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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 21/9   2009-09-21 - VNA

Hanoi CPI increases by 0.77 percent in September

Hanoi’s consumer price index (CPI) rose by 0.77 percent in September over the last month and 9.44 percent compared to the level at the beginning of the year, according to the municipal statistics department.

Eight out of ten groups of consumer goods saw small rises ranging from 0.18 percent to 0.93 percent over the last month.

The eight groups include beverage and tobacco, garment, footwear, water and electricity, fuel and construction materials, household equipment and appliances, medicine and health service, sports and entertainment.

Meanwhile, the prices of transport, post and telecommunication and education jumped by 2.51 percent and 5.18 percent, respectively.

The price of gold rose by 1.69 percent over August and by 11.3 percent against the figure of the same period last year.

According to Hanoi statistics department’s experts, the CPI increase in the first nine months of the year has slowed down in comparison with those of recent years. However, prices of foodstuff still see a rather high rise.

Saigontourist receives over 50,000 foreign tourists by sea

The Saigon Travel Service Company (Saigontourist) received more than 50,000 foreign tourists by sea during the first nine months of the year.

Only on September 21, the company welcomed 1,250 foreign visitors, who travelled to Vietnam on the cruise liner Costa Allegra, on its fourth visit to the country.

The visitors, mostly from Italy, Spain, the UK and Germany, have helped to increase the total number of international travellers the company has received by sea to over 5,000 in September and over 50,000 in the first nine months of the year.

As part of the company’s programme, the visitors will visit Ho Chi Minh City and a number of central provinces.

Vietnamese trucks to be sold in Laos

Vietnamese pick-up trucks of five tonnes or less would be allowed to enter Laos for sale, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

There would be no cap on numbers, so importers may respond directly to the demands of the Lao market, the ministry said.

However, certificates of origin need to be presented for all imported trucks, and such imports will still be governed by the Lao Government’s import regulations.

Marine science group meets in HCM City

Members of the HCM City Marine Science-Technology and Economy Association under HCM City ’s Union of Science and Technology Societies convened for its first meeting on Sept. 19.

Le Ke Lam, the association’s chairman, said the association’s guidelines and principles conform to the marine economy development strategies towards 2020 issued by the Party Central Committee in February 2007. The association’s task include conducting research and providing consulting services, feedback and social supervision in the marine economy sector.

Lam said HCM City had been mapping out an action programme to carry out the country’s marine economy strategy towards 2020.

Vietnam’s overseas investment sees positive results

Vietnamese businesses’ overseas investment activities have been actively implemented with satisfactory results, helping boost the export and consumption of Vietnamese goods in foreign countries, said an official from the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).

Phan Huu Thang, Director of the MPI’s Foreign Investment Department,said the rapid increase of overseas investment activities recently is an objective development that is suitable to the domestic economic development as well as the country’s international economic integration.

To date, Vietnam has more than 440 projects in 49 countries and territories with a total registered capital of over 6.8 billion USD, of which 1.5 billion USD has been realised.

In the first eight months of 2009 alone, Vietnamese enterprises registered an overseas investment capital of 2.1 billion USD, accounting for 20.8 percent of the total.

Thang said that these results not only prove the grown-up of the Vietnamese businesses but also show that overseas investment has brought about positive efficiencies such as strengthening businesses’ economic cooperation capacity, boosting international economic integration, increasing the export of Vietnamese goods and creating processing and distribution establishments in foreign countries.

The overseas investment has also helped Vietnamese enterprises take the advantage of business opportunities abroad and improve their competitiveness in the international business environment, he said, adding that it has also been an important channel to attract foreign investment to the homeland.

According to the MPI official, Vietnam ’s overseas investment activities are enjoying unprecedented advantages as the global economic crisis, besides negative impacts, has opened new opportunities for Vietnamese businesses to get access to foreign markets.

He, however, noted that Vietnamese businesses are facing a lot of difficulties in investing abroad due to poor financial potentials and lack of knowledge of host countries’ laws. In addition, the lack of coordination among enterprises is hindering their investment activities abroad.

Thang said that the Prime Minister has approved an overseas investment promotion project which is considered an important legal foundation for further strengthening Vietnam ’s investment activities abroad.

Apart from investment in traditional markets, including Laos , Cambodia , and Russia , Vietnamese businesses should expand their activities to new markets such as Latin America, East Europe and Africa .

The ministry will give priority to investment in such areas as energy, power production, mineral and oil and gas exploitation, and industrial tree planting, he added.

Quang Nam aims to develop Vietnam-Laos border zone

The central coastal province of Quang Nam has decided to invest nearly 1.4 trillion VND (78.4 million USD) to build infrastructure in a bid to bring into full play the strength of its key economic region which is bounded by Laos to the west.

The provincial People’s Committee said on September 20 that the investment also aims to boost sustainable development in the western mountainous economic region, which comprises 12 communes in Nam Giang and Tay Giang districts.

The province is expected to build border lines and road segments linking all communes and villages in the two districts together. Up to 53 irrigation works and 25 schools are also scheduled to be built with the investment.

Noteworthy is the work to construct the Nam Giang international border gate and border trade zone, according to the provincial People’s Committee of Quang Nam.

ANZ to expand capital base in Vietnam

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) will tip a further 64.6 million AUD into its Vietnam bank to expand its capital base, according to a local newspaper.

The Sydney Morning HeraldIt on Sept. 21 said that ANZ will raise its equity in the Vietnamese business to nearly 130 million AUD to help it write new loans and protect against loans that may turn sour.

The paper quoted a statement by the State Bank of Vietnam as saying that “commercial banks, especially foreign ones, operating in Vietnam continue to raise their registered capital despite the global financial crisis and economic slowdown. It means that Vietnam is a safe destination for foreign investors."

ANZ obtained the licence to open a wholly-owned bank in Vietnam last October. The banking group has branches in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and an ATM network nationwide.

Vietnam now has more than 30 banks, and ANZ ranks as one of the top four offshore banks there. Earlier this year ANZ outlined plans to open six new transaction offices across the country, the paper said.

It added that Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia are countries where ANZ chief executive Mike Smith believes the bank can develop top-tier domestic banks and match its presence as a big four player in Australia.

ANZ, which is on its path to building a pan-Asian bank, is targeting a doubling of earnings from its Asian operations to 20 percent over the next few years.

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