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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 19/3   2010-03-19 - VietNamNet/VNA

Hanoi’s CPI rises 0.75 percent in March


Hanoi’s consumer price index (CPI) rose slightly by 0.75 percent in March as compared to February, according to the city’s Statistics Office.


The city recorded a CPI increase of 9.58 percent in the first three months of this year.


Commodity groups that saw the highest rises included restaurant services, up 1.23 percent, of which foodstuffs up 1.19 percent.


Other groups, including culture-entertainment-tourism services, housing, electricity, fuel, construction materials, transportation, beverages, cigarettes and household equipment and utensils, experienced a slight decrease, ranging from 0.12 percent to 0.92 percent.


This month, medicine and healthcare services, education, garments and footwear went up from 0.01 percent to 0.05 percent.


The price of post and telecommunication remained unchanged while food price saw a 0.35 percent decline.


The price of gold jumped by 0.59 percent and the US dollar was up 0.49 percent over February, and increase of 14.40 percent and 10.23 percent year-on-year.


3,000 Vietnamese entrepreneurs to join Chinese fair


Close to 3,000 Vietnamese entrepreneurs will participate in the 107th China Import-Export Fair, scheduled to take place in Guangzhou from April 15 to May 5.


While announcing the fair in Hanoi on March 19, Commercial and Economic Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy, Hu Suo Jin, said Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in the region and a large trading partner of China .


Hu applauded the participation of Vietnamese businesses, especially small- and medium-size enterprises, saying this would be an opportunity and a good proving ground for companies from the two countries to expand trade relations.


This view was shared by Deputy Director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Trade Promotion Agency Do Xuan Ha, who said that the participation in the fair would help Vietnamese producers and importers approach new consumption and business trends of nations worldwide.


Statistics released by the organisers show that the annual fair attracts up to 200,000 businesspeople each year. In 2009, almost 5,000 entrepreneurs from Vietnam took part in the event, where they signed contracts worth a total of 375 million USD.


HCM City’s CPI up 0.78 percent in March


Ho Chi Minh City’s consumer price index (CPI) in March rose by 0.78 percent over the previous month, according to the city’s Statistics Office.


The city recorded a CPI increase of 3.78 percent in the first three months with an average monthly rise of 1.26 percent.


The index represented a 10.27 percent rise over the same period last year.


Commodities saw high increases in the price included transport services ( up 1.48 percent), housing and construction materials (up 1.26 percent) and restaurant services (up 1.00 percent).


Other groups, including beverage, cigarettes, garment-footwear, household equipment and utensils, medicines and health care services, education, culture-entertainment-tourism services and other items saw a slight jump in CPI, ranging between 0.13 and 0.80 percent.


The price of post-telecommunication and food saw slight decreases of 0.27 percent and 1.23 percent, respectively while foodstuff price up 1.62 percent.


Experts said that the CPI this month is mainly affected by the increase in the prices of petrol-gas and transportation.


Agribank doubles capital to 1.11 billion USD


The Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam (Agribank) has received a capital injection of 10.2 trillion VND (536.84 million USD) from the Government, raising its charter capital to 21 trillion VND(1.11 billion USD).


State-owned bank Agribank plans request an extra 10 trillion VND (526.31 million USD) of government funds to meet financial requirements and achieve a capital adequacy ratio of 8.5 percent by the end of the year.


The latest injection was justified by the Government on the basis that it would help the bank extend finance to farmers and the agricultural sector in general. Agribank has however been instructed by the Government to decelerate credit growth to 20 percent a year after growth reached 24.4 percent at the end of last year.


The move represents an increase in government subsidies for the sector which is already enjoying a government subsidy package which will last until the end of 2012.


Agribank, already the biggest Vietnamese bank in terms of assets, is now the biggest in terms of charter capital after the latest capital injection.


Jetstar Pacific offers discounted fares


Low-cost carrier Jetstar Pacific has said all its branches are applying the same promotion programme on its 129 domestic and international routes beginning last week.


The discounted fares for domestic fights will be 315,000 VND (16 USD) on the HCM City-Da Nang and Hanoi-Da Nang routes while a Hanoi-HCM City flight will cost 600,000 VND (30 USD) per ticket. Prices will be applied to flights from May 6-25 and September 7-October 27.


Tickets for flights on the HCM City-Hue and HCM City-Vinh/Hai Phong routes from Sept. 7 to Oct. 27 will be sold at 350,000 VND and 650,000 VND, respectively.


International air fares in the programme are also discounted. Tickets from Singapore to HCM City can be got at as low as 25 USD while a flight from Darwin, Australia to HCM City will cost just 69 USD, excluding taxes.


Mid East construction export target


The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are considered as potential import markets for Vietnam’s construction materials.


According to the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), since 2006, more than 2,000 construction projects have been implemented in countries in the Middle East, of which the UAE and Saudi Arabia accounted for 29 percent and 30 percent, respectively.


The two countries alone use 15-20 percent of total number of cranes in use worldwide.


However, local producers have only partly met increasing demand for construction materials. The cost for construction in the Middle East is estimated to have increase 20 percent annum in recent years.


"There is high demand for imported construction materials in the Middle East. This is an opportunity for Vietnam’s construction material export enterprises," said Tran Van Huynh, chairman of the Vietnam Construction Materials Association.


However, for Vietnamese construction materials enterprises to effectively enter these markets, they need to directly survey the market and find local counterparts. In addition, they will also need to participate in construction material fairs in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, according to the Vietnam Trade Promotion Department.


Among the construction material exhibitions and fairs, the Big 5 International Building and Construction Show which takes place in Dubai, Abu Dhabi is one of the most prestigious fairs in the Middle East. It brings together investors, importers, agents and distributors in the Middle East and global construction materials and real estate sectors.


With the intention of supporting business opportunities and enhancing the export of construction materials to the markets, the Government will aid enterprises participating at the Big 5 – International Building and Construction Show 2010, with subsidised stall rent (stall rental prices at the fair are 570 USD per square metre) and the costs of promotional material for the two potential markets.


In 2009, Vietnam’s construction materials export turnover was estimated to reach 230 million USD, including construction glass, tiles and sanitary ware.


This year, Vietnam plans to earn 350 million USD from construction material exports, according to the Vietnam Construction Material Association.


Industrial parks ‘half empty’


Less than half of the 136 planned investment projects in the Central Highland province of Dak Lak have been implemented, according to a report issued by the provincial People’s Committee.


Just over half of the total area of industrial parks and complexes in the province was being used, the report said.


Only six out of the 11 projects that have been granted investment licenses in the Hoa Phu Industrial Park , the province’s largest industrial park with 181.7ha, have started operation, occupying 64 percent of the IP’s area.


Tan An No 2 Industrial Complex covering an area of 56.52ha has only three out of the 11 registered investment projects operating, occupying only 20ha.


The slow development of infrastructure including roads, electricity and water and wastewater treatment systems in industrial parks has been blamed for delays to fill the parks.


The province has nine industrial parks and complexes covering a total area of 600ha, including Hoa Phu Industrial Park , Tan An No 1 and 2 industrial complexes, Ea Dar Industrial Complex and Truong Thanh Industrial Complex.


Work starts on Phu My housing zone


Development Investment Construction Joint Stock Corporation (DIG) started work on the Phu My new urban area in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau on March 17.


The project will occupy an area of 297,645sq.m. It will have a total investment capital of 300 billion VND (15.7 million USD) and provide accommodation for 6,700 people.


The project is a joint venture by DIG and construction company ATA. DIG has contributed 80 percent of the capital and ATA, 20 percent.

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