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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 30/3   2010-03-30 - VIetNamNet/VNA

JBIC extends credit to coal projects in Vietnam


The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) will provide 150 million USD in credit to the coal development projects of the Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin).


A loan contract to this effect was signed in Hanoi on March 29 by representatives from JBIC, the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Vinacomin.


Speaking at the singing ceremony, the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation’s representative emphasised the importance of the contract, saying that this was the first line of credit granted as part of the JBIC’s energy and resources funding programme for high-quality coal trading.


Vinacomin General Director Tran Xuan Hoa affirmed that this was also the first-ever funding that Japan has provided to Vietnam’s coal projects.


The group pledged to continue providing 1-2 million tonnes of high-quality coal to Japan each year, he said, adding that the quality and quantity of coal will be raised as of 2010.


Country has 13,200 newly established firms


Some 3,600 enterprises, with a total registered capital of 25.5 trillion VND (1.34 billion USD), were created in March, pushing the number of newly-established enterprises in the first quarter of the year nationwide to 13,200, with a total registered capital of 89.3 trillion VND, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.


The registered capital in the first quarter of the year increased by 5.3 percent compared to the same period last year, while the number of newly established enterprises declined by 31.2 percent.


HCM City had 5,000 newly established enterprises with registered worth 27 trillion VND during the first quarter of the year, according to director of the city’s Department of Planning and Investment Thai Van Re.


Company fined for illegal deforestation


The chairman of the central Quang Nam provincial People’s Committee has ordered that Nam Giang Rubber Company be fined 50 million VND (2,500 USD) for illegally chopping down trees.


The company was also ordered to pay compensation of 590 million VND (31,000 USD) for illegal logging on a 73.6 ha area and damaging 502 cu.m of wood.


The company has 10 days to pay the fine.


Export revenues in foreign-invested sector rise 32.2 percent


Export revenues from the foreign-invested sector in HCM City in the first quarter of the year reach 1.13 billion USD, an increase of 32.2 percent from the same period last year, according to the city’s Department of Industry and Trade.


It said the figures indicated a rising demand in world markets and a recovery from the financial crisis that hit last year.


The city earned 4.71 billion USD in exports, 20.5 percent lower than the first quarter last year, meeting only 23.56 percent of the annual target, the department said.


It said many sectors recorded high export growth, including electronic products and components, up by 66.5 percent to 121.3 million USD, garments and textiles by 9.7 percent to 800 million USD, footwear by 9.6 percent to 48 million USD, and seafood by 14.1 percent to 142.5 million.


Meanwhile, the domestic economic sector in the city experienced a slowdown in exports, reaching only 2.2 billion USD, a fall of 39.6 percent from the same period last year.


However, the city gained a trade surplus in the first quarter, the department said. Imports were worth 4.31 billion USD, mostly from local economic sector.


But if crude oil revenues were deducted, the city would have a trade deficit of 974 million USD, accounting for 29.2 percent of the city’s total export value.


HCM City People’s Committee vice chairwoman Nguyen Thi Hong said that, in addition to traditional markets, firms should find measures to boost exports to ASEAN countries, South Africa and the Middle East.


She also urged enterprises to strengthen trade promotion activities and diversify their export items, with a focus on export of high value added products and processed goods rather than raw materials.


HCM City has set a target of 14 billion USD in export revenues this year for a year-on-year increase of 1.8 percent. The target for imports has been set at 20.65 billion USD, up 13.9 percent over last year.

Trading firms will find it a challenge to meet these targets, experts say, since the recovery of the world economy has not been stable.


Awards to recognise strong brand names


As many as 120 enterprises nationwide have won strong brand awards 2009, announced organisers on March 29 in Hanoi.


The winners were selected based on different criteria such as leadership capability, quality, enterprise renovation capability, human resource, brand name protection, stability and operational performance.


“This year, the award focus on honouring domestic businesses for their increasing efforts to ensure their sustainable development and improve the quality of services and products in an attempt to better serve customers,” said Dao Nguyen Cat, editor-in-chief of Vietnam Economic Times , one of the awards organisers.


“With seven main criteria with reference to the appraisal methods currently applied by prestigious institutions around the world, the awards are expected to encourage local firms to draw up suitable business and brand name development strategies,” said Nguyen Quoc Thinh, director of the Trade University’s Brand Name centre.


The selected brand names are involved in the banking, insurance and financial services, food an drink, real estate, garment and textile, chemical, handicraft, IT and telecommunication sectors.


The awards ceremony will be held in the capital on April 4.


A survey by Vneconomy on the psychology of Vietnamese consumers revealed that 47 percent out of 3,140 participants said that they chose locally-made goods to support local businesses; 24 percent chose goods that were reasonably priced while the rest chose due to easily understandable origin of products, good quality and after sales services.


Lion Group to build more Parkson centres


The Lion Group plans to open more Parkson shopping centres in Vietnam to maintain the chain’s development as well as expand their retail network.


The group manages 82 Parkson stores, with five in Vietnam , 42 in China , and 35 in Malaysia . Parkson focuses on fashion, jewellery, cosmetics, furniture, electric goods and food.


Besides the Vietnamese and Chinese markets, Lion plans to enter the Cambodian and Indonesian and other ASEAN markets at the end of 2011.


Standard Chartered expands services


The Standard Chartered bank announced on March 29 it was providing a full rage of securities services including custody and clearing, fund and escrow to institutional investors in Vietnam .


As the global economic recovery was now well underway with emerging Asian markets playing a significant role, Vietnam provided and exciting investment opportunity for both local and international investors, the bank said in a press release.


Standard Chartered Bank Vietnam aims to support investors better through their comprehensive securities services, as their clients strive to manage new fund flows to Vietnam more efficiently and effectively.


Custody and clearing services will be provided to both domestic and offshore funds while fund services will be available to domestic funds in conjunction with supervisory services.


Since 2000, Standard Chartered Bank has been one of the top providers of custody/sub-custody services for foreign institutional investors in Vietnam .


Additionally, the fund services are specifically developed to offer customers the flexibility of extensive reporting facilities along with supervisory bank services.


This service would cover fund accounting, valuation of investments, compliance monitoring ad financial reporting for internal and regulatory requirements, the bank said.


In escrow services, the bank would act as a neutral and reputable third-party administrator that holds the assets of the parties in the underlying transaction in Escrow Accounts (separate Escrow Account for each Escrow Transaction).


The bank would safeguard both parties by ensuring delivery of assets/each/documents only when all prescribed and agreed conditions were fulfilled.


“The introduction of full securities services reaffirms our continued commitment to serve both new clients and existing ones in the country. With these comprehensive services, we offer a one-stop shop for institutional investors like insurance companies, asset management companies and fund managers,” said Haroon Anwar, country head of Transaction Banking.

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