VIETNAM'S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES SEPTEMBER 11

Despite lower interest rates, people still put money in banks

VIETNAM'S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES SEPTEMBER 11

Though the deposit interest rates of commercial banks have been reducing, people are still putting their money into banks amid the pandemic.

Nguyen Hong Ha, a nurse in Ha Noi sold her gold when the gold prices were near the peak last month at VND59 million (US$2,544) per tael.

“I was so lucky to put my gold-selling money in the bank instead of buying more gold when the gold prices went lower. If I had not done that, I would have been lost the profit I gained from the gold-selling as the gold prices went down sharply and suddenly," she told Viet Nam News.

When considering whether to continue investing in gold or not, Ha deposited her money in a commercial bank for a month at an interest rate of 4 per cent per year. Now the rate for the same term has been reduced to 3.5 per cent.

Seeing the falling interest rate for bank short term deposits, Ha said she may look for a long term deposit.

Interest rates for deposit terms of more than a year in most commercial banks are still about 7 per cent annually, and above 8 per cent at a few banks, while the short-term rate has decreased sharply.

According to the latest deposit interest rate schedule in September, banks with highest deposit interest rates included the Saigon - Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SHB) with a rate of up to 8.95 per cent per year for a 13-month term, the Viet Capital Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Viet Capital Bank) with a rate of 8.5 per cent per year for the same term, the Vietnam Export Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Eximbank) with the rate of 8.4 per cent per year for 13 months and 24 months.

However, to enjoy these attractive interest rates, customers need to deposit at least VND500 billion ($21.7 million).

As for smaller deposits, the highest interest rate is between 7.6 and 7.7 per cent per year at the National Joint Stock Commercial Bank (NCB) and Dong A Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Dong A Bank).

Meanwhile, interest rates for less than a six-month term at most banks have been adjusted to below 4 per cent per year. Some banks only pay interest of less than 3 per cent per year for a term of one month.

Viet Nam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) announced it would lower deposit rates from 0.3 to 0.6 percentage points per year for short-term deposit from two weeks earlier. Currently, the interest for a one-month term deposited at Techcombank is 2.7 per cent per year.

The rate of Techcombank is lower compared to the average rate of 3.5 per cent per year applied at four commercial banks with State capital and much lower than the ceiling interest rate of 4.25 per cent per annum regulated by the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV).

According to the report of SSI securities firm, normally, interest for deposits was lower in State-owned commercial banks. But now, the firm saw some joint-stock banks such as Techcombank, ACB and VPBank had their interest lower than that State-owned banks.

According to banking insiders, many people take short-term deposits of up to six months when the interest rates change a lot.

While the interest rate stood at a low level, Can Van Luc, chief economist of BIDV, said: “Bank savings was still an attractive channel in this time as it is still one of the safe investment channels, especially during the current pandemic.”

“Customers of long term deposit still enjoy an interest rate of at least 6.5 per cent per year," he added.

Other experts also said when gold prices and the securities market have been fluctuating so much and realty market is quiet, corporate bonds with high-interest of 10 – 11 per cent per year could bring high risk of loss due to the difficulties corporations face from the pandemic, many investors would take bank deposits as a priority.

According to the SBV’s data, by end of July, capital mobilisation increased by 5.31 per cent while the credit of the whole system increased only 3.45 per cent compared to the end of 2019.

The bank said liquidity was abundant, but the demand for credit for production and business was still low because of the return of COVID-19. It led to the drop in interbank interest rates, reflecting in low demand for loans between banks.

Ly Son Island cultivating sea urchins to improve livelihoods

To maintain local livelihoods and create a new aquaculture profession for the people of Ly Son Island district, central Quang Ngai province has worked with the Institute of Oceanography in deploying a pilot on raising sea urchins. Sea urchin cultivation has been developing well and opened up opportunities to generate higher incomes.

Officially known as Cranial Nematode, the sea urchin is a marine species with high nutritional and economic value, but its future is under threat from over-exploitation. Cage farming has been piloted, with 2,000 breeds and seaweed as the main food source.

Sea urchin is a specialty found in Ly Son’s waters, but in recent years, along with the increasing number of tourists coming to visit, it has been over-exploited. Experimental cage farming, though, helps restore numbers in the wild and also helps people improve their livelihoods.

The coastal waters of Ly Son Island were at one time diverse and plentiful, but local aquatic products have now been over-fished. The introduction of different aquaculture models on Ly Son not only helps improve people’s incomes but also eases pressure on natural exploitation, contributing to the restoration of the ecosystem.

PVEP exceeds nine-month oil exploitation target

The PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corporation (PVEP) extracted 2.6 million tonnes of oil equivalent in the first eight months of this year, surpassing the target by 2 percent and equivalent to 68 percent of the yearly plan.

The corporation said its total oil output reached 1.83 million tonnes, and gas, 772 million cubic metres, exceeding the set goals of 2 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

To complete the yearly target, PVEP will continue to work with operators to review and update methods in order to increase its exploitation.

At the same time, relevant units will further roll out technical measures to resume the corporation’s exploitation at Platform DH-01 before November 1.

EVFTA: Opportunity for Vietnam-Netherlands trade cooperation

Benefits generated by the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and challenges to Dutch investors in Vietnam are among the topics discussed at a virtual forum on September 9.

The event was jointly held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), and the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW).

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong highlighted the strong developments of the Vietnam-Netherlands trade and investment ties over the past time, and proposed ways to step up the links through optimising advantages of the EVFTA.

Lawyer Joost Vrancken Peeters, Chairman of the Netherlands Vietnam Chamber of Commerce, briefed the participants on the deal and outcomes of an online study on the demand for investment movement and supply diversification of investors from the Netherlands and the EU.

The forum focused on issues regarding production, manufacturing, export-import, logistics, customs, visa and human resources.

According to the MoIT, the Netherlands is one of Vietnam’s two biggest export markets in the EU. Trade between the two countries reached nearly 7.6 billion USD last year, with Vietnam’s exports to the European country hitting 6.9 billion USD and its imports, 661 million USD.
In the first seven months of this year, Vietnam exported more than 3.83 billion USD worth of goods to the Netherlands, up 0.46 percent year-on-year, even in the context that Vietnam’s total export revenue to the EU dropped 5.96 percent in the period.

Dong Nai targets 5-6 billion USD in FDI during 2021-2025

The southern province of Dong Nai is striving to attract 5-6 billion USD in foreign direct investment during the 2021-2025 period, and about 6-7 billion USD during 2026-2030.

To such end, the province issued a plan to realise the Government’s Resolution No.58/NQ-CP dated April 27 on orientations to fine-tuning mechanisms, policies and improving the efficiency of foreign direct investment till 2030.

Dong Nai targeted increasing the number of firms using advanced and eco-friendly technology by 80 percent by 2025 and 100 percent by 2030.

The rate of domestically-made products will account for over 30 percent by 2025 and more than 40 percent by 2030 while the rate of skilled workers will make up 70 percent by 2025 and 75 percent by 2030.

The province will pay the most attention to further enhancing administrative reform, creating favourable conditions for investors and preparing land bases for industrial parks.

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.

The provincial Department of Tourism, said the tourism supply chain in Khanh Hoa 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 Vietnam.

The department plans to resume its domestic travel stimulus programme and introduce new MICE and leisure travel packages to attract family and friend groups from Hanoi, HCM City, the Mekong Delta, and the Central Highlands.

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

FDI into Vietnam will recover after COVID-19: JETRO Chief

FDI inflows into Vietnam will soon bounce back once the COVID-19 pandemic is brought under control, Chief Representative of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) in Hanoi Takeo Nakajima said on September 9.

He made the remarks during an online seminar on Vietnam-Japan investment, co-held by the ASEAN-Japan Centre (AJC) and JETRO together with the Trade Promotion Department at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Vietnam Trade Office in Japan, and the three northern provinces of Vinh Phuc, Quang Ninh, and Nghe An, attracting hundreds of businesses from the two countries.

FDI into Vietnam has always enjoyed constant increases, he said, and even though investment has now slowed due to COVID-19 it will recover in the post-pandemic period.

The Vietnamese Government has introduced numerous incentives and created the conditions necessary for foreign companies, including those from Japan, to invest in the country, he explained.

Vietnam is also a signatory to many free trade and economic partnership agreements, and is gradually joining global supply chains. Most of the world’s financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund, have said that Vietnam may be the only Southeast Asian nation to post growth this year, he added.

Various Japanese firms in Vietnam have been hurt by the pandemic, he explained, resulting in stagnating investment inflows.

Speaking at the event’s plenary session, AJC Secretary General Masataka Fujita underlined the need to bolster cooperation between Japan and Vietnam to overcome the impact of the pandemic.

He noted that the seminar aims to further connect the two countries’ businesses and help them seek suitable partners.

Japan has been an important investor in Vietnam during the 47 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries, Director of the Trade Promotion Department Vu Ba Phu affirmed.

Stronger investment from Japan in the future and incentives on technology transfer are expected to raise Vietnam’s technological and production capacity, he noted.

Vietnam had welcomed more than 2,000 Japanese investors as of late 2019.

Japan was Vietnam’s second-largest foreign investor last year, with registered capital totalling 59.3 billion USD, or 16.7 percent of the total foreign investment./.

EVN pilots online platform to assist with roof-top solar power development

Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN) on September 9 launched the EVNSOLAR platform at http://solar.evn.com.vn to assist potential investors, both households and enterprises, in accessing this type of power source.

The platform provides comprehensive solutions meeting the needs of potential investors, and connects investors with prestigious contractors as well as banks and financial organisations.

After a project is completed, its investor will be given an account on the platform to assess the quality of products and services of involved contractors.

The Government’s policies to encourage the development of renewable energy have successfully fuelled the rapid development of projects in the field.

As of the start of September, nearly 50,000 roof-top solar power projects with total capacity of close to 1,200 MWp had been completed and put into operation across the country.

With millions of private houses and buildings, there is tremendous potential for the development of roof-top solar energy in Vietnam.

Java olive trees offer Ninh Thuan farmers high incomes, increase forest cover

The cultivation of Java olive trees in vacant lands, bare hills and mountains in the sout-central province of Ninh Thuận is fetching farmers high incomes from harvesting their sap and has increased the forest cover.

The tree sap is used as a beverage since it is high in nutritional value, and is also used in the cosmetics and food processing industries.

Nguyễn Thành is among the farmers who have planted Java olive trees in mountainous fields in Ninh Phước District’s Phước Dân Commune, and earns a good income from their sap.

In 2010, with the support of the Thuận Nam District Protective Forest management, he planted 6,000 trees on his 2.5ha field, and began to tap the sap five years later.

He harvests two to three times a year, and earning VNĐ60 million (US$2,600) each time, he said.  

Java olive trees grow easier than many others, require less tending and offer high incomes, he said.    

Farmers can also use the leaves of the tree to feed cows, goats, sheep, and other livestock.

The tree has a large trunk, and its wood can be used to produce pulp, plywood and other products.

Trần Ngọc Hiếu, head of the Thuận Nam District Protective Forest management, said the tree is an indigenous forest species that copes well with drought. The province has the least rainfall in the country

It is intercropped with other plants, grown in mountainous forests and around houses in coastal areas to prevent desertification, he said.

Added to the province’s list of drought-resistant trees, it is grown on more than 1,000ha, mostly in Ninh Phước, Thuận Nam, Ninh Hải and Ninh Sơn districts.

Its sap is now sold at a price of VNĐ90,000-120,000 ($3.9-5.2) a kilogramme when dried. Four kilogrammes of fresh sap make for more than a kilogramme of dried sap.

The province is increasingly growing vegetation resistant to drought and with high value such as acacia, thanh thất (Ailanthus triphysa) and Java olive to increase its forest cover.

To expand the cultivation of Java olive under its combined agriculture-forestry model, the province supports farmers with soft loans and seedlings. It has taught them techniques for farming, harvesting the sap and semi-processing of the sap.

It has also supported linkages between farmers and companies for growing the trees and processing the sap, and helped promote products made from the sap in domestic and foreign markets.

88 HoSE-listed firms unavailable for margin lending

The total number of listed companies whose stocks are ineligible for margin lending on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) has reached 88.

The latest newbie on the list is Vinh Son-Song Hinh Hydropower JSC, whose stock was added to the list early this week as the company recorded a loss of VND3.2 billion (US$137,700) after tax in the first six months of the year.

In addition, the company also reported its short-term liabilities were worth VND690 billion ($29.7 million), exceeding its short-term assets.

According to Vinh Son-Song Hinh Hydropower JSC, the company was hit with a loss in the first half of the year because drought curbed the amount of water for production.

From January to June, the company’s total production fell 36.4 per cent year-on-year and revenue from selling electricity slumped nearly 63 per cent year-on-year.

In January-June, the company recorded a 53 per cent drop in financial income as it had to settle financial duties at Thuong Kon Tum hydropower plant. The project is expected to start operating later this year.

The company's shares (HoSE: VSH) dropped 1.4 per cent to VND17,000 ($0.73) apiece on Wednesday.

The hydropower firm is among 23 listed companies that recorded post-tax losses in the first six-month period. Other companies include realty firm Dat Xanh Group (DXG), textile and garment business Everpia JSC (EVE), national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines (HVN), petrol retailer Petrolimex (PLX) and taxi firm Vietnam Sun Corporation (VNS).

Others such as Song Hong Garment JSC (MSH), brewer Habeco (BHN) and light bulb producer Dien Quang Lamp JSC (DQC) were added to the list as auditors rejected their 2019 financial reports.

Other companies were added into the list of margin-lending ineligibility because their stocks have been listed on the southern bourse for less than six months, or they were penalised for tax evasion, or their stocks are under strict control for causing potential risks to investors.

EVN pilots online platform to assist with rooftop solar power development 

Vietnam Electricity (EVN) on Wednesday launched the EVNSOLAR platform at solar.evn.com.vn to assist potential investors, both households and enterprises, in accessing this type of power.

The platform provides solutions to meet the needs of potential investors and connects investors with contractors as well as banks and financial organisations.

After a project is completed, its investor will be given an account on the platform to assess the quality of products and services of contractors. 

The Government’s policies to encourage the development of renewable energy have fuelled the rapid development of projects in the field.

As of the start of September, nearly 50,000 rooftop solar power projects with a total capacity of close to 1,200 MWp had been completed and put into operation across the country.

With millions of private houses and buildings, there is tremendous potential for the development of rooftop solar energy in Viet Nam. 

Viet Nam imported 53,000 CBU cars in 8 months

Viet Nam spent about US$1.2 billion to import 53,000 completely built unit (CBU) cars in the first eight months of this year.

Data from the General Department of Viet Nam Customs showed that import turnover of CBU cars is estimated at 8,000 units last month, worth $190 million.

Cars are one of the commodity groups that have continuously changed since the beginning of this year. Imported CBU cars increased again in the last two months after months of decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thailand and Indonesia continue to be the top suppliers of imported cars for Viet Nam due to advantages in import tax.

These are also the two countries with the largest car production in the region. Due to the zero per cent import tax, imported cars from these two countries account for 70-80 per cent of CBU cars in Viet Nam.

Statistics from the General Department of Viet Nam Customs show there are a total of 17,723 cars being exported from Indonesia to the Viet Nam in the first seven months of this year. Meanwhile, cars imported from Thailand reached 19,944 units.

Although Thailand leads in the number of imported cars, Indonesia outperforms in the number of under-nine-seat cars.

In terms of average price, CBU imported cars from Indonesia to Viet Nam have an average price of VND287 million (US$12,300) a unit. Imported Thai cars have an average price of VND460 million.

While Thai imported car prices remained the same, car prices from Indonesia declined from VND319 million in the same period last year.

 

Imported cars into the market are expected to continue to increase in the coming months due to higher demand at the end of the year.

However, experts said that imported cars would not see big changes. The reason was that demand for shopping decreased this year as it was still affected by the pandemic.

In addition, many popular cars are currently assembled domestically, therefore, the supply and selling price will be stable in the last months of the year.

World knowledge forum to discuss pandemic perspective

World-class speakers will gather online and offline at the 21th World Knowledge Forum - one of Asia’s largest business forums - to discuss pandemic perspective which is scheduled to take place on September 16-18 in Seoul, the Republic of Korea.

Under the theme of ‘Pandemics Perspective: Shaping New Global Symbiosis’, the forum consists of more than 100 sessions classified by seven tracks: Pandenomics, Better Tech & Business, New Capitalism, Reshaping Global Governance, Asian roles and responsibilities, Start-up Festival, and Live Green, Healthy and Happy.

There will be sessions to deal with a series of issues, including new cooperation between ASEAN and Korea in post-COVID19 era.

The agenda will also include a Conversation with former British Prime Minister Theresa May; Crisis-Turned-Opportunity Innovation & Social Integration; ASEAN Entrepreneur Award 2020; The International Order in the Post-Corona Era; Building Communities and Business Resilience in Today's World; and Future of Asia in the Next Normal.

Other topics to be discussed at the forum are Vaccine Without border; 2021 Global Economic Outlook; Covid-19 and Globalisation; and Today and Tomorrow of Travel Industry in the Post-Covid19 Era.

The World Knowledge Forum is a non-profit entity, which aims to promote balanced global growth and prosperity through knowledge-sharing. As the largest business forum in Asia, the forum brings together global leaders to address the importance of knowledge in meeting the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly changing world. 

Hoa Binh woos RoK businesses

A seminar took place in the north eastern province of Hoa Binh on September 10 to introduce its potential, advantages and incentives to businesses of the Republic of Korea (RoK).

Speaking at the event, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Bui Van Tinh affirmed that the event provided the two sides with an opportunity to explore each other’s potential and advantages, and for RoK firms, investors and credit institutions to study the province’s business climate.

As the Vietnam-RoK relations thrive, Hoa Binh hopes to welcome more RoK investors, he added.

Introducing the province’s advantages and major achievements over the years, the official said Hoa Binh is paying heed to speeding up the implementation of essential infrastructure projects, administrative reforms and human resources training, thus creating optimal conditions for investors.

At the event, delegates discussed the province’s incentives and untapped potential, along with the development of eco-smart urban areas in the province.

RoK Ambassador to Vietnam Park Noh-wan said that the RoK will strengthen multifaceted cooperation with Vietnamese localities in the coming time, particularly Hoa Binh province.

The RoK Embassy will connect with RoK firms to encourage them to invest in the province and enhance economic, tourism and cultural ties between RoK localities and Hoa Binh, the diplomat noted.

For his part, Deputy Foreign Minister Le Hoai Trung urged Hoa Binh authorities and RoK businesses to further promote cooperation in a closer and more effective manner in the future.

At present, Hoa Binh is home to 40 foreign direct investment projects with total registered capital of more than 580 million USD. About 20 of which are projects of RoK firms, making the East Asian country its largest investor.

HCM City, Busan to set up virtual inter-sector working group

HCM City and Busan city of the Republic of Korea (RoK) are to establish a virtual inter-sector working group to bolster bilateral cooperation.

The idea was put forward during an online working session between Chairman of HCM City People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong and Acting Mayor of the RoK city Byeon Sung-wan on September 10.

Leaders of the cities agreed that the online session demonstrates both sides’ determination in boosting the cooperative ties in the year marking the 25th anniversary of HCM City-Busan friendship.

Along with preventive measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the community, HCM City is rolling out measures for economic recovery in two phases, Phong said.

The city has been aiding local businesses and working with partner countries to resume economic and tourism activities at an appropriate time in the future.

The Vietnamese Government has created favourable conditions for foreign entrepreneurs, experts, engineers and workers, including those from Busan, to safely enter Vietnam, the official said, adding that HCM City has set up a working group addressing difficulties in this field.

He also highly valued the online trade programme between ASEAN and Busan, slated for September 23, saying it is a new helpful channel providing information for participants to seek partners amid the pandemic.

Vietnam plans to re-open six international air routes this month, including the HCM City-Seoul service, thereby helping cooperation activities between the two countries gradually recover.

In reply, the Acting Mayor of Busan pledged to share experience and support HCM City in battling COVID-19 and consider the city’s specific needs in official development assistance.

Byeon also asked HCM City authorities to assist Busan entrepreneurs in travelling to the city as well as work for the resumption of the air route linking the two localities and the successful organisation of the upcoming ASEAN-Busan online trade programme.

Vietnamese, Bulgarian enhance trade ties

Vietnamese businesses have promoted their high-quality products to Bulgarian importers and distributors at an online conference on September 10-11.

The Vietnam-Bulgaria Business Networking Webminar, the first of its kind, was jointly held by the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency under the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency of the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy, the Vietnamese Embassy in Bulgaria, and the Bulgarian Embassy in Vietnam.

The participating Vietnamese firms also sought ways to integrate into the Bulgarian market and optimise the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which took effect on August 1.

According to Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai, Vietnam mainly exports traditional products like garments-textiles, leather and footwear, rubber, agricultural products, computers and phones to Bulgaria, while importing food and farm produce from the European nation.

The two countries still have potential to boost trade ties, he said, adding that Bulgaria has served as a gateway for Vietnam to access other European countries.

Within the framework of the event, the two agencies signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation, under which they will exchange information about policies and measures in support of Vietnamese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), share experience in organising activities for SMEs, and join hands to organise workshops, exhibitions, fairs and other trade promotion activities to foster exchange and cooperation between SMEs of the two countries.

Vietnam recovery prospects brightest in Southeast Asia: ICAEW

The recovery prospects look brightest for Vietnam and the country is expected to be the only Southeast Asiaeconomy to record positive growth this year, according to the latest Global Economic Outlook report from Oxford Economics, commissioned by chartered accountancy body ICAEW.

The report said that overall, it expects Southeast Asia's GDP growth to contract by 4.2 percent in 2020. It added that the rebound in economic activity over the coming quarters in the region remains uncertain, particularly in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Specifically, economies which have convincingly contained the COVID-19 outbreak such as Thailand and Vietnam will see a stronger recovery than Indonesia and the Philippines, which are battling new waves of infections after restrictions were prematurely relaxed.

The report noted that both Indonesia and the Philippines remain highly vulnerable as they have weaker public health infrastructure, lower levels of fiscal support available, and are much more consumer driven than others in the region.

The pace of recovery in Indonesia is expected to be slow and household income will be squeezed. GDP is expected to contract 2.7 percent in 2020 before a 6.2 percent expansion in 2021. The Philippines is set to record the largest contraction in Southeast Asia, with its GDP falling 8.2 percent in 2020, because of its dependence on international tourism and a slow exit from lockdown.

Malaysia’s exports meanwhile are predicted to benefit from improving Chinese import demand and the electronics cycle. Nonetheless, the speed of its recovery will likely slow given the current sluggish global demand, high unemployment and weak investment, and its economy is forecast to shrink by 6 percent this year, followed by a growth of 6.6 percent in 2021.

Mark Billington, ICAEW regional director for Southeast Asia, said that the road to economic recovery in Southeast Asia will be long due to the tensions between the US and China, a long-term slowdown in global trade activity, and the potential of a prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.

500 most profitable enterprises in Vietnam announced

The Vietnam Report has just announced the Profit 500 list, featuring the top 500 most profitable enterprises in Vietnam this year.

Prominent in the list are Vingroup, Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank), Vietnam Dairy Products JSC (Vinamilk), Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank), Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MBBank), Hoa Phat Group JSC, Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ACB), and Truong Hai Auto Corporation.

In the 2020 Profit500, firms in construction, building materials and real estate accounted for 23.9 percent; finance, 11.6 percent; food and beverages, 10.9 percent; and electricity, 6.3 percent.

The return on asset (ROA) of the enterprises reached 11.4 percent, a slight decrease as compared to 11.9 percent recorded in the previous year.

However, their return on equity (REO) increased 21.7 percent, higher than 20.9 percent of the year before.

Apart from the Profit 500, the Vietnam Report also conducted a survey which unveils that 77.1 percent of the interviewed businesses have completed more than half of their yearly revenue target, with 31.6 percent of them fulfilling more than 80 percent.

Vietnam imports 53,000 CBU cars in eight months

Vietnam spent about 1.2 billion USD to import 53,000 completely built unit (CBU) cars in the first eight months of this year.

Data from the General Department of Vietnam Customs showed that import turnover of CBU cars is estimated at 8,000 units last month, worth 190 million USD.

Cars are one of the commodity groups that have continuously changed since the beginning of this year. Imported CBU cars increased again in the last two months after months of decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thailand and Indonesia continue to be the top suppliers of imported cars for Vietnam due to advantages in import tax.

These are also the two countries with the largest car production in the region. Due to the zero percent import tax, imported cars from these two countries account for 70-80 percent of CBU cars in Vietnam.

Statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs show there are a total of 17,723 cars being exported from Indonesia to the Vietnam in the first seven months of this year. Meanwhile, cars imported from Thailand reached 19,944 units.

Although Thailand leads in the number of imported cars, Indonesia outperforms in the number of under-nine-seat cars.

In terms of average price, CBU imported cars from Indonesia to Vietnam have an average price of 287 million VND (12,300 USD) a unit. Imported Thai cars have an average price of 460 million VND.

While Thai imported car prices remained the same, car prices from Indonesia declined from 319 million VND in the same period last year.

Imported cars into the market are expected to continue to increase in the coming months due to higher demand at the end of the year.

However, experts said that imported cars would not see big changes. The reason was that demand for shopping decreased this year as it was still affected by the pandemic.

In addition, many popular cars are currently assembled domestically, therefore, the supply and selling price will be stable in the last months of the year.

Vietnam exports S95 construction material for first time

The Hoa Phat Dung Quat Steel Joint Stock Company shipped the first batch of S95 ground granulated blast furnace slag to Australia on September 10, where stern standards and stringent requirements are applied.

Comprising 2,500 tonnes of S95, the batch was produced at the Hoa Phat Dung Quat Iron and Steel Integrated Complex.

The granulated blast furnace slag is a by-product of the iron and steel production process using closed blast furnace technology. Due to the extremely rapid cooling with high pressure water, the granulated blast furnace slag is good for cement and concrete and has been used for a long time around the world as well as in Vietnam.

S95 fine blast furnace slag products contribute to treating solid waste during Hoa Phat’s green steel-making process, while protecting the environment and creating a stable source of revenue for the group.

The material can be applied as highly-activated mineral additives in the production of cement, concrete, and mortar, or as a binder to reinforce weak ground. With S95, it is possible to mass produce concrete by reducing hydrothermal heat, producing heat resistant concrete due to increased thermal stability, with durability in seawater, salt water, and brackish water, due to the increased waterproofing of the concrete, preventing the erosion of chlorine and sulphate and meeting the requirement to increase the life of works at sea, on islands, and in coastal areas.

With two iron production complexes in Kinh Mon, Hai Duong province, and Dung Quat in Quang Ngai, the Hoa Phat Group is able to supply the market with 2.6 million tonnes of S95 each year.

This first export affirms the group’s prestige in the global market, while opening up a new consumption channel for S95.

Australia plans to order larger volumes of S95 in the future.

Officials discuss automatic toll collection systems

Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh on September 9 chaired a meeting with ministries and agencies to discuss the implementation of the automatic toll collection systems on highways.

The Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC) is in charge of managing these projects.

Reporting on the implementation of the non-stop automatic toll collection system in projects managed by the VEC, Deputy Minister of Transport Le Dinh Tho said the deadline for all toll collection stations to switch to automatic is December 31 this year.

The project’s first phase launched in November 2014 has an investment of more than 2 trillion VND (86.2 million USD), aiming to provide the service for 44 build-operate-transfer (BOT) stations.

So far, the ministry has signed contract appendixes to implement the electronic toll collection system at 40 toll stations.

The project’s second phase deploys the system in 33 stations with a joint-venture of Viettel and other IT companies as the main investors.

Participants at the meeting discussed the biggest problem of a lack of capital to implement the system. This is an enterprise project, so the State budget cannot be used for investment.

“The VEC has only one resource, which is the toll fees and charges. The non-stop automatic toll collection system is part of the expressway project, so the Ministry of Transport proposes that the VEC is allowed to use the toll collection of the expressway projects to invest and pay for the operation of the toll collection system, ”said Deputy Minister Tho.

Deputy Minister of Finance Vu Thi Mai said expressway projects managed by the VEC must pay their debts to sponsors including the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). However, the VEC has been slow in payment of due debts, Mai said.

This situation, if repeated, will seriously affect the reputation of the Government. Therefore, the Ministry of Finance proposed not using toll collection to pay off the completion of projects, even for non-stop automated toll collection projects. The project's revenue source must be prioritised for debt repayment, she emphasised.

Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh asked the Ministry of Transport and the Commission for the Management of State Capital to work on the problem and find a solution.

HCM City to speed up disbursement of public funds, increase budget revenue

HCM City will continue to speed up the disbursement of public funds and seek to increase budget revenue for the remaining months of the year, the chairman of the municipal People’s Committee has said.

Speaking at a meeting to review socio-economic development in the first eight months, Nguyen Thanh Phong said the city would speed up the disbursement of at least 80 per cent of the planned investment next month in order to achieve the target of over 95 per cent of the plan by the end of the year.

As of August 23, as much as VND21.3 trillion (US$911.5 million) had been disbursed, accounting for 50 per cent of the set target, almost 2.5 times higher than the same period last year, according to Phong.

The HCM City Management Board for Traffic Works Construction and Investment and the HCM City Management Authority for Urban Railway (MAUR) have urged the city to speed up the disbursement rate to ensure the progress of many public projects with huge investments, according to Phong.

Various traffic infrastructure works in the city have begun, but have been delayed due to the low disbursement rate, mostly because of long delays in compensation payments for land, according to the HCM City Management Board for Traffic Works Construction and Investment.

Of the 60 projects that are behind schedule due to land clearance issues, five are under a “red alert” status.

Phong has also urged the HCM City Management Authority for Urban Railways to work with relevant units to ensure that all necessary procedures are completed by October 12 for the first metro line trains to arrive in the city.

Earlier this month, the HCM City Management Authority for Urban Railways announced that 75 per cent of the metro line No 1 has been completed.

They expect to complete 85 per cent of the total project by the end of this year, but the COVID-19 pandemic has badly affected the progress as foreign experts have been unable to enter Viet Nam, and it has been difficult to import machinery.

HCM City this year plans to implement 1,643 public investment projects worth VND42.1 trillion ($1,8 billion), of which VND33.94 trillion will be from the city budget and the rest from the central government budget, according to Phong.

HCM City last year spent VND24.62 trillion ($1.06 billion), or only 85 per cent of the allocation, for public spending.

Budget revenue

The city will also seek to increase the budget revenue for the remaining months, according to Phong.

According to the Department of Finance, the city’s total budget revenue was estimated at VND220.8 trillion in the first eight months, or 54 per cent of the plan.

The city government has urged tax authorities to work with agencies to resolve enterprises’ challenges, especially for projects that have land but have faced problems in legal procedures, preventing enterprises from fulfilling their financial obligations.

The city People’s Committee has asked the Department of Natural Resources and Environment to speed up the auction of nine land lots in Thu Thiem new urban area in accordance with the law.

In addition, the city has ordered the Department of Tourism to continue to develop a domestic tourism stimulus programme to help the hard-hit sector to recover.

The city also plans to provide another financial support package, especially for businesses that have suspended operations due to the impact of the second COVID-19 outbreak.

The city will issue specific policies to help enterprises or industries heavily affected such as restaurants, hotels, and transport and tourism-related services, according to Phong.

More than 21,000 businesses in the city have suspended operations and laid off a large number of employees.

In addition, the city will this month complete a project to adjust the rate of state budget retained for the city, as well as the plans to establish the new Thu Duc City in the city's eastern part, and develop HCM City into an international financial hub.

Le Thi Huynh Mai, director of the city Department of Planning and Investment, said the total retail sales of goods and service revenue during the period reached about VND827 trillion, down 3.3 per cent from the same period last year, while total budget revenue was more than VND216.7 trillion, down 17.37 per cent over the same period. Total budget expenditures were VND49.264 trillion.

Mai said: “Despite the resurgence of the pandemic, the HCM City economy is gradually recovering and increasing rapidly in the fourth quarter of 2020.”

The city’s industrial production index in the first eight months increased by 2.1 per cent over the same period last year.

In addition, total registered capital and additional capital of newly established enterprises reached nearly VND850 trillion, up 31.3 per cent over the same period.

 
 

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