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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 17/7   2008-07-17 - VNA

Record 34 million shares traded in HCM City

Investors created active sessions on the HCM Stock Exchange on July 16, trading a record 34.11 million shares, several times more than three months ago.

The shares were largely made up of large market-capitalised stocks.

Share trading itself hit a turnover of 1.23 trillion VND (74.61 million USD).

STB of Sacombank on July 16 saw 6.62 million shares change hands, making it the most active code on the bourse. DPM of Phu My Fertiliser followed with 3.13 million shares.

The VN-Index on July 16 closed slightly up by 1.40 percent to 486.53.

Selling orders began to increase, partially meeting the needs of investors to buy shares. Almost all blue chips hit ceiling prices.

Several blue chips, however, saw a downtown, such as North Kinh Do (NKD) which closed down 0.68 percent at 73,500 VND. Vinamilk (VNM) slid 2.72 percent to 143,000 VND.

Foreigners were active in trading on July 16. They bought 5.19 million shares while selling 2.87 million.

In Hanoi , the HASTC-Index gained a strong 3.44 percent to 147.74. Trading volume rose to an amazing 19.32 million shares with a turnover of 586.12 billion VND (35.52 million USD).

Kim Long Securities (KLS) and Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) made large contributions to the heavy volume. Both of these codes saw about 2.5 million shares change hands.

ACB on July 16 was traded at 66,000 VND while KLS was traded at 14,100 VND.

More Government bonds for auction

About 500 billion VND (30.30 million USD) worth of Government bonds will be auctioned at the Hanoi Securities Trading Centre on July 17. The auction is the third lot offered this year.

The bonds, issued by the Vietnam Investment and Development Bank consist of 10-year bonds with a total value of 300 VND billion (18.18 million USD), and 15-year bonds worth 200 billion VND.

After the auction, the bonds will be listed at the centre for repurchase.

Israeli billionaire eyes investment in seven-star hotel in Hanoi

Issac Tshuva, President of Israel’s Elad group, who is the world’s 214th biggest billionaire, has expressed his wish to build a seven-star hotel in Hanoi .

Issac Tshuva was meeting with Vietnamese Construction Minister Nguyen Hong Quan in Hanoi on July 15 during his working visit to Vietnam .

The billionaire said that the project will be among largest hotels in the world, also featuring a conventional area, a complex of high-level housing and offices equipped with state-of-the-art utilities. The model has been underway in Singapore .

The Vietnamese host affirmed that Vietnam hailed and would create favourable conditions for Israeli investment in international-standard projects, practically the plan to build a seven-star hotel in Hanoi.

HSBC licensed for dual currency deposit services

The Hongkong-Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) on July 16 received a mandate to launch dual currency deposit (DCD) services to the market.

Allowed the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh branches of the HSBC will offer customers with DCD in two foreign currencies. It is a derivative instrument which combines a money market deposit with a currency option to provide a higher yield than that available for a standard deposit.

The SBV said through the HSBC case, it expected to encourage commercial banks and financial businesses to apply additional services, thus reducing risks of the fluctuation of exchange rates, and diversify banking products so as to develop the monetary market.

WB-funded highway upgrade project kicks off

A project to upgrade a section of the National Highway 21B with funding from the World Bank and the Vietnamese Government kicked off on July 16.

The total investment capital for the 32.9 km Lac Quan-Thinh Long section in Hai Hau district, northern Nam Dinh province, is about 480 billion VND (over 29 million USD).

The Highway 21B, which has a total length of 57 km, is the life-line linking Nam Dinh city to coastal and southern districts of Nam Dinh province.

FPT maintains leading position in domestic telecoms market

The Financing and Promoting Technology Group (FPT) has announced its total revenues of 8.67 trillion VND (525.8 million USD) in the first half of 2008, a year-on-year increase of 47.1 percent.

In addition to setting up affiliates in France and Malaysia , the group continues leading in supplying IT products and services in the domestic market.

FPT Deputy General Director Bui Quang Ngoc said the group will continue focusing on information technology, telecoms services and software in the future.

To cope with the financial fluctuations over the past years and to maintain its sustainable development, the group plans to axe 10 percent of the staff and 20 percent of expenditures for operation in some subsidiaries that have been affected by the crisis.

It also plans to stop issuing shares from now to the end of 2008.

Vietnam axes tariffs on eight Lao products

Vietnam has decided to slash import tariffs by half on eight commodities, mainly foodstuff, farm products and engines, originating from Laos .

The move, declared by the Finance Ministry on July 15, is made within the roadmap to implement the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) scheme applied by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since 1992 in a bid to form an ASEAN free trade area of 500 million consumers.

Having applied the CEPT mechanism since 1996, Vietnam had by the end of 2006 axed tariffs on 10,324 lines of goods, of which 10,000 types enjoyed zero to 5 percent rates.

According to the roadmap, Vietnam together with Laos , Myanmar and Cambodia will abolish import tariffs on all commodities originating from ASEAN countries by 2018.

To realise the roadmap, the Finance Ministry last month issued a new preferential import tariff list for the 2008-2013 period, cutting import taxes down to 5 percent and even zero percent for thousands of commodities originating from ASEAN.

Art works, ancient articles, interiors, optical equipment and devises, watch, live animals, food and foodstuff are among those listed.

According to the roadmap, specially-designed automobiles imported from ASEAN member countries will enjoy a 5 percent tariff instead of the current 10 percent rate and automobiles with nine seats downwards will get a slash in tax rate from the current 83 percent to 60 percent by 2013.

Textile sector targets 9.5 billion USD

The textile and garment sector is striving to fulfill this year’s export target of 9.5 billion USD despite a lot of difficulties such as rising raw material prices and the lack of skillful workforce.

The statement was made by General Director of the Vietnam Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) Vu Duc Giang at a conference to discuss measures for the sector’s export plan for this year that was held in Ho Chi Minh City on July 16.

The sector is implementing three strategic programmes on cloth production, cotton cultivation and personnel training and calling for foreign investment in industrial zones.

It is expanding its cotton cultivation acreage in the central province of Ninh Thuan , Binh Thuan, Ha Tinh, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai and the Central Highlands provinces of Dak Lak, Dak Nong and Gia Lai.

Regarding raw materials, the group is collaborating with the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Corporation (PetroVietnam) to invest 4 trillion VND in a synthetic fibre making project capable of turning out 180,000 tonnes of product annually.

The plant, together with the Taiwanese Fomosa Group’s project in Nhon Trach IZ, are expected to meet 42 percent of the domestic demand for synthetic fibre by 2012.

In 2014, Vinatex will venture with PetroVietnam to build the second synthetic fibre plant with the hope of meeting 80 percent of the domestic demand by 2017.

Tra, basa catfish exports to reach 1.2 billion USD

VASEP Permanent Vice President Nguyen Huu Dung has forecasted that the country’s tra and basa catfish export will surpass 500,000 tonnes and its revenue will exceed 1.2 billion USD this year.

Ngo Phuoc Hau, Vice President of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP) and Chairman of VASEP Freshwater Fish Committee, said that processing enterprises in the Mekong delta are able to process big- sized tra catfish, weighing over 1.1kg each, which make up 70-80 percent of raw material supplies.

The country has so far this year exported 260,000 tonnes of tra and basa catfish worth 610 million USD, a year-on-year rise of 35 percent.

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