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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 28/12   2009-12-28 - VietNamNet/VNA, TN

Foreign banks expand presence in Vietnam

Many foreign banks have joined up with local partners to expand their presence in Vietnam’s market in addition to opening more branches and introducing new products.

ANZ Vietnam has linked up with the Vietnam Post Corporation (VNPost) and the Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam (Agribank) to enable collection and payment services to be made at their branches nationwide.

Working in conjunction with VNPost and Agribank will help ANZ to offer its banking services at nearly 2,000 of VNPost’s post offices and 2,200 of Agribank’s branches and transaction centres.

Earlier, HSBC Vietnam had signed a cooperation agreement to integrate its banking services with VNPost’s system. HSBC has also recently made an agreement with VNPost to provide a premium collecting service for the Bao Viet Life Insurance Corporation. Ha Tay has been chosen for the pilot run in 2010 and will later be expanded to other localities so Bao Viet Life’s customers can pay their premiums at any post office nationwide.

According to Thomas Tobin, HSBC Vietnam’s General Director, this will help it to provide customers with a more convenient service.

Following their successful liaison with Bao Viet Life Insurance Corporation, more businesses can now collect and pay regular charges or fees such as rents, telephone charges and water bills using the new service, said Tonbin.

Meanwhile, ANZ Vietnam’s General Director Dam Bich Thuy stressed the importance of capital management in businesses that have to collect regular large-scale fees. ANZ Vietnam is developing the service to help firms manage their finances more efficiently.

VNPost’s General Director Do Ngoc Binh said that cooperating with ANZ and HSBC will enable his firm to learn from their partners’ state of the art monetary management, ensuring more effective management when collecting and paying fees.

Agro-forestry-fisheries exports drop 7 percent in value

The export value of agro-forestry-fisheries products are estimated to have reached 1.3 billion USD in December, bringing the total amount for the whole year to 15.34 billion USD, a year-on-year drop of 7 percent, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Of this figure, farm produce earned just over 7.8 billion USD and forestry products brought in 2.74 billion USD, both down by 11 percent year-on-year. Fish and seafood netted 4.2 billion USD, down by 6.7 percent as compared to the same period last year.

Almost all agro-forestry-fisheries products increased in volume but dropped in turnover.

An initial estimate shows that this year Vietnam exported a record 5.8 million tonnes of rice, but only made 2.6 billion USD, a drop of over 10 percent, due to a fall in global prices.

Exports of coffee and rubber were also in the same boat. The amount exported coffee increased to 1.1 million tonnes, 40,000 tonnes higher than the last year’s figure, but the turnover fell to 1.7 billion USD, 400 million USD less than last year’s figure.

And rubber, even with export prices rising to over 1,000 USD per tonne in November compared to the beginning of the year and volume being up by 9.4 percent, still saw a drop of over 26 percent in value.

Even export staples that can govern prices on the world market such as cashew nuts also were the same. Vietnam, as one of the top world exporters of cashew nuts, exported 175,000 tonnes and earned 840 million USD, up 6 percent in volume but the value was equal to only 92 percent of last year’s.

Tea and pepper were the only two agricultural products to go up in both volume and value however this was mainly due to the increased tonnage and not higher prices.

Vietnam earned 178 million USD from exporting 133,000 tonnes of tea this year, up 21 percent in value and 27 percent in volume, as the export price for the country’s tea is only half the global price.

The export turnover of wooden products this year reached 2.5 billion USD, down by 10 percent, due to the world’s economic recession that lowered the demand from many of Vietnam’s main importing markets such as the EU which was down by 30 percent and the US down by 10 percent.

Over the year, Vietnam imported high volumes of input materials for the agro-forestry-fisheries sector such as fertiliser, insecticides and wheat. Of these, animal feed and raw materials were the largest at 1.75 billion USD.

Vietnam Entrepreneurs Association in Belgium & Luxembourg debuts

The Vietnam Entrepreneurs Association in Belgium and Luxembourg made debut on Dec. 26.

The association aims to assist its members in investment, trade, business and production in Vietnam , Belgium and Luxembourg and facilitate information exchange with businesses and entrepreneurs in Vietnam and other countries.

The organisation will also provide information on Vietnam ’s policies to assist its members’ investment in Vietnam.

20 billion USD for sea port system development by 2020

Vietnam will need between 360,000-440,000 billion VND (19.5-23.8 million USD) to develop its sea port system by 2020 with a vision towards 2030.

A master plan for sea port development has been approved by the Prime Minister, aiming to increasing the system’s cargo throughput to 500-600 million tonnes per year by 2015, 900-1,100 million tonnes by 2020 and 2.1 billion tonnes by 2030.

In the immediate future, priority will be given to developing several international-standards deep-water sea ports to receive big vessels, including the Lach Huyen port in the northern port city of Hai Phong , the Nghi Son port in the northern central province of Thanh Hoa and the Van Phong port in the southern central province of Khanh Hoa .

The PM in his decision to ratify the plan stressed the need to mobilise all resources in and outside the country for the plan. Capital from the State budget will be used for public infrastructure projects related to seaports such as sand-protection dykes and roads.

Vietnam currently has 39 sea ports.

Vietnam to sell $200 mln bonds: exchange

Vietnam will auction $200 million of US dollar-denominated one-year bonds this week, the Hanoi Stock Exchange said.

The exchange planned to sell debt on Tuesday and issue it on Dec. 31 for maturity on Dec. 31, 2010, it said in a statement seen on Monday.

The Vietnamese government has announced plans to issue around $1 billion in dollar-denominated bonds on domestic markets to pay for big state projects and offset a budget deficit.

Prior to Tuesday's auction, the exchange had raised only $387 million worth of the dollar bonds, with terms ranging between one year and three years.

In the latest dollar bond auction in August, the exchange sold sold $10 million of three-year government bonds at a yield of 3.9 percent.

Fixings on one-year dollar lending rates eased to 1.86 percent last Friday on the interbank market from 1.91 percent the previous day, according to Reuters data.

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