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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 16/6   2009-06-16 - VietNamNet/VNA, ND, TN

Vietnamese consumers remain optimistic: MasterCard

 

MasterCard’s latest survey on consumer confidence shows that Vietnamese consumers remain optimistic about the second half of 2009, despite a drop in the outlook for consumer confidence.

 

The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence (MWICC) rated consumer confidence in Vietnam in the first half of the year at 60.9 points compared to 88.1 points of the last second half. Notwithstanding the sharp decline, Vietnamese consumers generally manage to stay slightly optimistic, said MasterCard.

 

Consumers in the Vietnamese market are still fairly optimistic about regular income (72.9 points), quality of life (70.2 points) and economy (67.2 points).

 

However, Vietnamese consumers, for the first time since the country was included in the MWICC survey in 2003, have become less optimistic about employment (50.0 points) and even slightly pessimistic about stock market (44.3 points).

 

MasterCard conducted its survey between March 23 and April 18 in 14 markets in the Asia-Pacific and seven others in the Mid-east and Africa . It measures consumer confidence based on five factors: employment, the economy, the stock market, regularity of income and quality of life, for the six months ahead.

 

Work starts on big reservoir in Ha Tinh province

 

 
Construction of the Ngan Truoi reservoir, which is capable of containing 775 million m3 of water, began in Vu Quang district, central Ha Tinh province, on June 14.

 

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung, and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat were among those at the ground-breaking ceremony.

 

The project is estimated to cost almost VND 6 trillion (US$342.8 million), funded by the Irrigation Investment and Construction Management Board No. 4 under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

 

Once completed in 2014, the reservoir will supply water for over 32,500 hectares of farming land and serve production activities in the Thach Khe iron mine and industrial zones in the province.

 

The project will also serve a 15 MW hydro-electric power plant and aquaculture on 6,000 hectares, as well as mitigating floods and improving the ecological environment in the lowlands.

 

At the ceremony, Deputy PM Hung asked the MARD and local authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure the quality, safety and tempo of the project.

 

He urged the People’s Committees of Ha Tinh province and Vu Quang district to help more than 1,000 local households with 6,000 displaced people soon resume their normal lives and production.

 

Vietnam expects further co-operation with Panama

 

Vietnam wants to boost multi-faceted cooperation with Panama , especially in marine services, trade and agriculture, said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

 

PM Dung made the statement while receiving Panama ’s outgoing Ambassador Lizia Zenaida Lu in Hanoi on June 15.

 

The Government leader highly valued Ambassador Lizia’s active contributions to fostering the bilateral ties during her term of office, especially in trade, marine services, agriculture and seafood.

 

The Ambassador of Panama expressed her deep impression on the land and people of Vietnam and affirmed that in whatever position she holds, she will continue contributing to the relationship between the two countries.

 

Two-way trade between Vietnam and Panama increased to US $300 million in 2008.

 

Awards honour businesses and businessmen

 

Seventy-four companies have received the ‘Business Culture’ Gold Cup, while 69 businesspeople have been presented with the ‘Successful Entrepreneurs’ Award.

 

A prize presentation ceremony was held in Hanoi on June 14 in the presence of the National Assembly Vice Chairman, Nguyen Duc Kien.

 

The annual programme, organised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and sponsored by the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations and the Vietnam Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, aims to promote good business practices for sustainable development.

 

The ‘Business Culture’ Gold Cup is presented to companies of all economic sectors which recorded outstanding results, especially in developing business culture, while the ‘Successful Entrepreneurs’ Award is designed for excellent managers and executives.

 

Launched in February, this year’s programme received 205 entries, of which 143 dossiers met the requirements set by the organising board.

 

Organisers said the programme is expected to create a healthy business and competitive environment, increase the number of outstanding entrepreneurs who contribute greatly to the society, and promote the image of Vietnamese businesses both inside and outside the country.

 

Pepper prices hit three-year-low, quick recovery expected

  

Vietnamese pepper prices have fallen to the lowest level since June 2006 since exporters boosted shipments following a bumper crop, the Vietnam Pepper Association said. 

 

Export prices of black pepper dropped to around US$2,000 per ton in May, or $77 lower than April, the association said.

 

Although shipments rose 46.8 percent to about 53,700 tons in the first five months, the price drop caused revenue to fall 4 percent to $124.5 million, compared to the same period last year.

 

Vietnam harvested about 100,000 tons of pepper in the 2008-09 season, which just ended - 5 percent more than the previous season.

 

Pepper from Vietnam is now $200- 500 per ton cheaper than from other large exporters. Indonesia, for instance, is quoting $2,500-2,550 a ton and Brazil $2,400 a ton, CommodityOnline reported Monday.

 

The pepper association, however, expected prices to recover soon as it forecast global pepper stocks would be low from now to the end of the year.

 

Meanwhile, pepper demand has remained strong despite the global economic downturn because the spice is so universal.

 

Vietnam, the world’s biggest pepper producer, now has only about 40,000 tons earmarked for export in the last seven months of the year.

 

The country’s pepper exports last year reached 89,700 tons, according to the Vietnam Pepper Association. Major markets for Vietnamese pepper include the United Arab Emirates, Germany, India, Egypt, Pakistan and Spain.

 

Vietnam to slow glass imports as a boon to stressed local firms

  

The government has allowed the Vietnam Glass Association to set stricter construction glass import standards to protect struggling local companies. 

 

The move is expected to help prevent cheap and low quality glass products from entering the domestic market.

 

Vietnam’s glass inventory had surged to 34 million square meters, or 42 percent of the total annual output of the industry, by the end of May, according to the association (Vieglass).

 

Two members of the association had to shut down while the others cut back on production as demand for glass has fallen due to slowing construction activity.

 

Apart from the growing stockpiles, local glass producers also have to cope with high fuel costs as well as cheap and illegal imports, which can be 60- 70 percent less expensive than domestic products.

 

The government said it would consider raising tariff rates on imported glass products following a proposal by the Ministry of Construction last month. It also asked the ministry to introduce more stringent conditions to restrict new investment in the glass industry.

 



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