VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS MARCH 4

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Retail sales of goods, services up 1.7 percent in January – February

Retail sales of goods, services up 1.7 percent in January – February hinh anh 1

The total retail sales of consumer goods and services in the first two months of 2022 posted a year-on-year increase of 1.7 percent, hitting 876 trillion VND (over 38.35 billion USD), according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

Of which, retail sales of goods expanded by 3.1 percent, with significant growth seen in multiple groups, including cultural and educational items (12.7 percent), food and foodstuff (9.0 percent), and vehicles (4.3 percent). Meanwhile, revenue of clothing and household appliances respectively shrank 8.1 percent, and 9.1 percent.

Due to increased demand for food on the occasion of the Lunar New Year festival in early February, the prices of food surged at some points of time but then returned to the pre-Tet level. Prices of energy and fuel products have also tended to increase following the global price trend.

Hai Phong has new logistics centre

KM Cargo Services (KMCS), a new logistics centre covering an area of two hectares, has been established at Dinh Vu Industrial Park in Hai An District, the northern port city of Hai Phong.

It is a joint venture among harbour operator Port of Hai Phong JSC, Sao A D.C Investment JSC from Viet Nam and marine transport company Korean Marine Transport Co Ltd with registered capital of VND34.8 billion (US$1.5 million).

The centre is located at Dinh Vu Industrial Park which houses a large number of factories and is near Hai Phong’s largest ports, such as Tan Vu and Dinh Vu. Travel to the facility by road is also easy as it is situated near the Ha Noi-Hai Phong Expressway and just 3km from Cat Bi International Airport.

Market extends rallies on pillar stocks

The stock market inched higher in the last minutes of Monday morning trading, boosted by gains in some large-cap stocks.

On the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE), the VN-Index rose slightly 0.85 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 1,505.85 points.

The index opened the session on a positive note, then reversed course, down 1.09 points, on the strong selling force of many pillar stocks. However, the benchmark ended the morning higher as rallies in some blue-chip stocks overweighed selling pressure.

The market breadth was positive, with 252 stocks climbing, while 202 declined. Liquidity remained at a high level as more than 579.4 million shares were traded on HoSE, worth over VND18.8 trillion (US$824.4 million).

Gains in some large-cap stocks drove the index’s uptrend. The VN30-Index, tracking the 30 biggest stocks in market capitalisation on the southern bourse, edged higher despite there being more stocks decreasing.

The VN30-Index increased by 1.91 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 1,524.4 points. In the VN30 basket, ten stocks jumped, while 19 slid, and one ended flat.

On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX), the HNX-Index also extended gains, up 1.83 points or 0.41 per cent, to 451.14 points.

Demand for insurance remains high in Viet Nam

Two years after the COVID-19 outbreak began in Viet Nam, people believe the end is in sight and they are in good shape healthwise, but concerns around personal finances remain, particularly among single women, according to new research from Manulife.

Manulife did the third Asia Care Survey, and more than two thirds (69 per cent) said it would be gone within a year and 77 per cent expected restrictions to be lifted within that timeframe.

Vietnamese had the most optimistic outlook in the region, including about the time it will take for the economy to recover with just a quarter (26 per cent) fearing it would take a long time, the lowest in the region.

The survey was done just as the Omicron variant was starting to spread.

Despite the generally sanguine outlook, 15 per cent said they had experienced job loss and 70 per cent said their income had fallen as a result of COVID.

Only 19 per cent of single women had savings on hand to last more than a year, well below the 33 per cent national average. It also found that three quarters (75 per cent) of single women were struggling to cope with COVID.

SoPa acquires Handycart

Society Pass Incorporated (SoPa), a leading Southeast Asian data-driven loyalty platform, announced that it had acquired the Ha Noi based Dream Space Trading Company Limited, the operator of Handycart, a leading online grocery delivery platform.

The newly acquired company will be integrated into SoPa’s F&B delivery vertical with SoPa’s existing merchant software platform #HOTTAB.

Handycart founder and CEO, Seo Jun Ho, has been named Head of the new Business Unit, managing Handycart and #HOTTAB in Viet Nam.

Founded in 2019, Handycart is an online grocery delivery app with a fleet of delivery vehicles that focuses on servicing the Korean restaurant market and F&B sector in Ha Noi.

Finance Ministry proposes reducing environmental protection tax on fuel

The Ministry of Finance has proposed reducing the environmental protection tax by VND500-1,000 on each liter of fuel until the end of this year to absorb the fuel price surge.

The ministry has announced a draft resolution on adjusting the environmental protection tax on fuel, except aviation fuel. Related agencies are requested to give feedback on the resolution no later than March 4.

The ministry proposed cutting the environmental protection tax from VND4,000 to VND3,000 per liter for gasoline, except ethanol, and from VND2,000 to VND1,500 per liter or kilogram for diesel oil, heavy fuel and lubricating oil.

Besides, the environmental protection tax would be halved from VND1,000 to VND500 per liter for kerosene, and from VND2,000 to VND1,500 for lubricant grease.

According to the Finance Ministry, if the tax cut is applied from April 1 until the end of this year, the State budget would lose some VND12 trillion, including value-added tax.

However, the ministry said fuel is the input of most industries, so cutting the environmental protection tax on fuel will help reduce production costs.

Trade Ministry says fuel supply adequate until end-Mar

Do Thang Hai, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, confirmed this at a Government press briefing yesterday, March 3, amid concerns over fuel undersupply in the country and many local gas stations having to shut down over inadequate fuel replenishment.

The fuel supply from domestic production meets 70-75% of the demand, even up to 80% sometimes. Domestic fuel production mainly comes from the Dung Quat and Nghi Son refineries.

In early January, due to financial woes, Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemical LLC cut the output of its refinery to 80% and the refinery is now operating at 55-60% capacity. This has affected the domestic fuel supply, as the volume of fuel supplied to local fuel wholesalers under signed contracts declined.

To make up for the fuel shortage after the Nghi Son Refinery cut its production capacity, the Dung Quat Refinery had to increase its capacity to 105%. However, the 5% increase has yet to make up for the fuel shortage.

Regarding a scenario of domestic fuel supply in the upcoming time, Hai said the ministry had asked 10 fuel wholesalers with a major market share to import an additional 2.4 million cubic meters of fuel in the second quarter. The move is aimed at ensuring a sufficient fuel supply for local use even if the Nghi Son Refinery’s output fails to meet the market demand after May.

Vietnam to export two million tonnes of coal this year

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has licensed the Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Holding Corp., Ltd. (Vinacomin) and Dong Bac Corporation to ship abroad more than two million tonnes of coal this year.

Vinacomin is allowed to export up to 1.2 million tonnes of coal dust and 800,000 tonnes of lump coal, while Dong Bac, a business run by the Ministry of Defense, is set to export up to 30,000 tonnes of lump coal.

As a result, the total amount of coal exported by the two enterprises this year will increase by nearly half a million tonnes compared to 2021.

Last year both Vinacomin and Dong Bac were allowed to ship abroad 1.55 million tonnes of coal.

Oil and petroleum products imports in Feb three times higher than ordinary months

Vietnam imported 1.45 million cubic meters of oil and petrolem products in February, three times higher than the ordinary months amid global oil market uncertainties, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The ministry said the surging imports helped ensure a sufficient supply of oil and petrolem products in the first quarter of 2022.

The ongoing Russia-Ukraine military conflict, supply chain disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and increasing demand for fuels among countries to boost economic recovery have led to oil prices surging.

In late January, the Ministry of Industry and Trade asked fuel traders to take immediate action to replenish fuel stockpiles, especially at a time when domestic fuel production is falling.

The ministry also assigned 10 wholesale fuel firms to import 2.4 million cubic meters of petrol and oil in the second quarter of 2022 to secure supply in the local market.

Electronics producer adds over 305 mln USD in investment to Bac Ninh facility

The northern province of Bac Ninh on March 3 officially licensed electronics manufacturer Goertek Vina a to raise its investment in its facility at Que Vo Industrial Park to 565.7 million USD from 260 million USD.

According to Goertek Vina CEO Yoshinaga Kazuyoshi, the company, which produces electronic devices, network equipment and multimedia audio products, now employs over 30,000 workers. Last year, its revenue rose by 20.4 percent to 3.28 billion USD despite COVID-19.

Bac Ninh raked in more than 1.3 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first two months of this year, making it the country’s largest FDI recipient during the period.

Vietjet joins hands with Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to promote tourism recovery

Thai Vietjet, an affiliate of Vietnamese budget airline Vietjet Air, in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) for cooperation in the field of tourism as strategic partners in implementing joint marketing activities, to promote and increase the number of inbound tourists, specifically from Vietnam and Cambodia markets, to Thailand.

The agreement was developed as a result of relentless efforts and successful actions together for tourism promotion in domestic and international markets, with aims to collaborate and create joint promotional activities, and also to organise joint agent and media familiarization trips to Thailand and share travel and tourism information that contribute to the recovery of aviation and tourism industry in the soonest time.

Reference exchange rate up 8 VND on March 4

The State Bank of Vietnam set the daily reference exchange rate for the US dollar at 23,151 VND/USD on March 4, up 8 VND from the previous day.

With the current trading band of +/- 3 percent, the ceiling rate applicable to commercial banks during the day is 23,845 VND/USD and the floor rate 22,457 VND/USD.

Vietnamese firms join largest event for professional online sellers

Fourteen Vietnamese firms recently showcased their products at the “White Label World Expo London 2022”, which was the UK’s largest event for professional online sellers.

The event, held on March 2-3 at the Excel convention centre in London, attracted 500 businesses and 7,000 visitors. It offered a major opportunity for Vietnamese firms to promote their products, and seek business partners and export chances to the UK and Europe.

At the expo, Vietnamese firms and their UK partners signed three strategic economic cooperation agreements totalling 300 million GBP (400.45 million USD).

They comprised an agreement on credit support for Vietnamese exporters, another on legal assistance for firms joining the UK and European markets, and one on the provision of tourism services on a cruise ship in the UK.

Vietnam’s manufacturing recovery continues in February

In a report released on March 1, IHS Markit said the Vietnam Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) posted 54.3 in February, up from 53.7 in January and signalling a pick-up in growth for the fourth month running.

Business conditions have now improved in each of the past five months following the disruption caused by the Delta wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.

According to the report, the improving growth momentum overall was again supported by stronger customer demand. New orders increased sharply and the rate of expansion quickened to a ten-month high. Improving international demand was also reported in February, helping lead to another marked rise in exports.

Higher new orders and stable business conditions contributed to a fifth successive increase in manufacturing production. As was the case with new business, the rate of expansion in output was the most marked since last April.

Hopes of continued new order growth should the COVID-19 pandemic be brought under control supported optimism in the year-ahead outlook for production, with more than half of respondents expecting output to increase over the coming year.

Ministry looks to address hurdles in agro-exports to Russia, Ukraine

The Russia-Ukraine tension may deliver a major blow to agricultural trade between Vietnam and both the countries, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said.

The trade will be affected by Russia being disconnected from the SWIFT payment system, the disruption of the supply chain in export-import as major shipping companies have suspended their service to Russia, rising transport cost, and declining demand in Russia, Ukraine and related countries.

Vietnam exported about 550 million USD worth of agro-forestry-aquatic products to Russia last year. Of the figure, coffee export raked in 173 million USD and aquatic products 164 million USD.

Furthermore, Vietnam imported input materials for agricultural production from Russia and Ukraine such as wheat, maize and fertiliser. The country purchased about 500 million USD of agro-forestry-aquatic products from Russia last year.

The MARD will closely join hands with trade associations and the State Bank of Vietnam to support payments for businesses whose products have already been sent to Russia but payment is being affected by stagnant financial transactions, the official added.

HCM City steps up communications to promote tourism

Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Tourism on March 3 announced a draft communications plan to promote a vibrant southern destination on domestic and international media platforms this year.

Accordingly, with a highlight on the theme of Vibrant Ho Chi Minh City, the plan is expected to popularise local destinations, people, cultural identities, products, and cuisine, targeting domestic and foreign visitors. It features the production of television commercials and under-60-second films about local destinations and tourism products; the appointment of a tourism ambassador; and advertisements on international media channels.

Regarding the city’s welcoming of foreign tourists, director of the department Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa said a number of solutions have been prepared for the implementation of specific programmes in line with the Government’s tourism reopening direction in the coming time.

VN moves towards cashless society

An ecosystem for cashless payment is essential for Viet Nam to encourage people to switch from cards to contactless and digital payment, an important factor in the country’s digital transformation.

National Payment Corporation of Viet Nam statistics show that around 1.86 billion cashless payment transactions worth VND23.6 quadrillion were made in 2021, rising by 169 per cent and 164 per cent, respectively, compared to 2020 and 2019.

According to Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Pham Duc Long, about 50 per cent of the population do not have bank accounts and most use cash for payments worth less than VND100,000.

The project on the development of cashless payments in Viet Nam for 2021-25 is creating a crucial legal framework for the development of the cashless payment ecosystem.

Governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam Nguyen Thi Hong said that the central bank would improve the legal framework on cashless payment and fintech sandboxes to promote cashless payment.

In addition, the infrastructure will be improved to enable linkage between banks and payment intermediaries with goods and services providers ensuring instant processing and round-the-clock operation.

Textile and garment industry focuses on domestic market

With nearly 100 million people, the domestic market is considered fertile land for textile enterprises to boost production and dominate the market.

However, in the face of increasingly fierce competition from major fashion groups globally, domestic enterprises need to have a roadmap and direction to avoid losses at home.

Textile and garment enterprises have mainly focused on exports and have not paid much attention to the domestic market.

Facing difficulties caused by the pandemic, especially when the export market declined, businesses have boosted investment in researching, changing product structure and promoting market development.

The Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association will continue to accompany the business community on counterfeit goods by linking with market management agencies and mobilising consumers through communication channels.

Source: VNA/SGT/VIR/VNA/VNS/SGGP

Vietnam’s footwear market share rises to over 10 percent in 2020: report

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