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14Oct/14Off

Thai firms spot opportunities in Viet Nam

October, 14 2014 09:13:00

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Capital flow to Viet Nam has increased sharply recently, especially after the purchase of Metro Cash & Carry Viet Nam by Thailand's Berli Jucker, for US$879 million, earlier this month. — Photo tamnhin

by Van Dat

HCM CITY (VNS) — The recent increase in investment flows from Thai enterprises has shown that Viet Nam is vital for Thailand's economy, especially after the ASEAN Economic Community comes into effect in 2015.

Recent information from the Thailand Board of Investment shows that the country's outward investment in ASEAN-member countries has undergone an upward trend since 2007, with last year's investment at US$4.5 billion, equal to Thailand's investment in the EU.

Most of the Thai investment in ASEAN was in Singapore, Indonesia, Viet Nam and Myanmar, according to Chokedee Kaewsang, deputy secretary general of the Thailand Board of Investment.

With more than US$1.4 billion between 2009 and 2013, Viet Nam was ranked third in receiving investment from Thai enterprises, after Singapore and Indonesia.

Capital flow to Viet Nam has increased sharply recently, especially after the purchase of Metro Cash & Carry Viet Nam by Thailand's Berli Jucker, for US$879 million, earlier this month.

In addition, the Thai-owned Robins department store made its Viet Nam debut in Ha Noi in April. It will also open a 12,000-square-metre store in HCM City's Crescent Mall shopping center in District 7 in November.

It also plans to open stores in other major cities, including Hai Phong, Da Nang, and Can Tho in the Mekong Delta.

Several other Thai enterprises which have invested in Viet Nam have also decided to accelerate their investments.

Amata Corporation, Thailand's largest industrial estate developer, which built a 70- sq.km2 industrial city in Thailand 25 years ago, has decided to build a modern and integrated city industrial estate, Amata Long Thanh, in Dong Nai Province covering 1,285 hectares.

According to a report in the Bangkok Post, the corporation has signed a cooperative agreement with Dong Nai Province's People's Committee to develop the US$530 million industrial estate.

With the ASEAN Economic Community taking effect next year, Thai investors are anxious to take advantage of the Vietnamese government's ambitious drive to increase economic growth to more than 8 per cent annually.

Twenty years ago, Amata built the Bien Hoa Industrial Estate in Dong Nai Province, and is now eyeing more opportunities in Viet Nam.

Two other Thai giants, Siam Cement Group and CP, which have had success investing in Viet Nam, also have plans to expand, according to the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Early this month, the US$22 billion Victory petrochemical and oil refinery project funded by Thailand's oil firm PTT and its strategic partner Saudi Aramco was approved.

The project will be located in central province of Binh Dinh.

Many Thai investors say they prefer Viet Nam to Cambodia, Laos PDR or Myanmar because of the country's political and economic stability and its geographical position near the sea.

Panpimon Suwannapongse, Thai Consul-General to HCM City, who recently organised a trip with Vietnamese provincial administrators along the Southern Economic Corridor, said that Thailand sees Viet Nam as important because of its long coastline, which makes it convenient to transport goods by boat.

In the Mekong sub-region, Viet Nam is the end-point of many major roads and the Mekong River, where goods can be easily transported to the Thai mainland.

Viet Nam's export potential and the coming single market in the ASEAN Economic Community are other factors as well.

Suwannapongse said that Viet Nam and Thailand also plans to support less-developed countries such as Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.

Panat Krairojananan, CEO at Surint Omya Viet Nam, said that Thai businesspeople who have been working in Viet Nam for several years said it is much more convenient to export goods to the US from Viet Nam. He added that Thai companies could export commodities from Viet Nam through Route R1.

"Thai businesspeople plan to pour cash into Viet Nam for a long time. Previously, only a few Thai companies had entered Viet Nam, but now there are many more," he said.

Because of fears of economic stability at home, Thailand also wants to invest in a country like Viet Nam that can share investment risks.

Similarity in culture and a predominantly young population of 90 million are other factors that have influenced Thai interest in Viet Nam.

"Although infrastructure in Viet Nam is still not complete, it is a good time for us to come. More companies from other countries will arrive in the future, and it will become more competitive for us," he said.

The Thai CEO said his company, Surint Omya Viet Nam, which has two factories producing calcium carbonate, will open another facility in northern Viet Nam.

Tran Huu Phuoc, deputy chairman of Long An Province's People's Committee, who visited Thailand with other provincial leaders on the recent trip on Route R1, said that Thai enterprises wanted to invest in Long An Province as well.

Phuoc added that there was still great potential for industrial, trade and tourism cooperation between the two countries. — VNS

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14Oct/14Off

Experts urge gradual consumption tax hike

October, 14 2014 09:15:42

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A worker operates a packing line at theThang Long Tobacco Co Ltd. Experts say Viet Nam should raise special consumption taxes on goods like liquor and tobacco. — VNA/VNS Photo Lam Khanh

HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam should increase special consumption taxes on goods like liquor and tobacco in "reasonable" increments over several years so as to discourage smuggling and other forms of illicit trade, experts have said.
Speaking to Viet Nam News on the sidelines of the recent 11th Asia-Pacific Tax Forum, they said that a gradual rise would also reduce the impact on consumers.

The experts were referring to increases to the special consumption tax on liquor, beer and tobacco that have been proposed in draft amendments to the Law on Special Consumption Tax.

The draft law, now under discussion, is expected to be approved this year and come into force on July 1, 2015. It seeks to hike the tax on tobacco from 65 per cent to 70 per cent on January 1, 2016, and to 75 per cent in 2019.

The tax on beer will be increased from 50 per cent to 55 per cent on July 1, 2015, to 60 per cent in 2017 and 65 per cent in 2018.

The special consumption tax on liquor with alcohol content of above 20 per cent will be raised from 50 per cent to 65 per cent and that on liquor with less than 20 degrees would be increased from 25 per cent to 35 per cent.

Daniel Witt, president of the International Tax and Investment Centre, said that gradual tax adjustments with carefully-planned roadmaps are required to avoid creating a shock and increasing smuggling and illicit trade.

"The Government of Viet Nam's approach is in the right direction," he said.

But he said "The 10 per cent increase is too high and should be set at just 5 per cent annually, the same increase proposed for beer. Again, all products should have the same, gradual tax increase."

Higher upfront increases could risk incentivising smuggling and shifting consumption to the black market as consumers would substitute consumption to other products that had not experienced the large tax increase, which would pose risks to Government revenue, he added.

Agreeing, Stephane Gripon, general director of Diageo Viet Nam, said: "The proposed increases are substantive and could have significant impacts on legitimate business if not implemented in a reasonable way.

"We are concerned that any excessive increase in tax will only lead to widespread unrecorded and untaxed alcohol."

He said the hikes should not begin before 2016 and should be phased over three or four years. More importantly, he said, this should be done equally for all alcoholic beverages – beers, wines, spirits – over the same period of time.

He suggested an increase of 5 per cent per year from 2015 to 2017.

Rob Preece, lecturer in excise at the University of Canberra, Australia, said one of the causes for increasing black market trade was that the penalties were too small, and many people would be willing to take the risk to earn high profits.

"The principle is slow adjustment to minimise unintended consequences," he said.

Witt said efficient co-ordination between relevant authorities, including police, tax and customs officials as well as the health ministry was critical to addressing the issue.

"Tax policy and rates should be neutral," he said, adding that tax increases should not hurt competitiveness. ‘Neutral' refers to a level that will not force businesses to change their economic routines to accommodate the tax.

Striking a balance in revenue, employment, investment, consumption and production was important, other experts said.

The forum heard that a two-year study into the development of excise tax policy in the context of the ASEAN Economic Community 2015 was to come out this year. This is expected to provide Viet Nam as well as its ASEAN neighbours with a roadmap to modernise excise taxation and ensure more stable revenue and consumption. — VNS

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10Oct/14Off

Draft law requires banks to offer consumer credit via finance companies

Last update 17:00 | 09/10/2014

VietNamNet Bridge – Commercial banks will be forced to stop providing consumer loans if they don’t have finance companies of their own, under a draft document being compiled by the State Bank of Vietnam.

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The draft has attracted special attention from bankers as most of them now want to develop retail banking services after a long period of providing loans to businesses.

The central bank, when compiling the legal document, said it was necessary to separate consumer lending from banking operations and put lending under the management of finance companies.

This would also help make clear the responsibilities to be taken by finance institutions, while commercial banks can only take limited responsibility for their contributed capital.

However, analysts have warned that the regulation, if realistic, would do more harm than good. Bankers understand that subprime customers are not their subjects. And if finance companies are put under commercial banks, this would push commercial banks into subprime lending.

Do Thien Anh Tuan, a lecturer of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP), noted that the splitting of consumer lending from commercial banks was not used in many other countries. Providing consumer credit is usually a basic operation of retail banks.

An economist noted that commercial banks need to be given the right to decide whether to set up finance companies of their own, depending on their business strategy.

HDBank and VPBank have bought two finance companies to implement their specific business plans, with the focus on targeted clients.

OCB does not intend to set up a finance company, though it is also planning to develop retail banking services.

The economist said the central bank, by setting up the regulation, has tried to pave the way for restructuring of finance companies, most of which are in bad condition.

He noted that the deal of Western Bank merging with PetroVietnam Finance Company (PVFC) to form PVcomBank was a “typically perfect mission”.

Non-bank finance institutions, including finance companies, are a part of the government’s financial system restructuring project.

What will happen if the draft regulation turns out to be successful? The economist said there would be a new wave of finance companies, and many merger & acquisition deals.

According to the State Bank, there are 17 finance companies and 41 commercial banks operating in Vietnam.

The banks will have to set up finance companies themselves or take over existing finance companies. However, it would be difficult to do both.

Under the government’s Decree No 141, a finance company must have the minimum legal capital of VND500 billion.

This means that a bank will have to have VND500 billion to own a finance company, which is believed to affect bank cash flow and safety indexes.

Read more: http://dongtalk.com/forums/index.php/topic/14545-draft-law-requires-banks-to-offer-consumer-credit-via-finance-companies/#ixzz3FljeUCP2

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10Oct/14Off

Vietnam, Russia target US$7 billion in bilateral trade by 2015

Last update 20:00 | 10/10/2014

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam and Russia are actively negotiating a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Customs Union (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan).

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Once the agreement is signed it will help fulfil a target for raising Vietnam-Russia bilateral trade to US$7 billion in 2015 and US$10 billion in 2020.

The statement was made by Doan Duy Khuong, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) at the Vietnam-Russia Business Forum in Hanoi on October 6.

Khuong said businesses from the two countries play a leading role in promoting bilateral economic and trade cooperation, helping to consolidate and develop friendship ties.

In recent years, economic, trade, industry and investment cooperation between the two countries have been developing strongly. Two-way trade turnover hit nearly US$4 billion last year and nearly US$2 billion in the first seven months of this year.

VCCI is willing to cooperate with Russian trade representative offices and trade promotion agencies to accelerate bilateral meetings, Khuong stressed.

Russian ambassador to Vietnam, Andrey G.Kovtun said Russia-Vietnam relations have developed dynamically in recent years. Vietnam is among prioritised countries in Russia’s foreign-policy orientations in Asia-Pacific region.

The forum will help expand bilateral coordination between businesses and diversify comprehensive strategic partnership.

The forum involved 25 Russia’s leading businesses which want to seek Vietnamese partners in the fields of information technology, information and telecommunications, biotechnology, new materials, nanotechnology, health care, pharmaceuticals, environment, energy, automation, automobile industry, metallurgy, oil and gas.

Read more: http://dongtalk.com/forums/index.php/topic/14539-vietnam-russia-target-us7-billion-in-bilateral-trade-by-2015/#ixzz3FljLJR82

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10Oct/14Off

Bentley Motors opens in Vietnam next month

By Dave Brown • October 10, 2014

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BENTLEY Motors launches its first dealership in Vietnam next month.

The new operation is situated in Vietnam’s commercially dynamic and fast-growing capital city of Hanoi. The new dealership will offer customers the full Bentley model range as well as aftersales service and the company’s branded luxury goods.

Known as the ‘City of Lakes’, and with a metropolitan area population of over 6.2 million people, Hanoi has established itself as an important international centre for culture, finance and manufacturing.

The dealership is located in the new district of Nam Tu Liem – a new commercial and financial centre in the city. Kevin Rose, member of the board for sales, marketing and aftersales for Bentley Motors, said: ‘We look forward to working in Hanoi and the already high level of enthusiasm for Bentley from potential customers is an encouraging starting point.

‘We have a strong partner in CT-Wearnes Vietnam who combines an in-depth knowledge of business in Vietnam with a long and successful track record of luxury automotive retailing in the region, notably with Bentley.

Bentley is making strong progress in the key Asia Pacific region with a 49 per cent rise in customer deliveries achieved in the first nine months of 2014 and we’re confident Bentley Hanoi will contribute to this positive performance.’

Bentley Motors now has 14 authorised dealers in the Asia Pacific region and 194 worldwide operating in 55 countries. At the quarter three point of 2014, global deliveries increased by 19 per cent, to 7,786 cars, up from 6,516 cars in the first nine months of 2013.

Read more: http://dongtalk.com/forums/index.php/topic/14535-bentley-motors-opens-in-vietnam-next-month/#ixzz3FlhzMvu8

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8Oct/14Off

September: Bank lending is more nearly 96,000 billion dong

06/10/2014 20: 54

(TBTCO)-State Bank (SBV) recently issued statements about the results of monetary policy operations and banking operations in September and 9 months beginning in 2014. Accordingly, 9 credit hours increased 7.26%, much higher than the 4.5 percent last August.

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In September, lending increased by 2.76%

Specifically, to date 30/9, system-wide credit surged 7.26% compared to the end of 2013. Earlier, in late August, the Deputy Governor of SBV Nguyen Thi Hong said credit growth as of 26/8 only reached 4.5% compared to the end of 2013.

As such, credit in September has skyrocketed, the increase in September was twice as high the increase of 5 months (1.31 percent). Calculations according to the debt of the SBV announced, from 27/8 to 30/9 had almost 96,000 billion are brought to market, raising the total debt of the economy and over 3,730,474 billion.

The overwhelming credit growth in the last few days, and months late is quite often seen on the credit market in recent years. Recently, answering questions at 9/29/UBTVQH, SBV Governor Nguyen Van Binh said credit growth to the end of September reached approximately 7% and confirmed the ability to hit the target credit growth 12-14% in 2014.

The operating results of 9 months of the year, the SBV said was "operating flexibility, uniform monetary policy tools, including mainly through open market operations to regulate the money supply appropriately, willing to provide capital for the economy, liquidity support for the TCTD...".

Until 30 September 2014, total liquidity increased 10.73 percent, raising capital rose 11.01% (of which mobilized by the USD rose 12.37%, raised in foreign currency rose 2.78 percent) compared with late 2013; the liquidity of the TCTD continues to be ensured and excess, the interbank market rates decrease and stabilize at a low level.

According to SBV, currently using the mobilizing and lending interest rate in USD fell 0.5-1.5% per year compared to the end of 2013. The interest of old loans continue to be the TCTD positively reduced. To date 18/9/2014, outstanding loans in VND interest over 15% per year amounting to 4.25% of the total outstanding loans for USD, decreased 6.3% compared to the proportion of the end of 2013; outstanding loans have interest rates above 13% per year constitute 12.16% of total outstanding loans in VND, down 19.72% proportion compared to the end of 2013. These figures have not changed much in recent two months.

Exchange rate away from the ceiling to allow

About rates, until 30/9, inter-bank trading rates around 21,260 USD/USD, listed on the buying and selling of commercial banks about 21,195-$ 21,245, lower USD/far from the limit allowed. The gold market in September 2014 is relatively stable, the price of gold in the country vary in line with gold prices on the international market.

The first days of October, the exchange rate has considerably increased the volatility. However, in an interview on October 6, the Deputy Governor Nguyen Thi Hong has confirmed the SBV will not adjust rates of interbank average.

About bad debt, SBV said are "synchronous solutions deployment to curb bad debt increase, which directed the TCTD strengthens the quote up and use risk reserve to handle the bad debt, making the solutions to improve credit quality to limit new bad debt incurred; VAMC conducted reviews, classifying bad debts acquired to take measures for proper disposal in accordance with the law ".

Direction and solutions to SME's also nothing new in addition to "continue operating monetary policy and flexibly works closely with fiscal policy aimed at controlling inflation as its objectives, the macroeconomic stability, support economic growth at reasonable ratesensures the liquidity of the TCTD and economy; flexible operating open-market operations, interest rates and the exchange rate at a level consistent with macroeconomic developments, currency, especially of inflation; deployed credit solutions contribute to difficulty boosting production, business development, supply of capital for the economy; continue to accelerate the restructuring of the system processor, TCTD bad debt aimed at healthy operation of the TCTD, safety system ".

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8Oct/14Off

Five-star hotels reach first-half revenue high


Last update 07:50 | 08/10/2014

VietNamNet Bridge – Despite low occupancy rates and a drop in the number of Chinese tourists in May and June, high-end hotels in Viet Nam showed increases in room rates and revenue per room in the first half of the year, according to consulting firm Grant Thornton Vietnam.

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Pullman Hanoi hotel. — Photo vneconomy

The company said in its report released on Tuesday that RevPAR (revenue per available room) of 4-and 5-star in the first half of the year increased by 1.7 per cent compared with the growth of 4.2 per cent in the same period last year. It grew from $56.6 to $57.6.

This increase was affected by a significant rise in average room rates of 7.9 per cent, which was much higher than the 0.1 per cent increase in the first half of the year. On the other hand, the occupancy rate overall experienced a major drop of 5.7 per cent in the first half.

Compared with the performance of the first half of 2013, RevPAR of 4-star hotels significantly fell by 13.8 per cent while RevPAR of 5-star hotels continued to increase by 3.3 per cent.

An increase in RevPAR of 5-star hotels might be attributed to an increase of 5.1 per cent in average occupancy rates in the first half of the year, according to the report.

In addition, 5-star hotels in the north also experienced an increase in RevPAR by 25.8 per cent in the first six months of 2014, compared to the same period last year.

By region, the growth rate from the first half of 2013 to the first half of 2014 was 7 per cent for the north, 10.7 per cent for the central region and the Highlands, and 8.8 per cent for the south.

There was a significant growth in overall average room rates of 7.9 per cent in the first half of 2014 for high-end lodging (3 to 5 star) in Viet Nam, which was higher than the growth of 0.1 per cent in the first half of 2013.

Regarding the average room rate by star ranking, both 4- and 5-Star hotels experienced a drop of 6.6 per cent and 1.9 per cent, respectively, in the first six months of 2014.

There was a significant increase in average room rates in the north, and the central region and the Highlands, by 15.6 and 9.1 per cent, respectively, in the first half of 2014.

This was due to a significant increase in average room rate of international hotel brands in these two locations, by 47.5 and 43.7 per cent, respectively.

With a slower growth rate, the south also experienced an increase in average room rate by 2.7 per cent in the first six months of 2014, compared with the same period last year.

Overall average occupancy rate of 3- to 5- star hotels in the first half of 2014 decreased significantly to 60.4 per cent from 64.1 per cent in the first half of 2013 dropping by 5.7 per cent.

A decrease in average occupancy rate could be attributed to the East Sea tension in the second quarter and also by an increase in the number of new rooms in main destinations, including Ha Noi, which gained three additional 3- to 4-star hotels with 200 rooms in the first quarter of 2014.

Read more: http://dongtalk.com/forums/index.php/topic/14524-five-star-hotels-reach-first-half-revenue-high/#ixzz3FaX8aTwX

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8Oct/14Off

Piracy Feared As More Countries Join Search For Vietnamese Oil Tanker

Posted Today, 01:56 PM

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More nations are joining the search for the Sunrise-689, which went missing last week off Singapore.

Tra Mi

October 08, 2014 1:28 PM

WASHINGTON—
More nations have joined the search for a Vietnamese oil tanker that went missing off Singapore last week, officials said, in what many fear could be the latest instance of piracy in Southeast Asia.

The Sunrise-689 was carrying 5,226 tons of oil products and 18 crew members when coast guard officials lost radio contact with it on Thursday, less than an hour after departing from Singapore, Vietnamese search and rescue authorities said.

The vessel had been scheduled to arrive Sunday at Cua Viet in central Vietnam.

Nguyen Vu Diep, head of ship safety operations for the Hai Phong Fisheries Shipbuilding Company, which operates the Sunrise-689, told VOA’s Vietnamese Service on Wednesday that at least three countries have begun helping in the search.

“Countries including Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are helping Vietnam with the search,” he said. “They have sent search [teams] to that area. Planes were sent there [Tuesday] afternoon. They have not reported any results from the search, so we do not have any information."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hanoi said it had asked for help from Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia in the search.

Diep said there was no sign indicating the disappearance was an accident, but officials feared it could be instead piracy.

“We are calling for the government to quickly take action. We cannot rely on other authorized agencies or insurance companies, but the government that should quickly act on this,” he said.

Piracy is becoming a growing problem in the teeming commercial waterways of Southeast Asia. The region has seen at least six cases of coastal tankers being seized for their cargo since April, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

Read more: http://dongtalk.com/forums/index.php/topic/14511-piracy-feared-as-more-countries-join-search-for-vietnamese-oil-tanker/#ixzz3FaWh8jOV

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2Oct/14Off

Economy struggles to cope with bad debt, slow growth

October, 02 2014 09:26:00

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So far this year, the Vietnam Asset Management Company (VAMC) purchased around VND19.6 trillion (US$933 million) in bad debts but has a purchase target of VND70 trillion to VND100 trillion for 2014 alone.— Photo vneconomy

HA NOI (VNS) — The Vietnamese economy is facing three major challenges: low credit growth, slow pace of settlement of non-performing loans and sluggish business and production.
The Government news portal quoted Cao Viet Sinh, former planning and investment deputy minister, as saying that credit growth rose steadily from 3.15 per cent in July to 4.08 percent in August and 6.62 per cent in September 2014, but capital had not been effectively pumped into the economy. "As a result, it is hard to expect strong growth," Sinh added.

Meanwhile, banks' non-performing loans have increased mainly because of low credit growth and slow settlement of bad debts.

For instance, the ratio rose from 3.61 per cent at the end of 2013 to 4.07 percent last May and 4.17 percent in June.

So far this year, the Vietnam Asset Management Company (VAMC) purchased around VND19.6 trillion (US$933 million) in bad debts but has a purchase target of VND70 trillion to VND100 trillion for 2014 alone.

Commenting on the business community, the former deputy minister expressed concern over the number of dissolved and suspended enterprises, which went up by 13.8 per cent year-on-year to 48,330.

Little improvement was likewise seen in the number of newly-established businesses and registered capital volume, Sinh said.

To overcome these challenges, the Government has ordered lower units to seek solutions to facilitate production and business while stepping up implementation of the master plan for economic restructuring.

The General Statistics Office (GSO) has reported that the economy expanded by 5.62 per cent in the first nine months of 2014. The figure, Sinh noted, went beyond expectations.

Specifically, the GDP climbed from 5.09 per cent in the first quarter to 5.42 per cent in the second quarter and 6.19 per cent in the third quarter, said the statistics agency.

The index of industrial production also increased from 5.3 per cent in the first quarter to 6.9 per cent in the second quarter and 7.7 per cent in the third quarter.

Other positive signals include a 3.2-per cent year-on-year increase in foreign direct investment inflow to $8.9 billion and a 10-per cent year-on-year increase in official development assistance to $4.1 billion. — VNS

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2Oct/14Off

Five-star hotels reach first-half revenue high

October, 02 2014 09:22:00

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Pullman Hanoi hotel. — Photo vneconomy

HCM CITY (VNS) — Despite low occupancy rates and a drop in the number of Chinese tourists in May and June, high-end hotels in Viet Nam showed increases in room rates and revenue per room in the first half of the year, according to consulting firm Grant Thornton Vietnam.
The company said in its report released on Tuesday that RevPAR (revenue per available room) of 4-and 5-star in the first half of the year increased by 1.7 per cent compared with the growth of 4.2 per cent in the same period last year. It grew from $56.6 to $57.6.

This increase was affected by a significant rise in average room rates of 7.9 per cent, which was much higher than the 0.1 per cent increase in the first half of the year. On the other hand, the occupancy rate overall experienced a major drop of 5.7 per cent in the first half.

Compared with the performance of the first half of 2013, RevPAR of 4-star hotels significantly fell by 13.8 per cent while RevPAR of 5-star hotels continued to increase by 3.3 per cent.

An increase in RevPAR of 5-star hotels might be attributed to an increase of 5.1 per cent in average occupancy rates in the first half of the year, according to the report.

In addition, 5-star hotels in the north also experienced an increase in RevPAR by 25.8 per cent in the first six months of 2014, compared to the same period last year.

By region, the growth rate from the first half of 2013 to the first half of 2014 was 7 per cent for the north, 10.7 per cent for the central region and the Highlands, and 8.8 per cent for the south.

There was a significant growth in overall average room rates of 7.9 per cent in the first half of 2014 for high-end lodging (3 to 5 star) in Viet Nam, which was higher than the growth of 0.1 per cent in the first half of 2013.

Regarding the average room rate by star ranking, both 4- and 5-Star hotels experienced a drop of 6.6 per cent and 1.9 per cent, respectively, in the first six months of 2014.

There was a significant increase in average room rates in the north, and the central region and the Highlands, by 15.6 and 9.1 per cent, respectively, in the first half of 2014.

This was due to a significant increase in average room rate of international hotel brands in these two locations, by 47.5 and 43.7 per cent, respectively.

With a slower growth rate, the south also experienced an increase in average room rate by 2.7 per cent in the first six months of 2014, compared with the same period last year.

Overall average occupancy rate of 3- to 5- star hotels in the first half of 2014 decreased significantly to 60.4 per cent from 64.1 per cent in the first half of 2013 dropping by 5.7 per cent.

A decrease in average occupancy rate could be attributed to the East Sea tension in the second quarter and also by an increase in the number of new rooms in main destinations, including Ha Noi, which gained three additional 3- to 4-star hotels with 200 rooms in the first quarter of 2014. — VNS

Read more: http://dongtalk.com/forums/index.php/topic/14502-five-star-hotels-reach-first-half-revenue-high/#ixzz3F0l3lTfh

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