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PVN establishes oil partnership with Argentina’s ENARSA

The Vietnam National Petroleum Group (PVN) and Argentina’s state energy company ENARSA, have signed a memorandum of understanding on bilateral cooperation during a PVN delegation’s visit to Argentina from March 26-28.

Under the MoU, the two sides will share experiences and promote cooperation in exploiting oil and gas on and offshore, supplying services, refining oil and training experts.

During a working session with Daniel Cameron, Secretary of Energy under the Ministry of Federal Planning, Public Investment and Services, PVN director general Dinh La Thang expressed his wish that Argentina’s government would support cooperation between PVN and ENARSA and that both countries would sign a cooperation agreement soon.

Mr. Cameron said that his ministry will create conditions for PVN to explore and exploit oil in Argentina’s territorial waters. He echoed Mr. Thang, stressing the need to sign a cooperation agreement at the governmental level at an upcoming session of the Argentina-Vietnam joint commission.

Argentina is the final stop on PVN’s working visit to Latin America. Previously, in Nicaragua, the delegation visited President Daniel Ortega and signed a cooperation agreement in the field of oil and gas and an agreement for joint research with Nicaragua’s national petroleum company, Petronic.

While in Bolivia, PVN signed a cooperation agreement with Bolivia’s state-owned oil and gas corporation Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales de Bolivia (YPFB).

HCM City’s industrial production value remains low

In the first quarter of this year, Ho Chi Minh City’s industrial production value reached VND94,000 billion, up only 1.9 percent over the same period last year.

The foreign-invested sector saw a growth rate of 6.5 percent, while the domestic-invested sector fell by 4.5 percent.

In the past three months, as many as 195 businesses in HCM City had to cut their production or dissolve, resulting in an increase in the number of laid-off workers.

To help local businesses overcome difficulties, HCM City has implemented a demand stimulus programme, with a focus on assisting small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). So far, the city has granted subsidised loans worth VND150 billion for local businesses and provided an additional VND145 billion to the credit guarantee fund for SMEs to promote production and generate more jobs for local workers.

Locally-made products to be showcased in Cambodia

As many as 170 businesses have registered to participate in a trade fair that will open in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh on April 1.

During the five-day fair, various types of products will be showcased through 330 booths, including home appliances, foods, textile and leather products, construction materials, chemicals, production tools, and stationary.

The fair, co-organised by the HCM City Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC), the High-Quality Vietnamese Goods Businesses Club, and the Vietnam Goods Trade and Services Corp. (Vietgoods), is the eighth of its kind to be held in Cambodia since 2002.

On the occasion, there will be seminars on product quality, and contract signings between Vietnamese businesses and Cambodian partners.

Saigon Commercial Bank receives int’l award

Saigon Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SCB) has been given the “Bank Performing Excellent Payment Operations” award by the Wachovia-Wells Fargo.

This is the second year in a row the bank has received the award from the US bank, which is listed as one of the world’s 50 safest in 2009.

The award reflects the bank’s professionalism and accuracy in its international payment performance, which saw its revenues last year increase by 70 percent against 2007.

SCB now has more than 80 transaction centres throughout the country, and has established cooperative ties with nearly 2,000 banks in 82 countries and territories around the world.

Citrus prices blossom in Mekong Delta

The price for citrus fruits in Mekong Delta has increased due to the hot weather and the scarceness of fruit, while the demand for them to make soft drinks is rising.

In Tien Giang Province and Can Tho City, the finest kind of thick-skinned orange is sold at VND25,000 ($1.43) per kilo; mandarin from VND30,000 to 40,000 per kilo; green-skinned pomelo at VND20,000 per kilo and Nam Roi pomelo is sold at VND8,000 – 10,000 per kilogram.

Lemon has hit a record price at VND20,000 per kilo, double last month’s price.

Prices for citrus fruits have also risen by VND5,000-10,000 per kilo higher than last month in Vinh Long, Hau Giang and Soc Trang provinces.

Mekong Delta grows citrus fruits in an area of 80,000 hectares. Nearly 60,000 are harvestable.

Index gains on mixed, active trading

This week’s rally on the HCM City Stock Exchange slowed yesterday, with the VN-Index increasing just 1.16 points – or 0.41 per cent – to close the week at 287.41.

Trading volume reached a four-month high of 33.7 million shares, on a day heavy in both buys and profit-taking. The total value of the day’s trades reached nearly VND780 billion (US$45.8 million).

"The domestic exchange continued to be supported by gains on the US stock market, but large sales by investors as they realised profits slowed the growth of the VN-Index," FPT Securities Co said in a report yesterday.

"The long-term downward trend of the market has now been broken," said Giang Trung Kien, director of the FPT Securities analysis department. "The VN-Index is establishing an upward trend, enabling expectations of positive market developments in the coming weeks."

International Royal Securities Co reported that the amounts of money that clients were depositing in their accounts for investment was already twice the level of two weeks ago. But it said ‘major investors’, with portfolios of VND7-10 billion, were still cautious, putting only about 40 per cent of their investment portfolios into stocks.

In the trading on Friday, most-active shares Sacombank (STB) and Saigon Securities Inc (SSI) each generated orders for around 3 million shares, followed by Phu My Fertilisers (DPM) and Refrigeration Electrical Engineering (REE) with about 2 million shares each.

Foreign investors remained active, responsible for up to 10.7 million shares changing hands. They were net buyers of 3.3 million shares, with a net value of VND104.5 billion ($6.1 million).

In Ha Noi Friday, the HASTC-Index retreated 1.43 per cent to end the week at 98.57 points, on a trading volume of 17.1 million shares. Total value of Friday’s trades was VND348.7 billion ($20.5 million).

Shares of securities firms, including Kim Long Securities (KLS) and Bao Viet Securities (BVS), were among the most active on the northern market, alongside market leader Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), which saw 3.3 million shares traded.

The FPT Securities report said "investor optimism is spreading all over the market". If the current purchasing power was maintained, the report said, there was a high possibility that the VN-Index would soon rise to 320, and the HASTC-Index to 110 points.

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