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DAILY BUSINESS NEWS FROM VIAN- 05/06/2009  5 June 2009

Vietnam finds 3 new oilfields
Vietnam’s state oil monopoly, Petrovietnam, has made three oil and gas discoveries so far this year, the country’s government has said.
The three fields, Hai Su Den-2X, Thien Ung-3X, and CC-2XST, are all located offshore, the government said in a statement, without providing further details of the finds.
Petrovietnam’s crude oil exports in the first five months of 2009 jumped 16 per cent from a year earlier to 7.02 million tonnes but lower oil prices led to a fall of 44 per cent in revenues at just US$2.57 billion (S$3.71 billion), the government added.
Petrovietnam has been stepping up exploration efforts both at home and abroad as it moves to secure more oil reserves to meet rising domestic energy demand. (Reuters/VNBusinessNews-June4)


Gold prices rise higher as traders keep low profile
Domestic gold trading is stagnating despite consecutive records hit in the price of the precious metal.
The gold price is listed about VND21.5 million (US$1,209) per tael (a tael is equivalent to 1.2 ounce) at gold shops. Bao Tin Minh Chau Jewellery and Sai Gon Jewellery Holding listed the buying and selling prices about VND21.43 -24.54 million per tael, up about VND200,000 against Tuesday
Nguyen Thanh Truc, deputy director of the Viet Nam Gold Trading Association, said that people currently holding gold were primarily those who wanted to save gold, not trade it, in the context of prolonged economic recession.
“The fluctuation of the domestic gold price depends on local needs and the global price because of the central bank’s restriction on gold imports for preventing a trade deficit. This rule restricts gold import-export activities,” Truc said.
As a result, the domestic price was climbing on the global price, to even higher levels, while domestic demand was scarce, Truc said. “This situation puts investors into higher risks when they inject money in gold.”…(VNBusinessNews-June 4)


Opener the door for listings of foreign invested firms
From June 1, foreign investors are allowed to purchase up to 49 percent of public companies (including listed or unlisted companies). Also the companies that have over 49 percent foreign holding also can list on the stock market, pursuant to Decision No 55/2009/QD-TTg ruling on the foreign ownership ratio on Vietnamese stock market.
The decision is an opener direction supporting foreign invested companies to go public in Vietnam. To date, there are seven companies (formerly foreign invested firms) being listed on securities trading centres, namely Mirae JSC, Mirae Fiber JSC, Taicera Ceramic JSC, Chang Yih Ceramic Co, Tung Kuang JSC, Taya Electrical Wire and Cable JSC and Full Power. As making listing applications, the companies had to the requirements like domestic firms as well as comply with the prime minister’s Decision No 238/2005/QD-TTg dated September 29, 2005 on foreign parties’ stock-holding rates in Vietnam’s stock market and the finance ministry’s Circular No 90/2005/TT-BTC dated October 17, 2008 guiding the implementation of the Decision No 238/2005/QD-TTg. Accordingly, foreign investors who hold over 49 percent stake of a company before listing will have to offload shares t reduce their ownership ratio to the allowable maximum level of 49 percent after that company goes public.
Most aforementioned foreign invested companies have the foreign holding ratio of exceeding 49 percent when making listing applications. In the financial statement (one of compulsory documents to prepare for listing), big shareholders keeping over 49 percent stake of corporates all must commit to reduce holding down to the regulated level.
Decision No 55 creates better conditions for listing of foreign invested companies and does not forced foreign investors to reduce their size in businesses. Under Clause 4 of Decision 55, when foreign holding in enterprises surpass 49 percent, they have the right to maintain their current ownership ratio. If any, they only can sell out shares.
According to a securities brokerage, as for foreign investment companies wanted listing, the decision allows founding shareholders to keep their company’s shares in long term.
The listing progress of foreign invested firms seemed to stand still along with the stock market slump. recently thanks to the surge of market, the stock market expected to receive a new securities supply from foreign invested companies. Typically, Everpia Vietnam, a foreign invested joint stock company, is finalising procedures to list on Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (STC). As planned, the application will be sent to the southern bourse’s regulator next month. Pursuant to Decision 55, Everpia Vietnam still can be approved to go public although its foreign holding is up to 90 percent at the moment.
Lee Jae Eun, chair cum general director of Everpia Vietnam said that Decision 55 allowed him and other foreign shareholders to maintain long term investments in the country. However, foreign investors will be not allowed to buy extra shares when the firm issues new shares.
In his opinion, in next time when Vietnamese economy is more integrated deeper with the world, the government will release opener policies for foreigners to join and develop businesses in Vietnam.


Dong deposit rate band rises
05/Jun/2009 Intellasia | Lao Dong Online
Compared with the last month end, the dong deposit rate band tended to increase by 0.15-0.65 percent a year to 7.3-8.88 percent pa at the moment, State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) reported.
The lending rate was sustainable at 8.5-10.5 percent pa and the subsidised loan rate was common at 4.5-6 percent pa.
As for US dollar, the deposit rate ranges between 1.24 and 2.65 percent pa while the lending rate is around 3-7 percent pa.


Banks expect to exceed profit guidance

Banks have recently reported monthЃ]onЃ]month increase of profit and positive signs of the credit growth. Banks have also balanced lending and deposit interest rates. Thus, many banks said that they have signs that will exceed fullЃ]year profit targets.
According to Vietnam Export and Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Eximbank), by May 31, the bank posted a preЃ]tax profit of 674 billion dong; total subsidisedЃ]interest rate loans of 5.69 trillion dong, accounting for 19 percent of total outstanding loans. In addition to services and products, Eximbank has also paid attention to expanding its operation network in a bid to overwhelm the market share. An official from Eximbank said that with the current market movements and without big changes in the second half, the bank will possibly overЃ]fulfil its fullЃ]year profit target, which is 1.5 trillion dong approved at the bankЃfs 2009 annual shareholders meeting. However, major shareholders of Eximbank opposed such a target while saying that this target failed to match the bankʹs scope. A senior official of Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank) said that ending the first five months, the bank gained preЃ]tax profit of over 650 billion dong. To date, Sacombank has disbursed some 14 trillion dong worth of subsidisedЃ]interest rate loans. Sacombank expected to obtain 1.6 trillion dong in preЃ]tax profit. Therefore, the bank will likely to fulfil 50 percent of the fullЃ]year profit target. That is because the capital absorption of the economy started having optimistic signs. The credit growth is a good opportunity for Sacombank to fulfil the targeted outstanding loans of 50 trillion dong this year, 50 percent higher than last year. The recovery of credit in the first months has resulted in the strong growth of revenue from credit activities. Thus, banks said that without unexpected changes of the market in the upcoming time, they would absolutely be able to fulfil their profit targets. Asian Commercial Bank (ACB) expected to gain net profit of 1.1 trillion dong from banking activities. This year, ACB expected to report preЃ]tax profit of 2.7 trillion dong. By May 15, ACBЃfs preЃ]tax profit reached over 692 billion dong, which has not yet been unified
from the bank’s subsidiaries and has set aside all risk provisioning funds. ACB believed that its fulfilling the entire yearЃfs targeted profit of 2.7 trillion dong is within its reach. Although having meet various difficulties due to the impact of the global economic crisis on VietnamЃfs socioЃ]economic activities, VietnamЃfs banks, particularly small and medium banks, have seen significant improvements in their profits in the first five months against last year. For example, HCM City Development Bank (HDBank) has strived to obtain preЃ]tax profit of 74.46 billion dong in the first five months, or 42.79 percent of the bankЃfs fullЃ]year profit target. Revenue from credit activities has contributed over 50 percent into the bankʹs profit in the first five months instead of losses last year. However, a banking official said that with relatively high credit growth target this year, risks of nonЃ]performing loans is also of great concerns. Thus, in addition to profit targets, banks should pay more attention to close management over risks of nonЃ]performing


Businesses upbeat on prospects: HSBC survey

The results of HSBCЃfs Business Confidence Index survey announced on June 3 showed that Vietnam is one of the highest BCI owners in terms of commercial development. According to the survey, most of Vietnamese SMEs believed that the global economy would be improved in few next months. Up to 54 percent of surveyed businessesЃ]the highest ratio in Asia Pacific regionЃ]predicted that the volume of commercial trading deals will surge.
This is the first survey to seek the conference of SMEs operating in export and imports, conducted from March to May 2009 by HSBCЃfs Trade and Supply Chain services. Over 2,100 leaders of SMEs in export import and trading in Australia, Hong Kong, India,China, Singapore, UAE and Vietnam took part in the survey. Among 300 Vietnamese businesses being surveyed, 75 percent said that risks from buyers and suppliers will be unchanged, 57 percent expected that the demand for commercial finance support will increase and the banking sector will the main supply channel. Meanwhile, 54 percent believed that the capacity of accessing commercial funding would surge as well. About two third of surveyed Vietnamese businesses predicted, unforeseeable movements of the foreign currency market will cause negative impacts on their business activities while 62 percent regarded the unsustainable foreign currency market as the disadvantage for business development. Quoting Nguyen Thanh Ha, director of HSBC Bank (Vietnam) Ltd Trade and Supply Chain services, Vietnamese SMEs still kept the most optimism on economy. These firms appreciated highly VietnamЃfs long term prospect based on the governmentЃfs
business development encouraging policies, infrastructure and legislation framework being improved, young human resources and advantageous geographical position in the region.

DAILY BUSINESS NEWS FROM VIAN- 04/06/2009  4 June 2009

MoF imposes zero VAT on international transport

Ministry of Finance just adopted Circular No.112/2009/TT-BTC stipulating conditions for applying VAT 0% for international transport and services of airlines and navigation.
Accordingly, to enjoy 0% of VAT, international transport must meet following requirements: has contract for carrying passengers, luggages, or cargoes between the carrier and the renter for international route from Vietnam to oversea countries or from oversea countries to Vietnam; has payment documents through bank or other modes of payments which are considered as payment through bank; in case passengers are individuals, has direct payment documents. (Thoi bao kinh te Viet Nam – June 4, Hanoimoi – June 4)


EC to increase aid to Vietnam

On June 2, Sean Doyle, Ambassador – Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Vietnam, affirmed EC would continue to increase aid to Vietnam by 20% in 2011-2013 phase. The Ambassador highlighted when serious problem as poverty still existed in Vietnam, donors were ready to help. The Ambassador pledged EC would give aid worth 48 million euros to Vietnam in 2011-2013 phase, up by 20% compared to the aid worth 40 million euros in 2007-2010 phase. Michal Kral, the Ambassador from the Czech Republic, which holds the EU Presidency, said according to World Bank’s evaluation, Vietnam has not reached the level of a country with average income yet, but EU country members considered this when planning new ODA strategy in 2010, and at least till 2010 EU’s aid to Vietnam will not be changed. (Lao Dong – June 3)


Garment and textiles industry sees sign of stabilizing

The garment and textiles industries witnessed a monthly increase of 8 percent and 3 percent respectively in May. However, according to the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, declining demands from important markets like the US and the EU have resulted in the industries’ exports turnover in May falling by 11 percent to US$ 3.24 billion compared to the same period last year. This accounts for only 28 percent of this year’s plan. A domestic trade program has been launched by many supermarket chains together with the widening of wholesale and retails channels to deliver goods to rural areas. Commercial experts have also confirmed that the concentration of domestic enterprises in the home market, especially towards low income consumers and the special attention they pay to marketing and promotional programmes are the best ways to ease the global economic downturn. (VNBusinessNews/VOV-June 3)


Land prices rise as property market shows recover signs

Land prices have risen for the last two weeks in certain parts of HCM City, posting increases of 10 to 30 percent compared to the end of last year. The southern and eastern parts of the city have seen the sharpest rises, especially in areas earmarked for residential projects. The real estate market is showing signs – like an increase in the number of transactions – that it is likely to become more active by the end of this year, according to market observers. Another sign of the rising interest is the increase in lending by banks to both property developers and buyers. In Ha Noi and HCM City, loans given to property projects accounted for 10 percent of their total. Some major banks have given between 14 and 20 percent of their loans to property projects. Banks’ continued lending will give the property market a great boost, helping it recover soon. (VNRealestateMarket – June 3)


Central bank to accept dollar bonds as collateral
01/Jun/2009 Intellasia | Reuters
Vietnam’s central bank will accept the country’s recently issued dollar-denominated bonds as collateral in its dollar lending operations to help ease the tightness in dollar supply, bankers said on Friday.
The central bank said it would accept foreign currency denominated “valuable papers” as collateral for the first time, without elaborating.
Bankers said these papers would primarily include Vietnam’s $230 million dollar bonds issued in March and they would be accepted in the central bank’s dollar lending operations.
“This will accommodate the supply of short-term funds to banks which suffer from liquidity shortfall,” the bank said in a statement seen on Friday.
Importers have been complaining they were unable to buy dollars from banks at the official exchange rate due to banks’ dollar shortage.
“The new rule would create a new mechanism for the central bank to intervene to solve the dollar shortage issue but given the amount of domestic dollar bond, it will not be much,” a banker in HCM City said.
The central bank said earlier this month that banks had plenty of dollars that they can lend but a shortage of dollars to sell as exporters preferred to keep their export earnings in the greenback on fear of a faster depreciation of the dong.
Vietnam devalued its dong currency twice last year and the currency remains under pressure because of general economic uncertainty, an expected turnaround in the trade balance to a deficit and as the fact that the dong has weakened less than many of its peers recently.
The government estimated earlier this week trade deficit in May would widen to $1.5 billion from $1.18 billion in April.
But State Bank Governor Nguyen Van Giau said last week he saw no need to adjust the dong’s exchange rate against the dollar on the ground that the dollar was depreciating against other major currencies.


Immigration visa exemption for tourists
01/Jun/2009 Intellasia | Nguoi Lao Dong Online
From now to the end of this September, foreign tourists entering Vietnam according to the promotional tours of “An Tuong Vietnam” tourism programme can enter visa-free said the tourism department.
A visa to Vietnam currently costs a steep $100 (or more in some countries).


Vietnam unlikely to raise retail fuel prices soon
01/Jun/2009 Intellasia | Dow Jones
Vietnam is unlikely to raise its retail fuel prices in the near future, despite the recent highs in global prices, state media said Friday.
The Ministry of Finance issued Thursday a decision to turn down a proposal by local fuel trading firms to raise the prices of gasoline, diesel and kerosene by at least 500 dong per litre, said Thoi Bao Kinh Te newspaper.
The ministry said “fuel trading firms are not to adjust retail prices of petroleum products for the time being,” without elaborating.
In the proposal submitted by nine leading fuel trading firms to the ministry earlier this week, the trading firms complained they are losing 1,200 dong on every litre of gasoline they sell and 1,500 dong on every litre of diesel.
Vietnam last raised the prices of oil products by 500 dong per litre May 8, two weeks after the ministry received a similar proposal from fuel trading firms.
The price of 95 octane gasoline was raised to 13,000 dong per litre, 92 octane gasoline to 12,500 dong, diesel to 10,500 dong and kerosene to 12,000 dong per litre.



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