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VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS JANUARY 12

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HCM City aims for 33 million tourists in 2021

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The southern largest economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City has set a target of welcoming 33 million tourists with total revenue of more than 4.3 billion USD in 2021.

In an effort to develop HCM City to become a leading tourism city in Asia, the city’s tourism department has planned new tourism products and events to attract more visitors.

Some notable events include the 8th HCM City Ao dai Festival and HCM City Tourism Day, along with tours at old Sai Gon’s relics.

Last year, the city’s tourism market suffered greatly from the COVID-19 pandemic. The total number of international visitors to HCM City in 2020 was 1.3 million, down 84.8 percent year on year, while the number of domestic travellers to HCM City was 15.8 million, a decrease of 48.4 percent year on year.

Total tourism revenue was estimated at nearly 3.7 billion USD, down 39.6 percent compared to 2019./.

Petrol prices up over 400 VND in latest adjustment

Retail petrol prices rose by more than 400 VND from 3pm on January 11, the fourth increase in a row, following the latest review by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance.

The price of E5 RON92 biofuel increased by 430 VND to a maximum of 15,948 VND (0.69 USD) per litre and RON95-III by 451 VND to no more than 16,930 VND per litre.

Diesel 0.05S and kerosene, meanwhile, now sell at no more than 12,647 VND and 11,558 VND per litre, up 271 VND and 370 VND per litre, respectively.

The price of Mazut 180CST 3.5S remains unchanged at no more than 12,272 VND per kg.

According to the two ministries, the prices of petrol and oil in the global market increased in the past 15 days, hence the upward adjustment.

They review fuel prices every 15 days to ensure domestic prices are in keeping with the global market./.

Vietcombank looks to raise pre-tax profit by 12 percent in 2021

The Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) sets to increase pre-tax profit by 12 percent year-on-year to 25.2 trillion VND this year, said Director-General Pham Quang Dung at a Hanoi conference on January 11.

The bank also aims to raise its total asset by 6 percent and mobilised capital by 8 percent while the credit growth is expected to pick up 12 percent, he said. The non-performing loans (NPLs) will be maintained at below 1 percent and Net Interest Margin (NIM) at 3.1 percent.

Last year, Vietcombank has launched a number of credit programmes to support borrowers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters, said Chairman Nghiem Xuan Thanh, adding that it has made a total of five lending interest rate cuts in 2020 to bring the rate to the lowest among lenders in the country. More than 441.7 trillion VND (19 billion USD) worth of loans have benefited from reduced interest rates.

The bank has donated about 350 billion VND to social welfare activities, of which over 40 billion VND was contributed to the COVID-19 response.

Vietcombank earned close to 22.53 trillion VND in pre-tax profit and around 23.07 trillion VND in consolidated profit in 2020, slightly lower than 2019.

It provided a total of nearly 110 trillion VND worth of loans last year, with credit growth reaching 13.95 percent, the highest among domestic banking institutes, compared to the sector’s average of 8 percent.

The NPL rate was kept at 0.61 percent, the lowest among banks.

It contributed 9 trillion VND to the State budget. With stock market shares standing at 100,000 VND each on January 6, Vietcombank became the largest listed company, with capitalisation of around 390 trillion VND./.

Vietnam lauds India’s growth at WTO trade review

Vietnam has highlighted India’s economic achievements despite global instabilities, trade tension and the COVID-19 pandemic at the WTO’s 7th review of India’s trade policies and practices.

At the event held on January 6 – 8, Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, head of the Permanent Mission of Vietnam to the United Nations, World Trade Organisation (WTO), and other international organisations, said the economy kept its average growth at 7.36 percent for 2015-2020 and 4.2 percent for 2019-2020.

Underscoring increasingly strengthened comprehensive strategic partnership between Vietnam and India, the diplomat said India has been one of important trade and investment partners of Vietnam in the past decade and among the top ten biggest trade partner of Vietnam in recent years.

She agreed with a number of India’s stances and affirmed that adhering to the WTO’s trade rules is the only solution to the emerging crisis and it will continue to play an active role in maintaining and strengthening a fair and equal multilateral trading system.

She also talked about Vietnam’s concern over India’s trade measures that have created unnecessary commercial barriers and restrictions.

Mai stated Vietnam, as a member of the ASEAN – a trade partner of India, is working closely with India to seek suitable solutions to the issue and is willing to join India in propelling the development of regional supply chains and post-pandemic economic recovery.

In their joint remark at the meeting, ASEAN member states said India is an important trade partner of the bloc, with the ASEAN-India dialogue relations quickly growing from a sectoral dialogue partnership in 1992 to a full dialogue partnership in December 1995.

India becomes ASEAN’s sixth largest trading partner and eighth largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI).

The bloc also welcomed the outcome of the 17th ASEAN-India Economic Ministers’ Consultations on August 29 last year, in which sides involved considered a multilateral trading system a driving force behind post-pandemic economic recovery and the implementation of the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area for mutual benefits.

Taking into account India’s key contributions to boosting the development and reform of the WTO, ASEAN reaffirmed its strong commitment and cooperation with India in maintaining an open, inclusive, transparent, and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system based on WTO rules.

Trade Policy Reviews are an exercise, mandated in the WTO agreements, in which member countries’ trade and related policies are examined and evaluated at regular intervals. India has been a WTO member since 1995./.

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS JANUARY 12

Ninh Binh strives to host 7 million visitors in 2021

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Ninh Binh province, a tourist destination in the north, is launching several measures to achieve its goal of welcoming 7 million arrivals this year, during which it hosts the National Tourism Year.

Ninh Binh  has launched promotion activities on social networks, among other activities.It is also working with the provincial tourism association to mobilise travel agencies’ engagement in demand stimulus activities and increase service quality.

Ensuring related security and order, environmental sanitation, and COVID-19 prevention and control are also key tasks, noted the official.

According to statistics from the department, during the recent three-day New Year holiday, the province received more than 32,000 visitors. Most of them went to local renowned destinations like Trang An Landscape Complex – a world cultural and natural heritage site, Cuc Phuong national park, and Van Long submerged natural reserve.

In 2020 the province hosted 2.8 million tourists, equaling to just 37 percent of the 2019 figure. The reduction was largely due to the impact of the pandemic./.

Shrimp exporters eye over US$4 billion in export in 2021

Following the implementation of several free trade agreements (FTAs), shrimp exports in 2021 are anticipated to increase by 15% compared to last year, to reach over US$4 billion in revenue, according to insiders.

During the initial 11 months of last year, shrimp exports rose by 11.3% to US$3.4 billion despite the adverse impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and saline intrusion causing a decline in brackish water shrimp output, especially tiger shrimp.

Most notably, strong export growth was recorded in markets such as the United States, Canada, and Australia, with local businesses seeking more outlets and diversified products which are suitable for different market segments in an effort to increase exports.

Economists believe that shrimp exports will witness robust growth in 2021 providing that businesses take full advantage of FTAs, while shrimp farming and processing procedures must be ensured.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the global demand for shrimp is likely to rise, especially in the context of complicated developments relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The association says that Vietnam enjoys advantages over other rivals due to its successful containment of the COVID-19 epidemic. Major consuming markets such as the US, the EU, and China, have chosen to buy shrimp from Vietnam, thereby opening up bright prospects ahead for the local shrimp industry.

The VASEP forecasts that the shrimp industry is likely to achieve an export turnover of between US$4 billion and US$4.4 billion by focusing on developing the farming areas and investing in technologies and intensive processing in an attempt to meet the stringent requirements imposed by importing countries.

Nguyen Quoc Toan, director-general of the General Department for Agricultural Products Processing and Market Development, notes that along with organising a series of trade promotion events to promote shrimp exports, the department will also host a range of activities aimed at stimulating consumption among the domestic market.

Digital transformation helps local firms change business methods

Firms in almost all key sectors have set digital transformation as a priority strategy, which has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, said Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung.

Hung made the statement at a ceremony held in Ha Noi last week to honour the 500 largest enterprises in Viet Nam (so-called VNR500) and top 10 most prestigious companies in 2020.

The event was co-organised by the Viet Nam Report JSC and VietNamNet electronic newspaper.

The minister said digital transformation would help Vietnamese businesses change their thinking and business ways. The approach and application of the model of digital transformation into business activities plays a particularly important role, both as a premise and a prerequisite for businesses to grow to new heights and fulfill their mission make Viet Nam strong.

Pharmaceutical companies paid more attention to artificial intelligence while travel agencies used digital technology such as augmented or virtual reality to introduce their products, he added.

A survey of the VNR500 companies by Viet Nam Report showed that 64.8 per cent of respondents said COVID-19 has pushed quicker digital transformation among businesses, with 19.8 per cent using cloud computing, 19.3 per cent using big data and 7.3 per cent choosing Internet of Things (IoT).

VNR500 and Top 10 most prestigious companies in n 2020 aimed to honour large-scale enterprises with efficient and sustainable production and business activities in the context of difficulties and challenges caused by COVID-19.

The ranking was based on research results and independent evaluation following international standards.

This year’s VNR500 ranking continued to recognise the growth of businesses in the service and industry sectors, accounting for more than 97.3 per cent of the revenue proportion. The sectors with high growth potential and a large proportion of revenue in the VNR500 Ranking 2020 included finance, food – beverage, construction – building materials – real estate, telecommunications – informatics – information technology.

In the VNR500 Ranking in 2020, in general, most of the sectors have average revenue growth of 12.52 per cent. In which, there are many industries with double-digit revenue growth such as engineering, construction – building materials – real estate, finance, transportation – logistics, telecommunications – information technology.

Pham Anh Tuan, editor-in-chief of VietNamNet, said 2020 recognised many great successes of Viet Nam in the context of global upheaval. Thanks to the efforts and consensus of the Government, businesses and people across the country, Viet Nam achieved GDP growth of 2.91 per cent, fulfilling the dual goal of both effectively preventing COVID-19 and developing the economy. Thereby, it has raised the level of the Vietnamese brand.

“Entering 2021, the world economy is still trying to “heal the wounds” caused by the pandemic and Viet Nam is no exception. However, with steady momentum in recent times, the country has confidence and motivation to build a prosperous Viet Nam in the near future. Businesses in the ranking have a significant role to contribute to the achievement,” he said.

This is the 14th year the VNR500 has been announced. On the VNR500 list are Samsung Electronics Thai Nguyen Co Ltd, Viet Nam Electricity (EVN), Viet Nam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), Viettel Military Industry and Telecoms Group (Viettel), and Viet Nam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex), among others. 

Vietnamese tea proves popular in Pakistan

Vietnam exported a total of 137,000 tonnes of tea worth US$220 million throughout 2020, representing a decline of 0.4% in volume and 6.8% in value compared to the previous year, with Pakistan being the largest consumer of local green tea, according to figures released by the Import and Export Department.

The average export price in 2020 witnessed a decrease of 6.5% to US$1,608.5 per tonne, with tea exports in December alone reaching 13,000 tonnes worth US$20 million, marking a fall of 13.8% in volume and 17.8% in value compared to December 2019.

Most notably, Pakistan makes up the largest consumer of Vietnamese green tea as the country exported 30,120 tonnes of tea worth US$58.17 million in November, representing a year-on-year decline of over than 10% in volume and 13.8% in value, with the proportion of green tea exports to the Pakistani market accounting for 28% of total Vietnamese tea export volume.

Furthermore, black and green tea make up the two major export products during last year’s 11-month period, accounting for 82.2% of the total tea export volume.

Moreover, black tea exports during the reviewed period reached 51,000 tonnes worth US$69 million, an annual boost of 2.7% in volume and 1.4% in value.

Ninh Thuan working to establish itself as national renewable energy centre

With highly favourable natural conditions, the south-central coastal province of Ninh Thuan is preparing a plan to become a renewable energy centre in Vietnam and to develop the sector into a pillar of the local economy. 

HCM City – With highly favourable natural conditions, the south-central coastal province of Ninh Thuan is preparing a plan to become a renewable energy centre in Vietnam and to develop the sector into a pillar of the local economy.

Data reveals that Ninh Thuan has the lowest rainfall in the country and abundant sunlight and wind resources, with wind speeds during 10 months of the year at 6.4-9.6 metres per second, which can ensure the stable operation of wind turbines.

Five local areas have been zoned for wind power development, with expected total capacity of 1,429MW, which can be raised to 2,000MW, according to its wind power development planning for 2011-2020 and vision to 2030 approved by the Minister of Industry and Trade.

A further 841 MW has been added to this planning, following the Prime Minister’s approval.

The provincial People’s Committee has given in principle approval to 15 projects with a total capacity of 766.45 MW, three of which, 181.55 MW, have already been put into commercial operation.

Regarding solar power potential, the province boasts considerable solar radiation and a long sunshine duration, about 2,600-2,800 hours and 200 days each year, with solar radiation totalling over 230 kcal per square centimetre.

Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Quoc Nam said it has given in principle approval to 37 solar power projects with total capacity of 2,576 MW, including 32 projects with 2,256 MW already operational.

Ninh Thuan has also issued planning for the Ca Na liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fired power centre, which will have a capacity of 6,000 MW, and is selecting investors for implementation.

Investment in and the operation of renewable energy projects have greatly contributed to local socio-economic development. They have also helped the province’s economic structure have a higher proportion of clean energy, contributing greatly to the local budget and creating more than 17,380 jobs.

Nam noted that Ninh Thuan is paying attention to both environmental protection and socio-economic development, adding that environmental impact assessments have been made for all renewable energy projects.

In the time ahead, he added, it will propose central agencies provide more mechanisms and policy support for the province, such as supplementing renewable energy planning and developing power transmission lines.

Local authorities also pledge to create optimal conditions for investors in the sector, Nam said.

Increasing value of Vietnam’s national brand

Vietnam national brand in 2020 is valued at US$319 billion, up 29% compared to 2019, according to Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy.

Thus, over the past four years, Vietnam’s brand value ranking has continuously improved, up nine places from last year to 33rd in the 2020 National Brands list of the world’s 100 most valuable brands and also in the group of strong brands.

The result is thanks to the Government’s efforts to improve the business environment and promote economic supports and institutional reforms over the recent years, helping boost the brands of Vietnamese products and enterprises.

A number of large companies have built their brands in the domestic and international markets, helping enhance the position of the national brand of Vietnam. According to the Forbes Vietnam 2020 ranking, the total value of the top 50 Vietnamese brands is over US$12.6 billion, including Thaco, Hoa Phat, Vinamilk, Habeco, Vietnam Airlines, Vingroup, and others.

However, there are still many Vietnamese enterprises who are not properly aware of the role and importance of the brand and have not yet built a strong brand. Although Vietnam has strengths and a leading position in exporting agricultural and aquatic products in key product areas such as rice, coffee, and pepper, the country is yet to have a worthy agricultural brand with the ability to dominate internationally.

Vietnam posts a very large export volume of goods with good product quality, but the value that Vietnamese enterprises earn from these is not high. The main reason is that Vietnam mostly exports raw materials or preliminary processing products through intermediaries or through a brand of other trading partners in foreign countries. Consequently, foreign consumers themselves do not know that the commercial product is a Vietnamese product.

Many enterprises worry about costs and wastefulness in brand building, claiming that branding is only suitable for large enterprises. This mindset causes many Vietnamese brands to be inferior to foreign brands of the same form, quality and price.

A survey conducted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade also shows that more than 20% of surveyed enterprises have invested in branding while 80% of them are not interested in brand building and do not consider branding as a true business tool, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.

It is time for enterprises to recognise and give due attention to building, maintaining and developing the national brand. This is an urgent job, requiring a long-term and consistent plan in terms of State policy and a consensus of effort among the entire business community in order to improve competitiveness and promote the export of Vietnamese goods to the global market.

In addition, there should be guidance and support for enterprises to protect the intellectual property rights related to potential export goods. Enterprises also need supports to build and promote brands in the domestic and international market so that they can continue to invest in improving product quality and competitiveness and increasing exports.

The success of each product will contribute to increasing the value of the Vietnamese national brand, helping Vietnamese products to assert their prestige and position in the international arena.

Measures to make Vietnam’s stock market the main channel for mobilising capital

Vietnam’s stock market has been witnessing explosive trading sessions that have been exceeding all expectations. The trading volume of recent sessions has continually set new records, with the first session of 2021 hitting VND18.580 trillion (over US$800 million).

The capitalisation of Vietnam’s stock market has also climbed to 84.3% of GDP. The buoyant sentiment is bolstering the stock market, with green dominant in most sectors, encouraging investors to buy more in the expectation of big winnings.

Such developments show that the stock market is an efficient investment channel for both investors and listed companies. There were some moments in 2020 when Vietnam’s stock market plummeted as the Covid-19 pandemic prompted foreign investors go into the net short position.

But the market later recovered. In the final months of the year, domestic investors rushed to open new accounts to seek profits, with big money flows propelling the benchmark VN-Index up by 15% compared to the start of the year and up 67% against the bottom established in late March.

What made the stock market attractive was the substantial reduction to banks’ deposit rates and tighter regulations on corporate bonds. But the most important factor helping the stock market to reach new heights is Vietnam’s success in containing the coronavirus and maintaining decent economic growth, becoming a bright spot in the region and the world at large.

With experience and an initial success in preventing the spread of Covid-19 and existing economic potential, the Vietnamese economy and the Vietnamese stock market in particular have been afforded new opportunities.

Many analysts are predicting that the Vietnamese stock market will continue to have a successful year in terms of size and quality. But there are also warnings that the current overheated growth may be unsustainable and that the market could reverse its direction anytime, requiring investors to be cautious of the risks.

In order for the stock market to become the main channel to mobilise capital for the economy, it is necessary to continue implementing synchronous measures and address the market’s weaknesses so that Vietnam’s stock market can be upgraded from a frontier market to an emerging market. Accordingly, efforts should be focused on bringing new policies into life to support enterprises issue stocks and protect investors, promoting the market to develop in a healthy manner.

At the same time, it is necessary to accelerate the plan to restructure the stock market, step up the equitisation of state-owned enterprises and their listings on the stock market, while measures are needed to enhance the effectiveness of management and supervision.

The agencies concerned need to formulate and present to the Prime Minister the stock market development strategy for the 2021-2030 period in order to establish goals and market development measures in the long term.

Furthermore, actions should be taken to ensure safety and security for the trading system, especially as the system at the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HOSE) has encountered glitches during sessions with extraordinary trading volumes.

HAGL Agrico sells four companies to Thagrico

Hoang Anh Gia Lai Agricultural JSC (HAGL Agrico) sold four of its subsidiaries to an agriculture business of Truong Hai Auto Corporation (Thaco) one month ahead of HAGL Agrico’s extraordinary general meeting.

Doan Nguyen Duc, board chairman of HAGL Agrico with the stock code of HNG, signed a resolution announcing the sale of three of its member companies to Truong Hai Agriculture JSC (Thagrico). Founded in early 2019, Thagrico is headquartered is in the central province of Quang Nam, and its legal representative is Tran Ba Duong, board chairman of Thaco.

According to the announcement, HNG will transfer 100% of its shares at Hoang Anh Quang Minh Rubber Co., Ltd, Highland Dairy Cattle Co., Ltd and Hoang Anh Dak Lak JSC to Thagrico. The three firms operate in the fields of rubber cultivation, livestock and real estate, respectively.

The decision to sell HNG’s additional subsidiaries to Thagrico was made prior to the former’s extraordinary general meeting, which was held on January 8.

Besides this, by the end of last year, Duc sold 100% of its shares at An Dong Mia JSC to Thagrico. Overall, HAGL had sold four of its subsidiaries to Thagrico in less than one month.

Given such a move, a rumor that Thaco would acquire HAGL Agrico became more credible as Thaco’s board chairman Tran Ba Duong took over the post of board chairman of HAGL Agrico.

In the past, there were major changes among key executives of HNG before the extraordinary general meeting took place. Specifically, the company dismissed two deputy general directors and the chief accountant in early December last year. By the end of the same month, the firm received resignation letters tendered by three board members for the 2020-2025 tenure—Do Xuan Dien, Vo Truong Son and Nguyen Quan Anh—and head of the supervisory board Le Hong Phong.

Aside from personnel issues, HNG said it would seek the approval of shareholders at the meeting for a private placement plan to swap debts with Thaco and supplement its capital.

HNG is set to issue 741 million shares worth VND7.414 trillion. Of this, 550 million shares will be issued for swapping debts and 191 million shares for supplementing its capital.

Preliminarily, most Vietnamese tires found not dumped on U.S. market

Most Vietnamese tire exporters did not dump products in the United States and therefore, their products are not subjected to antidumping duties, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (DOC) affirmative preliminary antidumping duty determinations for passenger vehicle and light truck tires from several countries, including Vietnam.

DOC had initially determined that Vietnamese exporters had dumped passenger tires in the United States at the rates of 0-22.3%.

The Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam under the Ministry of Trade said that Vietnamese producers and exporters of passenger vehicle tires found not dumped accounted for 95.5% of the Vietnamese tire exports to the United States. Some other exporters have been subjected to a 22.3% antidumping duty because they did not fully cooperate with the U.S. authorities.

The results also offer an advantage to Vietnamese tire exporters as the United States has imposed duties of 13.25-98.44% on tires from South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

DOC is scheduled to announce its final decision on May 14, 2021.

The Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam said Vietnamese exporters will work closely with the U.S. authorities until the final conclusions are announced.

The United States imported passenger vehicle and light truck tires worth US$469.6 million from Vietnam in 2019.

DOC announced in late June 2020 the initiation of new antidumping and countervailing duty investigations to determine whether passenger vehicle and light truck tires from South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam are being dumped on the United States market and to determine if producers in Vietnam are receiving unfair subsidies.

The concurrent countervailing duty investigation of passenger vehicle tires from Vietnam remains ongoing.

Government to have new policy on purchase of solar power soon

Nearly a week after the Vietnam Electricity (EVN) stopped receiving grid connection and purchasing solar power following Decision No.13/2020 signed on April 6, last year, by the Prime Minister on the mechanism to encourage the development of solar power in Vietnam, which expired after December 31, last year, investors are anxiously waiting for new regulations.

Meanwhile, the Electricity and Renewable Energy Authority under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) issued a written document saying that the unit has been cooperating with consulting companies to study the model, the scale, and the purchasing price of electricity for each type of solar power.

It is expected that in the first quarter of this year, the unit will report to the MoIT for consideration and submit to the Prime Minister policies for the next period.

The representative of EVN revealed that at present, the cost of solar power panels has cooled down, so shortly, the MoIT would suggest the purchasing price of solar power without using feed-in tariffs (FITs).

Previously, the FIT of solar power was 9.35 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), then adjusted to 8.38 cents per kWh until the end of December 31, last year. Besides, recently, solar power has been developing rapidly, ten times higher than planned, so solar power capacity will possibly be limited at the maximum allowable rate.

Despite depending on the scale, investment in solar power is costly. Although the termination for the receipt and purchase of solar power had been notified by the State management agency in Decision No.13/2020, the review is necessary and should be carried out promptly to put investors at ease.

The policy being disrupted for a long time only creates opportunities for opportunistic investors. Moreover, the Politburo, as well as the Government, has had the policy to encourage the development of renewable and clean energy. When the policy comes into reality, it must be carried out thoroughly and continuously to attract actual investors.

Ninh Thuan working to establish itself as national renewable energy center

With highly favourable natural conditions, the south-central coastal province of Ninh Thuan is preparing a plan to become a renewable energy center in Vietnam and to develop the sector into a pillar of the local economy. 

Data reveals that Ninh Thuan has the lowest rainfall in the country and abundant sunlight and wind resources, with wind speeds during 10 months of the year at 6.4-9.6 metres per second, which can ensure the stable operation of wind turbines.

Five local areas have been zoned for wind power development, with expected total capacity of 1,429MW, which can be raised to 2,000MW, according to its wind power development planning for 2011-2020 and vision to 2030 approved by the Minister of Industry and Trade.

A further 841 MW has been added to this planning, following the Prime Minister’s approval.

The provincial People’s Committee has given in principle approval to 15 projects with a total capacity of 766.45 MW, three of which, 181.55 MW, have already been put into commercial operation.

Regarding solar power potential, the province boasts considerable solar radiation and a long sunshine duration, about 2,600-2,800 hours and 200 days each year, with solar radiation totalling over 230 kcal per square centimetre.

Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Quoc Nam said it has given in principle approval to 37 solar power projects with total capacity of 2,576 MW, including 32 projects with 2,256 MW already operational.

Ninh Thuan has also issued planning for the Ca Na liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fired power centre, which will have a capacity of 6,000 MW, and is selecting investors for implementation.

Investment in and the operation of renewable energy projects have greatly contributed to local socio-economic development. They have also helped the province’s economic structure have a higher proportion of clean energy, contributing greatly to the local budget and creating more than 17,380 jobs.

Nam noted that Ninh Thuan is paying attention to both environmental protection and socio-economic development, adding that environmental impact assessments have been made for all renewable energy projects.

In the time ahead, he added, it will propose central agencies provide more mechanisms and policy support for the province, such as supplementing renewable energy planning and developing power transmission lines.

Local authorities also pledge to create optimal conditions for investors in the sector, Nam said.

Credit growth of HCMC reaches 8 percent

According to the State Bank of Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh City Branch (SBV-HCMC), the credit growth in the city was at 8 percent last year.

In comparison with the growth of 1.39 percent of gross regional domestic product (GRDP), the credit capital provided in the city was not small. Particularly, last year, the authorized capital of HCMC-based credit institutions grew 11.38 percent; total assets increased 10.4 percent; capital mobilization gained 11.5 percent; non-performing loans were at 2.25 percent of the total outstanding loans.

To carry out the direction of the SBV, the banking system in the city has also strived to launch several measures to support people and enterprises to restore and develop production and business activities. Accordingly, the lending interest rates for short-term loans in Vietnamese dong were reduced from 5.5 percent per annum to 4.5 percent per annum, with total loans exceeding VND168 trillion of more than 32,000 customers.

Commercial banks have also actively rescheduled debt payment, absolved or reduced interest rates and fees, and kept the same debt group for customers following Circular No.01/2020 of the SBV with total loans at VND794 trillion of more than 254 customers.

Vietnam strives to set up 2,500 new agriculture enterprises

Around 1,555 agriculture enterprises have been established in the country in 2020 bringing the number of agriculture enterprises to over 13,280; plus, around 2,500 facilities will be hopefully set up in 2021 increasing the number of such enterprises to 15,600 ones, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

Furthermore, the Ministry said that the country set up 14 new agriculture cooperative alliances and 1,555 agriculture cooperatives in 2020 bringing the number of cooperative alliances and agriculture cooperatives to 68 and 17,300 respectively.

As planned, the country will strive to have 2,000 newly-established agriculture cooperatives by 2021 taking the number of cooperatives to 19,500. Of these, the number of effectively operating cooperatives will top 16,500 will work effectively, 2,500 will apply high technologies and 5,000 cooperatives will be responsible for consuming products of its members. In the country, 42,000 farms have been set up.
Cooperatives and farms are encouraged to connect with enterprises to process and consume agricultural produce. This step is hoped to inspire large-scale production and to replace small household production.

Vietnam distributes 132,100 tons of rice from national reserves in 2020

The State Reserves is set to provide at least 10,000 tons of rice to provinces and cities for distribution to underprivileged people ahead of the Tet holiday, the largest festive period of the year.

In 2020, the General Department of State Reserves handed over a total of 132,100 tons of rice worth VND1.41 trillion (US$61 million), up 20,000 tons compared to the previous year, to support people affected by the pandemic, those in hardship, ahead of the Tet holiday.

Deputy Director General of the General Department of State Reserves Pham Vu Anh revealed the information at a meeting discussing national reserves on January 8.

Upon breaking down, the amount of rice allocated for regions hit by natural disasters is estimated at 24,284 tons; 71,204 tons for students; 6,460 tons for vulnerable people ahead of Tet holiday; and 6,000 tons as donation for foreign countries, including 5,000 tons for Cuba and 1,000 tons for Laos.

“The State Reserves has timely provided 19,395 tons of rice worth VND213 billion (US$9.21 million) for central region in recent flooding and storms,” noted Mr. Anh.

Mr. Anh added in the past year, the State Reserves have handed over equipment under the request from the National Committee for Search and Rescue of Vietnam for provinces/cities worth VND202.9 billion (US$8.77 million).

Ahead of the Tet holiday, the country’s largest festive period of the year, Deputy Head of the State Reserves’ Goods Management Department Pham Viet Ha said the agency has received request from 10 provinces/cities for 10,000 tons of rice, including Nghe An, Quang Nam, Quang Binh and Quang Tri, while others are calculating figures to report to competent authorities.

“The State Reserves has set up plan to ensure efficient and quick supply of rice to those provinces/cities right after receiving the approval from the Prime Minister,” stated Mr. Ha.

Vietnam tourism sector to “Link, Act and Develop” in 2021

In 2020, total revenue from tourists was estimated at VND321.2 trillion (US$13.8 billion), down about 58.7% from a year earlier.

Vietnam’s tourism sector, with the motto “Link, Act and Develop” in 2021, should map out solutions and grasp opportunities to recover and grow in the new normal, according to Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung.

Since late March, the Covid-19 has halted inbound tourism activities and plunged domestic travel. The industry fell short of the year’s targets, of which, international visitors to Vietnam only reached about 3.7 million, a decrease of 80% and the number of domestic visitors were estimated at 5.6 million, down 34%.  

In 2020, total revenue from tourist arrivals were estimated at VND321.2 trillion (US$13.8 billion), down about 58.7% from a year earlier. 

Thanks to the successful efforts in containing Covid-19, Vietnam is one of the few countries with a rapid recovery in a number of fields, including tourism. As such, the tourism industry quickly set out strategies to “brave the storms” and revive the market.  

Last May, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism launched a domestic tourism stimulation program with the theme “Vietnamese people travel in Vietnam”. 

Since September last year, the tourism industry has embarked on the second stimulus program entitled “Vietnam tourism – a safe and attractive destination”, focusing on the domestic market. 

Taking stock of a series of measures to restore tourism last year, Deputy Minister Hung said that the stimulus programs gained remarkable results, of which the enhanced alliance among agencies and enterprises in the sector remains a bright spot. “Notably, the number of domestic tourists increased strongly again, especially last June and July, leading to the rebound of aviation industry. The national airlines have continuously increased flights and opened new routes.” 

“Covid-19 is a big test that forces local tourism enterprises to change and adapt to the new normal, accelerating the process of digital transformation, and launching new products to survive,” Deputy Minister Hung said.

Hanoi to provide plentiful goods for upcoming Tet holiday: Official

The Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade will tighten the control over imported quality, making sure that goods have clear origin, ensuring food safety and hygiene.

Hanoi has stocked up goods to prevent commodity price hikes during the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, said Tran Thi Phuong Lan, deputy director of the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade.

The Department of Industry and Trade had issued a plan to ensure goods supply in co-ordination with relevant departments, Ms. Lan said, adding that Hanoi began a market stabilization program in May last year that will run until June 2021, including a plan for the coming Tet.

The official stressed that her department has asked local enterprises to stock up essential goods worth VND39.4 trillion (US$1.7 billion), an increase of 5% compared to the plan for the 2020 Tet.

Besides, local businesses are requested to stick to their plans of ensuring essential products as well as responding to any eventuality of the Covid-19 pandemic. By the end of November, 25 businesses of Hanoi and other provinces and two credit institutions pledged to work on ensuring supply of commodities for Hanoi during the holiday.

To date, businesses from 30 districts and towns of Hanoi had stocked up 13 groups of essential goods worth a total of VND39.4 trillion (US$1.71 billion).

The volume of essential goods for Tet will increase from 7% to 22% year-on-year. “The supply of goods is abundant, basically meets consumers’ demand,” Ms. Lan added.

However, attracting businesses to participate in the price stabilization program had been a struggle, as many businesses are unwilling to keep prices unchanged in case the market demands vary, said Lan.

A report from the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade says that the essential goods for this Tet include 292,500 tons of rice, 56,700 tons of pork, 18,900 tons of chicken, 18,459 tons of beef, 396 million eggs, 315,000 tons of vegetables, 11,114 tons of processed food, 15,740 tons of aquatic products and 156,000 tons of fruit.

Accessing the current capacity to supply essential goods in the locality, Ms. Lan said rice could meet 57.7%, pork 92% of the demand while the supply of chicken meat is basically guaranteed.

The Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade must also control the import, making sure that goods have clear origin, ensuring food safety and hygiene, Ms. Lan noted.

Source: VNA/VNN/VNS/SGGP/VOV/NDO/Dtinews/SGT/VIR   

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/business/vietnam-business-news-january-12-704596.html

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Cement exports unlikely to enjoy robust growth in 2021

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Vietnam’s cement export volume in the year ahead will remain stable, although export growth is not projected to see vigorous growth similar to 2020 as a result of the Chinese market enjoying a gradual stable supply, according to insiders.

Cement exports unlikely to enjoy robust growth in 2021

While domestic demand for cement in 2021 is forecast to increase due to increased public investment, the export segment is largely anticipated to enjoy no breakthrough due to low demand from importing countries.

With regard to growth prospects for the local cement industry ahead in 2021 as provided by SSI Research, the demand for cement consumption amid the domestic market is anticipated to reach a growth rate of between 5% and 7%.

This increase in consumption demand can largely be attributed to investment in infrastructure and FDI inflows into the country, in addition to the recovery of real estate construction through major infrastructure projects being implemented, including the North-South expressway project and the Long Thanh airport project.

According to figures released by the Vietnam Cement Association, despite recording a low growth rate in the local market due to the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during 2020, the Vietnamese cement industry enjoyed robust growth in terms of export volume during the 11-month period with an annual increase of 15%.

Most notably, the strongest growth period was recorded between May and September, with a rate of 47% compared to the period from 2019, largely due to increasing demand from the Chinese market.

A representative of SSI believes that although the sector will not achieve robust growth like in 2020, the total consumption of cement and clinker will rise by approximately 2% in 2021.

Despite achieving strong growth, the cement industry has revealed a number of inadequacies that exist, including a heavy reliance on the Chinese market and the limited production capacity of cement plants, experts noted.

Despite Vietnam is the world’s fifth largest manufacturer and largest one in Southeast Asia, the country’s production capacity per factory is less than half of factories from neighbouring countries such as Thailand and Indonesia, with only 2.1 million tonnes produced annually per factory.

Industry experts therefore emphasized the need to ramp up the production capacity of local cement plants to between five and 10 million tonnes per year in a bid to ensure effectiveness in the long term whilst simultaneously reducing costs moving forward.  VOV

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/business/cement-exports-unlikely-to-enjoy-robust-growth-in-2021-705907.html

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Vietnam to launch competitive retail electricity market in 2023

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Vietnam Electricity will conduct price marketization to encourage investment in electricity industry and follow the State-regulated market mechanism.

Vietnam will officially run the competitive retail electricity market in 2023 as part of efforts to make the power sector more transparent and effective in comparison with the regional peers.

 Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung at the meeting on January 12. Photo: VGP

Vietnam Electricity (EVN), the country’s sole power distributor, needs to facilitate the investment in infrastructure of the power industry to better connect power plants with the national grid, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said at a meeting on January 12.

EVN needs to prioritize energy efficiency together with reasonable import and export of power in national programs, Mr. Dung said, adding that the group should be active in recommending plans for electricity generation and transmission to ensure sufficient energy for socio-economic development, defense and security.

The solutions will aim to keep electricity prices stable. “High power prices will make Vietnamese goods uncompetitive,” the deputy PM said.

Competitive retail electricity market

Vietnam’s 2004 Electricity Law has provided the framework to develop a competitive power market, helping promote private investment, and establish a regulatory authority, according to the World Bank.

Under which, the private sector is encouraged to participate in each distribution company.

Whereas the power market is partially competitive, improved operational efficiency and financial performance of generators in this market has contributed to keeping generation costs relatively low.

Plans are broadly on track for further extensive reforms, including a clean energy transition, Alan David Lee and Franz Gerner said in “Learning from Power Sector Reform Experiences” policy research working paper published in March 2020.

Vietnam has seen significant changes to its market structure, gradually moving from a vertically integrated structure to a more competitive power market, the paper showed.

In less than two decades, the country’s power sector evolved from fragmented companies with high technical and financial losses to an integrated power system, and then to an unbundled group of stated-owned corporations with sizeable participation of domestic and international private sector actors in power generation.

 Vietnam expects to run competitive retail electricity market by 2023. Photo: monre.gov.vn

2021 targets

Representatives of EVN said at the meeting that one of the group’s tasks for 2021 is to conduct price marketization to encourage investment in electricity industry and follow the State-regulated market mechanism.

Duong Quang Thanh, chairman of the Board of Directors at EVN, said the group will prioritize sufficient power supply in a stable manner in 2021 for the socio-economic targets.

EVN targets to increase output by 5.16% on-year to more than 228 billion kWh in 2021, System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) of less than 349 minutes, electricity loss rate less that 6.35%.

The group will boost the development of renewable energy to reduce imported materials and ensure stable supply.

In addition, it requires efforts to complete regulatory framework for the electricity industry, especially regulations on credit guarantee schemes as the sector needs huge amount of money for power generation and transmission.

Requirements on environmental protection become strict, demanding investors to develop clean energy sources.

Accordingly, applying advanced technology and using updated equipment will be a must in upcoming power projects.

“The last but not least is digital transformation that should be applied for the group’s operations and customer services to save cost,” EVN’s Deputy General Director Nguyen Tai Anh said at the meeting.

Currently, the group is running 16 software programs including ERP, CMIS 3.0, IMIS, PMIS, HRMS, E-OFFICE and EVNHES, for all its members.

2020 performance 

EVN said one of its achievements in 2020 is lowering electricity loss rate to 6.42%, the third in ASEAN.

In 2020, the group offered electricity price reduction worth VND12.3 trillion (US$525 million) to customers as part of efforts to support them in the Covid-19 pandemic.

EVN’s members have so far operated a network of 29,638 megawatts (MW), accounting for roughly 43% of the national installed capacity.

In the year, the consumed power volume reached 216.95 billion kWh, up 3.42% on-year. Hanoitimes

Linh Pham

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/feature/vietnam-to-launch-competitive-retail-electricity-market-in-2023-705234.html

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Vietnam Airlines receives multimillion-dollar bailout package as state investment

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State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), the investment arm of the Vietnamese government, is looking to funnel VND8 trillion (US$347 million) into the charter capital of the flagship air carrier Vietnam Airlines.

On Thursday, Nguyen Chi Thanh, CEO of SCIC, revealed that the state-owned company is working with Vietnam Airlines to settle the share prices for the airline’s incoming offerings.

As per the government’s Resolution 194 on the bailout for Vietnam Airlines in light of the COVID-19 crisis, the air carrier is allowed to offer more shares to existing shareholders to increase its charter capital. The government has assigned the SCIC to buy shares of Vietnam Airlines.

While Vietnam Airlines is devising the plan to increase its capital via share offering before submitting it for appraisal of the State Securities Committee, SCIC is working to set an offering price that matches the market evaluation, Thanh said.

According to the SCIC leader, in order to set a proper price, Vietnam Airlines must figure out its corporate value, which in turn requires a business plan for no less than five years.

However, the business has yet to provide a long-term business plan as its future are still kept in limbo, with the date for resumption of international flights – a significant baseline for the plan – is still largely uncertain.

“As the development of the pandemic on the world remains unpredictable, it is hard to establish a business plan for Vietnam Airlines. Without it, we can’t assess the value of the company. Only when Vietnam Airlines returns on international routes can its business operation recover,’ Thanh remarked.

On behalf of SCIC, Thanh suggested enlisting the help of a reliable international auditing firm to assess the corporate value of Vietnam Airlines.

Meanwhile, SCIC will continue working closely with the airline and report to the Committee for Management of State Capital at Enterprises as well as other relevant authorities to ensure the efficiency and lawfulness of the investment process.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/business/20210116/vietnam-airlines-receives-multimilliondollar-bailout-package-as-state-investment/58820.html

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