VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS JUNE 27
Exports from Vietnam to Hungary increased eight-fold to 1 billion USD in 2020 from 124.2 million USD in 2016. The figure stood at 842.7 million USD in the first 10 months of 2021, up 5% year on year, according to data from the European country.
Though shipments of agricultural and food products remain modest, the revenue posted a strong increase in the recent past as seen in some key exports.
Vietnam exported almost 4.4 million USD worth of processed coffee to Hungary in 2020, surging 38-fold from four years earlier, and 7.13 million USD during January - October of 2021, up 85.6% year on year.
Cashew nut exports grew 27.7% to nearly 2.4 million USD in 2020 compared to 2016, and 11.6% year on year to 2.2 million USD in the first 10 months of last year.
Rice shipments also increased 4.6-fold from 2016 to 198,000 USD in 2020 and 9-fold year on year to 700,000 USD in the 10-month period of 2021.
Meanwhile, the Southeast Asian country exported 1.49 million USD worth of processed noodles in 2020 and another 1.4 million USD during January - October of 2021, respectively rising 119.1% from 2016 and 9% from the same period of 2020.
Processed coffee, cashew nut, rice, and processed noodles of Vietnam are making up about 12.6 percent, 39.8 percent, 0.5 percent, and 20.5 percent of Hungary’s total imports of these commodities, respectively.
Hungary mainly imports goods from other EU countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, and France. Despite strong competition from these rivals, some Vietnamese commodities like cashew nut, peppercorn and coffee will have their own advantages and are expected to maintain good exports growth in Hungary.
Though Hungary is not a major market in the EU, its import demand has still been rising and stands at some 100 billion USD annually.
Taking effect in August 2020, the EU - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is said to have opened even greater opportunities for Vietnamese firms to boost trade and investment ties with the bloc, including Hungary, in the time ahead.
Positive signals support investors' mood this week
The stock market fell for a third week in the row, but the benchmark remained at the previous bottom of 1,150-1,160 points. Experts said that this is a positive signal helping strengthen investors’ sentiment this week.
The VN-Index on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) ended last week at 1,185.48 points, a decline of 0.29 per cent, while the HNX-Index on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX) fell 0.45 per cent to 275.93 points.
For the week, both benchmarks registered a weekly decrease, of which the VN-Index lost 2.6 per cent and HNX-Index dipped 1.5 per cent.
Liquidity dropped sharply, but cash flow still found investment opportunities on leading stocks in banking, securities, steel, real estate, insurance and energy sectors.
The order-matching liquidity on HOSE tumbled to a record low set in 2020, an average of more than VND11 trillion (US$473 million).
PV GAS (GAS) led the VN-Index's downside after dropping 14.9 per cent last week. It was followed by Vingroup (VIC) and Vinhomes (VHM).
In the top 10 stocks weighing on the VN-Index, two power ticker symbols, PV POW (POW) and Refrigeration Electrical Engineering Corporation (REE), also recorded sharp declines of 15.5 per cent and 13.1 per cent, respectively.
Meanwhile, foreign investors continued to be net buyers last week with a net value of nearly VND300 billion. Despite a sharp decrease last week, foreign investors still net bought more than VND210 billion of GAS shares, making the ticker symbol the most bought stock.
MB Securities Company (MBS) said that the country’s stock market hit a third weekly loss, but there are some positive signals. Technically speaking, as there were pillar stock groups leading the market and the VN-Index did not break through the bottom levels, investors’ sentiment was supported, the securities firm added.
In general, after three consecutive weeks of decline, many stocks cracked through the bottoms hit in May and had high discount rates, such as securities, oil and gas, insurance, and steel stocks, thereby attracting investors' attention.
In addition, as the market is gradually ending the second quarter with the business results season coming, investors can buy potential stocks at good prices.
According to Mirae Asset Securities Viet Nam, the VN-Index's downtrend was stronger after the benchmark broke the 1,200 point-level. On the technical front, the fact that the maintenance of the index at the previous bottom of 1,150 - 1,160 points is a positive signal to help stabilise investors’ sentiment.
This week, “the index is likely to continue to test this level and we consider this an important development for the medium-term trend of the VN-Index”, said Mirae Asset Securities Viet Nam.
Saigon - Hanoi Securities SJC (SHS) said that the market has returned to the bottom of the previous correction and the market’s price to earning ratio (P/E) is still around 12.5x. And many listed companies have attractive valuations.
Higher standards help boost Central Highlands agricultural exports
The Central Highlands agricultural exports have grown as the region meets international export standards and invests in high-tech packaging facilities.
For the past two years, many agricultural exporters in the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) region, which consist of the provinces of Kom Tun, Gai Lai, Dak Lak, Dak Nong and Lam Dong, have worked with local authorities to establish codes that meet international standards and advanced packaging facilities.
Fifty five farming codes and 21 packaging facilities for fruits such as mango, dragon fruit and banana have helped them qualify for exporting to China, Australia, New Zealand and the US.
In some facilities, drip irrigation systems, transportation equipment and pre-processing houses have also increased the value of the products.
Gia Lai’s banana export price has increased from VND5,000 to VND20,000 per kilo after these codes and facilities were set up.
And in the Kon Tum Province, six of these farming codes were also issued for jackfruit and banana so they can be exported to China.
A farming code is a certificate of identification serial number for a farm to help track the source and quality of the product as well as its production process.
This code is only used for large farms while the majority of cultivated land in Tay Nguyen is owned individually by small farmers.
Fee reductions offer little benefit to maritime firms
The Vietnam Maritime Administration (VMA) has sent a report to the Ministry of Transport (MoT), assessing the possible impact of reduced fees on Vietnamese maritime firms amid mounting fuel prices.
The report asserted that adjustments in fees for international transport would have a negligible impact on Vietnamese firms since freight transport between Vietnamese ports and international ports is undertaken predominately by foreign shipping lines.
Additionally, maritime fees account for just 7-9 per cent of total costs incurred by a vessel engaging in international transport and 3-5 per cent in domestic transportation. That means fees reduction is not much of a solution to the problem of mounting petrol bills.
The Port Authority shows that Vietnamese ports collected VND16.9 billion (US$727,000) of fees from domestic transport in 2021. On average, every vessel paid around VND37,000 each time it entered and left a port.
Such an amount is so meagre that even if VMA removes the fees, it will make no big difference to maritime firms' total costs. The fees are not supposed to be reduced or removed to offset fuel costs because of their nature.
During the pandemic, VMA advised MoT to issue the Circular 74 to reduce fees applicable to maritime firms to lift them out of financial hardship. The circular was much appreciated by the firms at the time.
As fuel prices have been increasing steadily recently, Deputy Minister of Transport Le Dinh Tho has asked VMA to consider reducing maritime fees again to help firms cover higher fuel costs.
VCCI comments on draft amending Circular 12
As the State Bank of Vietnam is gathering comments on a draft amending Circular 12 on eligibility requirements for unguaranteed firms to take out foreign loans, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry has suggested several modifications to the document.
The draft requires borrowers which are not credited institutions or branches of foreign banks to inform the authorities about all their business activities when applying for a foreign loan. VCCI believes full disclosure is unnecessary and suggests the borrowers be required to disclose only those business activities that are relevant to the loan.
The draft also requires borrowers to inform the authorities about their outstanding foreign loans and show that they qualified for the loans at the moment they were granted to them.
The VCCI suggests the requirement should be removed to avoid repetitive procedures since creditors granted loans only to qualified borrowers.
Under the draft, loan expense means the total expense expressed as an annual percentage of the loan. It includes interest payments and other expenses that borrowers must pay to their creditors, guarantors, insurers, agents and relevant parties.
The draft sets expense ceilings for foreign loans to keep the loans in check, reducing financial risks. However, the VCCI believes credit institutions and branches of foreign banks, as borrowers, should be exempt from the expense ceilings because loan expenses incurred by them are normally low.
The chamber suggests they should be allowed to negotiate with their creditors on loan expenses as long as the negotiation aligns with the Law on Credit Institutions and other relevant regulations.
Sometimes creditors require additional expenses from their borrowers, such as contract management fees when loan contracts have been concluded. In that case, borrowers have no choice but to re-negotiate with their creditors to adjust the loan expenses specified in their initial contracts.
The VCCI calls for additional articles regulating the contracts if loan expenses are adjusted up past the expense ceilings, thereby plugging a legal gap in the draft.
It also calls for additional articles to deal with the cases when creditors find their borrowers miscalculate loan expenses. The articles are expected to hold borrowers accountable for their calculations since different calculating methods normally come with other figures.
More efforts needed to tap renewable energy potential: Ministry
Energy transition will play a key role in implementing the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, contributing to the net-zero emission target set for 2050, said Tang The Cuong, director general of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Department of Climate Change.
In his message to a recent webinar themed “Asia: Renewable Energy Continent”, Cuong suggested seven focus points to fully unleash the potential of renewable energy, as well as accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
First, renewable energy needs to become a public commodity benefits all people, so that everyone has access to renewable energy. In particular, communities and groups that are adversely affected by energy transition need to be provided with support.
Second, it is necessary to promote cooperation between countries in removing barriers, including those in intellectual property rights, to spur the sharing of knowledge and drive collaboration in scientific research, development and technology transfer.
Third, policies play a critical role in propelling energy transition. Therefore, policies and frameworks appropriate to each country are needed to encourage the business community to increase investments in renewable energy, as well as to promote energy transition, from the planning stage, to licensing, management and operation of renewable energy development projects.
Fourth, targets related to developing renewable energy, achieving net zero emissions, and reducing air pollution should be established, which will serve as criteria for making investment decisions and developing energy projects. In particular, it is necessary to secure the commitment from and responsible participation of the financial system, including multilateral development banks, financial and credit institutions, through aligning their lending portfolios towards accelerating the renewable energy transition.
Fifth, there should be increased investment in power transmission systems to maximise the benefits of wind and solar energy production, and more investment into infrastructure projects that accelerate the application of clean technologies, such as electric vehicles.
Sixth, in addition to efforts to bolster energy transition and unleash the potential of renewable energy, it is necessary to synchronously implement other solutions, such as the restoration of natural ecosystems that are resilient to climate change to enhance adaptation capacity and carbon sequestration; promoting the circular economy in order to make the most efficient use of resources while conserving resources for future generations, and deploying solutions for carbon capture and storage to contribute to the realisation of the net zero target.
Finally, in order to promote renewable energy development in Asia commensurate with its potential, there should be active participation of media and press agencies in the region. Media agencies will contribute to spreading the message of the urgency of energy transition, as well as helping the business community and people better understand the economic, environmental and social benefits brought about by renewable energy.
Seafood exports soar 44% in Jan-May
Vietnam’s seafood exports amounted to US$4.7 billion between January and May, surging by 44% year-on-year, showing signs of the seafood industry rebounding after a two-year interruption due to the Covid pandemic.
This was announced at a general conference held by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) on June 22.
Speaking at the conference, VASEP General Secretary Truong Dinh Hoe said that the country’s importers increased their Vietnamese seafood consumption by 10%-90%, while the average export prices rose by 10%-15%.
The country saw seafood exports hit US$1 billion each month from March to May, Hoe said, adding that revenue from seafood exports is estimated at some US$6 billion in the first six months.
The tra fish export is expected to rally further in the rest of the year, fetching US$1.2 billion between January and May, rocketing by 90% year-on-year, the local media reported.
Gemadept to sell over 100 million shares to increase charter capital
Gemadept Corporation (GMD) will offer more than 100.45 million shares to its existing stakeholders this year to raise its charter capital.
The shares will be offered at VND20,000 each. Gemadept’s charter capital was expected to rise to over VND4 trillion.
GMD will announce the specific share issue time after getting the permission from the State Securities Commission.
Of the money earned from the share issue, VND800 billion will be provided to Nam Dinh Vu Port JSC to expand the port and contributed to inland waterway port projects; while VND1 trillion will be provided to Gemadept-Terminal Link Cai Mep Terminal JSC. The remaining VND209 billion will be used to purchase assets to serve the company’s business activities.
Made-in-Vietnam goods filling Vietnamese consumers’ shopping basket
Vietnamese commodities have made up 90 percent of goods sold in retail outlets owned by domestic enterprises and 60-96 percent of foreign supermarkets in Vietnam, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), showing that more Vietnamese consumers are choosing Vietnamese goods.
In traditional retail channels, the ratio of Vietnamese goods in markets and groceries is at least 60 percent. Particularly, since Covid-19 broke out, 76 percent of Vietnamese consumers tend to prioritize domestic products, especially those with guaranteed quality and health benefits.
Le Viet Nga, Vice Director of the MoIT’s Department of Domestic Market affirmed that the campaign to encourage Vietnamese to prioritize the use of Vietnamese commodities has helped changed domestic consumers and businesses’ awareness of domestic-made products.
Nga underlined that with clear origin, trademark and quality that is comparable to foreign-made products, Vietnamese commodities are winning stronger confidence from domestic consumers.
Amid Covid-19 pandemic, the transport of domestic products are much easier, she added.
According to the MoIT, 90-95 percent of goods on the shelves of major supermarkets in Hanoi such as Co.opmart, Vinmart and Hapro are made in Vietnam. Meanwhile, the ratios range from 60-96 percent in foreign-owned markets such as AEON, Mega Market and Big C.
In order to further spread the program of “Vietnamese prioritize Vietnamese goods” in an effective manner, in the time to come, the MoIT plans to organize more trade promotion activities and encourage the application of e-commerce in shopping activities.
Viet Nam’s trade volume up 16.7 %
As of June 15, Viet Nam’s total trade volume with the rest of the world hit US$337.85 billion, a year-on-year increase of 16.7 percent, according to the General Department of Customs.
The above figure includes US$31.64 billion in the first half of June, down 10 percent against the second half of May.
Of the total, export turnover was estimated at US$168.28 billion, up 17.2 percent.
Ke export items were phones and accessories (up 16.7 percent in value); machines, equipment and tools (up 20.6 percent); computers, electronics and spare parts (up 13.6 percent); and garments (up 21.3 percent).
Meanwhile, import value rose 16.3% to US$169.58 billion.
Viet Nam-Australia expect brighter future for import-export sector
As both Australia and Viet Nam continue to take solid action to make their trade partnerships expand year after year, a brighter future awaits the import and export sector, according to the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade).
Austrade said Viet Nam’s upbeat growth projections have made it an attractive import-export destination. Thanks to several free trade agreements, it has sealed in recent years, Viet Nam’s trade partnerships have grown from strength to strength.
It added that having one of the region’s fastest-growing middle classes and a young population that’s willing to spend, Viet Nam represents an important market for foreign goods. As one of Viet Nam’s main trading partners, Australia supplies the Southeast Asian country with an expansive range of premium products, including meat, seafood, dairy products, wine and fresh produce. Over the years, Australian products have seen an increasing demand among Vietnamese consumers.
In 2021, the total trade between Australia and Viet Nam in the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors surged by 64 per cent to AUD4.4 billion, according to Australian government data.
To help Australian producers take advantage of this growing interest for ‘Made in Australia’ goods, Austrade utilises its knowledge of the local market and strong tie-ins to find the right market for Australian exporters.
Data use key for business success
In the digital technology era, data analysis has become one of the leading technologies, capable of changing many aspects of the world, especially in the business field.
Therefore, taking advantage of new technology to improve the competitiveness of enterprises is essential for future growth. However, not all businesses know how to process available data into useful information, delegates told the first Vietnam Data Summit held in HCM City on June 24.
Lam Nguyen Hai Long, president of the HCM City Computer Association, said, according to statistics at Internet Day 2021, Viet Nam is among the Top 20 countries with the highest number of Internet users in the world. Internet penetration in Viet Nam stands at 70.3 per cent compared to 51.4 per cent on average in the world. Therefore, Viet Nam is considered to be the most promising Big Data market in Asia.
Companies that have started treating information as an asset would have a competitive advantage, he added.
Truong Ba Toan, country general manager of Western Digital Viet Nam, said, “digital transformation plays an important role in the development of a country and a business. Among the five most important factors in digital transformation are data and analytics. When data is unlocked and properly exploited, it will help businesses make breakthrough developments.”
Vo Thi Trung Trinh, deputy director of the HCM City Department of Information and Communications, said the city had identified promoting an all-round digital transformation as one of the most important tasks to develop the local economy.
Toni Kristian Eliasz, senior digital development specialist at the World Bank, said government support was increasingly crucial in enabling the digital transformation.
According to Albert Antoine, CEO of Avaiga, data is everywhere, and it is exploding. Every interaction in the digital world generates massive data that can provide insights and inform better, faster decision-making for organisations and businesses.
Agricultural sector ensures food security, exports
Vietnam has continued to make gains in agro-forestry-fishery production, and seen increases in agricultural exports thanks to its successful COVID-19 containment.
As of mid-May, about 2.67 million ha out of 4.28 million ha of rice from the winter-spring crop had been harvested, up 3.6% over the same period last year, with total output of about 17.7 million tonnes.
In the first five months, Vietnam shipped 2.86 million tonnes of rice overseas, a year-on-year rise of 10.3%, raking in 1.39 billion USD.
According to Nguyen Nhu Cuong, head of the Department of Crop Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam has about 7.3 million ha of rice and 1 million ha of vegetables. Basically, the country faces no risk of food security.
In husbandry, cattle farms have grown by 1.6% compared with May 2021, while pig populations rose 5.7% and poultry by 1.9%. Only buffalo numbers decreased by 1.5%.
Vietnamese processed chickens have been exported to seven countries and territories, while milk and dairy products have been shipped to nearly 50 countries, including China. Vietnam has also exported pork and eggs to a number of markets.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien said to boost the export of animals and their products, units, agencies and localities should focus on building production chains and breeding areas that should satisfy international standards as well as the requirements of importers.
HCMC credit growth surges sharply in first half of 2022
Deputy Director of State Bank Ho Chi Minh City Branch Nguyen Duc Lenh informed that by the end of June, the credit growth in the city is expected to increase by 9.3 percent over the end of 2021 which is considered the highest level over the years the higher than the country average benchmark in six months is 8.5 percent.
The main reasons for boosting the credit growth in the city are thanks to the rapid recovery of enterprises in all fields promoting high capital demand when the pandemic is under control. Of which, trade and services are at the top of the growth with 4.83 percent reflecting the trend and ability of recovery.
The rapid credit growth in Ho Chi Minh City also reflects the recovery, positive growth of the city’s economy and the effectiveness of the economic recovery program of the Government and the city as well as the policies, mechanism and activities for overcoming the obstacles, difficulties, support programs of the banking sector in general and in HCMC in particular.
Besides, the credit growth was also shown through Ho Chi Minh City’s GRDP in the first half of 2022 with a surge of 3.82 percent from a negative growth from the end of last year.
Blockchain Young Entrepreneurs Startup Incubator launched
With the desire to promote the startup movement of young entrepreneurs in Vietnam and support startups based on blockchain technology products, on June 26, Young Entrepreneur Electronic Magazine and OneBit Investment Fund launched the Young Entrepreneurs Startup Incubator.
In Vietnam, in recent years, blockchain technology is expected to be an opportunity for Vietnamese startups when the number and total value of investments in blockchain startups increase sharply. Besides positive information, lots of negative information have now also appeared in the blockchain market in Vietnam. Therefore, the establishment of a Young Entrepreneurs Startup Incubator will promote positive and sustainable development, contributing to preventing negative manifestations.
The Young Entrepreneurs Startup Incubator will focus on finding and investing in technology and blockchain startups, incubating ideas, and orienting Vietnamese investors on experience and knowledge of blockchain technology in general and the Cryptocurrency market in particular.
With the goal of having 5-10 blockchain startups supported each quarter, this incubator will certainly be the place to incubate and give birth to successful blockchain startups, capable of competing with domestic and foreign technology enterprises, especially being able to integrate with the blockchain technology business community in the region and the world.
Vietnamese goods, foods introduced in UK
A programme to introduce Vietnamese goods and foods in the UK is underway at Longdan Supermarket in Crawley town, about 45km south of London.
The week-long event, which started on June 26, is hosted by the Vietnam Trade Office under the Vietnamese Embassy in the UK in collaboration with the Vietnam Business Association in the UK (VBUK), and Longdan and EUTEK groups.
As part of activities in the trade promotion programme of the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), the event aims to promote Vietnamese high-quality products which are benefiting from the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), to British retailers and consumers.
Handicraft products, coffee, fresh and dried fruits, canned fruit juice, vermicelli, dried noodle, rice papers, cashew nuts, and fragrant rice of reputable export enterprises of Vietnam are being displayed at the supermarket and Vietnamese markets in Nottingham city.
E-commerce enabler OnPoint raises $50m from Singapore fund
OnPoint, an e-commerce enabler in Việt Nam, has successfully raised US$50 million in a series B fund-raising round from SeaTown Private Capital Master Fund managed by SeaTown Holdings International, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore’s Temasek Holdings.
This is the largest private investment in the Southeast Asian e-commerce enabler industry in the last five years.
It will enable OnPoint to further invest in omni-channel marketing and sales solutions besides tapping into SeaTown’s vast network and experience in the digital economy and consumer sectors across Southeast Asia and globally.