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Evergrande’s debt bomb a lesson for Vietnam

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Experts believe that the huge debt of $300 billion incurred by Chinese Evergrande will have an indirect impact on Vietnam.

Evergrande’s debt bomb a lesson for Vietnam

The news that Chinese regulators have threatened to let the “debt bomb” Evergrande collapse has worried Vietnamese real estate developers.

At the talk show on ‘Looking from Evergrande case to the future of Vietnam’s real estate market’, Nguyen Tri Hieu, a respected finance and banking expert, said the collapse of Evergrande, if it happens, won’t have a direct impact on Vietnam, but just an indirect influence.

If the ‘debt bomb’ Evergrande bursts, the real estate developer won’t have money to pay its contractors. It will be bad news if the contractors are also contractors of projects in Vietnam. If so, they would not have money to provide materials to Vietnam.

Hieu said that the risk of Evergrande going bankrupt should be seen as a lesson for Vietnam’s real estate firms which are rushing to issue corporate bonds to mobilize capital for developments at sky-high interest rates.

Bank deposit interest rates are currently at a low level, 5-5.5 percent per year for 12-month term deposit, while realty bond yield rate is 8-12 percent.

Can Van Luc, chief economist of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), said that risks in corporate bonds are increasing.

Sharing the same view, Dinh The Hien, a finance expert, believes that the Vietnamese real estate market won’t bear an impact from the debt bomb.

According to Hien, there are similarities of the Chinese and Vietnamese real estate markets, and both of them are witnessing hot development. This is a risk if prices escalate to overly high levels.

Meanwhile, real estate firms in both countries develop from loans from banks and corporate bonds. Real estate firms have been rushing to issue bonds in the last two years.

Another similar characteristic is that Vietnamese firms sell housing products for the future while there are no sustainable finance investment funds, or large and long-term capital.

According to Hien, Vietnamese real estate firms issue international bonds in large quantities like Chinese. Regarding mobilization of domestic resources, capital must be put into two accounts – from commercial banks and investors. When banks provide loans, they always require collateral.

According to analysts, in 2016-2021, Vietnam’s credit growth rate was lower than the GDP growth rate, which meant that Vietnam’s production and exports increased sharply, so Vietnam is no longer capital intensive in real estate investment as it was in previous years. So, despite the worries about the debts of Vietnam’s real estate firms, lending to the real estate sector is still under control of the central bank.

Lesson from Evergrande

Experts pointed out that the collapse of Evergrande is a lesson for Vietnam.

Under a new regulation set by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the short-term capital proportion that commercial banks can use for medium- and long-term lending must not be higher than 37 percent, instead of 40 percent as previously applied.

The move will help control lending to the real estate sector. Sources said SBV is considering lowering the proportion to 30 percent from the current 37 percent.

Legally, Vietnam, like China, allows realtors to mobilize capital from people under the mode of selling properties to for the future, and buyers make payment by installments, in accordance with the construction process.

There are millions of people in China investing this way and they hope when the construction is complete, realtors will deliver products on schedule and pay debts. That is why Chinese people are worried about the Evergrande collapse.

The amended law stipulated that realtors must have banks’ guarantee in mobilizing capital from people. If realtors cannot pay debts, the banks will have to pay the debts.

“I wonder how many banks have acted as guarantees for real estate firms and how many guarantees have been disputed?” Hieu said.

He warned that if real estate firms are insolvent, this will have big impact on the economy, debtors and the clients who pour money into projects. State management agencies should learn a lesson from the case.

He proposed that the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the State Securities Commission (SSC) strengthen supervision and inspection over all bond issuance campaigns to prevent businesses with weak financial capability from issuing bonds. 

Duy Anh

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/feature/evergrande-s-debt-bomb-a-lesson-for-vietnam-780479.html

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Magnetic strip ATM cards to remain valid next year

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A customer uses a chip card for payment at a point-of-sale (POS). VNA/ Photo

HÀ NỘI — The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) this week issued a dispatch, noting that domestic automated teller machine (ATM) cards with magnetic strips will remain valid for normal use after December 31, 2021.

The dispatch was issued after some banks have recently started sending notices to their customers about stopping supporting cards from ATMs to meet the deadline of the SBV’s Circular 19/2016 on the roadmap to convert from issuing magnetic strip cards to chip cards from next year.

Under the new dispatch, the SBV clarified that Circular 19/2016 makes no mention of a suspension of transactions using magnetic strip cards that remain valid.

December 31 this year is the deadline for changing to chip cards, not the date that magnetic strip cards will become invalid, the SBV noted, adding customers can continue to use magnetic strip ATM cards for transactions at ATMs, point-of-sale (POS) and bank counters, and for internet and mobile banking services after December 31 this year.

Under the new dispatch, the SBV asked card issuers and card payment organisations to ensure card holders’ transactions are carried out smoothly, safely and do not affect the interests of cardholders. They were also asked not to issue policies and regulations that go against the law on bank card operations.

In addition, they were told to launch media campaigns to inform their customers that magnetic stripe cards can still be used after December 31 this year.

However, under the new dispatch, the SBV also asked card issuers to encourage and support their customers to convert magnetic cards to chip cards to enhance security and to warn them of the risks if magnetic cards continue to be used.

There are two common ways to convert magnetic cards to chip cards.

In the first way, customers only need to bring valid citizen ID card or passport to the bank’s transaction point and request to convert from magnetic card to chip card.

In the second way, customers can access digital banking applications and mobile banking to apply for and receive cards at home or at the bank’s transaction points.

Or at some banks, the process is even more convenient. For example, at TPBank, customers can exchange magnetic cards for chip cards at LiveBank 24/7 and receive cards in just a few minutes.

In order to encourage customers to change magnetic strip cards to chip cards, most banks offered this service free of charge and the change is still free at some banks.

For example, at NamABank, the bank will completely convert magnetic strip cards to VIP cards for free from now until December 31, 2021. Similarly, Techcombank is also offering this activity free of charge.

According to experts, the conversion of magnetic strip cards to chip cards is beneficial for users, contributing to improving the security level, transaction speed, safety and ensuring the interests of customers.

Specifically, a magnetic card is a card containing a magnetic strip storing customer’s encrypted information. The data is permanently stored on the magnetic strip and is encrypted only once, so it easily leads to the risk of card information theft and transaction fraud.

Meanwhile, chip cards, which are also known as “smart cards”, have a microchip attached to the surface of the card, and this is the basic difference between chip cards and magnetic strip cards. For chip cards, transaction data includes data stored on the chip and the transaction password that changes with each transaction. Specifically, every time a chip card is used for payment, the chip will generate a unique transaction code and never repeat. In case the customer’s card is stolen from a certain store, the fake card will never work because the stolen transaction code will not be reused, the card will be rejected. —      


 

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Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/economy/1092063/magnetic-strip-atm-cards-to-remain-valid-next-year.html

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Exporters told to strictly comply with EU regulations to avoid losses

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The European Union has a large demand for imported agricultural products and, thanks to the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), Vietnamese businesses have a unique opportunity to take advantage of this.

 However, local businesses need to strictly comply with European regulations to avoid losses when exporting to the region.

Exporters told to strictly comply with EU regulations to avoid losses
The EU applies strict requirements and regulations on imported food products. — VNA/VNS Photo Vu Sinh 

For food products, the EU has strict requirements and regulations on product quality and the maximum residue level (MRL) of pesticides.

Trade counsellor Tran Ngoc Quan, head of the Vietnam Trade Office in Belgium and EU, said that most regulations across the bloc are similar when it comes to agricultural and food products.

Germany, Austria, the UK, Netherlands and Belgium do have stricter and higher MRL levels than the standard EU regulations, though these vary with different active ingredients, fresh produce and processed products.

Dang Phuc Nguyen, General Secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association, said that while Vietnamese fruits and vegetables are more competitive than those from countries without a European trade agreement, exporters must focus on improving MRL levels.

Nguyen said: “If enterprises exporting to the EU do not comply with the regulations, they face the risk of increased levels of inspections, supervision and perhaps even being banned from exporting to these markets in the future.

“The EU applies these regulations very strictly. Enterprises that want to export to the EU must obtain certificates and production levels according to GlobalGAP.”

Nguyen added that violators run the risk of incurring heavy losses if they are caught.

According to the new EU regulation No 2021/1900, effective from November 23, the frequency of pesticide testing on Vietnamese herbs and fruits will increase. Of this, 50 per cent of testing will be applied to coriander, basil, mint, parsley, beans corn and pepper and 10 per cent will be applied to dragon fruit.

Nguyen said that as vegetable products in Vietnam often have pesticides, some samples and consignments will be tested for residue. The EU has also increased the frequency of testing, adding that the more enterprises violate the regulations, the more frequent inspections will be. 

He said bans on export to the EU could be applied to violators.

According to a representative of the Vietnam Pepper Association (VPA), the EU’s increase in testing will raise difficulties in exporting to the EU and will invite increased competition from other countries.

“In order to avoid violations, businesses must do better at testing products when exporting, as well as strengthening production links to create a clean and safe raw material area,” said a representative of VPA.

The EU also conducts post-inspections away from ports, so even though goods are being consumed or sold at supermarkets or shops, if they are not of good quality they can still be recalled, said Nguyen.

Using the example of a Vietnamese pepper export enterprise that was refused by Spain when its product was tested at the border gate recently, Nguyen said that if the violation was discovered when the product was already on shelves it would cause larger financial damage to the  Vietnamese exporter. 

Nguyen Minh Lien, General Director of Vinamex Company which purchases Vietnamese goods for export to the EU market, shared that some Vietnamese enterprises do not pay due attention to food safety issues. Lien added that due to the post-inspection of the EU market, some have had to pay fines and incur additional costs due to poor quality products.

In addition, Lien said some basic errors like incorrect packaging leads to products being returned or sold cheaper to other markets.

Lien noted when exporting goods to the EU, Vietnamese businesses must work closely with importers on product quality, packaging and contract inspection to avoid loss and damage.

She said supermarkets in the EU do not directly import goods from Vietnam, so local enterprises should cooperate with importers to arrange products at the warehouse before entering the retail market there.

She also suggested Vietnamese enterprises cooperate to diversify products, ensure sufficient output and take advantage of shared containers when exporting.

Considering EU customers are increasingly interested in buying products from businesses that contribute to community development and the environment, Nguyen said: “Sustainable development should be a long-term direction for export businesses in Vietnam.”

At the same time, even enterprises and manufacturers that follow the GlobalGAP requirements must pay attention to the plant protection ingredients that the EU bans or restricts, as some may be different from the GlobalGAP.

Source: Vietnam News

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/business/local-exporters-must-strictly-comply-with-eu-regulations-to-avoid-losses-798131.html

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Moody’s upgrades VPBank’s rating to Ba3

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VPBank is one of the leading banks in Việt Nam. — Photo courtesy of the bank

HÀ NỘI — Global credit rating firm Moody’s Investors Services has upgraded Việt Nam Prosperity Bank (VPBank)’s foreign currency deposits from B1 to Ba3 which is equal to the country’s rating with positive outlook.

Moody’s BCA ratings reflect the independent intrinsic strength of the issuer. This credit rating is assessed based on the macro-environment, financial profile and qualitative assessment factors. In addition to upgrading the BCA rating, Moody’s also upgraded VPBank’s long-term local and foreign currency deposit ratings, rising to Ba3.

VPBank’s credit rating was announced after the bank completed the sale of a 49 per cent stake at its VPBank Finance Company Limited (FE Credit) to SMBC Consumer Finance Co Ltd (SMBCCF), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Inc (SMBC Group) at the end of October. Moody’s assessed that the capital sale brought about a significant improvement in the bank’s credit profile. Notably, according to Moody’s methodology, the bank’s capital adequacy ratio (CAR) increased from 11.4 per cent at the end of September 2021 to 13.5 per cent at the end of October 2021.

In addition to the improved capital base, the bank’s outstanding business results in recent months, despite the negative impact of COVID-19 on the economy, were also highly appreciated by Moody’s. The business results in the third quarter of the year showed that VPBank’s consolidated before-tax profit reached more than VNĐ11.7 trillion (US$513 million), up 24.9 per cent over the same period last year. The parent bank’s pre-tax profit alone reached VNĐ10.8 trillion, representing 75.2 per cent year-on-year increase. The bank’s total consolidated operating income reached VNĐ33.2 trillion, increasing 17.3 per cent over the corresponding period last year. Its consolidated return on assets (ROA) and return on equity (ROE) indices continued to be among the top of the market, reaching 2.8 per cent and 21.6 per cent respectively.

Moody’s believed that VPBank’s capital capacity will continue to be stable, as the bank has clearly demonstrated its plan to use capital obtained from the FE Credit deal to promote growth and seek new business investment opportunities. In addition, the assets scale will be further expanded thanks to the profit growth from business activities.

“VPBank’s asset quality and profitability will remain stable over the next 12-18 months,” Moody’s said in the announcement, emphasising the belief that VPBank’s asset quality will be well under control as Việt Nam’s economy recovers and vaccination rates increase.

The upgraded ratings from a prestigious international credit rating agency like Moody’s in the context that Việt Nam’s economy has suffered heavy impacts from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, has demonstrated confidence of international organisations in VPBank’s capital base and development plan this year and in the future. This also contributes to strengthening VPBank’s position, while further enhancing its ability to mobilise capital from reputable financial institutions. —

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/economy/1092062/moodys-upgrades-vpbanks-rating-to-ba3.html

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