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14Aug/15Off

Vietnam cbank counters yuan devaluation to buck external risks to national economy

 

TUOI TRE NEWS

UPDATED : 08/13/2015 17:42 GMT + 7

 

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A Tuoi Tre photo shows Nguyen Thi Hong, deputy governor of the State Bank of Vietnam, giving a speech at a conference in Hanoi on January 30, 2015.

 

The swift move of Vietnam’s central bank on Wednesday in response to the devaluation of the Chinese yuan will fortify the local banking and financial system so that it will stand firmly against any external destabilizing factors, according to a senior official of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV).

The move by the SBV, which is the central bank, allows the local currency, the Vietnamese dong, to be traded more flexibly within a widened trading band to cope with China’s depreciation of its currency against the U.S. dollar and is aimed at ensuring the competitiveness of Vietnamese goods.

Beijing devalued the yuan by 4.6 percent between Tuesday and Thursday, sending shock waves across the globe and triggering many countries to depreciate their currencies against the greenback, in a bid to encourage exports in order to speed up its slowing economic growth.

The SBV gave the green light on Wednesday for the trading band for interbank dollar/dong transactions to move from one percent to two percent after China’s central bank depreciated the yuan by 1.9 percent against the dollar one day before.

New trading band

The SBV’s move paved the way for dollar/dong transactions to fluctuate within a band of plus or minus two percent around the midpoint, which the central bank sets daily.

The midpoint has been held at 21,673 dong per dollar since May 7, when the SBV devalued the local currency by one percent for the second time this year, aiming to spur exports and curb demand for imports that have left it with a hefty trade deficit, according to Reuters.

The new trading band allows a range from VND21,240 to VND22,106 to the greenback.

The expansion of the trading band for interbank dollar/dong transactions will help the local banking system be more proactive and flexible in maneuvering foreign exchange rates prior to the adverse impact on the international market, Nguyen Thi Hong, deputy governor of the SBV, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper in an interview on Wednesday.

Since early this year, there have been many developments beyond the forecasts of both international and domestic financial and economic organizations, she said.

Those developments included a drop in the price of oil to its lowest level in many years, the high possibility of an interest rate hike of the U.S. Federal Reserve (FED), as well as the deterioration of the European economy triggered by the economic crisis in Greece, Hong added.

All of those factors have given the U.S. dollar a chance to rise at a much higher rate in value than the rate the FED had expected, she said.

Right at the beginning of the year, Vietnam’s central bank expected to be challenged by the extraordinary changes that would adversely affect the local foreign exchange rate and exports, so it has actively devalued the dong by two percent, Hong added.

Therefore, the foreign exchange market and exchange rate have remained basically stable over the past seven months.

However, the yuan fell sharply recently, igniting the depreciation of a series of key Asian currencies, as well as a decline in the price indices on the international commodity markets, which can be considered as new external shocks for Vietnam.

China and other Asian countries are the main trade partners of Vietnam, and the Southeast Asian country is running a big trade deficit with its northern neighbor, so the devaluation of their currencies will adversely affect the exchange rates and exports of Vietnam, Hong asserted.

Therefore, the SBV decided to widen the exchange rate’s trading band by one percent to make the local economy fit in the new situation, she added.

Regarding the question of why the central bank chose to do this rather than officially devalue the dong, Hong said expanding the trading band is more appropriate for Vietnam, as a more flexible band helps maintain macroeconomic stability and better copes with the risks and uncertainties of international markets.

When asked what the SBV will do to stabilize the exchange rate and the foreign exchange market in the coming time, Hong said the central bank will closely monitor both national and international market developments to synchronously take many measures and use policy tools to stabilize the Vietnamese banking and financial system.

Under control

Truong Van Phuoc, vice chairman of the National Financial Supervisory Commission, told Tuoi Tre that the exchange rate mechanism of Vietnam is called a regulated management mechanism.

Accordingly, the central bank announces the daily rate and the average interbank rate, which local banks will adopt by applying the trading band to sell or buy on the foreign exchange market.

One can see that the Chinese yuan has surged by about 30 percent in 2005, Phuoc said.

Meanwhile, the Vietnamese dong has dropped by 40 percent, from around VND15,500 per dollar to VND22,000 per dollar, he elaborated, adding that excluding inflation, the exchange rate advantage of the dong is still bigger than the yuan by about 70 percent.

According to Dr. Nguyen Duc Thanh, director of the Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research, under the University of Economics and Business, the SBV’s move to loosen the trading band can be seen as an effective way to devalue the dong without really doing so.

With this mechanism, the central bank did not change the core rate, VND21,673 to the dollar, to keep its word on not devaluing the dong by over two percent this year, he told Tuoi Tre.

But in fact, with the loosened trading band, the market will quickly take the exchange rate toward the other allotted end of the band, Thanh said.

This is the administrative procedure, which is not really important; the more important thing is that the central bank has responded swiftly and positively, he added.

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14Aug/15Off

HCM City property rebounds

August, 14 2015 08:18:02

 

 

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A part of Phu My Hung Urban Area in HCM City. The housing market in HCM City recovered in the first half of this year. — VNA/VNS Photo Kim Phuong

 

HCM CITY (VNS) — The HCM City housing market is recovering thanks to effective government policies like allowing foreigners and overseas Vietnamese to buy houses, an industry insider has said.

Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the HCM City Real Estate Association, said the new regulation that housing projects need to be guaranteed by banks would usher in huge changes.

He hailed them as legal provisions that are totally consistent with the trend of international integration and which help build trust among consumers and secondary investors, leading to a sharp increase in property transactions.

In the first six months there were around 7,050 successful transactions in the city, 2.8 times the number in the same period last year, while prices have risen by 3-5 per cent.

The small- and medium-sized segment priced at around VND1 billion ($46,728) remained steady as always, but the luxury segment saw positive changes, with many projects getting under way or hitting the market.

Chau said M&A activities are strong in the property sector and would help revive stalled projects.

In HCM City 689 projects have been shelved while 85 others lost their licence.

But admittedly there are also problems the industry has to tackle, especially in the social and low-income housing segments in which supply is inadequate. Also, the VND30 trillion ($1.41 billion) bank housing credit package has been disbursed too slowly.

The association called on authorities to quickly issue detailed guidance, and with open and transparent provisions, for the amendments made to the Housing Law, Real Estate Business Law, Investment Law, and Business Law to create a favourable environment for market activities. — VNS

 

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14Aug/15Off

60 plants join power market by August

Last update 10:46 | 14/08/2015

 

As many as 60 power plants have joined the electricity market directly so far this year with a total capacity of 14,952 megawatts, accounting for 40 percent of the national power system, according to the National Load Dispatch Centre (NLDC).

 

 

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By the end of July, the centre was operating 107 power plants with an installed capacity of 37,594 megawatts and 750 transformer stations of 500/220/110 kilovolts with a total capacity of 99,914 mega-volt amperes.

This year, power output is expected to reach 163.1 billion kilowatt hours, up 12.1 percent compared to 2014.

Competitive wholesale power market design approved

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has issued a decision approving a detailed design for the competitive electricity wholesale market, which allows all units owning 30-megawatt (MW) power plants and above to join the market.

According to Decision 8266/QD-BCT, under-30MW power generators can also take part in the market if they meet infrastructure demands.

Meanwhile, build-operate-transfer projects can join the market either directly or through a representative unit from the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN).

Imported electricity and wind, solar and geothermal generators, as well as under-30MW hydropower plants, are not designed to be involved in the market.

Buyers will be grouped into five corporations – Northern, Southern and Central Region; Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City Power Corporations.

The roadmap for the implementation of the competitive electricity wholesale market consists of four periods with initial pilot operation period beginning on 2016. Official launching of the market is slated for 2019.

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12Aug/15Off

Vietnam Doubles Currency Band After China Devaluation

HANOI, Vietnam — Aug 12, 2015, 1:50 AM ET

 

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Vietnam doubled the trading band of its currency Wednesday to allow it to weaken following an unexpected devaluation of the Chinese yuan.

The State Bank of Vietnam said in a statement that the dong can now be traded in a band 2 percent above or below the central bank-set reference rate compared with 1 percent before.

The announcement comes after the People's Bank of China devalued the tightly-controlled yuan by 1.9 percent on Tuesday, its biggest one-day fall in a decade, and let it drop another 1.6 percent Wednesday.

China's government said the devaluation was part of reforms meant to make its exchange rate more market-oriented. But the decision accentuated worries over the health of the world's second-largest economy following a slump in exports, pulling shares, Asian currencies and prices of oil and other commodities sharply lower.

Vietnam's central bank said the yuan's devaluation will have a "negative impact on the Vietnamese economy" because of the substantial trade between the two countries that is tilted in favor of China's exports.

Two-way trade was $59 billion last year in which Vietnam recorded a deficit of $29 billion.

The devaluation will "help the dong to be more flexible and be proactive in coping with the negative impacts in international markets and ensure the competitiveness of Vietnamese products," the central bank said.

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12Aug/15Off

Weaker Chinese yuan to take toll on Vietnamese exporters

 

 

TUOI TRE NEWS

UPDATED : 08/12/2015 16:55 GMT + 7

 

 

 

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fears of a global currency war, Vietnamese exporters also face immediate concerns as their goods are now more expensive in China, their major exporting market.The People's Bank of China devalued the yuan by 1.9 percent against the U.S. dollar, sending the currency to a four-year low, in a move to boost exports following a run of poor economic data, according to Reuters.

A cheaper yuan will help Chinese exports by making them less expensive on overseas markets, especially Vietnam, where Chinese goods of all kinds are widely available at already low prices.

Vietnamese manufacturers and exporters are scratching their heads over fears that they will have to cut prices, while Chinese imports will become far cheaper.

For Vietnamese cashew exporters, the devalued yuan is a double whammy, as the depreciation came after China increased the value-added tax for the product, one of Vietnam’s staples, from five percent to 13 percent, according to the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas).

“I was still wondering why they hiked the VAT when I learned of the yuan devaluation,” Vinacas chairman Nguyen Duc Thanh told Tuoi Tre(Youth), after returning from a cashew exporter meeting in China.

With the cheaper yuan, Chinese importers have to pay more for signed contracts with payments in U.S. dollars.

“For instance, while Chinese firms paid 48,880 yuan for an $8,000 contract to import one metric ton of Vietnamese cashews, the amount of money is now 49,840 yuan,” Thanh elaborated.

“The importers thus have to either hike their selling prices or demand the exporters lower their quotes to offset the extra cost.”

While Vietnamese cashew exporters used to be able to increase the prices of shipments to China at this time of the year, with the Mid-Autumn Festival nearing, Thanh is pessimistic about them not having the chance again this year.

Insiders from the seafood and agro-produce exporting sectors also say the biggest concern is that Chinese importers will buy from other suppliers at lower prices, as Vietnamese goods will become more expensive.

Many countries, including Singapore, Thailand, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, weakened their own currencies immediately after China announced its devaluation of the yuan on Tuesday.

These countries are both major markets and rivals of Vietnamese exporters of rice and seafood, according to industry insiders.

More than 90 percent of Vietnamese seafood exporters choose to complete payments in U.S. dollars, and the devaluation of other currencies against the greenback would only exacerbate the situation, according to the Vietnam Association for Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

“Vietnamese catfish will be under pressure to cut prices to enter China in the future,” VASEP general secretary Truong Dinh Hoe said.

“In the meantime, Vietnamese shrimp will also be more expensive than shipments from Thailand, Indonesia and India, and the importers will of course choose suppliers with the cheaper prices.”

Other economic experts are concerned that Vietnam’s trade deficit with China will widen as Chinese imports become cheaper.

“The yuan devaluation affects both the import and export activities of Vietnam with China, worsening the trade imbalance,” Associate Professor Tran Hoang Ngan, a prestigious economist, said.

Vietnam posted a trade deficit of $28.8 billion with China in 2014, according to the General Statistics Office.

The trade gap in the first seven months of this year was $20 billion.

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12Aug/15Off

US chicken products make up almost half of Vietnam’s meat imports

Last update 13:08 | 12/08/2015

 

A total of 45,651 tonnes of chicken products, mostly frozen thighs, were imported from the US in the first seven months of 2015, accounting for 49 percent of total meat imports into Vietnam in the period, said the Department of Animal Health source.

 

 

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Shoppers choose meat products at Big C Supermarket in Hanoi.

 

The Department also said all US chicken products have an expiry date of at least seven months from manufacture date printed on the packages when arriving at the country’s border gates, citing reports from border veterinary units.

According to the department, all US chicken products have their origins from producers licensed to export to Vietnam in line with regulations of the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s circular 25/2010//TT-BNNPTNT dated April 8, 2010.

All those US producers also possess certificates on hygiene and food safety hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) under US rules.

All frozen chicken products from the US have been certified by the US Department of Agriculture as meeting food hygiene and safety standards.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has been testing samples from all batches of imported chicken products, with only one batch of 749kg of breaded chicken found to have been contaminated with Salmonella bacterium, which was then destroyed.

In the first 7 months of this year, 35 samples of imported US chicken products were tested, with 17 samples found to contain some antibiotics but well within the permissible levels.

On May 1 this year, Vietnam temporary halted import of live poultry and unprocessed poultry products from 13 US states where bird flu outbreaks have been reported. The US Department of Agriculture also announced it will not issue quarantine certificates for poultry from the birdflu-affected states.

VNA

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3Aug/15Off

VN, US trade set to explode under TPP pact

August, 01 2015 09:21:00

 

 

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During the next 10 years, the US market share for Vietnamese garments is expected to double under the TPP agreement. — Photo doanhnhansaigon

 

HCM CITY (VNS) — Twenty years after the US and Viet Nam established diplomatic relations, bilateral trade turnover has risen 80-fold, and is expected to boom after the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, currently under negotiations, takes effect.

In 1995, bilateral trade volume was reported at US$500 million, and this year, it is estimated that it would be $40 billion. Within ten years, it could reach $50 or $60 billion.

And when negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement conclude, the trade figures could climb even higher. Besides the US and Viet Nam, the trade agreement includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Singapore, representing 40 per cent of the global GDP.

Rena Bitter, general US consul general to HCM City, who spoke at a conference yesterday organised by the Viet Nam – US Association in HCM City on trade relations, said that 20 years ago the two countries could not have imagined the achievements of today.

She cited a recent Pew Global Attitudes survey that said 78 per cent of Vietnamese expressed a favorable view of the US.

The percentage was much higher for Vietnamese under 30 years of age, she said.

The US, with a market valued at $20 trillion, is now the No 1 market for Vietnamese exports.

Luong Van Tu, of the Viet Nam – US BTA Joint Committee, said that with TPP membership Viet Nam would improve management skills and have more access to capital and technology.

More importantly, it would have a large market for consumer goods.

He said that US – Viet Nam bilateral trade revenue would rise quickly over the next 20 years under the TPP.

Le Phuoc Vu, chairman of Hoa Sen Group, a large steel company, said with closer ties and increasing bilateral trade, Viet Nam could become the No. 1 exporter of industrial goods to the US.

"The US market has a lot of potential. With TPP, our exports to US could increase several times over," Vu said.

"If an American looks down at the label on his or her shoes, there's a 1-in-10 chance it will read Made in Viet Nam. Same for the shirt on his or her back," he said.

Clothing tops the list of Vietnamese export to the US. Viet Nam is now the second leading provider of clothes to the US after China.

Le Quoc An, consultant for the Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association, said last year Viet Nam exported $10 billion of fabric and clothes to the US market, which represents a 9.2 percent import market share in the country.

Apparel and textile exports were only $1 billion in 2002 when the US – Viet Nam Bilateral Trade Agreement took effect.

Over the last 10 years, Vietnamese clothes exported to the US increased 398 per cent with an annual growth of 15 per cent, he said.

During the next 10 years, the US market share for Vietnamese garments is expected to double under the TPP agreement.

An said that US billionaire Wibur Ross had decided to invest in the garment and textile industry in Viet Nam.

The US is one of Viet Nam's biggest investors, along with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.

Embassy celebrates

The Viet Nam Embassy in the US celebrated the 20th anniversary of the two countries' diplomatic ties (July 12, 1995) with a ceremony in Washington D.C. on Thursday.

Addressing the event, Vietnamese Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh thanked US officials, scholars and people for their support for the development of bilateral ties over the past 20 years.

This year is a milestone in Viet Nam-US relations following General Secretary of the Communist Party of Viet Nam Nguyen Phu Trong's historic visit to the US and talks with President Barack Obama in early July.

During the visit, the two countries issued a joint vision statement to intensify their comprehensive partnership set up by Presidents Truong Tan Sang and Obama in 2013.

Vinh said in the last two decades, Viet Nam and the US had made great strides across the board, and the US was now the fourth largest investor in Viet Nam.

He added that they were also working closely with other partners within the framework of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum for regional peace, security and prosperity, including maritime security and freedom in the East Sea, water resources and sustainable development in the lower Mekong River.

At the ceremony, Senator John McCain – Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Armed Services – valued the current relations between the two countries and noted that their ties had grown beyond expectations in various aspects, including economics and education.

He said the US Congress' granting of the Trade Promotion Authority that expands President Obama's power to move ahead on the TPP was a strategic signal of the US's strengthened commitment to Asia-Pacific and its partners in the region.

However, the US and Viet Nam were facing new security challenges, McCain said, adding that amidst China's continued construction and militarisation in the East Sea, Washington sided with Viet Nam in opposing activities that changed the status quo in the waters.

The Senator also called on the US to consider easing the ban on the sale of lethal weapons to Viet Nam.

Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel underlined the substantial and comprehensive progress of Viet Nam-US relations over the last 20 years.

The US was currently hosting 17,000 Vietnamese students and, about 85,000Vietnamese tourists visited the US last year. Educational co-operation and people-to-people exchanges were the highlights of their bonds, he said.

Ties marked in Ha Noi

The Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organisations and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also held a banquet on Thursday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the normalisation of Viet Nam-US diplomatic relations.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister Ha Kim Ngoc highlighted the remarkable achievements made by the two countries over the past two decades, while expressing his gratitude for the efforts made by previous generations to establish and nurture relations.

The two countries had moved towards co-operation in various fields, the Deputy Minister said, adding that through their comprehensive strategic partnership, Viet Nam and the US would contribute greatly to the maintenance of peace, sustainability and co-operation in the region.

US Ambassador to Viet Nam Ted Osius said the two sides had addressed the consequences of the war and discussed measures to further collaboration since the establishment of diplomatic relations.

The Ambassador said he was impressed by the growth in bilateral trade, which is currently valued at approximately US$40 billion per year, a 100-fold increase compared to 20 years ago. He highlighted that this figure was expected to rise even further once the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was signed. — VNS

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3Aug/15Off

Vietnam’s fast rising property market leaves hard times behind

REUTERS/TUOI TRE NEWS

UPDATED : 08/03/2015 07:56 GMT + 7

 

 

 

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Buildings are seen across a river in Ho Chi Minh City April 26, 2015.
Reuters

Brought to its knees when its property market bubble burst four years ago, Vietnam is riding into another boom, with construction starting in Ho Chi Minh City on two of the world's tallest skyscrapers and buyers snapping up new projects fast.

>> An audio version of the story is available here

The speed of the market's turnaround has been startling. Successful property transactions have doubled from a year ago, and developers have halved their unsold inventory from $6 billion at the peak of the crisis at the start of 2013.

"I can sell about three to five units per month now, much better than before, when I could only sell the same in the whole year", said Dung, a freelance property broker in Hanoi, who asked to be referred to by her first name.

The Southeast Asian country's government is hoping that lessons learnt from the last burst bubble will help prevent the latest property cycle crashing like the last one.

Buyers and developers defaulted on loans, leaving banks crippled by toxic debt and unable to provide credit to tens of thousands of failing businesses. The empty shells of abandoned, half-built condominiums and office blocks littered cities, showing how Vietnam had hit the wall.

Clearing up the mess, the state's asset management firm has bought $8 billion of non-performing loans – a lot of which stemmed from real estate.

The government is restructuring the banking sector. In 2013 it gave the real estate sector a $1.4 billion stimulus and has placed stronger financial requirements on property developers.

From July 1, the government relaxed rules on investment by foreign firms, foreign buyers and "Viet Kieu", the overseas Vietnamese whose families left their homeland after the country was reunified in 1975.

The moves to open up the property market were the latest in a slew of reforms that experts say shows the party's progressives are in the driving seat heading into a scheduled leadership change in January.

Buyers from overseas

Easing restrictions on buyers from overseas has had pronounced results. Vingroup recently held two sales opening events for projects exclusively targeting foreigners and "Viet Kieu" in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The property firm said it received deposits for 112 apartments within two hours.

According to The Eastern, a condominium jointly developed by a Vietnamese and a South Korean company, 70 percent of units sold from May to July were to foreigners and firms buying accommodation for foreign employees working at Saigon Hi-Tech Park, home to firms like Intel and Samsung.

Underlying demand, however, should also come from one of Asia's fastest rates of middle class expansion, with the economy growing 6.28 percent in the first half of this year – the fastest pace since 2008.

But it is the overseas money that excites realtors most.

"There are 4.2 million Vietnamese overseas and about 30,000 foreign executives working here long-term," Le Hoang Chau, president of Vietnam's Real Estate Association, told Reuters. "That shows potential for a bright future."

Units launched in Ho Chi Minh City in the first half of this year were 174 percent up on the same period in 2014 and 91 percent up in the capital Hanoi, according to the Vietnam office of global commercial real estate firm CBRE.

An average high-end apartment now fetches $1,800 per square metre in the southern commercial hub and $1,600 in the capital, close to pre-crisis prices and up from $1,600 and $1,450 respectively in 2014, according to CBRE.

Having helped restore investors' confidence, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has demanded better oversight to make sure the property market does not lead the economy off another cliff.

State-run firms have been told to shun non-core investments, having burnt themselves badly by earlier forays into property.

Real estate firms need to show minimum capital of just under $1 million and they have to deposit with the state, as surety for buyers, 1-3 percent of the value of new projects.

Towers of aspiration

Fired with ambition, developers in Ho Chi Minh City aim to give Vietnam two potential entries into the top ten list of the world's tallest buildings.

Ground breaking was done last month for the 461-metre Landmark 81, and will be carried out in the final quarter for the 86-storey high Empire City Tower.

Dominating a neon-lit riverside metropolis, the two projects will represent a strong statement of intent for this rapidly rising emerging market.

U.S. research agency JLL rates Ho Chi Minh City as the fastest improver among the 120 cities in its Momentum Index.

"We are seeing a lot of both local and foreign investors and developers trying to get a foothold," Stephen Wyatt, JLL's country head in Vietnam, said.

There's much room for growth, with Vietnam's market valued at $21 billion in 2014 by Nomura Research Institute, compared with Thailand's $89 billion and Singapore's $241 billion.

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3Aug/15Off

Bankers say bad-debt ratio is not that high

Last update 10:00 | 03/08/2015

 

VietNamNet Bridge - While economists doubt commercial banks can reduce the bad-debt ratio to below 3 percent by the end of August, bankers said the target was within reach because the current situation is not as bad as once thought. 

 
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The bad debt ratio of some commercial banks, including the better ones, has increased again.

VietinBank, for example, reported that non-performing loans (NPL) increased to VND8 trillion from VND4.8 trillion earlier this year. The NPL ratio rose to 1.5 percent from 0.9 percent in late 2014.

VietinBank’s fifth-group debts (the debts with the highest risk) by the end of March had increased by 2.6 times from VND2 trillion to VND5.5 trillion.

By the end of April 2015, while Sacombank’s outstanding loans had increased by 5.6 percent, the bad debt ratio had also increased to 1.19 percent from 1.18 percent at the end of 2014.

Sacombank collected VND200 billion worth of principal this year thanks to the sale of debts to the Vietnam Asset Management Company (VAMC), while it is considering selling more debts to the company.

Though the NPL ratio has stayed at 1.42 percent, Nam A Bank’s situation is not good because the fifth-group debt accounts for over 80 percent of NPL.

Therefore, economists are worried about the State Bank’s plan to lower the bad debt ratio to below 3 percent prior to August 31.

Nevertheless, bankers have said that the bad debt situation is not as serious as reported.

An executive of Sacombank noted that the bad debt increase in the first quarter of the year was partly due to the expiration of Decision 780, which allows credit institutions to restructure their debts. Its validity expired in April 2015.

Now banks have to classify their debts in accordance with stricter requirements.

The executive said that new loans have been put under very strict control.

The representative of ACB also was optimistic about the bad debt settlement, saying that the recovery of the markets, especially real estate, should create favorable conditions for bad debt settlement.

Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the HCM City Branch of the State Bank of Vietnam, praised the commercial banks’ efforts to reduce bad debts.

In general, Minh said bad debt settlement had shown satisfactory results.

Local banks in HCM City settled VND6.112 trillion worth of bad debts in the first three months of 2015.

“It is quite feasible to lower the NPL ratio to below 3 percent because credit has been growing well,” Minh said.

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24Jul/15Off

Survey finds Vietnamese support move to full-on market economy

July, 24 2015 08:01:00

 

 

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A considerable majority of respondents, 75 per cent, desired State intervention to stabilise prices of essential goods, up 7 per cent from 2011. — Photo phunuonline

 

HA NOI (VNS) — Vietnamese citizens were pegging hopes on a faster transition into a full-fledged market economy, a majority saying that they vigorously supported the country's market economy model in a survey published yesterday.

The Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the World Bank Group's report, Changing Attitudes toward Market and State 2014, found that 89 per cent of 1,600 participants said they strongly support the market economy model in Viet Nam, 71 per cent support private ownership and 94 per cent want transparency in policymaking and enforcement.

The strong support for the economic transition left 36 per cent of respondents feeling that the economic transition over the past five years wasn't fast enough, 29 per cent, however, felt that it was rapid.

The survey revealed that a modest 19 per cent said they were satisfied with the country's current economic situation, indicating that greater efforts are required to hasten economic reforms. Though, low approval rates are to be expected in times of major transitions.

A considerable majority of respondents, 75 per cent, desired State intervention to stabilise prices of essential goods, up 7 per cent from 2011.

In regards to several public services, however, 99 per cent agreed that the State should allow the private sector to provide public services such as health, education, notary and public transport.

According to Nguyen Dinh Cung, director of the Central Institution for Economic Management (CIEM), Viet Nam should hasten institutional reforms in order to push forward the transition into a full-fledged market economy.

VCCI Director Vu Tien Loc expects the survey's results will serve as a base for policymakers to drive the national economy in the right direction and improve Vietnamese citizens' living conditions.

He added that the survey was merely a reflection of a diverse array of groups, including the business community's feelings and perceptions of the country's transition towards a market economy. — VNS

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