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Analysts, authorities make contrasting claims about high Vietnam gold prices

Analysts, authorities make contrasting claims about high Vietnam gold prices

Customers buy and sell gold at a jewelry shop in Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City, August 7, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.

A supply shortage in Vietnam has widened the difference between domestic and global gold prices, according to experts, but authorities reject the claim.

Gold prices have been rising relentlessly this year as investors sought a safe haven amid the uncertainties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Vietnamese gold prices have always been higher than international rates, but in recent weeks the difference has been widening.

Prices of the popular SJC gold on Saturday morning was VND60.3 million ($2,594.87) per tael of 37.5 grams (1.2 ounces). This translated into a difference of $150, up from $40-100 last month.

Huynh Trung Khanh, senior consultant to the World Gold Council in Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia, said the growing difference could be because there is a short supply and gold sellers have hiked prices.

The chairman of the Vietnam Gold Investment and Trading Corporation (VGC), Tran Thanh Hai, concurred with him saying local distributors like Saigon Jewelry Company (SJC) and DOJI are concerned about a shortage and have pushed their prices up.

DOJI reported a 30 percent surge in the number of customers in July and this month from a year ago. Bao Tin Minh Chau, another seller, said at times in recent weeks demand was several times higher than in the same period in past years.

But authorities dismiss this. Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the State Bank of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City branch, said there is no short supply of gold bullion.

Gold companies are only pushing up prices to hedge the risks arising from the global volatility, he said.

Vietnam, with reserves of nearly $90 billion, could intervene in both the gold and foreign currency markets if necessary, he added.



Nissan gets new Vietnam distributor

Nissan gets new Vietnam distributor

The Nissan logo is seen at their booth at the Tokyo Motor Show, in Tokyo, Japan October 23, 2019. Photo by Reuters/Edgar Su.

The Vietnam Automobile Industry Development Company (VAD) has inked a deal with Nissan to become the Japanese carmaker’s exclusive distributor in Vietnam.

The company announced Thursday that IT will take over the vehicle distribution starting October 1 after Nissan and Tan Chong Motor Holdings Bhd officially cut their ties from September 30.

VAD is a recently established company located in the Viet Hung Industrial Park in northern Ha Long Town. It began operations on August 28. It has a charter capital of VND350 billion ($15.1 million) and registered 28 lines of business, with the main line being the wholesale distribution of cars and other motor vehicles.

Currently, Nissan has its Sunny, X-Trail, Terra and Navara models in the Vietnamese market. Of these, only Sunny and X-Trail models are assembled in Vietnam. A total of 1,414 units of these two models were assembled in the first eight months of this year.

Tan Chong, a multinational corporation based in Malaysia, will retain its presence in the local market, becoming the distributor for British automaker MG, which is owned by Shanghai-based Chinese state-owned SAIC Motor Corporation Limited.


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VN aviation sector rebounds with reopening of air routes

Vietnamese airlines have recently unveiled plans to resume air routes following the containment of the second coronavirus outbreak, showing the fact that the aviation market has begun to pick up again.

Airlines have seen impressive recovery of domestic flights recently

Airlines have seen impressive recovery of domestic flights recently

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines recently deployed a range of promotional activities aimed at stimulating travel demand. It also exerted all-out efforts in a bid to ensure service quality and the implementation of COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

A representative from Vietnam Airlines stated that the firm had transported approximately 40,000 passengers on its domestic routes between the beginning of the year and September 21, representing an annual increase of 12%.

Currently, the firm operates more than 40 routes with nearly 200 flights per day. With the COVID-19 epidemic being gradually brought under control, the airline has added more flights on eight of its domestic routes between Hanoi and localities such as Vinh, Quy Nhon, Da Nang, Tuy Hoa, Nha Trang, Da Lat, and Pleiku, in addition to between Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.

From October 1, it will reopen six domestic routes, namely Hai Phong to Da Lat, Nha Trang, and Buon Ma Thuot, Da Nang to Da Lat and Buon Ma Thuot, in addition to Hai Phong to Da Nang.

For the occasion, the airline has offered discounted tickets priced at only VND99,000 for a one-way ticket, equivalent to VND579,000 including taxes and fees, on these routes, with the departure time starting from October 1 to December 31.

Simultaneously, Vietnam Airlines has co-operated with Pacific Airlines to introduce several products for passengers.

Meanwhile, Bamboo Airways announced on September 23 that they will officially resume domestic routes from Hai Phong, Vinh, Da Nang, and Can Tho to other localities nationwide from September 28 to October 12.

At present, local airlines are working to gradually reopen international flights in line with the Government’s instructions and approval from foreign authorities.

Most notably, Vietnam Airlines officially put tickets on sale on September 23 for the first regular international commercial flight from the Republic of Korea following the suspension of international flights due to the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Commercial flights from RoK officially resume

The first commercial flight took off from Seoul in the Republic of Korea (RoK) on the morning of September 25 to Noi Bai International Airport after a period of international routes being suspended due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. 

Flight VN417 was carried out by national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and transported more than 100 passengers from Incheon International Airport in the RoK to Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport.

Vietnam Airlines in co-ordination with relevant units have made thorough preparations for the journey in recent days as part of efforts for the airline and other carriers to reopen a number of international air routes.

This comes following the COVID-19 epidemic being successfully brought under control in the nation and many other countries globally.

During the duration of the flight, a number of strict epidemic prevention measures were put in place, with passengers being required to present mandatory proof of a negative COVID-19 tests, through PCR diagnostics, that was issued three days prior to the flight.

In addition, travelers had to confirm the location of their quarantine facility upon arrival in Vietnam or download the contact tracing app in line with regulations.

Furthermore, Vietnam Airlines also successfully carried out the first regular international commercial flight from Hanoi to Tokyo in Japan, with approximately 60 passengers on board.

The majority of passengers were made up of international students, Vietnamese guest workers, and some Japanese citizens.

Aside from air routes with Japan and the RoK, the national flag carrier has plans to restore flights between the nation and China, Taiwan (China), Laos, and Cambodia in the near future. VOV


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Banks struggle to sell cars to collect debts

Hundreds of cars serving as collateral for bank loans have been put on sale by commercial banks to collect debts.

The officer of a joint stock bank in Hanoi said the bank has foreclosed on hundreds of cars this year, but the number of cars sold has been very modest.

Banks struggle to sell cars to collect debts

Some years ago, when the economy was growing well, people rushed to borrow money from banks to buy cars and apartments. In 2016-2019, the loans to fund car purchases grew by 40 percent per annum.

Banks applied measures to lure borrowers, accepting to lend up to 80-90 percent of the cars’ value.

As many borrowers cannot now pay debts, banks have to foreclose on cars, which are collateral for loans, to sell for debt collection.

The officer said it is most difficult to sell passenger cars with 16-45 seats. As travel demand has decreased in Covid-19, many transportation firms have had to suspend their operation. Because of the decreasing travel demand, no one wants to buy these vans.

As cargo transportation demand is on the decrease, people aren’t think of buying trucks now. As for sedans, both used and brand-new cars have seen prices drop sharply, while the supply is plentiful.

As cargo transportation demand is on the decrease, people aren’t think of buying trucks now. As for sedans, both used and brand-new cars have seen prices drop sharply, while the supply is plentiful.

An analyst said that the cars put up for sale by banks are mostly ones voluntarily handed over by clients because they cannot sell themselves for a good price, or are ones foreclosed on by banks.

In many cases, before handing over the cars to banks, the owners of the cars have changed interior equipment or replaced parts with low-quality components. Banks are not able to recognize the changes.

In general, banks sell cars at first-price sealed-bid auctions. Information about the cars is limited. Banks only give information on the brand, year of manufacturing, color, vehicle registration number, mileage and starting prices. Buyers also cannot access the cars before attending the auctions.

Le Quoc Huy, the owner of a business in Thanh Tri district in Hanoi, said he wanted to buy a Chevrolet Van 2017 series which had the starting price of VND185 million from a bank, but he later gave up the plan.

“I intended to buy this van to transport cargo within the city. But I was not sure about the status of the van, whether its components were original,” he explained. “If I have to spend more money to repair the van, it would become too expensive. So, I finally decided not to buy the car.”

The man admitted that many cars cannot find buyers though they have been put up for auctions four or five times, with the starting price decreasing by 5 percent each time.

A car dealer said he doesn’t intend to buy these cars. “The used car supply is still high. It is not easy to sell used cars now,” he explained.

VIB, Sinhan Bank, Techcombank, VP Bank and TP Bank are the biggest lenders funding car purchases.

Analysts said, as the economy is in difficulty because of Covid-19, credit has been growing very slowly as businesses don’t have high demand for loans at this time to expand production.

As a result, banks are trying to promote consumer credit. Tens of trillions of dong worth of capital have been reserved to fund house and car purchases.

Car buyers can borrow money at interest rates of 6.5-9.5 percent per annum for 6-12 month loans. 

Luong Bang


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