05.03.2021, 09:44

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS MARCH 5

Vietnamese and Japanese firms receive support to expand operations



The Japan Trade Promotion Organisation (JETRO) will host an online scheme on March 3 in Hanoi aimed at connecting Japanese businesses in the field of manufacturing and production, known as Monozukuri in Japanese term to facilitate co-operation amid the negative impacts caused the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a representative from the JETRO, the business matching programme will see the participation of 40 Japanese companies for the purpose of accelerating the development of the country’s supporting industry.

At present, the scheme has received registration for 50 negotiations from enterprises from Japan, Vietnam, and Taiwan (China), whilst it is still receiving registration from businesses wishing to purchase and seek Japanese suppliers in the Monozukuri field until March 1.

A recent survey conducted by the JETRO unveiled that Japanese businesses remain keen on the Vietnamese market as the country is viewed as an alternative investment destinations for Japanese enterprises looking to move away from China due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey indicates that approximately half of Japanese enterprises in the nation plan to expand their production activities, while roughly 70% of them seek opportunities to increase revenue in the local market.

Most notably, 46.8% of Japanese enterprises unveiled that they have initiated plans to expand their business in the nation over the course of the next two years, with the expansion rate ranking fourth, the highest in the Asia-Pacific region.

Japanese enterprises have therefore attributed their expansion to an increase in revenue in the domestic market and high growth potential. 

Furthermore, Japanese firms are also considering re-establishing some supply chains which have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with Vietnam able to capture the attention of suppliers and buyers of materials globally.

VN-Index finishes lower as selling pressure weighs

Viet Nam's stock market ended mixed on Thursday as the VN-Index continued its downward trend in the afternoon session while the HNX-Index reversed its morning course.

The market benchmark VN-Index on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) finished at 1,168.52 points, down 1.55 per cent. The index posted a loss of 26.52 points, equivalent to 2.23 per cent, in the morning session.

Today's result ended the index's current movements that fell in the morning but still finished higher at the end of the session.

The market breadth stayed negative till the end of the session with 362 stocks falling, while 95 stocks climbed. And the market's liquidity was high as VND16.8 billion was poured into the southern bourse, equivalent to a trading volume of over 673.4 million shares.

Rising selling pressure and trading issues made many big stocks across all sectors fall sharply today, with the VN30-Index, which tracks the performance of the 30 biggest stocks on HoSE, down 1.78 per cent to 1,174.29 points.

Besides Vingroup JSC (VIC) ending flat, the rest of the VN30 basket posted poor performance. In the morning session, VIC was the only stock in the basket to witness a gain.

Top five stocks dominating the market's trend were in real estate, banking and materials sectors, including Vinhome JSC (VHM), down 1.48 per cent, Techcombank (TCB), down 3.22 per cent, JSC Bank For Investment And Development of Viet Nam (BID), down 2.4 per cent, Vietcombank (VCB), down 1.12 per cent and Vietnam Rubber Group - JSC (GVR), down 2.87 per cent.

Meanwhile, gains in stocks from materials, gas and oil, and fertiliser sectors helped limit the losses. Pomina Steel Corporation (POM) climbed 6.02 per cent, PetroVietnam Drilling & Well Services Corporation (PVD) rose 2.76 per cent, Duc Giang Chemicals Group JSC (DGC) rose 2.61 per cent, and Petro Viet Nam Ca Mau Fertiliser JSC (DCM) rose 2.51 per cent.

On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX), the HNX-Index reversed the morning's course, up 0.66 per cent to 255.77 points. Finishing the morning session, the HNX-Index dropped 0.48 per cent. The HNX30-Index also climbed 0.22 per cent to 376.42 points.

Nearly 176.1 million shares were traded on the northern market during the session, worth over VND2.79 trillion.

Foreign investors continue to net sell on HoSE and HNX. While the investors withdrew VND229.65 billion out of the southern market, they net sold a net value of VND13.51 billion on HNX. 

Work on 15-million-USD textile factory underway in Tay Ninh

The Happytex Joint Stock Company began construction on March 4 of a 15-million-USD textile factory at the Trang Bang Industrial Park in the southern province of Tay Ninh.

Covering an area of 25,000 sq m, the factory is designed to produce 20 million sq m of woven fabric, or 2,000 tonnes, each year for export. Construction is scheduled for completion in six months.

Ha Van Cung, head of the Management Board of Economic Zones of Tay Ninh, said that since the beginning of this year local industrial parks and economic zones have attracted four projects, including three foreign-invested projects worth 373.12 million USD.

As of February, the province had attracted 364 investment projects, including 265 FDI and 99 domestically-invested projects with combined capital of over 8.3 billion USD, creating jobs for nearly 34,000 workers, according to Cung./.

Bamboo Airways resumes flights to Van Don Airport

Bamboo Airways has resumed flights linking HCM City with Van Don International Airport in the northern province of Quang Ninh, according to a representative from the hybrid carrier.

The route will see four round trips a week, which may increase depending on demand.

It earlier suspended flights to and from Van Don following the airport’s temporary closure to apply COVID-19 preventive measures.

A member of the airport’s security staff tested positive for the coronavirus in January.

Bamboo Airways will further expand its flight network, with new ones connecting the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho with Hai Phong, Da Nang, and Quy Nhon in Binh Dinh province.

The additions bring the number of routes to Can Tho to six.

It also plans to increase flight numbers to meet demand.

The carrier is offering various promotions to mark the upcoming International Women’s Day on March 8, with discounts for groups of at least two passengers booking tickets to Con Dao Island before March 7.

Passengers are asked to closely follow COVID-19 preventive measures./.

HCM City: Two-month foreign investment stands at 337.8 million USD

Ho Chi Minh City recorded 337.8 million USD of foreign investment registered during the first two months of 2021, equivalent to 70.3 percent of the figure in the same period last year.

Real estate attracted most of the sum, 145.1 million USD or 43 percent of the total. It was followed by science - technology (57.5 million USD, 17 percent) and processing - manufacturing industry (41 million USD, 12.1 percent), the municipal Department of Planning and Investment said.

The southern economic hub lured only three new foreign investment projects worth 115 million USD in January and February, it said, citing complex developments of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world as the reason.

Up to 99.7 percent of the new capital was channeled into real estate, with 29.6 percent from Singapore and 70.1 percent from the Netherlands.

From the year’s beginning to February 20, HCM City saw 22 existing projects have 53.3 million USD added to their registered capital.

Foreign investors also spent 169.5 million USD on capital contributions to or share purchase in local firms during the time, data showed./.

HCM City to meet yearly budget revenue targets

Ho Chi Minh City is likely to meet the year’s target for budget revenue of 365 trillion VND (15.86 billion USD) assigned by the central government, a city official said at a recent online Government meeting.

Vo Van Hoan, Vice Chairman of the city People’s Committee, said in the first two months, on average the city collected 2.9 trillion VND each day, which was higher than the average daily revenue.

In January, the city collected 40 trillion VND, up 2.9 percent year-on-year, he added.

To date it has collected 74,500 billion VND, accounting for more than 20 percent of the year’s target, up 10.5 percent year-on-year.

The Tax Department aims to collect at least 25 percent of the yearly budget revenue target in the first quarter.

The city’s retail sales of goods and services increased by 4.7 percent, while industrial production went up 6 percent in the first two months.

The city’s exports reached 8 billion USD, a rise of 25 percent year-on-year (three major exports with increased revenues are fertilisers, plastic materials and auto spare parts).

More than 3,800 enterprises resumed operation in the first two months (up 3 percent year-on-year). Some 700 enterprises completed dissolution procedures in the period (down 14.5 percent year-on-year).

However, the service sector, especially tourism and accommodations, which accounts for more than 60 percent of the city’s total budget revenue, has been hit hardest.

Tourism revenues decreased by 70 percent with accommodation services dropping by 14 percent. The outbreak has caused a significant decline in international visitors to the country, according to Hoan.

For pandemic prevention, the city has contained the infection hotspot at Tan Son Nhat international airport with 36 cases recorded since the end of January. The city has gone 20 days without any locally transmitted infections, he said.

Some non-essential services have gradually reopened. Students returned to school on March 1.

The city has ordered individuals and organisations to continue to strictly implement precautions against the virus. “The city is always ready for the worst pandemic scenario,” he said.

Regarding tasks for 2021, the city will continue to complete its dual goal of economic development and protection against the pandemic, according to Hoan.

It plans to develop more solutions to support enterprises and residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as part of its effort to revive business activities.

The city will also promote domestic tourism and strengthen linkages with other provinces.

It will continue to promote e-commerce, online businesses, non-cash payments for a digital economy, start-up creation and technological innovation, and commercialisation of research products./. 

FPT Digital established

FPT Corporation recently established FPT Digital, specialising in providing digital transformation consulting services to businesses.

This is the ninth member company of FPT Corporation and was established with the aim of perfecting the digital transformation service ecosystem for corporate customers.

Its digital transformation consulting service covers three areas including comprehensive digital transformation consulting, digital human resource development consulting and information technology system development consulting.

Hoang Viet Anh, FPT's deputy general director, will be chairman of FPT Digital and Tran Huy Bao Giang, FPT director on digital transformation, will be its general director.

FPT expects the establishment of FPT Digital to boost revenue in digital transformation consulting, create momentum for the development of technology consulting services.

Ninh Binh tourism ensuring pandemic prevention


The number of tourists visiting Ninh Binh were again down sharply at the beginning of this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure a safe tourism environment for tourists and local people, the province has thoroughly implemented measures to prevent and control any spread of the disease.
 
At the Trang An eco-tourism complex, in addition to regulations on compulsory pandemic prevention efforts, the Management Board has also strengthened its staff to remind tourists and boatmen to wear masks, wash their hands with disinfectant, and keep a safe distance.

Other accommodation establishments, resorts, and tourist attractions in Ninh Binh have also raised the level of vigilance, strictly implementing pandemic prevention and control measures.

The Ninh Binh Department of Tourism has also asked tourism businesses to suspend tours to and from pandemic-hit areas, to ensure the safety of tourists and local people, and to proactively monitor and update developments of the disease so that appropriate prevention and control measures are taken.

The number of tourists to Ninh Binh last year fell about 80% compared to 2019 and difficulties persist for the tourism industry as a whole./. 

Viet Nam’s automobile imports slow in January

Viet Nam spent US$213 million importing cars in January, a 34.3 per cent drop compared to the previous month, reports the General Department of Customs.

The main markets are Thailand with 4,341 units, China (1,463 units) and Indonesia (1,437 units), accounting for 87 per cent of the country’s total imported cars.

Nine-seater passenger vehicles or passenger cars of under nine seats are 5,203 units worth nearly $102 million, accounting for 62.4 per cent.

The number of vehicles with less than nine seats imported dropped by 27.4 per cent in January or a decrease of 1,965 units compared to December 2020.

For transport vehicles, the import volume stood at 2,230 units worth $60.6 million, down 48.6 per cent in volume and 40.9 per cent in value compared to December. January also saw an import volume of 907 special use vehicles valued at $50 million. Of this figure, 736 units were imported from China via the northern border gate of Lang Son of Viet Nam, accounting for 81 per cent of the total number of this type imported into the country.

For auto components and spare parts, the report said value reached $385 million, a $142 million drop compared to $527 million in December last year.

The main markets supplying auto components for Viet Nam are South Korea, China, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Germany,and Malaysia. In which, imports from South Korea reached $114 million; China ($73.3 million), Thailand ($59.4 million) , Japan ($58 million), India ($23.3 million) and Indonesia ( $15 million).

Auto parts and spare parts imports reached $344 million, accounting for 89 per cent of the total import value of auto parts and spare parts of the country in the past month.

Viet Nam's localisation rate for passenger cars of under nine seats is 7–10 per cent, much lower than the target of 35–45 per cent set for the car industry 20 years ago.

Viet Nam’s automobile market currently ranks fourth in Southeast Asia in sales volume and domestic production capacity, according to ASEAN Automotive Federation (AAF).

With nearly 300,000 cars sold in 2020, Viet Nam overtook the Philippines to become the fourth largest automobile market in Southeast Asia.

The AAF complied the data provided by automobile associations from countries in the region, except for Timor Leste, Laos and Cambodia.

In 2020, the region posted a combined sales volume of new vehicles at 2,453,808, down 29 per cent year-on-year due to impacts of COVID-19.

Brunei became the only ASEAN member country to post an increase in car sales from January to November last year.

It said economic activities across the region were severely disrupted by business and social lockdowns imposed to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The automobile industry was one of the worst-affected markets in the region last year.

Motor vehicles sold in ASEAN declined 29 per cent to 2.45 million units from January till November 2020 from 3.46 million units in the previous year.

Tourism picks up in HCM City

Travel firms in HCM City have reported an increasing number of people starting to book tours again. 

Pham Phu Quy, director of Kiwi Travel, said they had prepared to relaunch several tours for small groups of tourists to nearby provinces and cities like Dong Nai, Binh Duong and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

"We have seen the return of small groups of friends, family members and co-workers. HCM City have controlled the outbreak well and many localities no longer ban people who are from HCM City," he said.

TST Tourist have organised a tour to Phu Quoc for the first group of tourists since the Tet Holiday ended.

The Vietnam Tourism Trends in 2021 Report by Outbox Consulting Company showed that small group tours will be the new trends to cope with safe distancing rules in various places in the context of Covid-19. A regular group often consisted of 20-30 tourists. However, tour firms have organised tours for groups of less than 10 people and tours for people who want to drive their own cars to localities that are adjacent to HCM City.

Firms will have to be more creative with small groups. Firms can organise tours to more remote locations, bike tours or mountain climbing tours. Ensuring social distancing will be the top priority for many firms when they design new tours to attract customers. People will want to travel somewhere closer to their homes and not too crowded.

According to Outbox Consulting, firms must have detailed planning and diverse plans to meet new customer demands.

Vietnam sees rising vegetables and fruit exports to Thailand

Vietnam agricultural products exported to Thailand have increased sharply in the first months of 2021.

Statistics from the Department of Agro-Processing and Market Development show that total fruit and vegetable export revenue in January was USD260m, a decrease of 7.6% compared to the same period last year.

China continues to be the biggest importer of Vietnamese fruit and vegetable with USD147m worth of products. The US is in second place with USD16.3m, Japan and South Korea followed with USD10.5m and USD9.2m, respectively.

More notably, the total export revenue to Thailand has been on the rise. Vietnam often had an import surplus of fruit and vegetables from Thailand but the situation changed in 2020 when Vietnam exported USD157m worth of vegetables and fruits to Thailand, an increase of 209.7% compared to 2019.

Vietnam imported USD78m worth of vegetables and fruits from Thailand in 2020, a huge decrease from 2019's USD487m worth of products. In December 2020, Vietnam imported USD8.5m and exported USD8.2m worth of products from Thailand.

In January, Vietnam imported USD7.2m worth of products from Thailand and exported USD16.2m worth of products. The majority of the products exported to Thailand are dragon fruits, mango, longan and litchi.

Businesses urged to change mindset to overcome COVID-19 challenges

Amid complicated developments by the COVID-19 pandemic, local textile and apparel firms have been forced to change their business mindset, boost connectivity, expand into new markets, and maximise the benefits from free trade agreements (FTAs) to meet this year’s export target of US$39 billion, according to insiders.

Despite challenges caused by COVID-19, Vietnam raked in approximately US$2.6 billion from garment and textile exports  in January, representing a year-on-year increase of 3.3%, with some products recording high growth rates of between 9.3% and 35.6%.

Nguyen Xuan Duong, chairman of the Board of Directors of Hung Yen Garment Corporation (Hugaco), said that domestic textile businesses are anticipated to encounter numerous difficulties moving forward due to a shortage of export orders and cash flow, thereby making it tough to maintain production activities whilst ensuring the jobs of workers.

Le Tien Truong, chairman of the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), said that outsourcing costs will decrease significantly due to the trend of simple goods being replaced by fashion products this year, adding that firms should be flexible in altering their business strategies in order to adapt to market fluctuations and seize upon new opportunities.

Than Duc Viet, general director of Garment Corporation 10, revealed that the cancellation of export orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic has made the company draw up a number of fresh strategies aimed at increasing its competitive advantages.

In line with this, the business has turned to export fabric and medical masks, protective suits, knitwear, as well as small orders that have a high value and short production period.

Viet stated that the group will focus on surveying the market, whilst selecting suitable export products, enhancing workers’ skills, and increasing labour productivity in an effort to boost exports in the near future.

Tran Nhu Tung, vice chairman of the Board of Directors of Thanh Cong Textile Garment Investment Trading JSC, said the company has received a sufficient amount of orders until the end of the first quarter, with the prospect of new orders ahead during the year’s second quarter.

Tung also revealed that the company has initiated plans to begin construction of another factory in Hoa Phu Industrial Park in the southern province of Vinh Long with an estimated capacity of 12 million products annually, with estimated revenue from the EU market set to see a double-digit increase.

With a complete production procedure from yarn, weaving, dyeing, and sewing, the group is anticipated to enjoy preferential tariffs in line with the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) regulations.

Udmurtia keen on boosting bilateral trade with Vietnam

First Deputy Prime Minister of the Udmurt Republic of the Russian Federation Konstantin Suntsov has expressed his belief that its bilateral relations and trade with Vietnam will be enhanced in the coming time.

In an interview with First Deputy Prime Minister of the Udmurt Republic Konstantin Suntsov
Talking with a Moscow-based Vietnam News Agency reporter, Suntsov said that two-way trade hit US$165 million in 2019, which was estimated at US$200 million last year despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that Udmurtia is running a trade surplus with Vietnam, with its exports accounting for up to 70% of the total value, mostly metal and forestry products, cellulose and papers. Meanwhile, Vietnam has mainly shipped consumer goods to Udmurtia.

While expressing his interest in Vietnamese coffee, Suntsov said Udmurtia’s Tasty Coffee company accounts for about one-third of Russia’s coffee market share.

According to the official, Udmurtia already exported military technical products, metal and wooden products and medical equipment to Vietnam, and plans to ship more farm produce, light chemical industry products and IT services.

At an online trade promotion forum held in late 2020, Udmurtia introduced unmanned aerial vehicles, medical equipment, food colouring products, bleaches used in agriculture and farm produce to Vietnamese partners.

Mentioning important points in the Russia-Vietnam comprehensive strategic partnership, he said the two nations already signed a free trade agreement, thereby raising two-way trade to US$6 billion in 2018.

He also praised Vietnam for its natural, art and cultural beauty which he felt during his visits to Hanoi, Sa Pa and Ha Long Bay in 2015.

On its capacity as rotating ASEAN Chair in 2020, Vietnam well performed its role in assisting other regional member states in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, Suntsov said.

In his opinion, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, signed in 2020, will become a bridge between Russia and Southeast Asia.

As Vietnam is really a bridge between Russia and ASEAN, Udmurtia will also take advantage of that, he said.

Udmurtia is a federal subject of the Russian Federation within the Volga Federal District. Industry now accounts for over 45% of Udmurtia’s economic structure. Its enterprises also manufacture equipment for nuclear power plants, medical and oil-gas equipment, metal and plastic products. Agriculture is also an important priority of its development.

Vietnam manufacturing returns to growth in February

 

February data pointed to an overall improvement in the health of the Vietnamese manufacturing sector, according to latest survey by IHS Markit.

The Vietnam Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) ticked up to 51.6 in February from 51.3 in January, signalling a modest improvement in business conditions. The health of the sector has now strengthened in three successive months.

Sustained growth of new orders was recorded, helping to drive the improvement in overall business conditions. New work has now increased in six successive months. Total new orders were supported by a return to growth of new export business amid some signs of improving international demand.

Rising new orders was the main factor behind a return to growth of manufacturing production. The slight increase was also partly attributed to efforts to build stocks of finished goods. These efforts were successful in bringing an end to a four-month sequence of falling post-production inventories.

Employment increased for the second time in three months as firms responded to rises in demand and production requirements. This enhanced capacity meant that firms were able to keep on top of workloads and reduced outstanding business again. A renewed expansion of buying activity was also recorded, but stocks of purchases continued to fall amid the use of inputs to support production.

Problems securing raw materials also contributed to falling stocks of purchases. Suppliers' delivery times lengthened sharply again. Difficulties sourcing goods from abroad due to a lack of shipping containers and global demand for materials outpacing supply continued to cause longer lead times.

These imbalances led to a further sharp increase in input costs in February. Although the rate of inflation eased to a three-month low, the rise in input prices was still faster than the average seen across the 10-year survey so far.

Manufacturers responded to higher input costs by raising their own selling prices accordingly. That said, the rate of inflation was modest and the slowest since last November.

Business confidence continued to wane in February, dropping for the third month running to the lowest since August 2020. Sentiment was hit by concerns over the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. That said, firms remained optimistic on balance, with hopes that the pandemic will be brought under control over the coming year supporting confidence.

Commenting on the latest survey results, Andrew Harker, economics director at IHS Markit, said that, “The latest IHS Markit Vietnam Manufacturing PMI signalled that the sector made further modest progress in February. Renewed increases in output, employment, and purchasing activity are all welcome signs, but a recent increase in COVID-19 cases sounds a note of caution. In fact, confidence among firms slumped to the lowest since August 2020, the last time a significant outbreak of the pandemic was seen."

"Previously, Vietnam has proved successful in quickly suppressing the virus, and should this be the case again, we will hopefully see the manufacturing sector remain in growth territory. IHS Markit currently forecasts a rise in industrial production of 6.8 per cent this year," he added.

Dong Nai needs 40,000 laborers

The Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs in the Southern Province of Dong Nai has just announced businesses in the province need around 40,000 laborers after Tet holiday ( the Lunar New Year).

Amongst businesses needing 40,000 employees, Prowell Vietnam Company in Long Khanh Industrial Park with available 5,000 laborers needs to recruit more than 3,000 workers as it planned to expand production meanwhile Kowide Outdoor in Suoi Tre Industrial Park needs additional 300 unskilled and skilled workers.

To attract laborers, companies proposed bonus policies and fee support policies. For instance, Hyosung Vietnam in Nhon Trach Industrial Park 1 proposed to offer VND2.4 million (US$104.6) to new employees for the first year of working in the company.

Moreover, the company will give VND800,000 as bonus to those who take their relatives to work in the company. Additionally, workers will have a saving account of VND15.8 million after working for the company in three consecutive years.

Presently, businesses have been bumping into difficulties in recruiting employees; therefore, the Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs has opened employment fairs to help connect laborers with businesses. 

Hanoi industrial production expands 7.5% in Jan-Feb

Manufacturing and processing, which accounts for 96.5% of total production value in the industry sector, expanded 7.8% year-on-year between January and February.

Hanoi’s Index of Industrial Production (IIP) in the first two months of 2021 expanded by 7.5% year-on-year, according to the municipal Statistics Office. 

Upon breaking down, the mining industry’s output decreased by 9.8% year-on-year in the January-February period, but posed little impact to the overall growth due to its modest contribution to the economy. The manufacturing and processing industry, accounting for 96.5% of total production value in the industry sector, expanded 7.8%.

Production and distribution of electricity rose 5.8% year-on-year while water supply, sewage treatment and water collection went up 5.7%.

Subsectors that increased sharply due to growing demand during the period include computers and electronic products (up 37.7% year-on-year); transportation vehicles (17.5%); electricity equipment (16.5%); and beverage (14.3%).

According to the report, the employment at industrial companies decreased by 0.6% year-on-year during the two-month period. That of state-run sector was down by 1%; that of the private sector contracted 4.8%, while jobs in the foreign-invested sector rose by 2.8%.

In terms of economic sectors, the employment in manufacturing and processing sector slightly rose 0.1% year-on-year; followed by electricity production and distribution (-0.1%); water supply, sewage treatment and water collection (-0.6%); and mining (-47.7%).

In the January – February period, Hanoi’s exports slightly rose by 12.7% year-on-year to US$2.34 billion, and imports surged 25.7% to US$5.4 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of US$3.06 billion.

Export items that recorded strong growth in the first two months were computers, electronic products and parts with US$409 million, up 39.4% year-on-year; machinery and equipment with US$341 million (33.3%); wood and wooden products with US$116 million (42.9%).

The city's state budget revenue dwindled 3.4% year-on-year to VND51.4 trillion (US$2.22 billion), or 20.4% of the year’s estimate.

Meanwhile, Hanoi spent VND9.04 trillion (US$390.7 million) during the period, or 8.3% of the estimate and up 1.5% year-on-year.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) commitments to Hanoi in the year to February 23 hit US$58.9 million. The investors registered to pour US$14 million into 28 fresh projects, and an additional US$4.1 million into nine existing projects. They have also injected US$40.8 million to acquire stakes or contribute capital in local companies.

Around 3,400 enterprises were established during the two-month period with registered capital of VND36.6 trillion (US$1.58 billion), down 8% in the number of enterprises and 54% in capital year-on-year. The number of enterprises temporarily suspending operations during the period rose sharply by 22% year-on-year to 4,300, while 3,400 resumed operations, up 101%.

The consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, climbed 1.8% month-on-month in February and 1.75% versus last December. This resulted in an average decline of 0.5% year-on-year in the first two months of this year.

While the Covid-19 outbreak in northern provinces and cities near the Tet holiday has caused negative impacts on consumer spending nationwide, total retail sales of consumer goods and services in Hanoi in the two-month period remained positive with a 5% year-on-year growth to VND100 trillion (US$4.32 billion).

Bilateral trade between UK and Vietnam enhanced thanks to UKVFTA

The initial results of the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement promise to continue creating new impetus for economic and trade cooperation between the two countries in the coming time.

Since the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) took effect on January 1, the bilateral trade turnover between the two countries has recorded a spectacular rise in the context of exports disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, in January, the total trade turnover between Vietnam and the UK reached US$657.3 million, up 78.6% over the same period last year.  

Vietnam's exports to the UK reached US$598 million worth of goods, up 84.6% compared to last January and 56.5% to last December. 

Among Vietnam's exports to the UK,  farm produce attained stable and positive growth in January, with seafood reaching US$19.7 million, representing a rise of 18.1% over the same period last year, and vegetables and fruits with US$1 million, increasing 148.6%. 

Vietnamese shipments to the UK get opportunities to rise drastically and expand market share thanks to many tariff preferential treatment under the agreement, according to the MoIT. 

Under the trade deal, more than 94% of the total 547 tariff lines of vegetable and fruit will be reduced to zero. Many Vietnamese key products such as litchi, longan, rambutan, dragon fruit, pineapple and melon will have more market access advantages over tropical fruits originating from rivals such as Brazil, Thailand and Malaysia, the countries that have not signed an FTA with the UK.

Shipments of the group of processing and manufacturing industries to the UK achieved an impressive growth in January such as phones and components (up 371.6% over the same period last year), followed by machinery, equipment and spare parts (109.9%), computers and electronic components (91%); iron and steel of all kinds (11%). 

In 2020, the bilateral trade reached US$5.64 billion in value, in which Vietnam exported goods worth US$4.95 billion to the UK and enjoyed a trade surplus of US$4.27 billion. The UK continued to be the third largest trading partner of Vietnam in Europe, behind Germany and the Netherlands.

Local businesses face risks of disruption under Covid-19 outbreak

Many businesses are in shortage of workforce after a long-break Tet holiday, as travel remains restricted between different localities.

A prolonged Covid-19 in a number of provinces and cities is putting local businesses under serious stress to avoid disruption of operations.

The Private Economic Development Research Board (Board IV) revealed the information following its quick survey with 12 business associations from February 19-22.

In the survey, the majority of respondents said they forecast the Covid-19 pandemic to stay in long-term and have adjusted their operations to better cope with the situation.

However, businesses are facing some common problems, including shortage of workers after a long-break Tet holiday as travel remains restricted between different localities.

The Covid-19 pandemic also causes severe impacts on the transportation sector, in which many transport companies are operating at 20-30% of their capacity.

In recent days, movements of goods from and out of Hai Duong province, the country’s pandemic hotspot, to other localities have been stalled, impacting supply and production chains of various industrial parks.

This came at the fact that drivers from Hai Duong are not allowed to leave the province, while those from outside do not want to enter on fear of Covid-19, or some Covid-19 checkpoints stop drivers from Hai Duong to go through.

Strict anti-Covid-19 measures adopted by Hai Duong’s neighboring cities/provinces, especially in Hai Phong, have led to a stagnation of sale and distribution of farm produce from Hai Duong, including the transportation of such products to Hai Phong port for exports.

A report from Hai Duong Automobile Transportation Association noted in case hurdles for transportation of Hai Duong farm produce are not removed until early March 2021, the financial damage would be around VND400 billion (US$17.3 million).

“Transportation firms not allowed to enter Hai Phong are forced to seek different routes and thus it incurs additional costs, making it harder for enterprises as they are still struggling with Covid-19 impacts,” noted the Board IV.

Chairman of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s Advisory Council for Administrative Procedure Reform Truong Gia Binh said while social distancing and other safety measures have affected demand for farm produce, the lack of empty containers for exports remain the biggest concern for local traders.

“The business community seeks greater support from local authorities in working with shipping  firms to resolve the situation and prevent unreasonable surge of container shipping rates,” Binh added.

To resolves these issues, Board IV cited recommendations from business associations calling for authorities in Hai Phong and Hai Duong to set up a “buffer zone” to apply safety measures for drivers, trucks and goods; change truck drivers upon entering certain province/city.

“Regarding the transportation of goods from Hai Duong to Hai Phong port, the government could set up a specialized transport corridor to avoid disruption of supply chains,” Board IV stated. 

According to Board IV, the government could consider lowering transportation fees on expressways as transport firms are forced to change their routes.

Tan Son Nhat airport to serve 50 million passengers a year by 2030

The Ministry of Transport has approved the addition of a weather surveillance radar station to the detailed plan to expand HCM City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport to both the north and south to serve 50 million passengers per year by 2030.

Under the adjusted plan, the Doppler Weather Radar station will be built on an area of 1,600 square metres to the north of the airport. A multi-storey car park will also be built, which will be connected to a new passenger terminal to be built soon.

Under the plan, the airport will cover a total area of 791ha, an increase of 250ha compared to the existing airport area of 545ha.

About 19ha of military defence land has been handed over for building aircraft parking aprons.

The additional land of 250ha includes 18ha of additional national defence land, 35ha of land in the southern area, and 171ha of land in the northern area of the airport.

An additional eight taxiways will be built to expedite aircraft take-offs and landings.

At least 56 aprons will be added in front of the new passenger terminal T3 and in the southwest area of the airport, increasing the total number of aprons to 106.

In the northern area of the airport, a reservoir with an advanced pumping station to prevent flooding will also be built.

In addition, roads connecting to the airport will be built as soon as possible under the city's transport plan.

To ensure the progress of the expansion plan, priority will be given to the construction of a new international terminal T3.

According to a proposal by the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), the third passenger terminal with a total investment of more than 11.43 trillion VND (494.4 million USD) will be built in the south of the airport. ACV will invest in building the new terminal, using 100 percent of its corporate capital.

The existing passenger terminals T1 and T2 will be expanded to accommodate an additional 30 million passengers per year by 2030.

The new terminal capable of handling 20 million passengers per year will take 43 months to build, according to ACV.

In total, the airport is expected to have a total capacity of up to 50 million passengers per year by 2030.

Tan Son Nhat, the country’s busiest airport, has been seriously overloaded, both on the ground and in the air for years, forcing many flights to wait in the air to land.

In a related issue, work began early this year on the Long Thanh International Airport in the neighbouring province of Dong Nai, expected to ultimately handle 60-70 million passengers per year. It’s expected to ease the overloading at Tan Son Nhat airport.

However, the huge airport will not be completed until at least 2025 because of “a lack of capital and slow compensation progress,” experts have warned.

Tan Son Nhat will remain the main airport hub in the southern region even after Long Thanh airport becomes operational./.

State budget collection tops nearly 9.57 billion USD in first two months

State budget collection was estimated at 220.5 trillion VND (nearly 9.57 billion USD) in the first two months, equivalent to 16.4 percent of the year’s estimate, according to the General Statistics Office.

Collection from domestic revenue reached 194.1 trillion VND, or 17.1 percent of the estimate, while that from crude oil 3.2 trillion VND, equivalent to 13.8 percent.

Budget balance stood at 22.7 trillion VND in the period, hitting 12.7 percent of the estimate.

Collection from State-owned enterprises was 23.3 trillion VND, or 15.7 percent of the estimate, while 41 trillion VND came from the private sector, excluding crude oil firms.

Collection from industrial and trade charges and services fees contributed 55.2 trillion VND, or 23.2 percent of the estimate.

Meanwhile, budget expenditure was estimated at 148.4 trillion VND in the two months, equivalent to 8.8 percent of the year’s estimate. Of the figure, regular spending valued at 103 trillion VND while investment at nearly 27 trillion VND.

More than 1.48 quadrillion VND was collected for the State budget in 2020, or 98 percent of the target, according to the Ministry of Finance./.

Trade surplus from agro-forestry-fisheries hit 1.37 mln USD in two months

Import-export value of agro-forestry-fisheries products hit nearly 11 billion USD in the first two months of 2021, resulting in 1.37 million USD in trade surplus, up 28.4 percent year on year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

The ministry reported that a year-on-year rise was recorded in the export value of many products such as rubber, tea, cashew, vegetables and fruit and forestry products.

In the first two months of this year, the US remained the largest market of Vietnamese agro-forestry-fisheries products with 2.04 billion USD, up 57.3 percent year on year and accounting for 33.05 percent of the market share. It was followed by China, ASEAN, the EU, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The export value of aquatic products reached 405 million USD in February, pushing the figure in the first two months of 2021 to over 1 billion USD, up 2.2 percent over the same period last year, reported the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

According to the association, exports of tra fish saw positive signals since the beginning of this year after consecutive drops in 2020, with a 1.7 percent rise in the first two months of 2021 to 214 million USD.

In January, excepting for China and the EU, upturn was seen in the majority of markets of Vietnamese tra fish, including the US with 51 percent, Mexico 73 percent, Australia 45 percent and Canada 42 percent. Other markets such as Brazil, Colombia, the UK and Russia also experienced an increase of 37-129 percent.

Meanwhile, shrimp export in February was estimated at 160 million USD, down 18 percent year on year, resulting in over 380 million USD in the first two months of 2021, a slight annual fall of 0.8 percent.

At the same time, seafood exports rose 31.4 percent to 264 million USD in January but dropped 21 percent to 156 million USD in February, resulting in the two-month export value of 420 million USD, up 5.5 percent.

The VASEP said that in the first two months of this year, exports of Vietnamese aquatic products were affected by demands of markets amidst COVID-19 pandemic.

The association forecast that aquatic export value in March will reach about 640 million USD, up 1.5 percent over the same period last year thanks to high demand in the US, EU and members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)./.

Can Tho waste-to-power plant adds 113 million kWh to national grid

The Can Tho waste-to-power plant in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho has treated over 400,000 tonnes of household waste and contributed more than 113 million kWh to the national grid since its operation in December 2018.

Can Tho is now home to four solid waste treatment sites in suburban Co Do and Thoi Lai districts, and urban O Mon and Thot Not districts.

About 70 percent of the city’s daily household waste, or nearly 350 tonnes, are burned using international-standard technology by China Everbright Group.

The plant is operated by Can Tho EB Environmental Energy Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of the investor – the China Everbright Group.

General Director of the Can Tho EB Environmental Energy Co. Ltd Chen Wei said the project is the first in Vietnam invested by the China Everbright Group to receive an environment protection certificate.

The municipal Department of Natural Resources and Environment reported that as of late 2020, 98 percent of household waste in urban areas were collected, 75 percent of them were classified in households.

Deputy Director of the department Nguyen Chi Kien said the department will continue working with the Can Tho EB Environmental Energy, and the districts of Co Do, Thoi Lai, O Mon and Thot Not to collect, transport and treat wastes. It will also periodically review and update the master plan on household solid waste transportation in the city till 2025 with a vision to 2050.

At a conference to launch the department’s tasks in 2021, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thuc Hien asked the department to continue inspecting waste treatment plants to raise their sense of responsibility and deal with problems at the O Mon and Co Do landfills./.

Binh Duong secures 301.5 million USD in FDI in two months

Foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to the southern province of Binh Duong during January-February topped 301.5 million USD, a year-on-year increase of 63 percent, the provincial People’s Committee said on March 2.

Thirteen projects were granted investment registration certificates in the period, with total registered capital of 254 million USD. Meanwhile, two projects registered to add 3.5 million USD to their existing operation.

As much as 44 million USD was injected to 21 projects in the locality through capital contribution.

To date, the southern industrial hub has housed 3,948 FDI projects with total capital of 35.8 billion USD.

It is not only one of leading localities in FDI attraction but also an attractive destination for domestic investments. The province lured more than 8.65 trillion VND (377.5 million USD) from domestic investors in the first two months of the year./.

Volume of containers through Ba Ria-Vung Tau seaports up 21 percent

Seaports in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau handled nearly 766,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in the first two months of 2021, rising 21 percent from the same time last year.

According to the Maritime Administration of Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, the total volume of goods through local seaports reached more than 11.9 million tonnes in the period, a year-on-year surge of 4 percent.

Head of the provincial Customs Department Tran Van Danh said that the province gained over 1.7 billion USD in import-export turnover during January-February, up 32.7 percent year-on-year, describing this a robust achievement of the province in carrying out the dual tasks of pandemic prevention and economic development at the local seaports.

Realising the significance of the local seaports to the economic development in the province and the southern region as a whole, competent authorities such as customs, border guard, healthcare, transport and maritime administration joined hands to put the COVID-19 outbreak under control, while creating the best conditions for ships to load and unload cargo.

In 2020, the volume of container cargo through the seaports topped 4.3 million TEUs, a year-on-year increase of 20 percent. The local seaports handled a total 107.6 million tonnes of goods in the year.

The province is now housing 69 seaport projects, which were zoned off on a total area of 2,528 hectares. Of the total, 48 projects are operating, with a designed capacity of handling 141.5 million tonnes of goods per year./.

Only one Vietnamese remains in Sabeco’s management board

The Saigon Beer-Alcohol- Beverage Corporation (Sabeco) has relieved Hoang Dao Hiep from the post of deputy general director of the firm, which means Sabeco now has only one Vietnamese leader--Lam Du An, deputy general director in charge of techniques and production--in its management board.

Besides An, the firm’s management board currently has three foreign members comprising general director Neo Gim Siong Bennett and deputy general directors Teo Hong Keng and Ng Kuan Ngee Melvyn. All of them are linked to the Thai Beverage Public Company Limited (ThaiBev).

ThaiBev spent US$5 billion acquiring a 53.59% stake in Sabeco through the Vietnam Beverage Co., Ltd in 2017.

Since then, the senior executives of ThaiBev have been nominated to the management boards of Sabeco and its subsidiaries. For example, Neo Gim Siong Bennett, in addition to holding the post of Sabeco general director, is now chairman of Saigon Beer Western JSC and a member of the board of Chuong Duong Beverages JSC.

As for Sabeco’s performance in 2020, its revenue plunged 26% over 2019 to VND28.1 trillion due to the Government’s Decree 100 strictly banning drink-driving and the Covid-19 pandemic. However, its after-tax profit reached VND4.9 trillion, exceeding its target by over 50%.

Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes