Laos allows private firms to study building power line to Vietnam
The Lao Government has given the green light for two private companies to carry out a feasibility study on the construction of a 220kV transmission line which would carry electricity from five dams in northern Laos to Vietnam.
If the study is approved, the line will transmit electricity from Nam Ou dams No.3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 through Luang Prabang and Phongsaly provinces to Vietnam.
The signing ceremony for the work took place last weekend by representatives from the Lao Government and CTC Development Group Sole Co., Ltd. and Vu Thu Construction JSC of Vietnam, the Vientiane Times reported.
The feasibility study will take 18 months and if the results are positive, construction on the line will begin right after that.
This move comes in the context that Laos wants to increase electricity export to meet Vietnam’s growing energy demand. Laos currently exports more than 6,423MW of electricity, mainly to neighbouring countries, including Vietnam.
Shares gain on banking and steel stocks
Vietnamese shares rose on Tuesday, bolstered by market heavyweights as demand force increased significantly towards the closing minutes of trading, especially in the steel and banking groups.
The market benchmark VN-Index on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) increased 0.22 per cent, to finish the trading day at 1,500.99 points.
The index had climbed 18.7 points, or 1.26 per cent, ending Monday at 1,497.66 points.
The market breadth was negative as 169 stocks declined while 282 rose and 52 ended flat.
The market’s liquidity was lower than the previous session with nearly 735 million shares traded on the southern market, worth VND22.6 trillion (US$995 million).
The 30 biggest stocks tracker, VN30-Index, climbed 0.60 per cent to finish at 1,550.46 points.
Of the VN30 basket, 15 stocks increased while 13 decreased, while two ended flat.
Meanwhile, on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX), the HNX-Index gained 0.22 per cent to close at 417.89 points. The northern market index had also edged up 2.6 points, or 0.62 per cent, to end Monday at 419.22 points. During the session, over 59 million shares were traded on HNX, worth VND1.6 trillion.
Gold shops brace for God of Wealth Day crowds
Gold buying is expected to skyrocket on the God of Wealth Day on the 10th day of the lunar year, which falls on February 10 this time, since it is believed to bring good fortune and prosperity during the year.
Jewellery companies have stocked up on various gold items like traditional figurines of the God of Wealth inscribed with the words Phuc (Happiness), Loc (Prosperity), Tai (Wealth), and Tho (Longevity), the 12 zodiac animals and lucky charm bracelets made of 24k and 18k gold.
Since it is the Year of the Tiger, the animal also widely features on gold products.
Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company has launched Kim Dan Dai Cat figurines (large size) made of 24k gold-plated alloy inlaid with rubies, Kim Dan Thinh Vuong figurines (small) made of 24k gold and rubies and weighing half a tael and Kim Dan Sum Vay made of 24k gold-plated alloy with cubic zirconia stones, available for the first time in Viet Nam.
PNJ has also launched a limited edition set of six gold pieces, Xuan An Khang, charm bracelets with the word ‘Lucky’ inscribed, and gold pieces weighing 0.05-0.1 tael in designs inspired by the symbols of coin, carnations, apricot flowers, swallows, and others.
DOJI has stockpiled 380,000 gold items for its 2022 Gold Festival that runs from February 8 to 10, an increase of 15 per cent from last year, with the main products including 24k items in blister packs weighing 0.1, 0.2 or 0.5 tael and gold coins inscribed with images of the god Caishen.
SJC has a gold series a lucky gold series this year, including figurines of tigers made of 24k gold in 1 tael and 0.1 tael, and a 0.1 tael 24k bullion inscribed with images of tigers and images of the God of Wealth, Maitreya and others.
Others like Sacombank Jewelry Company and Phu Quy Gold, and major gold shops across the country too have stoked up.
Gold and jewellery shops also said they plan to open earlier and close later than usual to cope with the rush.
Reference exchange rate continues upward trend
The State Bank of Vietnam set the daily reference exchange rate for the US dollar at 23,410 VND/USD on February 9, up 14 VND from the previous day.
With the current trading band of +/-3 percent, the ceiling rate applicable for commercial banks during the day is 23,797 VND/USD and the floor rate 22,410 VND/USD.
The opening-hour rates at commercial banks increased.
At 8:25am, Vietcombank listed the buying rate at 22,580 VND/USD and the selling rate 22,890 VND/USD, both up 10 VND from February 7.
BIDV also raised its both rates by 45 VND to 22,610 VND/USD (buying) and 22,890 VND/USD (selling).
Vietnamese rice well-received in Europe
The EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) has opened up unprecedented opportunities for Vietnamese rice. Thanks to the preferential tariffs, the export of jasmine rice and high-quality rice to the EU has never been so good.
Viet Nam Customs reported that the country’s rice exports to the EU market have not yet recorded a sharp increase in volume, but the export price and value had increased significantly.
Rice exports to the market reached 53,910 tonnes in the first 11 months of last year, worth US$38.07 million, up only 0.8 per cent year-on-year in volume but the value grew by 21.6 per cent.
The Import-Export Department said this result showed that businesses had effectively taken advantage of the EVFTA to increase the value of rice exports to the EU, especially amid the pandemic, increasing sea freight rates and declining rice imports in the past year.
Statistics from Eurostat showed that the EU rice imports fell by 10.9 per cent in volume in the first nine months of last year and 9.3 per cent in value.
However, among the 10 major foreign rice suppliers to the EU in the nine months, the Vietnamese rice export price to the EU achieved the strongest growth, up 20.3 per cent, reaching an average of $781 per tonne.
Therefore, although the country’s rice exports to the EU dropped, the export turnover still rose by 13.2 per cent.
Up to 90 percent of workers in HCM City return to work after Tet
Between 80 and 95 percent of employees at enterprises in the southern largest economic of Ho Chi Minh City returned to work on February 8 after the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.
Factories with high rates of workers returning to work are Samsung HCMC CE Complex (95 percent) and Nidec Sankyo Vietnam Co. Ltd. (94 percent). Other companies like Intel Products Vietnam Co. Ltd. and Jabil Vietnam Co. Ltd. also reported over 90 percent of workers back to work.
According to the labour management division under the Ho Chi Minh City Export Processing Zone and Industrial Park Authority (HEPZA), the rate of workers back to work after the Tet holiday is 82 percent. HEPZA is managing 17 industrial zones with 273,000 employees.
Ho Xuan Lam, vice chairman of the city’s Labour Confederation, said after the Tet holiday, most of the employees wanted to back to work early to improve their lives after struggling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vietnam’s manufacturing industry continues improving in January
Vietnam’s manufacturing industry recorded a steady increase in output and orders in January while the number of jobs also rose for the second consecutive month, according to a newly released report of London-based information provider IHS Markit.
The Vietnam Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 53.7 in January 2022 from 52.5 in December 2021. It signals a solid improvement in business conditions that was the most marked since April last year. Both output and new orders increased at a high rate in the opening month of the year as customer demand continued to enhance.
Experts attributed the improvement in total new orders to foreign enterprises’ activities, with the fastest growth rate since November 2018.
Companies are also confident in the production outlook for 2022. About 60 percent of respondents expected an increase in output, reflecting the highest level of optimism in the past three years.
A rise in employment was recorded in January, as companies continued to rebuild their workforce following the Delta wave of the pandemic in 2021.
According to IHS Markit, the increase in employment enabled manufacturers to keep on top of workload despite a sharper growth of new orders.
Vietnam on way to become world’s production hub: Sputnik
Vietnam is expected to become a new production hub of the world, as “Made in Vietnam” products are winning larger shares in the international market, according to Russia’s Sputnik news agency.
The news agency noted that last year, Vietnam enjoyed good results in foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction, and drew hundreds of millions of USD right in the beginning of 2022, which showed the strong confidence of investors, including many giant firms such as Foxconn, Pegatron, Wistron, LEGO and Nike, in the country’s economic prospects.
Sputnik cited statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs showing that Vietnam earned a record amount of 57.54 billion USD from exporting telephones and accessories in 2021, a rise of 12.4 percent year on year, and a 25-fold increase from the 2.3 billion USD recorded in 2010.
According to Sputnik, the result was firstly attributable to the Republic of Korea’s Samsung Group, whose revenue accounted for nearly 20 percent of Vietnam’s GDP last year. As of the end of 2021, Samsung had invested 18 billion USD in Vietnam. Currently, more than 50 percent of Samsung’s cell phones are produced in Vietnam. Smart mobile devices manufactured in Vietnam are being exported to 128 countries and territories in the world.
According to Sputnik, experts predicted that Vietnam will become the largest production hub of Nike. The CNBC quoted the world leading sportwear producer’s financial report as saying that in 2021, Vietnam produced 51 percent of its global production.
Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange striving to meet international standards
The Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE), as the nucleus of the Vietnamese stock market, should strive to meet international standards, Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Phan Van Mai said at a gong-beating ceremony to start the first trading session of the exchange following the Lunar New Year holiday on February 8.
The official said that HCM City is striving to complete a project turning itself into a regional and international financial centre to boost the local stock market.
Pointing out unpredictable impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the market, Deputy Minister of Finance Nguyen Duc Chi said the HOSE needs to continue its coordination with the State Securities Commission (SSC), the Vietnam Securities Depository (VSD) and other stock exchanges to put in place the new information technology system for the entire stock market, known as KRX, as scheduled.
He also highlighted the restructuring of the stock market, saying the HOSE should actively coordinate with the Vietnam Stock Exchange (VNX) in completing operational regulations and procedures, building a five-year development strategy, and developing new products, especially those that would facilitate foreign investors’ access to the Vietnamese stock market.
Domestic tourists hit 5.5 million during Tet holiday
The number of domestic tourists reached 5.5 million during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday this year that lasted from January 29 to February 6, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said on February 8.
There were 467 foreign visitors from Russia holding ‘vaccine passports’.
Although Hanoi cancelled festivals and activities that may attract crowds, the capital city welcomed 105,000 tourists during the holiday.
Meanwhile, Hanoians mainly travelled to southern localities like Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang city of Khanh Hoa and Phu Quoc island offshore Kien Giang province.
HCM City received about 200,000 domestic holidaymakers, raking in 140 billion VND (6.16 million USD) from tourism. Khanh Hoa province greeted more than 85,000 visitors, a 2.5-fold increase compared to the same period last year.
Kien Giang welcomed a total of 368 flights during the holiday and the figure is projected to stay at 40 per day between February 7 and 13. More than 100,000 tourists came to the Mekong Delta province, with 75 percent of them to Phu Quoc island.
Vietnam aims to serve 65 million tourists this year, including 5 million foreigners, earning 400 trillion VND.
Ground broken for new industrial park, workers’ housing projects in Bac Ninh
State-owned Viglacera Corporation on February 8 broke ground on a 250-ha industrial park and a 2,000-unit housing project for factory workers and experts in the northern province of Bac Ninh.
The event marked a step forward for Vietnam’s largest construction materials producer.
To be operational in the second quarter of this year, Thuan Thanh Industrial Park I has a total investment of nearly 3 trillion VND (over 132 million USD). Located near National Roads 17 and 38 and Ring Road 4, it easy for the park to reach all the international airports in the region – Noi Bai (Hanoi), Cat Bi (Hai Phong) and Van Don (Quang Ninh) – as well as major sea ports of Dinh Vu (Hai Phong) and Cai Lan (Quang Ninh).
It aims to become a multi-functional industrial park which can attract projects in supporting industries, electronics, information technology, household appliances, machinery, and environmentally-friendly ones.
The affordable housing project will offer accommodation for around 10,000 factory workers and experts from Yen Phong Industrial Park in Bac Ninh. Each apartment unit will have one to three bedrooms and cost just about 8.5 million VND per sqm. The project also includes a medical centre, a cultural house, a kindergarten, an outdoor sporting venue, and a supermarket.
PVGAS Trading imports 30,000 tonnes of refrigerated LPG
PetroVietnam Gas Trading Company (PVGAS Trading), a subsidy of the Petrovietnam Gas Joint Stock Corporation (PV GAS), has successfully imported 30,000 tonnes of refrigerated liquefied petroleum gases (LPG) to the floating warehouse vessel Viet Dragon 68 off the coast of the northern province of Thai Binh.
The import, the 8th of its kind since the northern floating warehouse project began operation and the first in the Year of the Tiger, aimed at ensuring LPG supply to the northern market.
The refrigerated LPG was transported from Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait.
The 60,000 DWT Viet Dragon 68, the first floating refrigerated LPG storage vessel in the North, was put into operation on July 6, 2021, with a capacity of over 44,000 tonnes.
Good signs for local tourism industry in early 2022
The national tourism industry received approximately 6.1 million domestic arrivals throughout the Lunar New Year holiday, known locally as Tet, which lasted from January 29 to February 6, with its revenue standing at an estimated VND25 trillion.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) reported that the number of domestic holidaymakers booking tours has increased sharply since December 2021 after the government adopted a strategy of living safely with the virus.
VNAT statistics show that tourist destinations nationwide welcomed 5.2 million arrivals in December 2021 and the figure rose sharply to 7.3 million in January 2022.
These figures are good signs for the local tourism industry which has been badly impacted by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic for the past two years, said a VNAT representative.
Notably, Tay Ninh led localities nationwide, receiving 595,000 visitors during the Tet holiday.
Elsewhere, Ba Ria-Vung Tau province came second by welcoming roughly 420,000 domestic tourists, whilst Lam Dong and Quang Ninh provinces ranked third and fourth with 300,000 and 290,000 tourists, respectively.
Meanwhile, three major Vietnamese cities – Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang – received 280,000, 105,000 and 35,000 arrivals, respectively, during the nine-day Tet period.
PM proposed to approve contractors for North-South expy project
The prime minister has been requested to approve the tentative list of contractors for construction packages of the Eastern North-South Expressway project in the 2021-2025 period.
After the National Assembly approved the project, the Ministry of Transport has submitted the Government a draft resolution on the project, Phap Luat newspaper reported.
Accordingly, the Prime Minister is proposed to give nod to the tentative list before the Ministry of Transport and localities can appoint contractors for consulting, infrastructure relocation, resettlement, site clearance and compensation packages in 2022-2023.
To deal with the shortage of building materials for the project, ministries, agencies and localities will be allowed to apply special policies as those in the 2017-2020. In scaling up the quarrying sites for building materials, they will not be asked to draw up the revised investment plan or report the impacts of the project on the environment, but they must meet the requirements in safety and environment protection.
Lao Cai to develop sustainable cinnamon value chain
The northern mountainous province of Lao Cai has pledged to boost sustainable development of the cinnamon value chain by approving a project on cinnamon forest planting for 2021-2030.
The province aims to develop the cinnamon industry by 2030 with a planting expansion to about 60,000ha, of which 30,000-35,000ha will be certified organic.
It has also issued a policy to support the development of organic cinnamon certificates in the province for 2021-2025.
With over 70 per cent of planted forests in Lao Cai bringing in annual revenue of nearly VND600 billion (US$26.4 million), organic cinnamon is being cultivated as a key export crop in the province.
In 2015, the province had only 11,198 ha of cinnamon. Now the area has reached about 45,000ha.
Social commerce platform Selly raised $2.6 million in Pre-Series A
Selly – a Vietnam-based social commerce platform – has raised $2.6 million in a Pre-Series A funding round from CyberAgent Capital, Do Ventures, Genesia Ventures, JAFCO Asia, and Kvision. Less than a year after launch, Selly has created employment opportunities for hundreds of thousands of women and people who lost their jobs or income due to COVID-19.
According to a recent report by Accenture, the $492 billion global social commerce industry is expected to grow three times as fast as traditional e-commerce to $1.2 trillion by 2025.
Chau Doc-Can Tho-Soc Trang expy project requires investment of over VND44t
The first phase of the Chau Doc-Can Tho-Soc Trang expressway project in the Mekong Delta will need VND44.306 trillion in investment, according to a pre-feasibility study of the project that the My Thuan Project Management Board recently sent to the Transport Ministry for appraisal.
With its total length of 188.2 kilometers and width of 17 meters, the route will pass through four localities in the delta, including An Giang, Can Tho, Hau Giang, and Soc Trang. It will start at the National Highway 91 section in Chau Doc City of An Giang Province and end at the Tran De Port in Soc Trang Province, reported Tuoi Tre newspaper.
Under the project’s zoning plan, the route will have six lanes in total and will be built before 2030.
Nghe An calls for investment in VND1.4-trillion riverside urban area project
The Department of Planning and Investment of Nghe An Province has called on investors to develop an urban area project along the Vinh river in Vinh City, with a total cost of nearly VND1.44 trillion.
The riverside urban area project will cover over 20 hectares of land in Vinh Tan Ward. The project is set to border on the Nghe An Petroleum urban area to the north, be adjacent to a residential area and agricultural land to the south, a 30-meter-wide planned road to the east and the Vinh river to the west.
The project will have 157 lots of rowhouses, 84 lots of villas and 88 lots of mixed-use properties, while social houses will be built on a total area of over 14,000 square meters.
The project will operate within 50 years since the land handover date, while work on the riverside urban area project will be completed within five years since its groundbreaking date.
Investors can submit investment registration dossiers from now until March 7.
Seafood exports anticipated to hit US$9.2 billion in 2022
Vietnamese aquatic exports this year are forecast to see an upward trend, reaching 2.1 million tonnes worth US$9.2 billion, marking a rise of 3.9% in volume and 3.5% in value over the previous year.
According to data provided by the General Department of Customs, the fourth quarter of 2021 witnessed the nation’s seafood exports hit 602.1 thousand tonnes valued at US$2.7 billion, up 0.9% in volume and 13.1% in terms of value compared to the same period from 2020.
Throughout the entirety of 2021, seafood exports reached 2.022 million tonnes valued at US$8.89 billion, down 0.2% in volume but up 5.6% in value compared to 2020, marking the highest value ever.
Brand Finance: Viettel leads telecoms brands in Southeast Asia
The Military Industry-Telecoms Group (Viettel) moved up 99 places to the 227th in the 2022 list of the world’s 500 most valuable brands recently released by the brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance.
With this position, Viettel, valued at US$8.758 billion (up 45 percent from last year), is the leading telecoms brand in Southeast Asia and the third most valuable brand in the region.
Acting President and General Director of Viettel Le Dang Dung has been named among the world’s Top 250 CEOs. Noticebablly, he is the only CEO in Southeast Asia entering the rankings.
In 2021, Viettel continued to hold the No. 1 position in the ranking of Top 50 most valuable brands in Viet Nam for the 6th straight year with a valuation of more than US$6 billion.
Fruit exports to China cleared earlier than expected