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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 27/9   2010-09-27 - VNA

Two more foreign banks open offices in Vietnam


Two Taiwan-based banks have been received licences from the Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam to open their offices in Vietnam.


Under the licences, the First Commercial Bank Ltd will open a branch in Hanoi and the Shenghai Commercial & Savings Bank Ltd, in and Dong Nai southern province.


Both branches are allowed to operate in 99 years with an operation capital of 15 million USD each.


They will provide services like local commercial banks in both Vietnamese and foreign currencies.


Export turnover increases 23.2 percent


The country’s export turnover reached an estimated 51.5 billion USD during the first nine months of the year, an increase of 23.2 percent compared to the same period last year, reported the General Statistics Office.


The domestic sector earned 24.1 billion USD, a 19.7 percent increase, while the foreign-investment sector fetched 27.35 billion USD (including crude oil), a 26.5 percent increase.


Export commodities earned more than 1 billion USD in revenue.


Coffee, cassava and cassava products, and crude oil declined in export turnover in comparison to the same period last year.


The country imported 60.1 billion USD in commodities during the first nine months, an increase of 22.7 percent compared to the same period last year.


Imported commodities that earned the highest import turnovers included textiles, up 26 percent (3.84 billion USD); electronics, computer and computer accessories, 30.6 percent (3.5 billion USD); metals, 72.8 percent (1.8 billion USD); and plastics, 36 percent (2.7 billion USD).


According to the GSO, the trade deficit was restrained to 8.6 billion USD during the first nine months of the year, which accounted for only 16.7 percent of the total export and import turnover.


The GSO’s Commerce Department director Le Minh Thuy said the current trade balance lacked equilibrium as export turnover rose due to inflated prices of several export commodities, including crude oil, cassava, coal, pepper and cashew nuts.


Gold and gold products accounted for a major proportion of export revenues. If the GSO did not include gold exports, the trade deficit during the first nine months of the year would have been 11.4 billion USD instead of 8.6 billion USD.


Thuy said tough policies concerning import controls needed to be implemented to ensure the efficient development of the export sector.


HCM City calls price control programme ‘success’


The price stabilisation programme for essential goods in HCM City has benefited both consumers and enterprises over the last nine years, officials said at a review meeting last week.


Initiated in 2002, the programme aimed to stabilise prices of essential goods during festival seasons like the Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays, when demand for these items usually increases by 20-40 percent, said Nguyen Thi Hong, deputy chairwoman of the HCM City People’s Committee.


The programme focuses on eight goods: rice, sugar, cooking oil, beef, poultry, processed food, eggs, and vegetables.


Under the programme, the city selects businesses specialising in the production and trade of essential goods to collaborate with the city in planning the production, processing and purchase of such goods to meet consumer demands and stabilise prices, she said.


Businesses participating in the programme are eligible for interest-free loans to promote production or to purchase goods and maintain reserves.


Enterprises in turn pledge to sell items at 10 percent lower than the market price, she said.


As a pioneer in carrying out the programme, the city had encountered many difficulties in the initial stages, she said.


The programme, however, has proved effective since it helps stabilise prices of essential goods immediately at localities that experience speculation, and help residents considerably, she said.


Capital allocation for the programme as well as the number of enterprises participating in it has increased significantly every year.


Building on this success, the city began to implement the price stabilisation programme throughout the year in 2010, Hong said.


For the first time, the city this year spent nearly 35 billion VND to stabilise prices of school accessories including uniforms, notebooks and schoolbags for all pupils in the city.


Also starting from this year, the programme was expanded from supermarkets and enterprises’ outlets to traditional markets in the city.


Furthermore, the city plans to set up separate outlets under the price stabilisation programme in all the 24 districts to provide sufficient goods to customers at reasonable prices, she said.


Enterprises involved in the city’s price stablilisation programme said they have gained more opportunities to market their products, and accessed preferential capital to develop production and trading.


Pham Van Minh, director of the Phu An Sinh Company, for instance, said thanks to a zero interest rate loan of 29 billion VND, the company was able to upgrade its breeding system.


Taking part in the programme since its inception, supermarket chain Sai Gon Co.op has used the preferential credit to invest in co-operatives, livestock breeders and farmers to ensure stable supply for its outlets.


This has not only helped ensure an outlet for farm produce, but also ensured farmers earned higher incomes, according to a Sai Gon Co.op representative.


Trade promotion campaign scheduled in North America


Activities to promote exports to the North American region will be held in the fourth quarter of the year, the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s American Market Department (AMD) has announced.


The exports promotion programme jointly held by the AMD and the Vietnam Trade Offices in Mexico and Canada will involve textile and garment, footwear, seafood, furniture, handicraft and processed fruit and vegetable businesses.


The North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) comprises the US , Mexico and Canada , all of which are important markets for Vietnam ’s goods, particularly fruits and vegetables.


Statistics from the General Customs Department show the total turnover of vegetables and fruits exported to the region reached 2.8 million USD in July 2010, a year-on-year rise of 21.7 percent and is predicted to increase in the remaining months of the year.


Hanoi: Most of banks meet capital adequacy ratio


The State Bank of Vietnam ten out of 12 commercial banks in Hanoi met requirements on capital adequacy ratio (CAR).


The remaining two pledged to ensure the ratio on Oct. 1, in line with the requirements of Decree 141/2006/ND-CP promulgating the capital levels of credit institutions.


Six out of 12 commercial banks have also met the requirements of minimum charter capital of 3,000 billion VND.


The State Bank Governor has approved the remaining banks’ plans on raising their charter capital

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