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VN seafood companies to overcome COVID-19 challenges



Seafood companies are struggling with problems arising from the current fourth wave of COVID-19, causing uncertainties for the second half of 2021.

 However the speed of vaccination and loosening of travel restrictions in many countries, especially the US, can support the industry. 

VN seafood companies to overcome COVID-19 challenges
Camimex’s employees remove shrimp shells at its processing plant. VNA/VNS Photo

As southern provinces, which are hubs of the fishery industry, are hit hard by the ongoing outbreak, many seafood companies’ activities have been disrupted. 

The pandemic broke out again right at the time to accelerate exports and farmers enter harvest season.

With the rising number of COVID-19 infections, the local government has carried out many measures to contain the disease, including a requirement for negative test certificates for freight drivers, or implementation of the stay-at-work model to maintain production. 

The validity of the certificates depends on each province, some provinces for seven days, others for three. For example, Bac Lieu requires that the test certificate must be obtained within 24 hours. The regulation on the validity of the certificate is not consistent among provinces, causing many difficulties and disruptions in transportation.

Many seafood companies have struggled to apply these measures, resulting in suspension of production. 

“Seafood enterprises are straining to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Nguyen Hoai Nam, Deputy General Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said at a conference to review the first six months and deploy tasks for the rest of the year launched by the Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in Hanoi in early June. 

Currently, 16 out of 30 seafood processing enterprises in Tac Cau Fishing Port Industrial Park in Binh An Commune, Chau Thanh District, Kien Giang Province, have temporarily suspended operations as they can’t ensure COVID-19 prevention.

Seafood processing factories are also faced with a labour shortage as workers infected are in quarantine areas, while some workers refused to come to work due to concerns over getting infected.

“This is a very tough time,” Truong Dinh Hoe, General Secretary of VASEP, said in a phone call with Việt Nam News.

“We are anxiously looking for solutions,” he added.  

Problem solving

To support enterprises amid this crisis, VASEP proposed a consensus between provinces and cities on a specific time for the COVID-19 negative test certificate, and to approve applying antigen tests, or rapid tests, instead of PCR tests. The rapid test can be performed at control points for the test certification that expires within 24 hours. 

On July 29, the Office of the Government issued official letter No5187/VPCP-CN on facilitating the transportation of goods during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

In addition, VASEP proposed to put freight drivers on the priority list for COVID-19 vaccination as early as July in all localities.

Regarding labour, companies need to ensure a safe environment to encourage workers to come back to processing plants such as adjusting production shifts, distancing production lines, measuring body temperature, wearing masks, and particularly, vaccinating employees. 

At the end of July, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development also launched an online conference on connecting supply and demand of livestock and aquaculture products amid the pandemic to ensure production and consumption, and link supply and demand of agricultural products between provinces and cities. 

Positive business results in Q2

After a poor performance in the first quarter, some seafood firms recorded good results as big export destinations have controlled the pandemic.

In its second quarter financial statement, Vinh Hoan Corporation (VHC) reported a slight gain of 5.3 per cent year-on-year in net revenue to nearly VND1.4 trillion (US$59.8 million).

During the period, the leading company in exporting pangasius witnessed drops of 2.6 per cent and 62.4 per cent in cost of goods sold and expenses for financial activities, respectively. 

This resulted in a rise of nearly 52 per cent in profit after tax to VND146.5 billion. In the first quarter, its profit after tax fell 13.5 per cent over the year to VND131.6 billion. 

In the first half of 2021, the seafood exporter’s net revenue was VND2.59 trillion, down slightly compared to the same period last year. But its profit after tax still posted a jump of 91 per cent to VND308.9 billion. 

Camimex Group JSC (CMX) also had good results in the second quarter with consolidated net revenue up 68.4 per cent to VND718.1 billion. Its cost of good sold reached VND653 billion, nearly two times higher than that of last year. 

However the exporter’s profit after tax still rose 21 per cent to VND21.6 billion.

In the first quarter, its profit after tax declined by 46 per cent year-on-year.

As of June 30, the company recorded a rise of 31 per cent and 16 per cent in net revenue and profit after tax, respectively.  

Bullish outlook for the rest of the year

In June’s seafood exports, Mirae Asset Securities (Vietnam) still sees a bullish outlook for the industry in the rest of the year due to rising vaccinations in importing countries and Vietnam, leading to the reopening of many important markets like Europe and the US.

Data compiled by the customs sector showed that the country’s seafood export turnover reached over $4.1 billion in the first six months of the year, up 14.6 per cent, while marine products’ export turnover climbed 16 per cent to $1.6 billion. 

However the securities firm warns that rising material costs and container shipping costs are other challenges for the industry, affecting business results. 

In the first four months of 2021, the average price of raw pangasius increased by 11 per cent over the same period last year, while the price of white-leg shrimp jumped about 20 per cent.

Meanwhile, container shipping costs from Asia to other continents surged during the period, with the Shanghai – Los Angeles route up 238 per cent due to the shortage of ships and containers, which were affected by the pandemic.

On the stock market, Mirae Asset is also optimistic about seafood export stocks in the second half of this year. It assesses that the market prices of these stocks are likely to surpass previous peaks as the market benchmark VN-Index recently grounded at 1,300 points.

Source: Vietnam News



GDP to reach 3.5-4 per cent this year



Việt Nam’s exports this year would increase by 10 per cent which is quite impressive in the current world context. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — The country’s GDP this year is expected to reach 3.5-4 per cent if the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled in September and a ‘new normal’ achieved from the fourth quarter, said Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyễn Chí Dũng.

Việt Nam’s exports this year would increase by 10 per cent while State budget revenue will exceed the estimate. The growth will be low but quite impressive in the current global context.

“This forecast is lower than the set target of 6.5 per cent this year, but achieving this level needs a huge effort, requiring more drastic actions of both the political system and localities,” Dũng said.

If GDP reaches the level, this will be the second year that Việt Nam’s GDP has not completed its growth plan. In 2020, GDP grew by 2.92 per cent due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This would affect the implementation of the overall goal of the five-year plan in the 2021-25 period.

He said that social distancing has seriously affected production, business, labour and employment. Meanwhile, the country has spent large resources on the fight against the pandemic, affecting State budget revenue and expenditure. The pandemic also affects the establishment of businesses and attracting FDI.

In particular, domestic consumption of agricultural products faces difficulties due to low purchasing power. The increasing input prices have affected the psychology of production expansion and re-herding. In addition, the price of animal feed continued to increase due to the difficulty of importing raw materials and high transportation costs, which greatly affected livestock development.

The minister said localities need to take advantage of the recovery momentum of major economies that have a great influence on Việt Nam’s economy. The country should rapidly restructure the economy and add elements of innovation and promote the values ​​of Vietnamese culture and people.

He asked localities to give priority to preventing the pandemic so as it doesn’t re-emerge, leading to social distancing, disrupting production and supply chains. In addition, they should have regular dialogues with businesses to create a favourable investment environment while closely following new trends to build socio-economic development plans, including public investment.

He added that during the current difficult time, the local authorities’ attitude to businesses is even more important than the above support.

The localities were also asked to ensure social security and support for affected people as well as actively develop local economic recovery plans, take advantage of the world’s new opportunities to achieve growth targets, and contribute to the overall growth of the country.

“Researching and proposing solutions to build an economic recovery programme after COVID-19 is important and urgent. The solutions should be implemented immediately after the pandemic is under control, focusing on recovering key sectors and areas,” he added.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Planning and Investment will submit to the Government an economic recovery project in October. It is expected that the next two years would be the economic recovery time of the whole country.

“The world changes very quickly. If we don’t build an economy that is autonomous and adaptive, we will be unexpectedly passive. For example, the pandemic could last for a long time, not to mention natural disasters. Currently, the ministry is developing a project to build an autonomous economy.”

Many international experts said that the economy has many optimistic signals to be able to return to a good growth trajectory if the pandemic is controlled. The Government has been on the right track in defining and implementing a vaccine strategy and key economic policies.

Tim Leelahaphan, an economist in charge of Việt Nam and Thailand at Standard Chartered Bank, said that Việt Nam is on the way to its goal of becoming a regional supply chain centre, a modern industry and a future high-income country. Việt Nam has also benefited from the recent supply chain shift. However, it should be noted that the ability to control COVID-19 would play an important role in Việt Nam’s economic prospects in the short term.

Economists also said that the driving force of economic growth depends heavily on the implementation speed of support solutions for people and businesses; expanding commercial activities, taking advantage of opportunities from free trade agreements (FTAs), digital transformation, and accelerating disbursement of public investment capital. This is the short-term and long-term driving force for Việt Nam’s economic growth and also the measures that Việt Nam has taken since the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020.

Economist Võ Trí Thành said the Government’s solutions to continue implementing security and business support packages are timely. However, the important issue is the implementation speed of support policies, with more accessible criteria to maximise support for businesses, ready to prepare for the post-COVID-19 period. —


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Vietnamese man’s billion-dollar game conquers int’l market



Nguyen Thanh Trung, founder and CEO of Sky Mavis, an Ethereum-based project, started his business from the world market first with only 5 percent of the gamers being Vietnamese.



Vietnamese man’s billion-dollar game conquers int’l market


Episode 13 of talk show “Nguy Co”.


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Vietnam’s economy will recover after lockdown is lifted: WB economist



Vietnam’s economy will recover on the back of solid growth achieved in the first half of 2021 after the lockdown is lifted, Dorsati Madani, Senior Economist at the World Bank (WB) Vietnam, has said.

Vietnam’s economy will recover after lockdown is lifted: WB economist hinh anh 1

Vietnam’s economy is expected to recover after the lockdown is lifted. 

The economy is likely to bounce back strongly from the end of the third quarter, similar to how it has recovered after the lockdown was eased in April last year.

She said though Vietnam is facing multiple economic risks due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, its economy has proven to be resilient and dynamic. The country was among a few nations sustaining positive economic growth last year.

The economist also expressed her hope that the Vietnamese economy can rebound in the future as a result of the recovery of its major markets, such as the US, China, and the EU.

Last month, the WB forecast Vietnam’s GDP to expand by about 4.8 percent in 2021, two percentage points lower than its projection last December.

“Whether Vietnam’s economy will rebound in the second half of 2021 will depend on the control of the current COVID-19 outbreak, the effective vaccine rollout, and the efficiency of the fiscal measures to support affected business and households, and to stimulate the recovery,” said Rahul Kitchlu, WB Acting Country Director for Vietnam.

“While downside risks have heightened, economic fundamentals remain solid in Vietnam, and the economy could converge toward the pre-pandemic GDP growth rate of 6.5 to 7 percent from 2022 onward.”

The WB is waiting for figures to be released by the General Statistics Office (GSO) by the end of this month and the Vietnamese government’s decision on reopening the economy to revise its GDP prediction./.

Source: VNA


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