Connect with us

Business

UK economy shrinks at fastest pace since financial crisis

Published

on

The UK economy shrank at the fastest pace since 2008 in the first three months of the year as coronavirus forced the country into lockdown.

UK economy shrinks at fastest pace since financial crisis

The Office for National Statistics said the economy contracted by 2% in the three months to March, following zero growth in the final quarter of 2019.

The decline was driven by a record fall in March, and reflects just one full week of lockdown.

Analysts expect a bigger economic slump in the current quarter.

This is the first official growth estimate since the government introduced social distancing measures at the end of March.

Ruth Gregory, senior UK economist at Capital Economics, said the figures showed the UK economy was “already in freefall within two weeks of the lockdown going into effect”.

She added: “With the restrictions in place until mid-May and then only lifted very slightly, April will be far worse.”

While analysts expected a larger quarterly decline of 2.6% in the first three months of the year, it still represents the biggest contraction since the end of 2008, when Lehman Brothers collapsed.

The ONS said there had been “widespread” declines across the services, manufacturing and construction sectors.

This includes a record 1.9% fall in services output, which includes retailers, travel agents and hotels.

It added: “This is the largest quarterly contraction since the global financial crisis and reflects the imposing of public health restrictions and voluntary social distancing put in place in response to the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Opening up

The figures come as some of the lockdown restrictions are starting to be eased. Some employees in England who cannot work from home are now being encouraged to return to their workplaces.

Sectors “allowed to be open, should be open”, the government says. These include food production, construction and manufacturing.

In other developments, estate agents in England can now reopen, viewings can take place and removal firms and conveyancers can re-start operations, so long as social-distancing and workplace safety rules are followed.

On Tuesday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced an extension of the furlough scheme subsidising wages to the end of October.

While the scheme was “expensive”, he told the BBC that the cost to society of not doing it would be “far higher”.

France and Italy saw much bigger contractions of 5.8% and 4.7% respectively in the first quarter, where lockdowns were imposed up to two weeks earlier.

However, analysts expect a double-digit drop in UK gross domestic product (GDP) in the coming quarter.

The Bank of England has warned that the UK economy is likely to suffer its sharpest recession on record this year, even if the lockdown is completely lifted by the end of September.

While the Bank said the economy could shrink by 14% in 2020, it expects the downturn to be short and sharp, with growth of 15% predicted in 2021.

The decline is also expected to be less prolonged than during the financial crisis, when the economy shrank for five consecutive quarters.

It also took five years to get back to the size it was before the meltdown.

The Bank of England expects the UK economy to rebound more quickly this time, returning to its pre-crisis size within two years.

The Chancellor has acknowledged to me it was “very likely” the UK is already in the middle of a significant recession after the publication of first quarter GDP figures showing one of the sharpest declines on record for the UK economy.

He said the -2% number was “not a surprise” and “in common with pretty much every economy around the world, we’re facing a severe impact from the coronavirus impact” and the numbers underlined why the Government had taken “unprecedented action” to support jobs, incomes and livelihoods” at a time of severe disruption.

On the reality that the UK has been in recession for four months he said: “Well, as you know, recession is defined technically as two quarters of decline in GDP. We’ve seen one here with only a few days of impact from the virus, so it is now, yes, very likely that the UK economy will face a significant recession this year, and we’re already in the middle of that as we speak.”

Asked about the leak to the Telegraph of an internal Treasury options paper which contained dire numbers for the UK deficit, and a view that a rapid “V-shaped” recovery was “optimistic”, the Chancellor said that it was “too early to speculate”

However, he added: “What we do know is in order to make sure that recovery as swift and as strong as we will like it to be, we need to take action now to protect people’s jobs and support businesses through this time.” BBC

The reason why the number for the first three months matters is that it shows how devastating even a week or two of shutdown can be.

It means that April’s month-long closure of large swathes of the economy is likely to have hit GDP by 20-25%. This first quarter fall is bad enough and is one of the worst five economic quarters since modern records began in 1955. But the current quarter will see a hit at least 10 times worse, and off any imaginable scale in living memory.

The much hoped for sharp bounce back, for example as contained in the Bank of England scenario last week, and the precise reason why so much rescue funding has flowed, is looking far from certain.

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/business/uk-economy-shrinks-at-fastest-pace-since-financial-crisis-640819.html

Business

Vietnam Airlines gets clearance for Canada flights

Published

on

Vietnam Airlines gets clearance for Canada flights

A Vietnam Airlines aircraft at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport, HCMC. Photo by Shutterstock/EQRoy.


National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has received a permit from Transport Canada to carry passengers and cargo to every airport in the country starting June 11.

Vietnam Airlines is the first Vietnamese carrier to get this permission is granted after a stringent process. The examination process for Vietnam Airlines took four months.

The airline plans to launch repatriation flights to bring the Vietnamese in Canada back home, as also carry the Canadians and students who want to study abroad to Canada. It will operate flights mainly to Toronto and Vancouver.

The airline will use its biggest wide-body aircraft – the Boeing 787 or the Airbus A350 for these flights. It will implement strict Covid-19 prevention measures on the flights.

The first flight is set to take off on June 30 to Toronto to bring home Vietnamese citizens stuck in the country.

The carrier has also received permission from U.S. authorities to conduct 12 repatriation flights this year, the first of which is scheduled for this month.

Vietnam Airlines had been allowed to operate flights to Canada last year, but only for four months from July to November.

Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/business/economy/vietnam-airlines-gets-clearance-for-canada-flights-4296412.html

Continue Reading

Business

Vietnam to protect production at industrial parks

Published

on

The fourth wave of COVID-19 has changed the routines of many people working in industrial parks (IPs) in northern Vietnam.

Vietnam to protect production at industrial parks
A worker of Samsung Company in Yen Phong IP, Bac Ninh Province, is vaccinated against COVID-19. — Photo laodong.vn 

As IPs play an important part in the country’s exports and local economic development, the re-emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic could cause disruptions to production and business activities, causing tens of thousands of workers to work alternate shifts or take temporary leave, said experts.

To deal with the situation, Bac Ninh Province, which is home to 1,120 companies including big names such as Samsung, Canon, Foxconn and Microsoft, as well as about 450,000 workers in 10 industrial parks and 26 industrial clusters, started the first ever production-residence-combined model in the country to deal with the ongoing outbreaks in the IPs.

Vu Ninh, who worked as a manager at Samsung’s vendor at the Yen Phong IP told Việt Nam News: “I was vaccinated against COVID-19 on June 2 and feel thankful and safe for that.”

Ninh said: “Now, everything is served at the factory. Instead of going back and forth between Hanoi and Bac Ninh every day like usual, we are working, eating and staying at the factory all the time.”

Other IPs in Bac Ninh Province are following similar models.

Nguyen Thi Khai, a worker at Bujeon Vietnam Electronics Company in Que Vo IP, said: “I feel peace of mind while I keep my job and income and am protected.”

Nguyen Thi Thu, a worker at Yen Phong IP, said: “We get VND100,000 per day and extra each month to call home.” 

Co-operate to protect the IPs

While Bac Ninh Province People’s Committee set up teams to inspect, supervise and guide enterprises to implement the work-stay model, local enterprises were also working hard to make sure their staff stay safe.

Bujeon Vietnam Electronics rearranged an equipment line, temporarily suspending an expansion project to take advantage of the space for accommodation. 

Song Yu Hoon, director of the company’s Administration and Human Resources Department, said: “We always ensure the best conditions for workers’ accommodation as they need to be safe to maintain stable production.”

Choi Joo Ho, general director of Samsung Vietnam, said: “In a short time, equipment has been installed for workers to stay at the factories and at 51 schools in Yen Phong district.”

To ensure peace of mind for tens of thousands of employees, the company provides free accommodation, as well as three meals and a snack a day.

Bui Hoang Mai, Head of the Provincial IP Management Board, told local media: “The policy of the province has received the consent of enterprises as it is the most practical solution to fulfil the “dual goal” of both economic development and fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Other IPs to be protected

There are 3.8 million people working in 369 industrial zones and border areas nationwide, while some 600,000 people work at industrial clusters. 

Hanoi, HCM City and Bac Giang Province also suffered from the fourth wave of COVID-19. In the top ten exporting localities, valued at US$213 billion, the top four accounted for 51.2 per cent of the volume. HCM City and Hanoi accounted for 40 per cent of the country’s GDP.

In the fourth wave of the virus since April 29 to June 16 afternoon, Bac Giang reported 4,590 cases, Bac Ninh followed with 1,432, while HCM City and Hanoi reported 1,015 and 464 cases, respectively.

With more positive cases reported, HCM City’s factories implemented measures to deal with the pandemic and ensure production.

Head of Viet Thang Jean Co. with thousands of workers and vice president of the HCM City Textile, Embroidery and Knitting Association, Pham Van Viet, said: “The textile and garment industry is labour-intensive and works on a chain, so if a worker is isolated for 14-21 days, the enterprise’s production plan and the production chain are interrupted.”

Viet said: “We are very worried because if we cancel orders, we have to compensate customers, while thousands of workers have to quit or lose their jobs.”

As in Bac Ninh, the city’s businesses have prepared plans for on-site production and accommodation. On June 11, the management board of the city’s Hi-Tech Park organised an online scenario when workers stay and work in the factories.

Economist Ngo Tri Long said that the fourth wave poses other problems. The first priority was to fight the pandemic, but at the same time keep production chains intact. 

“In the planning and development strategy of IPs, it is necessary to prepare and respond to the pandemic and limit the spread of the disease. The construction of concentrated accommodation and catering for workers in a closed chain in industrial parks and factories will be a long-term solution. Thus, it is easy for us to stamp out the pandemic, not to spread it in the community.”

Long said it was necessary to urgently trace, localise and stamp out new infection clusters, especially outbreaks that have spread to industrial parks and export processing zones, adding that foreign experts working in the IPs need to undergo mandatory isolation.

Economist Nguyen Tri Hieu told Việt Nam News: “The local economy has spent the first five months relatively optimistic. Exports grew over the same period last year, foreign trade maintained growth, jobs were restored, and GDP continued to grow. However, from now until the end of the year the situation will be very unpredictable.”

He added: “We still have strength in exports. Many markets around the world are being strongly affected by the pandemic, but there is a lot of demand for goods, especially agricultural products. However, the pandemic must be controlled and the production must be maintained.”

Source: Vietnam News

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/business/vietnam-to-protect-production-at-industrial-parks-747013.html

Continue Reading

Business

Japanese investors secure foothold in leading Vietnamese brands through M&A

Published

on

Japanese investors have poured billions of dollars to purchase stakes at Vietnamese businesses over the past decade.

Japanese investors secure foothold in leading Vietnamese brands through M&A
After a decade of M&A, Japanese investors now own several leading brands in Vietnam.

As of May 2021, Japan was the second-largest foreign investor in Vietnam with the total registered capital of $63 billion. Japanese investors have also been actively contributing capital and share purchases to Vietnamese firms in various fields such as retail, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, real estate, and finance.

Many well-known Vietnamese brands are now owned by Japanese investors. In 2011, Unicharm acquired local company Diana. In 2015, Unicharm expanded its factory in Bac Ninh Province, targeting a bigger slice of the market.

Also in the same year, brewery group Kirin Holdings acquired major Vietnamese soft drink producer Interfood Shareholding Co. as part of its plans to capitalise on the Vietnamese market. Kirin purchased 57.25 per cent of the total outstanding shares in Interfood for an undisclosed sum and also bought out Wonderfarm Biscuits & Confectionery Sdn. Bhd., a Malaysia-based firm that manages the intellectual property rights of Interfood.

Eath Chemical also took over A My Gia, which is known for the Gift brand household detergent and Ami brand air fresheners. Sojitz Corporation spent around $91 million on acquiring a 95 per cent stake in Saigon Paper Corporation, which is the largest tissue paper and industrial paper producer nationwide. Japanese drugmaker Taisho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. also takes control of Hau Giang Pharmaceutical JSC. Other M&A deals involving Japanese investors include NTTData’s acquisition of Payoo, AEON Group’s acquisition of Citimart, and Line’s acquisition of Webtretho.

In 2021, Maruha Nichiro decided to acquire Saigon Food in order to secure a new marine product processing base and to acquire a platform for the development, processing, and sales of processed foods. Meanwhile, Japanese mega financial institution Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) has just acquired 49 per cent stake in Vietnam’s largest consumer finance company FE Credit. The Japanese bank will invest more than $1.4 billion in FE Credit as early as October.

Speaking at the Vietnam M&A Forum 2020, Masataka “Sam” Yoshida, head of the Cross-border Division of RECOF Corporation and CEO of RECOF Vietnam Co., Ltd. said that M&A investments in Vietnam will be a trend for Japanese companies which will last for the years to come.

The first trigger is the destiny for Japanese companies to find new markets to expand outside Japan. The fact is that most of the sectors in Japan are already mature. For instance, almost one-third of the Japanese population is over 65 years old. This makes the average age of Japanese people 48.4 years, almost 20 years older than the figure for Vietnam. Also, around 276,000 people (more than a quarter of a million) are disappearing every year.

“The second trigger is ‘M&A as a growth strategy’ which is backed up by the abundant accumulated cash during the last 20 years which is reaching $2.34 trillion as bank deposits with almost zero interest rate. Pushed by shareholders’ requirements to make use of the money, these funds have started to flow into the M&A market which made its highest record in 2019 by 4,088 deals. This means there were more than 4,000 active and successful Japanese investors,” he said.

Source: VIR 

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/business/japanese-investors-secure-foothold-in-leading-vietnamese-brands-through-m-a-747031.html

Continue Reading

Trending