Last update 11:00 | 28/01/2015
VietNamNet Bridge - According to the latest figures published by Nielsen market research firm, 85 out of 100 Vietnamese people are changing their consumption habits.
Last year, Vietnamese people spent a large part of their income to maintain basic personal life instead of spending on other items such as luxury goods or electronic product.s
Last year, Vietnamese people spent a large part of their income to maintain basic personal life instead of spending on other items such as luxury goods or electronic products, according to Nielsen's survey.
Specifically, 62-63% of the survey participants cut spending for clothing and outside entertainment services. These are the two group of demands cut the most. In addition, people tried to use less power and gas.
Spending on cellphones and high-tech products or meals at restaurants was also cut by over 40% of population.
About 20% of the participants spent less for daily necessities, through the use of cheaper products or lack of use.
About 22% of them quit smoking to save money; 21% used food products of cheaper price; and 16% were willing to drink wine brands at softer prices.
Compared to neighboring countries, Vietnam was one of the most economical countries.
Notably, the people of the middle class tended to spend more money than ever before. However, the survey also showed that Vietnamese were becoming more "intelligent" in shopping. At least 83% of people made comparisons of similar products before purchase, 81% were confident about knowing the price well and 55% always checked prices carefully.
Besides the price, the quality of goods was an important factor as 73% of respondents said they would pay more for good products.
Another interesting point is that the majority of consumers tended to increase spending for children.
Tuesday, 27/01/2015 - 05:43 PM (GMT+7)
Vietnamese Ambassador to Egypt Dao Thanh Chung (centre) speaks at the dialogue. (Credit: VOV)
NDO/VNA – Egyptian investors showed strong interest in Vietnam’s business market during a dialogue jointly organised by the Vietnamese Embassy in Egypt and the Chamber of Commerce of Alexandria city in Cairo on January 26.
With the participation of representatives from 17 local firms in various fields, the event was part of focused activities organised by the Embassy to introduce and promote Vietnamese products to a five million population market, said Vietnamese Ambassador to Egypt Dao Thanh Chung.
Vietnamese trade counsellor in Egypt, Pham The Cuong, also briefed local businesses on highly potential fields in Vietnam, such as agro-forestry-fishery product cultivation and processing, garment-textiles, leather footwear, rice and furniture production.
General Director of the Egyptian engineering company Heshem Tawfik hailed Vietnam’s strategic vision, praising the efficient and well co-ordinated event.
In 2014, trade between the two countries was valued at US$320 million, a substantial increase from US$220 million in 2013. The figure is expected to increase even more reaching US$400 million this year.
Last update 11:20 | 26/01/2015
Vietnamese people spent at least US$3.1 billion for drinking 3.14 billion liters of beer in 2014, excluding imported beer, according to the Vietnam Beverages Association (VBA) released today.
Both the production capacity and consumption level of beer increased in Vietnam, it added. The production capacity of Vietnam increased 8.1 percent against the previous year.
Saigon Beverages Company (Sabeco) accounted for the biggest market share of beer production in Vietnam last year, with 1.3 billion liters. Hanoi Beverages Company (Habeco) followed with 637 million liters.
Other trademarks as Heineken, Tiger, and Huda reached 890 million liters.
However, VBA chairman Nguyen Van Viet rejected the conclusion that Vietnam ranks among the top beer-consumption nations in the world. He attributed that Vietnam consumed on average 30 liters per adult a year, ranking at the 50th place and the average level in the world.
Last year, many beer production project were invested such as the Saigon – Kien Giang Beer factory with the production capacity of 50 million liters a year. Habeco invested a production line of beer tin cans, at the capacity of 60,000 cans an hour.
In 2013, Vietnamese brewers collectively produced 2.9 billion liters of beer, a 7.4 percent increase compared to a year earlier.
Last update 12:04 | 26/01/2015
VietNamNet Bridge – Foreign investors’ excess of sales over purchases in the stock market have been attributed to the appreciation of the US dollar.
Analysts, reviewing the ups and downs of the stock market in 2014, discovered that foreign investors usually helped to increase sales when the dollar price rose in value.
Though foreign investors’ trading value accounts for a small percentage of the stock market’s trading value, their decisions always have an impact on the stock market because they affect domestic investors.
Domestic investors fear that foreign investors will withdraw their capital to make money from the greenback appreciation. If so, foreign capital flows to the stock market will fall sharply, they believe.
The problem is that the dollar has been appreciating rapidly within a short time.
The US Dollar Index, which is used to measure the dollar against six other hard foreign currencies, increased by nearly 13 percent in the months from July to December 2014.
The sharp increase in the greenback value showed the strong recovery of the currency after years of fluctuations due to the unstable US economy.
The impressive return of the greenback is attributed to the strong recovery of the US economy.
The US GDP grew by 5 percent in the third quarter of 2014, the highest growth rate in 11 years.
The labor market has warmed up with 400,000 new jobs created in October and November, according to an ADP report.
Meanwhile, the European economies are still in significant difficulties, while the European and Japanese central banks decided to loosen monetary policies. This paved the way for the US dollar to rise.
Foreign investors in Vietnam reportedly sold more than they bought by VND3.6 trillion in August to November, while they bought more than they sold in the first seven months of the year.
The capital flow to Market Vectors Vietnam ETF (V.N.M) also reportedly decreased sharply in the third quarter, while $52 million was disinvested in the fourth quarter, according to IndexUniverse.
Analysts, while noting that the foreign investors’ moves depend on many other factors including the oil price fall and the year-end portfolio restructuring, said the dollar price hike was still an important reason.
They noted that in 2013, when the dollar price fluctuated with no clear tendencies, foreign investors still bought more than they sold by VND6.8 trillion, despite a bad macroeconomic performance for the year.
In other words, when the US economy had yet to recover and the US dollar was still weak, investors found it attractive to pour money into markets like Vietnam, where they expected high yields.
But as the dollar has recovered, they have sold assets not valued in US dollars to invest in the greenback.
Saturday, 24/01/2015 - 11:35 AM (GMT+7)
NDO – Oil prices as low as US$40 a barrel could add 0.43 percentage points to Vietnam’s economic growth in 2015, according to Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh.
In two different scenarios, if oil prices stand at US$50 and US$60, Vietnam’s growth rate could be increased by 0.31 and 0.27 percentage point respectively, the minister added.
Minister Vinh said lower oil prices will hurt Vietnam’s oil production and Government revenue but gains from lower prices are higher than losses.
He stated that since Vietnam’s imports of refined oil products outstrip its crude exports, the economy can benefit from lower input and transport costs.
He elaborated that revenue from oil exports can fall by 4-5% in the short term but lower fuel prices will stimulate consumption and economic growth in the medium and long term.
Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung shared Minister Vinh’s view, citing some analysis that sharp falls in oil prices will give way to a new period of global economic boom beneficial to the Vietnamese economy.
Earlier, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said that the price regulation must harmonise with the interests of the State, enterprises and consumers.
He urged the Ministry of Finance to work with the Ministry of Transport and relevant ministries to work out measures to bring down transport costs in line with reductions in fuel prices.
The prime minister requested that transport costs be slashed before the Lunar New Year, which falls in mid-February.
Monday, 19/01/2015 - 04:36 PM (GMT+7)
Saigon Port in Ho Chi Minh City
NDO – Ho Chi Minh City was the largest contributor to Vietnam’s export revenue in 2014 with US$31.352 billion, accounting for 21% of the country’s total.
The addition of US$1.854 billion to 2014 revenue helped Ho Chi Minh City become the first locality in Vietnam to post an export revenue exceeding US$30 billion.
According to the General Department of Customs, in 2014 there were 23 provinces and cities with their respective export earnings surpassing US$1 billion, up 5 localities from 2013.
The northern province of Bac Ninh maintained its second place in 2014 but its revenue was down nearly US$4 billion in comparison with the previous year.
In contrast, export revenue of Thai Nguyen province shot up to US$7.927 billion compared with US$246 million in 2013, thanks to investment in a new Samsung factory.
In 2014, Vietnam exported goods worth an estimated US$150 billion and its imports were valued at US$148 billion, gaining a trade surplus of US$2 billion.
Breweries fight for high-end beer market
VietNamNet Bridge – The battle in the beer market is especially harsh in the high-end segment as Vietnamese breweries are now trying to target high-income earners.
Sabeco, the largest Vietnamese brewery, planned to sell 1.4 billion liters of beer of different kinds in 2014. In order to fulfill the plan, the company launched new products such as Saigon Gold, Sai Gon Special and Sai Gon Lager, positioning them as high-end products, targeting “young and dynamic consumers”.
“The high-end market segment has a lot of potential,” a Sabeco’s representative explained.
Prior to that, 80 percent of Sabeco’s products, bearing the brand “333” and “Sai Gon Do” (Red Saigon), had medium and low prices.
As expected, Sabeco’s bottled Saigon Special has been selling well since the day it was marketed, with six-month sales reaching 79.6 million, a surprisingly high figure, if noting that only 32.5 million liters of beer were consumed in the entire year of 2012. Meanwhile, the canned Saigon Special sales reportedly reached 29.6 million.
Analysts noted that the recent moves taken by Sabeco all showed its strong determination to penetrate the high-end market segment.
According to the HCM City Securities Company (HSC), the Ministry of Industry and Trade has submitted to the Prime Minister a plan to sell 30 percent of the 89 percent of shares the state holds in Sabeco to foreign strategic partners, and sell another 19 percent of shares to other partners in 2014 and 2015 at the latest.
After the shares are sold as proposed, the state’s share proportion in Sabeco would decrease to 40 percent. The foreign strategic partners may include Asahi, Kirin, SAB Miler and Heineken.
Thus, Sabeco has reasons to follow the strategy on developing high-end products. With 24 projects already invested and to be invested, the company’s production capacity will exceed 2 billion liters.
Hirofumi Kishi, general director of Sapporo Vietnam, which has been in Vietnam for three years, said Sapporo made a correct decision to target the high-end market segment from the very beginning when it entered Vietnam.
Sapporo’s beer output in 2014 was reportedly double that of 2013, while its products including 330 ml bottled, 330 ml canned, 650 ml canned Sapporo Premium and 20 liter fresh Sapporo Premium, are available at 5,000 shops and restaurants.
Michel de Carvalho, the owner of Heineken, also a high-end brand, is optimistic about business in the Vietnamese market.
Heinekin's sales exceeded the 200 million liter threshold in 2010, and it is expected that Vietnam will become the world's largest Heineken beer consumer in 2015.
Last update 17:00 | 20/01/2015
VietNamNet Bridge – Tuan Chau Group, a powerful real estate developer, plans to pour 20 million cubic meters of soil into the Ha Long Bay over 400 hectares of water surface to build three flower-shaped villas on the sea.
The group also wants to develop a 27-hole golf course on an area of 14 hectares, expand the road linking the mainland to the proposed Tuan Chau Island, and build a bridge 120 meters long.
The group reportedly has asked for permission to adjust the Tuan Chau Tourism & Entertainment Complex project seven times.
The latest suggestion by the Tuan Chau Group has stirred up the public because of the project’s large scale and the planned encroachment on Ha Long Bay, a World Heritage site.
The Ha Long Bay Management Board said the details of the project on the Tuan Chau Tourism & Entertainment Complex in 2011 were updated in a master plan on Ha Long Bay conservation and development.
The board said that since the complex is located in the buffer zone of the Ha Long Bay natural heritage, Vietnam would have to consult with UNESCO’s Heritage Center in Paris before making any adjustments to the project.
The project must also be submitted to the National Heritage Science Council for consideration and to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for approval.
Pham Thuy Duong, head of the Ha Long Bay Management Board, said in the latest session, UNESCO has repeatedly warned that the sea encroachment and urban area expansion would affect the value of the Ha Long Bay.
However, Duong said in Tuoi Tre that the management board had not been consulted about the project.
Many projects have been initiated to exploit the beauty of the world’s natural heritage for commercial purposes.
Quang Ninh provincial authorities plan to develop a cable system across Ha Long Bay in 2015.
The plan to build new items and expand existing works in Tuan Chau has faced strong opposition from the public.
Dao Ngoc Nghiem, a renowned architect, strongly opposed the idea. “No one would build golf courses on the heritage area,” he said, calling it a “deplorable idea”.
A source said that some of Tuan Chau’s plans to develop villas and other construction works on Ha Long Bay had been rejected. However, the investor is still patient with its plans.
Last update 14:00 | 15/01/2015
VietNamNet Bridge – The latest decision by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) will put pressure on Vietnam’s foreign debt payments in 2015, analysts have said.
The latest report by the Ministry of Finance showed that the public debt had reached VND2.395.488 trillion by December 31, 2014, equal to 60.3 percent of GDP. Of this, foreign debts are equal to 39.9 percent of GDP.
The foreign debts are estimated at $73 billion if noting that the GDP is $183 billion. As the dong has been devalued by one percent, Vietnam will have to pay VND15 trillion more to pay debts.
Pham Hong Hai, CEO of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), said in principle, the 1 percent depreciation of the dong will increase the public debt.
However, the impact will not be too harsh because most of the foreign debt is long term, which means that the influence will be divided over many years.
He went on to say that the most important thing Vietnam needs to do is to use loans in the most effective way to ensure profits. That is, the benefits to be obtained from the loans must be higher than the borrowing costs, which include the cost of the exchange rate fluctuations.
MOF, in its report, also warned about challenges for Vietnam in terms of less ODA (official development assistance).
Vietnam is now considered a lower middle-income country compared to the past when it was classified as a low-income country, enabling it to access ODA loans at preferential interest rates.
However, interest rates required by donors have increased. The average interest rate of the World Bank’s loans, for example, has increased from zero percent to 1.25 percent.
This means that the debt burden on the government will be heavier not only because of the dong/dollar exchange rate adjustment, but also because of the higher interest rate.
According to MOF, foreign debts now account for 50 percent of the total government’s debts. And in the case of negative exchange-rate fluctuations, the government’s debts and debt payment obligations will increase accordingly.
Also, according to the report, most of the sovereign debts are from ODA and preferential loans from donors which have low interest rates and capital costs. The average interest rate is 1.6 percent per annum and the average lending term is 20 years.
In addition, mobilizing capital in the international market through government bond issuance has become an important credit channel.
Vietnam, in late November 2014, successfully issued $1 billion worth of 10-year bonds at the interest rate of 4.8 percent. This was done to get money to pay for bonds the government issued in 2005 and 2010 at the interest rate of 6.8 percent.
Thursday, 15/01/2015 - 01:04 PM (GMT+7)
Around 11,550 housing transactions successfully carried out in Hanoi in 2014
NDO - The real estate market in 2014 was revived, showing many positive signs - lowered inventory and bad debts, many successful housing transactions and stable prices - said Deputy Minister of Construction Nguyen Tran Nam in an interview granted to Nhan Dan daily newspaper.
Q: Can you please give an overall assessment of the real estate market in 2014 and the particular difficulties the market faced in the past year?
A: The real estate market in 2014 recovered positively, despite stagnating in the 2010-2013 period, thanks to a string of solutions from the Government and the Ministry of Construction.
Housing prices are now fairly stable and affordable for the majority of people. Real estate options are now more diverse, satisfying the demands of various types of customers, and contributing to increasing the liquidity of the market.
New housing construction projects have made adjustments to apartment structures with an increase of small apartments under 70 square metres and fewer large-area apartments.
2014 also saw a rise in successful housing transactions, primarily completed housing projects near the city’s centre, with adequate infrastructure facilities, carried out by prestigious investors. Projects to be completed, ongoing projects with good progress and small-area apartments saw many deals last year.
In 2014, around 11,550 housing transactions were successfully carried out in Hanoi, nearly double that of 2013, while more than 10,300 transactions were recorded in Ho Chi Minh City, up 30% against 2013.
Moreover, real estate inventory continued to decrease and real estate credit saw a constant rise since the beginning of 2014. In the January-October period in 2014, real estate credit was posted at over VND299 trillion (US$10.76 billion), up 14% against the same period of the previous year.
However, the real estate market in 2014 also encountered many difficulties with a number of enterprises having to suspend operations while many others were in the process of restoring operations. The market still lacked small-area flats in convenient locations, good infrastructure and reasonable prices. The disputes between customers and investors in raising capital, and prolonged delays in the handing over of flats have not been thoroughly solved.
There was a high demand for housing from workers at many large industrial zones in the provinces of Thai Nguyen, Bac Ninh and others, but very few enterprises invest in such projects.
Q: There seems to be a slowdown in the social housing development programme. What do you think about this?
A: The Government promulgated many policies and mechanisms in support of the development of social housing for low-income earners in both rural and urban areas. Such policies and mechanisms have created positive impacts on the housing market and boosted investment in housing projects.
To date, more than 100 social housing projects have been completed and 150 others are being carried out. 34 projects were given a pledge of VND4.4 trillion (US$206.8 million).
At the same time, the Government's VND30 trillion (US$1.41 billion) housing assistance package, launched in 2013 to stimulate housing demand, has paid off with an increasing disbursement rate. By mid-December 2014, commercial banks approved housing loans worth more than VND9.4 trillion (US$441.8 million) with total outstanding loans of over VND4.8 trillion (US$225.6 million).
New points of view in social housing development were stated in the 2013 Constitution, the Party's Resolutions and in the revised Law on Housing recently approved at the 8th session of the National Assembly as well as in Government's policies, which need time to produce their intended effect. In 2015 and in the coming years, such policies will certainly be implemented and promoted to meet people’s housing demands.
Q: It is said that 2014 was a bumper year for the promulgation of policies related to the construction sector. What is the impact of these policies on the real estate market and which solutions will the Ministry of Construction focus on to develop a stable real estate market?
A: It is true that in 2014 many new policies took effect and several new legal documents were approved relating to the construction sector, housing and real estate development.
Since early this year, the Ministry of Construction has been working with relevant ministries and sectors to build and submit to the Government five decrees and attached circulars aiming to create a breakthrough in housing development policies. Accordingly, the investment in and building of housing projects must conform to plans adopted by authorised agencies to prevent the imbalance of supply and demand.
The revised Housing Law, effective July 2015, expands the scope of property ownership allowing overseas Vietnamese, foreigners with valid visas and foreign direct investment enterprises to buy residential properties. The revised law is expected to attract more foreign sources and drive the development of the real estate market.
To boost the stable, healthy and sustainable development of the real estate market, in 2015 the Ministry of Construction will closely co-ordinate with ministries and sectors to complete institutions related to managing investment, and building and developing urban areas, housing projects and the real estate market.
At the same time, the ministry will work with localities to strengthen the management of real estate projects and review ongoing projects to decide which ones will be continued, converted or adjusted. In addition, the Construction Ministry will promote the implementation of goals set out in the National housing development strategy by 2020 with a focus on developing social housing projects to serve low-income earners.
Legal documents with synchronous amendments will surely create positive impacts on the real estate market, contributing to meeting the housing demands of policy beneficiaries as well as enhancing State management of the real estate market.
Thank you very much!