VIETNAM'S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES SEPTEMBER 10

 Digital expo offers VN firms opportunity to introduce fruits, vegetables to EU

VIETNAM'S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES SEPTEMBER 10

The Macfrut Digital Trade Show being held online for the first time from September 8 to 10 offers Vietnamese businesses the opportunity to meet hundreds of global suppliers of fresh, safe and quality fruits from Europe.

Macfrut Digital’s online platform Natlive is bringing together businesses in agricultural production, trading, machinery, greenhouses and irrigation systems, nurseries and seeds, fertilisers and bio-stimulants, logistics and storage, and others.

The event has attracted over 600 exhibitors from 30 countries.

Visitors can register for free at macfrutdigital.com. After signing in, they can see an interactive map of products on display, visit virtual booths to learn about products, ask for information from the organisers, and hold exchanges with exhibitors.

There will be conferences livestreamed for free on topics such as renovation in gardening, greenhouses and watering, and forums on bio-stimulation.

According to the organisers, the exhibition will offer a chance for Vietnamese enterprises, distributors and importers to seek tie-ups in the context that the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement with preferential tariffs took effect last month.

Businesses in the field of agro-products and fruits could explore a market of nearly 500 million consumers and learn about their tastes, they said.

According to European experts, Vietnamese agricultural produce such as cashew, coffee, vegetables, dragon fruit, lychee, coconut, fig, pineapple, avocado, guava, mango, and mangosteen are favoured in the EU.

Some of Vietnam’s organic products have entered this demanding market after meeting criteria set for organic, Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade certification among others.

The organisers said conventional exhibitions and trade shows have to be postponed or cancelled, thus limiting the trade exchange of businesses around the globe.

“In this context, online exhibitions and trade shows are the best way for businesses to meet their partners internationally.”

Award promotes sustainable development of smart cities

The Vietnam Smart City Award 2020 was officially launched online by the Vietnam Software and IT Services Association (VINASA) on September 7, aiming to push for sustainable development of smart cities across the nation.

At the event, VINASA Chairman Truong Gia Binh laid stress on the significance of smart city development, holding it is billed as one of the best tools to serve both people and businesses.

The award is expected to create motivation for technology and policy initiatives, helping cities become valuable urban areas with sharp competitive edge, he said, adding smart cities are an important launching pad for the nation’s socio-economic development.

Entries should be sent to the organising board until October 10, competing in four categories of Vietnamese urban areas; smart realty projects and buildings; industrial real estate projects, and technology solutions to smart city, property projects and industrial parks.

The final results will be announced on November 17 when the Vietnam Smart City Summit 2020 is organised.

The United Nations estimated that today, 54.6 percent of the world’s population live in urban areas, and the proportion is expected to increase to over 70 percent by 2050. Rapid urbanisation rate has left cities worldwide in critical socio-economic and environmental situation. Building smart cities is a perfect solution to deal with urbanisation problems, and seen as an essential trend of countries across the globe.

Currently, Vietnam has 833 urban areas of all kinds. The Government, ministries, sectors and localities are promoting to form national data infrastructure, a fundamental base to build smart cities.

Nearly 40 cities in the countries have plans to develop smart cities under the Prime Minister’s Decision No.950/QD-TTg.

Industrial parks, economic zones create new growth momentum in Quang Ninh

Investment in industrial parks (IPs) and economic zones (EZs) has become a new driver of growth in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh, with local authorities issuing various policies to attract investors.

According to experts, Quang Ninh is considered a strategic investment destination in Vietnam’s northern region and an important link in the Hanoi - Hai Phong - Quang Ninh northern economic growth triangle.

The province possesses major advantages, with Van Don district to become a multi-sectoral marine economic zone and an entertainment centre, with a casino, high-end sea-island tourism, and general services.

The province has planned to develop eleven IPs and four EZs that together span over 368,000 ha, accounting for more than 30 percent of Quang Ninh’s total natural area.

Six of the 11 IPs have already been issued investment registration certificates and have infrastructure invested in and leased. Investors have so far poured about 27.35 trillion VND (1.17 billion USD) into building technical infrastructure of IPs such as roads and facilities for electricity, water supply and drainage, and wastewater treatment.

Nguyen Manh Tuan, head of the management board of IPs in Quang Ninh, said several parks are having their infrastructure completed, such as the Hai Ha Seaport IP, the Dam Nha Mac Industrial - Service Park, and the Song Khoai IP.

He especially mentioned Viet Hung IP, which is waiting for the Government’s approval of its second phase of construction, saying that as a specialised area for manufacturing engineering, processing, and support industries, it is expected to attract a large number of secondary investors in the near future.

Meanwhile, Quang Ninh has also mobilised approximately 100 trillion VND to date in developing infrastructure for local EZs.

IPs and EZs in the province have attracted 250 projects, including 72 foreign-funded projects, with total registered capital in excess of 100 trillion VND.

Among IPs with high occupation rates, Cai Lan IP has been fully occupied by 33 projects worth more than 10.5 trillion VND, of which over 9 trillion VND is from foreign investors.

The multi-sector Hai Ha Seaport IP, has so far reeled in 14 foreign-invested projects worth over 889 million USD, which are estimated to have generated about 10,500 jobs.

A large number of major companies have injected close to 70 trillion VND into Quang Ninh’s EZs. Three leading real estate giants - Vingroup, Sungroup, and FLC - are asking that local authorities allow them to research investing in a number of large-scale projects at the Mong Cai Border Gate EZ. Their targeted projects include a complex of residential homes and shopping centres in Tran Phu ward, an urban area connecting Bac Luan I and II bridges, the Ninh Duong urban area and the Tra Co - Binh Ngoc luxury tourism resort, and a high-tech farming area in Hai Dong, Hai Tien, and Hai Yen communes offering eco-tourism services.

The Van Don EZ has attracted projects worth over 24 trillion VND in just a short period of time, with many expected to be completed next year. Notable projects include the Sonasea Van Don Harbor City tourism-resort complex, the Van Hai eco-tourism site, and the Ocean Park urban area.

Tenant enterprises in provincial IPs and EZs posted revenue of close to 2 billion USD last year, with import-export turnover exceeding 2.4 billion USD. They also created more than 25,000 jobs and contributed tax payments of over 1.3 trillion VND to the State budget.

Between January and July, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, both revenue and trade turnover of enterprises in Quang Ninh’s IZs and EZs surpassed 1 billion USD and they also contributed some 800 billion VND to the State budget.

HDBank keeps foreign ownership cap at 21.5%

The HCM City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank (HDBank) has decided to lock the foreign ownership limit at 21.5 per cent of the charter capital.

The limit was set at 21.5 per cent so that there is more room to sell stakes to the strategic investor, HDBank said in a statement on Monday.

Under existing regulations, foreign ownership limit at banks is 30 per cent of the charter capital.

HDBank also plans to offer US$160 million worth of international convertible bonds to institutional investors in developed markets.

The bonds will mature in five years and one day. The bonds can be converted into common shares, are non-guaranteed and go without covered warrants.

Income raised from the bond sale will be spent increasing the bank’s tier 2 capital. Tier 2 refers to a bank's supplementary capital and includes undisclosed reserves, debts and hybrid financial products.

With the capital raise, HDBank will increase funding for medium-term and long-term loans and reach its business targets. In addition, the bank will be able to meet requirements of asset quality and capital adequacy ratio.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, rating agency Moody’s has kept its B1 rating for HDBank, acknowledging that the Vietnamese lender has progressed well to improve the quality of assets and capital competency, and make sustainable profitability.

HDBank shares are listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange as HDB. Its shares slid 1.7 per cent to VND29,200 ($1.26) apiece, having gained a total 24 per cent since July 27.

Kite Air’s establishment plan rejected

Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has approved a proposal by the Ministry of Investment and Planning to suspend a plan to establish a new airline called Kite Air.

On August 27, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung wrote to the prime minister about the plan to establish Kite Air and proposed rejecting the plan due to the unfavorable aviation market conditions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. And on September 5, Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung officially backed the Ministry of Investment and Planning's proposal.  

Earlier, the Transport Ministry had proposed that the prime minister focus on the recovery of the aviation market and the removal of obstacles facing operational carriers, given the impact of the health crisis. The establishment of new air carriers should be considered after the aviation market recovers, it said.

In January this year, the Ministry of Planning and Investment sent a report to the prime minister saying that Kite Air had completed the essential legal procedures for its establishment including ownership capital, a business plan, aircraft fleet and development strategies that meet the demands of the aviation market. The ministry proposed that the Government leader appraise and consider approving the carrier project.

However, the pandemic affected all the preparations made by the carrier owner and the relevant agencies, prompting the ministries to suggest that licenses for new airlines be issued only after 2022, once the aviation market is back on track.

Accordingly, Thien Minh Aviation JSC, the owner of the airline project, has been forced to postpone the project for the next two years after one year of preparing for it. Kite Air is the second local carrier, whose launch has been rejected over the past three years.

Previously, Vietstar Airlines, owned by Vietstar Airlines Multirole Corporation, was refused an operation license as it chose Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCMC as its base airport and the airport has been facing an overload of passengers.

Binh Dinh, Phu Yen resume tourism activities 

Tourism activities in the central provinces of Binh Dinh and Phu Yen have been resumed but bars, clubs, karaoke and massage parlors, cinemas, wedding restaurants in Binh Dinh will continue to remain shut, reported Phap Luat news website.

The provincial government of Binh Dinh announced that it has allowed the reopening of non-essential services such as tourism attractions, historic sites and natural landscapes.

It will also suspend the operations of quarantine checkpoints at the Cu Mong and Vinh Tuy passes; the Quy Nhon, De Gi, Tam Quan and De Gi fishing ports and national highways 19 and 19C.

However, the province will allow the checkpoints at the Binh De Pass, the Bong Son and Dieu Tri train stations, the Quy Nhon coach station, the Quy Nhon Port and the Phu Cat airport to remain operational.

Competent forces at quarantine checkpoints were told to ramp up efforts to prevent sources of Covid-19 transmission from the outside, especially from provinces and cities that have reported locally-transmitted coronavirus cases. Also, they have to promptly detect, handle and take any individual illegally entering the province to quarantine facilities.

Local authorities have to check that businesses operating in the province including those being allowed to resume normal operations are complying with Covid-19 preventive measures.

On the same day, neighboring Phu Yen Province issued an announcement allowing the resumption of tourist sites and leisure facilities in the area, including massage and karaoke parlors, discos, bars and cinemas, with Covid-19 preventive measures in place, including wearing masks and washing hands.

Earlier, Phu Yen ordered the suspension of tourism services from July 29 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

HCMC’s bars, clubs reopen

The government of HCMC has allowed bars, pubs, clubs and discos to reopen starting 6 p.m. September 7, adding that events with large gatherings can be organized but must adopt Covid-19 preventive measures.

The municipal government issued an urgent dispatch this afternoon asking leaders of localities and agencies in the city to continue making efforts to prevent and control Covid-19, reported Nguoi Lao Dong Online.

Operators of bars, clubs and discos have been asked to follow pandemic prevention measures such as disinfecting surfaces, readying sufficient disinfectants, purchasing hand sanitizers and asking their employees to fully comply with the Health Ministry’s Covid-19 health safety guidelines when they resume operations.

In addition, the organizers of events such as festivals, fairs and conferences must ensure coronavirus preventive measures are taken by asking participants to wear face masks, disinfect their hands, make health declarations, check their body temperature and maintain a safe physical distance from each other.

The municipal Department of Information and Communications was also told to regularly issue the latest information on the development of the pandemic, advise local residents to wear masks when they go out, avoid non-essential large gatherings and wash their hands frequently.

Garment and apparel industry faces serious shortage of orders

Previous years have seen garment and apparel businesses have orders until the end of the year and into the first half of next year, while this year many firms are only be able to receive orders on a monthly or even weekly basis. 

According to figures compiled by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), the global textile and garment market during the third quarter has failed to show many positive signs or drastic changes. Simultaneously, consumption demand for products within the United States, the EU, and Japan have endured a slowdown,  with this being the main factor that has led to a decline in demand among the textile and garment manufacturing sector. 

Cao Huu Hieu, deputy general director of Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), said that at present it remains impossible to offer long-term forecasts, although the group has considered a scenario in which revenue falls by 20% this year. 

Furthermore, orders ahead in the fourth quarter currently stand at a diminished figure in comparison with previous years, posing a significant challenge for local businesses and the production plans of the group. In addition, mask orders have endured a sharp dip in quantity whilst the price has dropped to a low level with production costs barely being met, the Vinatex leader said. 

A report released by the MoIT shows that during the first eight months of the year, the local garment and textile industry contributed approximately US$22 billion to the country's overall export turnover, despite recording declines of more than 11% compared to the same period last year. Indeed, resurgence of novel coronavirus outbreaks globally has also caused more difficulties for Vietnamese textile and garment production, along with exports. 

Most notably, many domestic firms have only received 50% to 60% of orders in comparison to September last year, while there is yet to be clear information regarding orders ahead in the remaining months of the year and into 2021.

Local peppers enjoy boost in exports to Germany

The export of Vietnamese pepper to the German market witnessed an increase during the first five months of the year, while the European nation simultaneously reduced their imports of the agricultural product from Brazil.

According to the statistics released by the International Trade Commission, Germany imported 5,373 tonnes of pepper worth US$11.88 million from Brazil throughout the reviewed period, representing a decline of 13.8% in volume and 23% in value in comparison with the same period from last year.

This has come alongside the Central European country increasing imports of Vietnamese pepper, with the import volume reaching 4,907 tonnes worth US$13.49 million, marking a year-on-year rise of 19.7% in volume and 0.1% in value.

Most notably, Vietnam's market share of pepper in overall German imports during the reviewed period enjoyed an increase from 31.4% in 2019 to 39.2% this year.

According to figures compiled by the Import and Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam raked in US$45 million from exporting 18,000 tonnes of pepper during August, bringing the eight-month export turnover to US$445 million, an on-year fall of 7.4% in volume and 19.9% ​​in value.

Furthermore, August saw the average export price of pepper surge by 0.4% to US$2,500 per tonne from the previous month, bringing the average eight-month export price to US$2,198 per tonne, a year-on-year drop of 13.5% compared to the corresponding period from last year.

Moreover, exports of ground black peppers to major markets such as the United States, the UK, the Netherlands, Japan, Australia, Thailand, Sweden, China, and the Republic of Korea recorded robust growth, with the export of the item to both Germany and Chile skyrocketing by 353.8% and 273.3%, respectively, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

Cassava starch exports to China skyrocket

Since the beginning of the year until the end of August, Vietnam's exports of cassava and cassava products stood at an estimated 1.78 million tonnes with a value of US$619 million, an annual rise of 15.6% in volume and 3.5% in value.

According to the Department of Agro-Processing and Market Development under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the average export price of cassava and cassava products during the eight-month period was recorded at US$347.4 per tonne, a drop of 10.4% from the corresponding period last year.

China remained a major export market for the country during the reviewed period with total export output reaching 1.44 million tonnes, equivalent to US$496 million, representing a rise of 18.8% in volume and 4.8% in value on-year.

Most notably, Vietnamese cassava starch exports to China recorded a rebound, with export volume in July reaching 164,000 tonnes with a value of US$64 million.

Furthermore, Chinese demand for cassava starch through the towns of Lang Son and Mong Cai in the northern province of Quang Ninh witnessed a sharp increase following the end of June. Indeed, the price of cassava starch exports remained high at US$390 per tonne due to the rise in price of input materials coupled with a low inventory due to the end of the crop.

The average export price of cassava chips throughout the entirety of July reached US$214 per tonne, down 7% from June, but marking an annual rise of 8%. Currently, the northern neighbour’s demand for local cassava chips through the nation’s northern border is recording a sharp upswing, although the Vietnamese side is out of stock.

In the short term, the export price of cassava chips and cassava starch is anticipated to remain high, although when the supply decreases in the context of some cassava growing provinces being infected with leaf mosaic disease, it could threaten cassava productivity moving into 2021.

Leading solar energy group keen to invest in renewable energy in Vietnam

As the group that owns the largest solar production facilities in the world, Adani is currently seeking to invest in the Vietnamese renewable energy industry.

As a multidisciplinary industrial group that operates globally through six public companies, Adani Group has a total revenue of US$15 billion along with a market capitalization of US$30 billion. Most notably, they have poured money into building greater transport infrastructure facilities throughout India.

Recent years has seen several Indian firms with billions of dollars in turnover decide to make long-term investments or surveys in an effort to prepare investments or expand their current business dealings in the country, including Adani Group. Their intention to get involved in the local renewable energy sector was first presented by the CEO of Adani Group during his working trip to Vietnam in 2018 in a meeting held with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

At present, TSV Joint Stock Company and Adani Company are in the process of carrying out operations at the Phuoc Minh Wind Power Plant Project in Ninh Thuan.

According to Mercom Capital, last year saw the nation among the top five markets in terms of annual solar power system installation capacity. With the local economy forecast to grow between 6.5% and 7.5% annually until 2030, the country will need approximately 90,000 mW and 130,000 mW of power by 2025 and 2030, respectively.

Furthermore, Adani's renewable energy projects exceeded the total installed capacity of the US solar industry in 2019, whilst they will help reduce over 1.4 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions during the course of the average individual’s lifetime. Indeed, Adani is one of the most integrated solar power manufacturing enterprises globally, with operations in photovoltaic modules and cells manufacturing, along with project development, construction, financial structures, and ownership of assets based on a strong internal asset management foundation.

Currently, Adani Group is roughly 70% larger than the second largest solar producer in the world.

 

Mercom Capital have stated that renewable energy will be a leading priority aimed at assisting the nation reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, whilst also dealing issues relating to pollution and promoting sustainable development

Gautam Adani, the founder and chairman of Adani Group, attributes the group’s high ranking directly to Adani's commitment to building the necessary infrastructure to play a part in a clean energy future. Over the course of the next decade, some existing business models will be affected by disruptions caused by plummeting costs of renewable energy, coupled with the changing ability of technologies in comparison to the scale of industries.

Vietnam enjoys boost in rice exports to Africa

Vietnamese rice exports to African countries have witnessed an upward trajectory and are anticipated to enjoy more increases during the remaining months of the year.

According to statistics released by the Vietnamese Trade Office in Algeria, both the Algerian market and the African market in general have seen a high demand for rice consumption as a result of the increasing number of Asian workers based there.

This boost in rice imports can largely be attributed to issues within Africa itself which hampers local production, including inadequate rice production, natural disasters, crop failures, political instability, and the recurrence of various epidemics.

At present, Vietnamese rice is competing with rival products from India, Thailand, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uruguay, and China when exporting rice to the African market.

Last year saw the country ship nearly 16,400 tonnes of rice to Algeria, earning US$6.28 million, up 20.8% in value from 2018. In the first half of 2020 alone, the value of rice exports to this North African country skyrocketed to US$14.58 million, representing an 18-fold increase and accounting for 58% of the total export value to the market.

Meanwhile, due to prolonged droughts, Senegal’s rice production meets only 20% of local consumption, forcing it to import between 700,000 to 800,000 tonnes of rice annually, with the majority being broken rice.

In 2019 Vietnam exported more than 96,000 tonnes of rice to Senegal for US$32.6 million, up 13 times in volume and 10 times in value. In the opening seven months of 2020, Vietnamese rice exports to this market rose 18 times in value compared to the same period last year to US$26.5 million.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Senegal may import 1.25 million tonnes of rice this year.

Currently, the Vietnamese Trade Office in Algeria has updated policy changes and completed a list of rice importers from the two countries to help Vietnamese exporters when seeking business opportunities in the African markets.

Vietnam remains attractive, safe destination for foreign investors

Vietnam has received international acclaim for its improved investment environment, becoming an attractive and safe destination for foreign investors, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung has affirmed.

Minister Dung made the statement during a recent teleconference held in Hanoi on September 7 themed ‘Vietnam- a rising star’.

Addressing the event, Nirukt Sapru, CEO of Vietnam and ASEAN & South Asia Cluster Markets, Standard Chartered Bank, said Vietnam’s strengths come from a number of crucial factors, including a young and dynamic workforce with a strong knowledge of technology coupled with a growing middle class and an open economy, both of which turn the country into an attractive location for foreign financiers.

Sapru went on to emphasize that several multinational corporations have expanded their footprint throughout the country to make use of factors in terms of close geographical distance and capability to strengthen connectivity with ASEAN as a whole.

He added that the complicated nature of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has yet to prevent potential financiers from seeking investment opportunities and devising new strategies aimed at sustaining and accelerating growth locally.

At the event, Planning and Investment Minister Nguyen Chi Dung attributed the country’s tag as a safe and attractive investment destination to enjoying several competitive advantages, along with the general improved investment climate and the nation’s rising status in the international arena.

The Minister added that with global foreign investment anticipated to decline by 40% this year, the country has achieved encouraging results in attracting foreign investment during the first eight months of the year, with total registered capital reaching approximately US$20 billion. Most notably, newly registered and increased capital increased by 6.6% and 22.2%, respectively.

Furthermore, the Minister revealed that Vietnam will place a high priority on attracting hi-tech projects which are capable of assisting Vietnamese enterprises in getting involved in the global value chain in association with human resource training.

The country increasingly regards foreign investment as an important source of capital for local socio-economic development, with the Ministry of Planning and Investment poised to set out criteria aimed at selecting quality investors whilst offering higher incentives.

Several participating economists and investors underlined the need to seize upon the opportunities of shifting investment capital inflows following the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Minister Dung, Vietnam has exerted all-out efforts in recent times to prepare for the shift of investment inflows by upgrading infrastructure for production, developing quality human resources, promoting the development of supporting industries, and setting up special working groups to welcome multinational corporations and large enterprises.

Soren Bech, general manager of RB Health Vietnam, underscored the importance of investing more in the education sector to improve the quality of human resources and seize upon the opportunities of Industry 4.0 as the country focuses increasingly on the manufacturing industry.

C.K. Tong, CEO of BW Industrial Development JSC, outlined the need to further develop the infrastructure and logistics sectors, especially in southern Vietnam, although many localities throughout the country have established linkages to airports, ports, and major roads.

At the teleconference, investors also expressed a keen interest in the fields of finance, banking, fintech, as well as M&A investments domestically.

Khanh Hoa Province to kick-start tourism in the fourth quarter

The central coastal province of Khánh Hòa plans to gradually revive domestic travel starting in the fourth quarter and reopen to international tourism in the first quarter of next year.

Nguyễn Thị Lệ Thanh, deputy director of the provincial Department of Tourism, said the tourism supply chain in Khánh Hòa has remained in operation during the second wave of COVID-19 since the province is not considered to be at high risk.

The province would focus on drawing domestic tourists back in the fourth quarter of the year and next year as the COVID-19 pandemic comes under control in Việt Nam, she said.

Expats living in Việt Nam are also potential foreign tourists for the upcoming Christmas and New Year holidays, she said.

The department plans to resume its domestic travel stimulus programme and introduce new MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) and leisure travel packages to attract family and friend groups from Hà Nội, HCM City, the Mekong Delta, and the Central Highlands.

It will collaborate with Cam Ranh International Airport Services JSC and airlines to carry out communication and marketing activities and an international travel stimulus programme to prepare for international tourism next year.

It plans to organise an online market for international travel agencies and Khánh Hòa tourism services providers to hold exchanges.   

The tourism authority hopes to welcome 350,000 visitors in the fourth quarter, including 10,000 foreigners.

The province received nearly 986,000 visitors in the first eight months of the year, just a fifth of the number last year, and revenues from tourism were worth VNĐ6.02 trillion (US$258.5 million), or a fourth.

Hotels reported a room occupancy rate of just 13 per cent this year.

Seaports to foster south-central region economic development

The construction of a series of seaports in the south-central region is expected to drive its maritime economic development, according to local government leaders.

Luu Xuan Vinh, Chairman of the Ninh Thuan Province People's Committee, said the VND1.463 trillion (US$63.1 million), 108ha Ca Na Sea Port Complex, whose construction began last month in Thuan Nam District, would play an important role for the locality and region, fostering economic development and attracting investment.

In phase 1, it was designed to handle 3.3 million tonnes of cargo a year. It would have two wharves capable of berthing ships of up to 70,000-100,000 DWT and another with 20,000DWT capacity.

One of the two former wharves would be completed by the end of 2022 and the other in October 2025.

The smaller wharf was scheduled to be completed in August 2026.

"The port will [help] merchandise exports, contribute to attracting investment and serve the needs of production and processing projects in industrial parks and industrial clusters in Ninh Thuan Province and the south-central and Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) regions,” Vinh said.

“It will play an important role in supporting the transport of equipment for renewable energy projects such as wind and solar power projects in the province.”

Neighbouring Binh Thuan Province plans to build the Son My international port in the commune of the same name in Ham Tan District.

It will have a specialised wharf for liquefied natural gas (LNG) that can handle ships of up to 100,000DWT, an international passenger wharf that can berth ships of up to 225,000 GRT and a general berth capable of handling ships of up to 50,000 DWT.

Binh Thuan Province also plans to build a specialised LNG port with a capacity of up to 170,000 DWT in Tan Thanh Commune, Ham Thuan Nam District, to serve the gas-fired power plant in Mui Ke Ga.

Among the south-central provinces, Khanh Hoa has the largest number of ports: 16.

Hoang Dinh Phi, head of the management board of the province’s Van Phong Economic Zone, said Nam Van Phong Port in Ninh Hoa town opened recently to serve the south-central and Central Highlands regions.

It can dock ships of up to 70,000DWT now and 100,000DWT in the near future.

Meanwhile, Bac Van Phong Port is under construction in Dam Mon, Van Ninh District. One wharf that can handle ships of up to 50,000 DWT has been completed.

Mai Dinh Vu, chairman of Van Phong Port Company Limited, said though the port had yet to be completed, it had already received many foreign ships. With a rising number of cargo vessels of 50,000-70,000DWT registering to enter the port his company was seeking to increase the capacity of the remaining two wharves to improve the port’s efficiency.

According to the Ministry of Transport, the south-central region will have five key ports.

Quy Nhon Port in Binh Dinh Province is a major national port with 18-20 million tonnes of goods passing through it annually. Vung Ro Port in Phu Yen handles 5.8 - 6.3 million tonnes a year. Ninh Thuan Port has a cargo throughput of 15.8 -17.5 million tonnes.

Khanh Hoa Port handles 15.9 - 18.6 million tonnes of goods a year.

Retail businesses adapt to Covid-19, go online

Retailers in HCMC have quickly adapted to the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic by resorting to e-commerce and delivery services.

In the first eight months of the year only retail grew among all the service sectors.

A report by the city Department of Industry and Trade said retail revenues topped VND503 trillion (US$21.78 billion), an 8.3 per cent increase year-on-year.

Direct shopping revenues fell, but online sales saved many businesses.

Vo Thi Phuong Mai, deputy director and head of retail services, CBRE Viet Nam, said the pandemic had generally impacted direct visitor traffic but created opportunities for small and medium-sized models such as convenience stores and pharmacies and, especially, e-commerce.

"E-commerce is a bright spot that has supported physical stores during the pandemic," she said.

Saigon Co.op, a traditional retail giant established in 1996, has moved towards multi-channel sales in recent years.

Do Quoc Huy, Saigon Co.op’ s marketing director, said with experience gained during the worst days of COVID-19 its retail systems had a clear roadmap for stockpiling and measures to cope with new developments.

Saigon Co.op’s human resources and transportation plans had been carefully mapped out to cope with any eventualities, he said.

Besides, its retail chains like Co.opmart, Co.opXtra, Co.op Food, and Co.op Smiles are offering attractive promotions on essential goods for 21 days from August 20 under a programme called Proud of Vietnamese Goods 2020.

It offers discounts on many products like milk, meat, fish, fish sauce, fragrant rice, and more than 20 other kinds of farm produce.

The department forecast the retail sector to grow by around 10 per cent this year.

Many manufacturers also offer various promotions to stimulate demand, including leading food company Vissan.

In addition to promotions at attractive prices at its stores and supermarkets, Vissan said it was committed to providing consumers with meat products meeting VietGAP standards.

Techcombank raises foreign cap to allow foreign employees to buy shares

The Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) has raised its foreign ownership limit to 22.5076 per cent from 22.4951 per cent, according to the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE).

The increase aims to enable foreign employees to buy 439,000 Techcombank shares.

Techcombank shares slid 0.2 per cent to VND21,150 apiece (US$0.91) on Tuesday.

At its annual meeting, the shareholders approved the bank’s plan to raise charter capital by VND48 billion to nearly VND35.05 trillion by issuing 4.7 million ESOP shares.

The share issuance and capital hike will be done in the last two quarters of the year.

ESOP shares policy helps increase the bank’s internal strength and enhance employees’ loyalty to the bank, according to Techcombank.

In the future, Techcombank will develop high-quality domestic staff while recruiting employees from international institutions to keep boosting its performance.

In the first half of the year, Techcombank earned VND6.7 trillion worth of pre-tax profit, up 19 per cent on-year. The figure accounted for 51.5 per cent of the full-year target.

As of June 30, total asset was up 9.8 per cent on-year to VND395.9 trillion, return-on-asset (ROA) ratio was 2.9 per cent, and capital adequacy ratio (CAR) was 16.9 per cent.

Pig re-herding and lunar July push hog prices down

The efficient re-herding of local pigs, imported pork and decreased meat consumption in lunar July have pushed hog prices down, contributing to stabilising the consumer price index.

Nguyen Van Ninh, who owns a farm with some 2,000 pigs in Hung Yen Province, sold his pigs for VND76,000 (US$3.2) per kilo.

"The prices have dropped recently. Compared to May when the prices reached their highest in the market at more than VND100,000 per kilo, the prices are three fourths," he told Viet Nam News.

A representative in Ha Nam poultry and cattle wholesale market in the eponymous province told local media that: “The pig supply has increased a lot. On average, about 500-600 live pigs, or 15 per cent higher in quantity, are traded in the market”

Nguyen Van Trong director of the Department of Livestock Production, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), said he expected live hog prices would drop to VND70,000 per kilo by the end of the year, more than 20 per cent lower from the high prices at some times of the year.

“By the end of the third quarter or the beginning of the fourth quarter, we can balance the supply and demand and basically stabilise the price of hogs in the local market," Trong told Viet Nam News.

His department said by the end of July, the total pig herd reached about 25.18 million, 81.9 per cent of the total before the African swine fever first hit on January 1, 2019. Compared to January and April 2020, the herd was 11.6 per cent and 4.2 per cent bigger, respectively.

Twelve provinces and cities reported the rate of re-herding and increase of more than 100 per cent with an average rate of 118.3 per cent, nine provinces and cities reported an average rate of 94.3 per cent in re-herding and 20 provinces and cities reported an average rate of 81 per cent while the other 22 provinces and cities reported the average rate 55.5 per cent.

Sixteen pork enterprises in Viet Nam shared the plan to have 5.36 million pigs by Q4, up 68 per cent from Q1.

Another reason that made the hog prices fall was the advent of lunar July, which falls from August 19 to September 17 this year, known as Vu Lan month when more families in Viet Nam eat vegetarian dishes for the entire month for religious reasons.

Vice-Chairman of Dong Nai Livestock Association, Nguyen Kim Doan, said: “As people become vegetarian this time of the year, consumption of pork has decreased.”

“The return of COVID-19 also makes the price of pigs decrease as the consumption decreases while the supply increases from the imported products," he added.

Seeing the lower prices of live hogs, MARD officials noted breeding pigs were still expensive.

According to the ministry’s reports, by July, the total sow herd reached 2.93 million, an increase of more than 7.7 per cent compared to the beginning of the year. The country also had more than 56,000 breeding boars, enough for the extension of the herd.

MARD deputy minister Phung Duc Tien said as the period from May to September last year was the peak period of African swine fever, local pig farms restricted breeding, affecting the supply in 2020. At the same time, some big breeding enterprises have restructured and limited breeding.

“The current price of breeding pigs is very high at VND2.5 million to VND3 million per head," he said, adding, “as it takes six months to have enough pig breeds, the prices of pig breeds will decrease later than the price of live hogs in the market.”

He said the upcoming reduction of breeding pig prices would lead to lower production costs, lower prices for live hogs.

“We expect live hog prices from now to the end of the year to fluctuate around VND70,000 per kg,” he said.

“This price level will both ensure the development of domestic pig farms and the interests of local breeders.”

Source: VNA/VNN/VNS/VIR/VOV/SGT/NDO/Dtinews

 
 

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