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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 4/8   2010-08-04 - VietNamNet/VNA

Seafood export values to increase

 

 
The total export value of seafood is expected to increase by 13.4 percent to 4.8 billion USD this year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Centre of Informatics and Statistics has announced.

 

World prices for many types of seafood had increased sharply since early this year due to a short supply, the centre said. The shrimp price jumped by 40 percent to 14 USD per kilo in the US while tra fish fillet saw a 20 percent price jump to 3.5 USD per kilo against April prices.

 

The shrimp price in Japan also surged by 18 percent over the early months of the year.

 

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and crop failures in shrimp exporting countries, including Thailand and India , resulted in advantages for Vietnam ’s seafood export enterprises, said the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

In the first seven months of this year, shrimp overtook tra for first place in export value among Vietnam ’s key seafood export products, the ministry said.

 

The export value of shrimp in the first seven months had a year-on-year increase of 22 percent to 717 million USD, accounting for 35.5 percent of the country’s total seafood export value.

 

The value of tra exports and tuna exports jumped by 7.9 percent and 88 percent, respectively, in the first seven months.

 

In that period, the total national seafood export value increased by 11.6 percent to 2.45 billion USD over the same period last year.

 

Vietnam has exported seafood to 143 countries and territories, with the European Union being the largest export market so far. Seafood exports to the EU reached 164,000 tonnes for 502 million USD in earnings, accounting for 24.5 percent of the country’s total.

 

Other major export markets included the US , Russia , Ukraine , Japan , China and ASEAN countries.

 

Quang Ngai province welcomes more investors

 

Japan’s Marubeni Group and the Vietnam Trading Engineering Construction Joint Stock Corporation (Vietracimex) have showed their intention to invest in several projects in the central province of Quang Ngai.

 

Vietracimex plans to inject 7.2 trillion VND (nearly 379 million USD) into building a modern paper pulp mill with a designed output of 250,000 tonnes a year.

 

The corporation also wants to invest in a hi-end hotel and resort complex near Quang Ngai’s beaches.

 

Meanwhile, the Marubeni Group is interested in constructing the Dung Quat II deepwater port and then developing it into one of the three largest container ports in the country.

 

Quang Ngai province welcomes Vietracimex and Marubeni’s plans and will create the best possible conditions for the investors to put their projects into action as soon as possible, said Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Xuan Hue.

 

More efforts to raise quality of overseas investments

 

The Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) said it is monitoring the progress of 500 overseas investment projects, worth a total of 8 billion USD.

 

The move is to check on the efficiency of the projects, especially State-funded ones.

 

“The important thing is not just quantity but the quality of the projects and how effective they are, especially in helping local exporters,” said Vo Van Chung, the FIA’s Deputy Head of the Overseas Investment Division.

 

According to the FIA’s statistics, nearly 60 overseas Vietnamese investment projects were newly licensed or allowed to raise capital with a total investment of 400 million USD in the first half of the year.

 

Compared to the same period last year, investment capital has dropped, however, the quality of investments has improved with focus on major economic sectors such as industry and retail services, Chung said.

 

Apart from such big names as the Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group, the Saigon Thuong Tin Joint Stock Commercial Bank (Sacombank), the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) and the Army Telecoms Corporation (Viettel), several enterprises have begun to invest overseas.

 

The Truong Thanh Furniture Corporation has recently signed a MoU with a South African partner to build a 30 million USD wood processing plant in the city of Umshwathi .

 

It also plans to grow 10,000 ha of forests in South Africa ’s Kwazulu Natal province.

 

Although many other markets offer favourable investment conditions, Vietnamese enterprises are cautious before making their decisions, as they are keen to ensure the effectiveness of the projects.

 

The Truong Thanh corporation is also considering carrying out trade promotion or investing directly in projects in South Africa .

 

Saigontourist has not yet reached an agreement with its US partner on the cost of a 252-room hotel in San Francisco in the US after two years of negotiations, however, the company is still pursuing the project.

 

A company representative confirmed that it will not make any hasty decisions, though the transaction could lay the foundations for its real estate operations in Japan and Hong Kong in the future.

 

To facilitate its overseas investment, FIA is collecting feedback from businesses for the amendment of Decree 78/2006/ND-CP on the issue, which provides enterprises with guidelines on how to prepare an application to speed up investment registration procedures.

 

Credit growth nears 13 percent

 

Credit growth will total 12.96 percent for the first seven months of the year, forecasts State Bank Governor Nguyen Van Giau.

 

The growth is planned to reach 25 percent at year’s end, he told reporters at the monthly Government meeting on August 2.

 

The focus of monetary policy later in the year would be to reach the 25-per-cent credit growth and 6.5-per-cent economic growth.

 

The Governor was responding to speculation that it might not be possible to match the credit-growth plan and ensure enterprises have access to credit.

 

The Government and the central bank have kept the prime rate unchanged at 8 percent for nine consecutive months while urging domestic lenders to keep borrowing costs below a yearly 12 percent to facilitate credit access.

 

But the interest rate for loans is mostly over 14 percent and the rate for consumers has gone as high as 17 percent per annum.

 

The preferential 12-13 percent rate is available only to exporters, agricultural enterprises and small- to medium- enterprises.

 

The State Bank of Vietnam announced on August 2 that it would increase the supply of money available for banks to lend through an increase of trading volume in the open market.

 

"If possible this week, I will reduce the compulsory capital reserve for those banks which have hastened their lending to rural areas and agricultural production," bank governor Giau said.

 

Agribank would be injected with mid- and long-term capital of about 4 trillion VND (208.33 million USD). The total capital to be made available for rural areas and agricultural production was estimated at 30 trillion VND (1.56 billion USD).

 

The Bank of Vietnam’s management is regarded as cautious and flexible since subsidised interest rates ended last year. The management works to prevent the return of high inflation while helping the Government achieve economic growth of at least 6.5 percent this year.

 

Vietnam ’s economic growth accelerated in the second quarter as revived bank lending helped boost manufacturing and consumer spending.

 

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose 6.4 percent in the three months to June from a year earlier and a first-quarter expansion of 5.83 percent.

 

The economy grew 6.16 percent to June 30 against the first six months from a year earlier.

 

The inflation rate has slowed with consumer prices up only 0.06 percent in July against June - the lowest July increase since 2004 and the slowest increase since the beginning of the year.

 

Annualised inflation to July 31 stood at 8.67 percent against the same seven months of 2009.

 

Wood products exports increase in seven months

 

Exports of wooden products surged by a third in the first seven months of this year to 1.8 billion USD, the General Statistics Office reported.

 

The US was the largest importer, followed by the EU and Japan .

 

Last year, when exports to other markets dropped significantly due to the impact of the global economic downturn, exports to the US increased by 3.4 percent.

 

The trend have continued this year, with exports to the US topping 619.6 million USD in the first half, again up by a third from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

 

Exports to this market are forecast to rise by 18-22 percent this year, by 5-8 percent to the EU, and by 8-12 percent to Japan .

 

Many countries had now returned to growth but the recovery is not stable, especially in the EU. As a result, consumers there were not spending yet and exports to the bloc are unlikely to expand strongly this year, analysts said.

 

Other challenges the sector could face are high lending interest rates, rising costs of raw materials and legal hurdles in the US and the EU to timber exploitation.

 

Vietnamese wooden products are now sold in 120 countries and territories.

 

There are more than 2,000 wood processing firms, employing 250,000 workers in the country, located mainly in HCM City and Binh Duong, Dong Nai, and Binh Dinh provinces.

 

Indonesian businesses seek Vietnamese partners

 

Eight Indonesian enterprises are seeking Vietnamese partners in fishing and seafood processing, according to the Vietnamese embassy in Indonesia.

 

The embassy has relayed the information to 31 provinces from the central province of Nghe An to the southern most province of Ca Mau .

 

It said the Indonesian enterprises want boats and experienced fishermen from Vietnam for fishing activities offshore Borneo island, Kalimantan .

 

Vietnamese fishery enterprises are invited to contact the embassy or email to jakarta@mofa.gov.vn.

 

Japanese investors stay put in Vietnam

 

Vietnam continues to be an attractive destination for Japanese investors, said the third Vietnam-Japan economic seminar in Tokyo on August 3.

 

The seminar entitled “ Japan ’s overseas investment tendencies – Vietnam ’s case” was attended by more than 70 Japanese economic experts and business people as well as visiting Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong.

 

Addressing the seminar, senior economic expert Saori Sugeno from the Daiwa Institute of Research (DIR) of Japan said that Vietnam remains the second attractive destination for Asian investors, following China , and is becoming an important production workshop for the global supply system.

 

Investors have chosen Vietnam to reduce the risks of investing too much in China , said Sugeno, adding that they are also encouraged by increasing consumer spending and the recent launch of a series of large-scaled infrastructure development projects.

 

He, however, suggested the Vietnamese Government soon build a legal corridor for the public-private partnership model to attract more private capital for the State’s infrastructure projects.

 

The Vietnamese Government should further improve the investment environment as well as develop the capital market to attract indirect foreign investment and infrastructure investment funds, he added.

 

Deputy Director of the Asian and Ocean Division under the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO)’s Overseas Research Development Bureau Yuichi Bamba laid stress on socio-political stability, a large market with a high growth potential and an abundant and cheap workforce as Vietnam ’s major advantages.

 

He quoted the results of JETRO’s recent studies which showed labour cost in Vietnam is the lowest compared with other ASEAN nations and the majority of Japanese businesses operating in Vietnam in 2010 are optimistic about business prospect in Vietnam after the global economic crisis.


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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 3/8   2010-08-03