awards are recognized and enforced by national courts.”

The workshop is one of the key activities of the Government and Business Integrity Initiative (GBII) implemented by VCCI under the UNDP’s Regional Project “Promoting A Fair Business Environment in ASEAN”.

This project, run until 2021, aims to support the development of transparent mechanisms in both public and private sectors, strengthening the rule of law, preventing corruption, and promoting accountable business models.

Indonesia prepares more stimulus packages for industrial sector

The Indonesian government is preparing additional stimulus packages for the industrial sector, which was heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Minister of Industry Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita.

This strategic step is to revive the national economy, he said, adding that the amount of stimulus is 1.85 trillion Rp (132.14 million USD).

The government is reviewing incentives in the form of eliminating value added tax for local raw materials for export, and postponing the tax payments for 90 days without fines, he added.

The ministry has also proposed restructuring credit and providing capital stimulus for businesses, he said.

Shrimp sector in Ca Mau province bounces back

Shrimp exports and prices in the southernmost province of Ca Mau re showing signs of recovery after being heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the provincial People’s Committee, the province’s shrimp export turnover during the first four months of the year saw a 20 percent drop year-on-year due to COVID-19. But shrimp export turnover is now only 10 percent lower compared to the same period last year.

Since shrimp exports are picking up, the price of shrimp material is also rising. For instance, white-leg shrimp (the 100 shrimp per kilo variety) is being sold for 86,000 VND (3.7 USD) per kilo, which is 20 percent higher compared to mid-March.

The price for giant tiger shrimp, while still lower than before COVID-19, has seen an increase of 10,000 – 15,000 VND per kilo compared to mid-March.

Duong Vu Nam, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, said that several markets for shrimp such as China, the Republic of Korea, Japan and some European countries are relaxing their COVID-19 prevention measures and resuming their imports.

Meanwhile, large shrimp suppliers such as India and Indonesia have been heavily impacted by the pandemic, which may lower global shrimp supply and provide an opportunity for Ca Mau’s shrimp industry.

To facilitate export growth quickly and sustainably, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Tien Hai has instructed departments and authorities to push for more productive farming models and carry out demand and market price forecasts to help farmers with production.

Businesses should resume trade activities quickly with the countries that have controlled the pandemic early, and find new markets as opposed to waiting for existing ones where COVID-19 is still active, Hai said.

Ca Mau has one of the largest aquaculture farming areas in Vietnam, at around 302,000 hectares, and exports nearly 1.2 billion USD worth of shrimp annually.

Indonesia to open for visitors from China, RoK, Japan, Australia

Indonesia is considering opening the country for travelers from China, the Republic of Korea (RoK), Japan and Australia to recover the economy, said government official.

Speaking at a video press conference on June 12, the coordinating ministry for maritime and investment affairs, Odo Manuhutu, said Indonesia is setting up a tourism corridor for the four countries.

But he does not give the time when will it be opened. He asserted that the tourism activities will be opened under tight health protocols.

He quoted senior minister for maritime and investment affairs Luhut B. Pandjaitan as saying that besides foreign tourists, it needs an effort to recover and improve the tourism sector, as domestic tourists account for 70 percent of the total visitors and contribute 54-56 percent of total tourism revenue.

Meanwhile, head of the Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association Hariyadi B. Sukamdani said the Indonesian tourism sector suffered losses of at least 1.5 billion USD in the first quarter of 2020 due to the pandemic.

He noted that the fiscal stimulus worth 10.3 trillion Rp (735.71 million USD) has not given much impact to the sector so far. Total losses are estimated at 4 billion USD as foreign holidaymakers plunge.

In the latest report, Moody’s Investors Service rated coronavirus spread will significantly slow economic growth, which will in turn amplify its financial impact on several key corporate sectors, especially tourism.

While, IHS Markit expects, the aggregate dividend payouts from airlines in Asia Pacific (APAC) to drop 20.7 percent to 1.4 billion USD in 2020 from a year ago.

Nearly 300 Cambodian SMEs apply for loans from ARDB

Cambodia’s Agriculture and Rural Development Bank (ARDB) said that it has received more than 288 loan applications so far with a total value of 31 million USD from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), according to Khmer Times.

In March this year, the Cambodian government allocated 50 million USD special fund for SMEs. The fund is designed to specifically focus on agri-processing, food processing, agri-business, crops including vegetables, livestock and the aquatic business plus any enterprise that uses raw materials from agriculture.

The bank said the government has recently reduced the interest rate from 6 to 5 percent for working capital and 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent for investment capital, as well as increase the repayment period for up to seven years. SMEs can borrow up to 300,000 USD.

Kao Thach, ARDB Director-General, said the bank had also cooperated with Cambodia’s Investors Club (CIC) acting as a credit guarantee on behalf of the borrowers, especially owners of SMEs, and provides cooperation by offering information on borrowers to the bank. The CIC will also help the SME owners who lack collateral to get additional working capital to expand their business and boost relationships between them and producers, processors and goods collectors with the bank as a basis to make a loan assessment.

However, he said the credit guarantee on behalf of the borrowers will be only for medium enterprises or manufacturing, not small-scale enterprises.

Thach also urged and encouraged the SMS owners across the country to quickly prepare the necessary documents in order to get a loan from the ARDB to expand their business.

Joint venture formed to welcome investment flows from Japan

Japanese supplier of construction materials and equipment the JUTEC Corporation and Vietnam’s ISN Corporation have established a joint venture headquartered in Hanoi to welcome investment flows from Japan.

The ISN-JUTEC Co. joint venture has total charter capital of 20 billion VND (860,000 USD).

It will manage and operate 1,000 Japanese-standard apartments and aims to prepare for the wave of Japanese investment being relocated to Vietnam, General Director of the ISN-JUTEC Co. Nguyen Ha Hung told Vietnam News Agency correspondents in Japan on June 15.

It is predicted that demand for apartments among Japanese experts in Vietnam will increase sharply in the time to come.

It will also develop a network of retail outlets and distribution channels for new Japanese materials in Vietnam, contributing to the development of the local construction and real estate industries, Hung added.

Established in 1923, the JUTEC Corporation specialises in supplying high-quality equipment and construction materials to civil and residential projects in Japan. It also provides construction services and IT solutions.

The ISN Corporation, meanwhile, specialises in providing brokerage services and manages apartments and office space for rent. With headquarters in Hanoi and branches in HCM City, Hai Phong, and Tokyo, its customers are mainly foreign enterprises, organisations, and individuals, most of whom are Japanese./.

Singapore’s GDP forecast to fall 5.8 percent in 2020

The Singapore economy is predicted to contract by 5.8 percent in 2020, according to a survey by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released on June 15.

This is a sharp reversal from the 0.6 percent growth expected by economists in the previous survey.

The worst affected areas by the COVID-19 pandemic are wholesale and retail trade, office leasing, catering services and personal consumption. Accordingly, office leasing and catering services are expected to drop by 26 percent this year, much greater than the 1.6 percent contraction previously predicted.

The wholesale and retail trade sector is expected to contract by 12.8 percent, as compared to the 0.7 percent contraction forecast previously.

However economists are slightly more optimistic in other areas. The manufacturing sector is now expected to grow by 2.2 percent for 2020, as compared to the 0.3 percent contraction predicted in the previous survey.

The finance and insurance sector is expected to post a growth of 3.1 percent, up from the 2.6-percent growth predicted previously.

Singapore is facing the worst recession in history, with its economic growth expected to decline by 4-7 percent in 2020. The Southeast Asian country’s GDP growth is expected to rise to 4.8 percent in 2021 as a whole.

Vietnam’s economy attractive to foreign investment: int’l media

Vietnam is like a rising star, meeting all the factors to improve its economic image and attract more foreign investment flows, according to an article published by The Times of India.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam has been getting a lot of attention as it has managed to cage the outbreak with a sheer iron will, the article said.

Vietnam is fast emerging as the preferred destination of multinational firms, it stressed, adding that the Southeast Asian nation is revving up its economic engine and has already restarted domestic tourism.

The IMF forecasts that Vietnam is likely to post economic growth 2.7 percent in 2020, while the World Bank has pegged it at 4.9 percent - far greater than regional peers.

“Vietnam finds itself in a sweet spot today. It has contained COVID-19, weathered most of the economic storm, and has the right ingredients to take full economic advantage of the post-pandemic scenario”, the article said.

Foreign media also ran articles on the assessment of Vietnam’s success in containing the spread of the virus and working for its economic recovery.

Axios.com said Vietnam was one of the first in the world to re-open with few restrictions, and it was already enjoying a flood of foreign investment.

Meanwhile, Channelnewsasia (CAN) said the COVID-19 pandemic is a test for all systems in Vietnam, and the country passed it with excellent results.

From the success of Vietnam, the Brookings Institution has made a series of suggestions on how to change the development strategy so that it not only grows faster but also achieves better achievements.

Thailand among countries recovering best from COVID-19 epidemic

The Prime Minister of Thailand has thanked all Thai people for their contribution to the fight against COVID-19, saying that have helped place Thailand second among countries recovering best from the COVID-19 epidemic.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha thanked all Thai people for their discipline, strength, patience and effort to prevent the spread of the viral epidemic, that helped Thailand rank as the best placed country to have recovered from COVID-19 in Asia, and rank second among 184 countries recovering successfully from COVID-19 worldwide. The rankings were conducted on June 11 by PEMADU Associates in cooperation with the Ministry of Science and Innovation (MOSTI) of Malaysia and the Sunway group, which used a big data analysis system to find out how well each country had responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To decide rankings, 70 percent of the score was assessed from the drive and changes of the daily situation based on the number of patients under treatment; the rate of cured patients per number of patients; the number of tests per confirmed patients and the number of tests per population of the whole country, while another 30 percent was based on statistical data collected from the Global Health Security (GHS) Index and from the ranking results above. The government is well aware that what was socially necessary during the COVID-19 epidemic was often difficult for the people but all parties cooperated very well, enabling Thailand to overcome the crisis./.

Thailand, Indonesia plan to welcome foreign visitors

Around 1,000 foreign visitors are expected to be allowed to enter Thailand per day and the standard 14-day COVID-19 quarantine rule will be waived, according to an implementation plan to be submitted for approval of the country’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

On June 14, Thai deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul said these foreigners, who at first will mostly be businesspeople and patients seeking medical treatment in Thailand, must come as part of bilateral cooperation on tourism between the nation and selected countries which have managed to contain the pandemic.

General foreign tourists will later be allowed to enter Thailand if the tourism promotion programme proves successful in terms of the transmission control, she said, adding that COVID-19 screening tests will be required both before the visitors leave their countries and upon arriving in Thailand.

This, however, doesn't mean the visitors will be able to travel freely while in Thailand as they will still be prohibited from visiting certain parts of the country and will be tracked via a smart phone application, the official noted.

Final details of the programme are being discussed by Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Ministry, Public Health Ministry, Interior Ministry and Foreign Ministry.

Another Southeast Asian country – Indonesia – is also planning to reopen its tourism sector, which has been battered by the disease.

Spokesperson of Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry’s COVID-19 Task Force Ari Juliano said in early June that strict health supervision measures will be implemented to protect visitors and prevent them from bringing the virus into Indonesia.

The country plans to open its tourism firstly for China, the Republic of Korea, Japan and Australia, which are big investors of the nation.

VNS/VNA/VIR/SGT/VOV/ND/Hanoitimes/Dtinews/SGGP

 
 

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