VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS JANUARY 26

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Another China border crossing reopened for Vietnamese exports

Savills Vietnam: HCM City’s office lease market recovering hinh anh 1

China’s Guangxi authority reopened its Pu Zhai border crossing which connects with Vietnam through Tan Thanh border gate in the northern province of Lang Son on January 25 after closure for over a month due to COVID-19 concerns, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

The Tan Thanh – Pu Zhai border gate acts as a major gateway for imports of fruit and agricultural products from Vietnam to enter China. The two sides agreed to conduct on-the-border deliveries with drivers required to wear masks and personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Pu Zhai border gate was temporarily shut down by the Chinese side on December 18 as part of its strengthened measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The MoIT described customs clearance resuming at the Pu Zhai checkpoint as a positive and much-needed move by Guangxi ahead the second meeting of the Working Group on Vietnam-China Trade Facilitation and the first meeting of a specialised committee set up to addressing congestion of goods at Vietnam’s northern border gates with China.

Thanks to concerted efforts from both sides, the number of cargo trucks stranded in Lang Son significantly dropped over the last several days. By 8:00am on January 24, there had been 355 trucks lining up for clearance at border gates in Lang Son, down nearly 4,000 from a month ago.

Vietnam has opportunity to become global leader in renewable energy: Entrepreneur Magazine

Given Vietnam’s high solar PV potential and ambitious green energy targets by 2050, the country has every opportunity to become a global leader in renewables, the Entrepreneur Magazine said on its e-version.

Eric Chin, the author of the article published on entrepreneur.com cited the World Bank as saying that Vietnam currently has the most comprehensive installed solar power capacity in Southeast Asia, with 16,500MW generated in 2020. Moreover, Vietnam was among the top 10 nations globally, with the most solar energy capacity installed in 2020.

There is also a compelling rationale for establishing wind energy projects in Vietnam due to evidence that it has some of the greatest wind resources in the region with a potential of 311 GW, according to the article.

Market analysts believe that if Vietnam maintains its rapid expansion of renewable energy, it will rise much higher in the rankings, perhaps overtaking nations like Australia and Italy in renewable energy development and creative solutions.

The climate and topography of Vietnam make renewable energy, particularly wind power, a significant investment prospect. Vietnam’s vast wind resource is thanks to the country’s long and narrow geographic shape consisting of over 3000 kilometers of coastline, including a mix of hills and mountains.

According to the World Bank, more than 39 percent of Vietnam has wind speeds more than 6 meters per second (m/s) at 65 meters, equivalent to 512 gigawatts (GW) of capacity. Vietnam assumes excellent potential, with 8.6 percent of its land area suitable for large wind farms.

Vietnam has recently seen phenomenal solar photovoltaic (PV) growth, which is just the beginning of the country’s vast energy transition away from coal. The country’s solar PV capacity increased from 86 MW in 2018 to about 16,500 MW in 2020.

Consequently, Vietnam has surpassed Thailand as the ASEAN country with the greatest installed solar power capacity. Solar PV systems provide roughly 10.6 TWh of electricity in 2020, accounting for nearly 4 percent of total output.

Savills Vietnam: HCM City’s office lease market recovering

The office lease market in Ho Chi Minh City is recovering, with hybrid working model comprising both remote and office-based work emerging as a bright spot, according to experts from Savills Vietnam.

Director of Savills Vietnam Commercial Leasing Tu Thi Hong An said while co-working model is growing slowly, hybrid working spaces are proving effective to optimise operating cost and maintain working productivity amid limited supply in the downtown.

Commenting on the outlook for the office market in the near future, the company said by 2015, additional 550,000 sq.m from 21 new projects will be available, with 11 projects outside the downtown accounting for 48 percent of the total area. Four A-class projects will enter the market from 2023 with an average floor area of 67,000 sq.m each, equivalent to 49 percent of the supply in the future.

Vietnam Airlines launches first London-Hanoi flight after COVID-19 hiatus

Vietnam Airlines on January 25 conducted the first regular flight from London to Hanoi after a gap of almost two years caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

From February 8, the national flag carrier will operate one flight a week every Tuesday on the Hanoi-London route, using wide-body Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 aircraft.

The UK is the 9th international market to which Vietnam Airlines has resumed its regular flights, following the US, Japan, the Republic of Korea (RoK), Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Taiwan (China) and Australia.

Flight VN18 from London to Hanoi, which transited through Paris with nearly 300 passengers aboard, is scheduled to landed at Noi Bai International Airport on January 26 morning.

Reference exchange rate up 10 VND

The State Bank of Vietnam set the daily reference exchange rate for the US dollar at 23,076 VND/USD on January 26, up 10 VND from the previous day.

With the current trading band of +/-3 percent, the ceiling rate applicable to commercial banks during the day is 23,770 VND/USD and the floor rate 22,386 VND/USD.

Hanoi’s gift hamper market buzzing ahead of Tet

With a week to go, the gift market for Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday in the capital is strong with supermarkets, markets and grocery stores offering a range of items for both businesses and individuals.

Shop owners said due to the impact of the COVID-19, customers had been forced to tighten purse strings, prioritising essential items.

According to many small retailers, this year customers have prioritised buying Tet gift hampers of regional specialities with mid-range prices instead of expensive gift hampers having imported products and beautiful designs.

Besides grocery stores, supermarkets and shops are also offering gift baskets designed and decorated according to the tastes of customers. A large volume of gift baskets is being bought by business owners to award their employees.

Co.opmart supermarket chain said the number of orders for Tet gift baskets from VND200,000 to around VND500,000 had risen about 25 per cent compared to last year.

Saigon Co.op is selling more than 10,000 Tet gift baskets every day. More than half of which was packaged under specific orders for businesses.

A salesperson at Aeon Mall Ha Dong Supermarket said that this year, due to the impact of the pandemic, they had promoted the sale of affordable Tet gift baskets comprising a variety of “made in Viet Nam” products.

At the same time, other chains such as Walmart and WinMart+ have also launched Tet gift baskets with affordable prices from VND299,000 -699,000 per basket.

VN central bank to keep watch on bancassurance activities

Bancassurance activities will have to strictly comply with the provisions of the Law on Insurance Business, according to the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV).

Under a newly-issued directive, the SBV has required banks, which provide bancassurance products, to strengthen their inspection and supervision on bancassurance activities to strictly handle violations.

The move was made after it was reported that despite unwillingness, some customers were forced to buy insurance products introduced by bank staff to get bank loans as the purchase was allegedly made mandatory in a few banks as part of the conditions of their loans.

The SBV’s direction, therefore, is aimed to stop the insurance cross-selling mechanisms.

According to the SBV, it will strengthen the management and supervision of insurance sale activities of banks’ agents to ensure compliance with the law.

The SBV required banks not to forcefully sell insurance to their customers. Any actions related to compulsory insurance in order to get loans will be strictly handled.

Shares reclaim losses on bargain-hunting

Vietnamese shares on Tuesday reclaimed ground lost in the previous day’s sharp sell-off as large-caps were picked up by bargain-hunters.

The VN-Index on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) rose 2.77 per cent to close at 1,479.58 points. The index had lost 2.25 per cent, to close Monday at 1,439.71 points. The market’s breadth was positive with the number of gainers doubled the number of losers by 304 to 105.

On HoSE, investors poured over VND22.2 trillion (US$980 million) into the market, equivalent to a trading volume of nearly 751 million shares.

The VN30-Index, tracking the 30 biggest stocks on HoSE, gained 3.05 per cent, to 1,516.16 points. Of the VN30 basket, 28 stocks rose to cushion the market, while one declined and another closed flat.

On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX), the HNX-Index gained 2.36 per cent, to close Tuesday at 410.23 points.

It had lost 4.09 per cent, to close Monday at 400.76 points.

Stock market expected to grow strongly after Tet: experts

The stock market’s outlook after the Tet holiday is expected to be brighter thanks to many positive factors.

Ahead of the 2022 Lunar New Year, the stock market saw a strong correction, with hundreds of stocks closing at lower levels. However, this is expected to be a short-term trend.

Last week, the market benchmark VN-Index had lost 1.55 per cent due to a strong sell-off in the first three sessions of the week, it clawed back some of the losses later.

Historical data for the last six years showed that most of the market’s declines before the Lunar New Year then immediately rebounded.

Financial experts from PGT Holdings JSC said that it is normal for the market to rise sharply and then fall deeply. The reason for the dip of the stock market before Tet was the domestic investment culture in which investors tend to collect money to evaluate the investment efficiency for the year.

According to PGT Holdings experts, the market over the past year was too hot, continuously setting unprecedented records in liquidity and the number of new accounts, while prices of many stocks also skyrocketed.

Therefore, the correction is necessary for the market to cool off and rebalance, bringing stock prices to a more reasonable range.

SSC cancels listing of 7 million ASA shares due to fraud

The State Securities Commission of Viet Nam (SSC) said it had issued a decision on January 23 to cancel the listing of 7 million shares of ASA Consumer Product JSC from a private placement to increase capital from VND30 billion (US$1.3 million) to VND100 billion.

The decision is based on the inspection results of SSC and the investigation and verification by the Investigation Police Agency of the Ministry of Public Security.

Accordingly, Nguyen Van Nam, former Chairman of the Board of Directors of ASA, counterfeited records and documents to raise VND70 billion from a private offering of 7 million ASA shares.

Moreover, the Investigation Police Agency of the Ministry of Public Security also issued a decision on January 23 to prosecute the criminal case of “obtaining property by fraud at ASA and related units”.

ASA Consumer Product was listed on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX) in 2012, but the stock ticker ASA was delisted by the exchange on June 13, 2019 due to serious violations in the obligation to disclose information.

The stocks, then, were transferred to UpCoM exchange on June 21, 2019 with trading restrictions, meaning they could only be traded on Friday, as the registered organisation’s shares were delisted.

The Investigation Police Agency of the Ministry of Public Security is investigating the case. SSC said it will continue to work closely with the Investigative Police Agency and relevant agencies and organisations to strictly handle violations of the law, protect investors’ legitimate rights and interests.

Vietnam Airlines resumes commercial flights to France

Vietnam Airlines has reopened direct services between France and Vietnam, with the first commercial flight after nearly two years of hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic departing from Paris on January 25, just a week before Tet (Lunar New Year) – the biggest and longest festival of Vietnam.

This was one of the first two flights operated by Vietnam Airlines after it announced to resume regular flights between Vietnam and Europe. Flight VN18 carried 294 passengers, more than half of them were from London, the UK, while the others from France.

The other was Flight VN36 heading to Hanoi from Germany’s Frankfurt on the same day.

“Vietnamese people living in France have been looking forward to this moment for a very long time,” Vuong Huu Nhan, Chairman of the Vietnamese Association in France, told the Vietnam News Agency, “because everybody longs to fly home and see their families and friends.”

It is the first step for resuming normal travel between France and Vietnam, said Mai Nam Thang, a Vietnamese living in Normandie. He expressed his excitement to be able to return to Vietnam for Tet, saying “for Vietnamese living in France like us, this is a very meaningful event when Tet is nearing.”

IFC, LeapFrog, and DEG invest US$165 million in HDBank

IFC, LeapFrog Investments, and DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft have invested US$165 million in convertible Tier 2 bonds issued by Ho Chi Minh City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank (HDBank).

While strengthening the bank’s capital base, the funding will help increase lending to retail and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including women-owned or -led ones, noted the IFC in a statement.

IFC and its Asset Management Company (AMC), LeapFrog Investments, and DEG—the German Development Finance Institution have subscribed $95 million, $60 million, and $10 million, respectively, to the US dollar-denominated five-year-plus-one-day convertible Tier 2 bonds. The investors will have the option to convert the bonds into common shares of HDBank over the mutually agreed period.

Hanoi’s tourism expected to post growth this year

Hanoi’s tourism has seen positive signs after COVID-19 outbreaks have taken its toll on the sector for more than two years, as new products built in the recent past have given a boost to the domestic tourism market since late 2021.

Companies have bolstered travel tours during Tet (Lunar New Year), the largest and longest traditional festival of Vietnamese people. In addition to the launch of numerous promotions and discounts, travel agents have taken the initiative in seeking new markets and stood ready to resume outbound tours.

With rosy prospects for socio-economic development this year, the municipal Department of Tourism has built a plan for tourism recovery and development for 2022-2023, with a focus on the domestic market. It will pay heed to serving foreign holidaymakers in line with a roadmap to restart international tourism activities.

Hanoi aims to welcome 9-10 million visitors, including 1.2-2 million foreigners in the period, raking in about 27-35 trillion VND.

Vietnam promotes jackfruit exports to Australia

Vietnam’s jackfruit exports to Australia in 2021 surged by 20 percent year-on-year, according to the Vietnam Trade Office in Australia.

The office has worked with importers to enhance the export of Vietnamese jackfruit to the Australian market, while focusing on developing trademark for the product.

From now to the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival, about 40 tonnes of finished jackfruit will be exported to the market.

The office will continue measures to promote the export of jackfruit in the coming time, including introducing the product in supermarkets, via social networks, and online exhibitions among others.

Source: VNA/VIR/ND/VOV/SGT/Hanoitimes/VNS

HCM City’s 2021 tourism revenue down by VND40 trillion

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