Thu. Apr 11th, 2024

Japanese designer chosen for hi-tech healthcare park

Kume Design Asia Co. Ltd. has been chosen as the designer for the oncology and neurosurgery hospital in the hi-tech healthcare park HoaLam-Shangri La in HCMC.

The Japanese company on Wednesday signed a contract with Trieu An-Hoa Lam Hospital Co. Ltd., a joint venture between Hoa Lam Investment Consultancy Co. Ltd. and Trieu An Private General Hospital JSC.

The oncology and neurosurgery hospital with a total of 700 beds will cover more than 32,300 square meters. They will be located next to Thanh Do International Hospital in the hi-tech healthcare park at 532A Kinh Duong Vuong Street in HCMC’s Tan Binh District.

Trieu An-Hoa Lam Hospital Co. Ltd. decides to partner with Kume since this company has designed over 400 international hospitals around the world, said Nguyen Quang Duc, chairman of the board of members of Trieu An-Hoa Lam.

Kume Design Asia Co. Ltd., a unit of Kume Sekkei Group, will also give advice on designs of other hospitals in the healthcare park, including a 15-storey cardiovascular hospital with an estimated 350 beds and a 15-storey hospital for women and children with 380 beds.

The hi-tech healthcare park HoaLam-Shangri La with a total area of nearly 40 hectares is invested and developed by Hoa Lam-Shangri La Healthcare Co. Ltd., a joint venture between Vietnam’s Hoa Lam Company and Singapore’s Shangri-La Healthcare Investment Pte Ltd.

The project worth over US$1 billion is scheduled for completion after ten years of construction. It consists of four components: a healthcare zone with six hospitals offering 1,750 beds; an education and training zone; a support zone with commercial center and office building and a public zone with hotel, convention center and park.

Thanh Do International Hospital, the first hospital in the hi-tech healthcare park to get going, is set for opening next month. With 320 patient beds, Thanh Do is designed as a general hospital, with major wards like obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, cardiology, otolaryngology ophthalmology and neurology.

More exporters turn to e-commerce

Business-to-business e-commerce websites are becoming popular with Vietnamese exporters as they seek to beat the worst effects of the economic meltdown.

A report by the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s e-Commerce Department following a survey on e-commerce said 12 per cent of responding companies had dabbled in e-commerce through websites like www.Alibaba.com, with 80 per cent liking the outcome.

Than Van Hung, general director of Visimex Joint Stock Company, told Thoi Bao Kinh Te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times) that his company had few customers before signing up with www.Alibaba.com.

After that they began to get four or five e-mail inquiries every day about their products, and the number surged to 25-30 after becoming a “Gold Supplier” on the site, he said.

Half of them were serious customers, with 10-15 per cent already signing deals with the company.

Another survey, this one by OSB Investment and Technology Joint Stock company and quoted by the Viet Nam Economic Times, found that firms were five times more likely to succeed by using e-commerce.

Besides, 65 per cent of such enterprises were confident of overcoming the economic slump compared to only 10 per cent of those not using e-commerce.

Even large companies have begun to use b2b wesbites thanks to the low cost and convenience.

But analysts said companies should also retain their traditional business methods.

They still have to take part in exhibitions within and outside the country and trade promotion programmes, they said.

But since b2b websites offered the same ease of doing business to rival firms too, competition was intense and companies had to work hard, the analysts said.

Online demand for Vietnamese products would increase in future, so domestic companies had to prepare carefully to achieve success, they added.

Shell Viet Nam launches new oil

Shell Viet Nam has launched a new product, Shell Rimula R4 X diesel engine oil, with triple-protection benefits.

The new product improves engine and oil durability by offering acid control and prevention of deposits, thus keeping engines clean for better performance.

It also keeps apart the moving metal engine surfaces and prolongs engine life.

Vingroup to build finance centre

Vingroup Joint Stock Company has gained approval to build an international finance-banking centre and a trade and service complex in Thu Thiem urban area in HCM City.

According to the municipal People’s Committee, the projects will cover a total area of 250,000sq.metre.

The committee said Vingroup would commission international consultants to draw up detailed plans for the projects.-

Over 240,000 tonnes of rice shipped abroad in July

Vietnam exported 241,668 tonnes of rice for US$94.94 million (FOB) between July 1-18, the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) reported.

The 4-10% broken rice made up the largest proportion of the total (132, 357 tonnes or 54.77%), followed by the 25% broken rice (51,000 tonnes – 21.1%) and the 15-20% broken rice (35,410 tonnes – 14.65%).

Africa was Vietnam’s largest rice consumer during the reviewed period, importing 132,701 tonnes or 54.91% of the total, followed by Asia with nearly 100,000 tonnes or 41.32%, according to the VFA

As of July 18, the country shipped 3.73 million tonnes of rice abroad and earned US$1.59 billion.

Half-year footwear exports approach nearly US$4 billion

The Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso) has reported earnings from Vietnam’s footwear exports totalled almost US$4 billion in the first half of 2013, a 13.86 percent increase over the same period a year previous.

The US remains the country’s most lucrative market with revenue hitting US$1.27 billion (up 20.8 percent from 2012), followed by the UK’s US$206.12 million (up 6.52 percent), Belgium’s US$250.45 million (up 22.55 percent), and Germany’s US$197.51 million (up 4.95 percent).

Lefaso said production has thrived since the second quarter with gradually increasing export orders and stable indications of demand.

The positive results, combined with new business opportunities, are expected to help the footwear industry achieve its 2013 export target of more than US$9 billion worth of goods.

Vietnamese fruit to penetrate US market

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat has said the US is considering removing barriers against fruit to be imported from Vietnam.

Thanh nien news wire on July 25 quoted Phat, saying the agreement was reached during a July 24 meeting in Washington DC between US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsak and Vietnamese State President Truong Tan Sang who is paying an official visit to the US.

Phat, who is accompanying Sang during the visit, also attended the meeting.

Both sides agreed to increase cooperation in the application of science and technology in agricultural production, and climate change adaptation.

They concurred that they will work closely together to address pending issues to facilitate the trade in Vietnamese farm produce.

The US announced that it will soon allow Vietnam to export some of its tropical fruit such as longans and litchis to its market. It will also consider other Vietnamese farm produce.

According to Minister Phat, Secretary Vilsak said he will work with relevant US agencies to examine issues of Vietnam concern, including the import of its Tra (Pangasius) fish, shrimp and bee honey.

Both sides agreed to accelerate current negotiations of a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement to boost bilateral trade ties concerning farm produce.

“The signing of the agreement is of great significance for Vietnam, especially for the agricultural sector, because we need to stimulate domestic production and seek outlets for our products,” Phat told Thanh nien.

Vietnam is exporting dragon fruit and rambutans to the US, and it aims to earn US$1 billion from fruit and vegetable exports to the US this year.

Increase in demand for online recruitment

According to Mr. Jonah Levey, Chairman of VietnamWorks, the demand for online recruitment has increased by 14 percent in 2013 compared to last year.

VietnamWorks is an online recruitment website that caters to job offers in Vietnam, allowing users to post as well as view available jobs.

According to Mr. Levey, this year the demand for online recruitment has increased sharply as Vietnam’s economy is showing signs of recovery.

In particular, recruitment demand in fields such as wholesale trade, retail, medicine, biotechnology, insurance and customer service has increased.

On the other hand, recruitment demand in fields like oil and gas, banking, engineering, construction has reduced compared to last year. In particular, banking faces the most difficulties at present.

Audit finds hole in State budget

The national financial audit for the 2011 fiscal year was released at a press conference in the capital city on Thursday by Le Minh Khai, Deputy Auditor General of the State Audit of Viet Nam.

Khai said that during their audit, his agency had discovered that VND14.7 trillion (US$700 million) was still to be collected or had been spent by different economic entities.

“Of the sum, nearly VND2.2 trillion ($104.7 million) was still overdue; VND2.5 trillion ($119 million) went on overspending and VND957.8 billion ($45.6 million) was added to the current bad debt,” he said.

The audit said that during their work at the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV), six financial institutions, including banks, insurance companies and financial companies, auditors had completed their task and followed the government’s policies and guidelines on monetary management. Some institutions made a small profit while some were lower than the previous year (2010).

The revenue made from investments and the stock exchanges in 2011 by the Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV) was between 3.1-3.4 per cent while the Cuu Long Delta Housing Development Bank recorded only 0.07 per cent.

Khai told reporters that the SAV has referred five cases for further investigation.

They are the Project Management Unit at the Hung Yen Department of Agriculture and Rural Development because of an incorrect financial settlement of over VND3 billion ($143,000) for two water supply projects that did not happen; the Thanh Nghe Tinh Foodstuffs Joint Stock Company, advanced VND143 billion ($6.8 million) to buy rice, but failed to buy it; Financial Company No 2 under the Viet Nam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, misused a loan from Viet Nam Social Security; the Mekong Construction Company – an affiliate of VINACONEX Xuan Mai, failed to implement a real estate project despite having bought the land; and the Da River Company after fraud was discovered when the company was found to have been misusing funds as well as when buying and selling foreign currencies.

Khai also said that during their time at major petrol importing and exporting companies, his staff also detected falsified applications for foreign exchanges, to determine petrol prices or when receiving money from the stabilising fund.

Referring to a question put by the Vietnam News Agency on the issue, that many people had more than one health insurance card, Khai said his agency has petitioned for the return of more than VND6.4 billion ($305,000) to the state budget.

Bui Duc Thu, a permanent member of the Financial and Budgetary Committee at the National Assembly added at the press conference that according to the SAV’s report, by the end of 2011, public debt had remained under the safety bench mark.

“By December 31, 2011, public debt had reached VND 1.3 thousand trillion ($66.3 billion), equal to 54.9 per cent of GDP,” Thu said. However, he added, “the state budget is always overspent. As a result, the government has to use ODA to compensate.”

In the first half of this year this exports grew by 98.4 per cent.

Viet Nam exported to 30 countries and territories, with over 20 of them each importing more than $100 million worth.

Samsung’s Bac Ninh plant provided jobs for around 40,000 workers. While delivering a strong export performance, the facility has also imported a significant volume. In the first half, its imports in fact cost over US$9.3 billion.

Southern firms trail technology trend

Firms working in support industries in HCM City and southern Binh Duong Province are hesitant to invest in new technology, according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

The survey was conducted last year by the ministry’s National Centre for Socio-Economic Information and Forecast and collated responses from a sample of 650 firms.

According to findings, uncertainty over the future of Viet Nam’s support industries was making firms nervous about upgrading technology. Only 41 per cent were deciding to invest while others were either uncertain or unwilling.

Trends also showed that only 3 per cent of firms had upgraded their machines over a three-year period. Thirty five per cent did not spend any money on new technology while 57 per cent of firms were shown to have partially upgraded during the same period.

Findings also showed 27 per cent of surveyed enterprises were using automatic machines, 58 per cent were using semi-automatic technology and 8 per cent were still operating manually. Foreign companies were shown to be twice as willing to use automatic machines.

The survey manager, Nguyen Viet Se, said investment was playing an important role in improving the size and quality of output and was necessary for industry development.

Se also said that technology was an important factor in boosting export revenue.

Results also showed that export revenue accounted for 32.6 per cent of total revenue, with export revenue for foreign companies measuring 42.7 per cent, triple of that of domestic firms.

Speaking to Dau Tu (Investment) Newspaper, Canon Department Manager Kinya Okada said that companies were finding it difficult to find local suppliers and that a lack of suppliers was forcing companies to import foreign products.

Few enterprises believed they were benefiting from Government policies. Respondents said erratic changes and inconsistencies in policy were making investment decisions more difficult.

Phones, components biggest dollar earners

Exports of mobile phones and components in the first half doubled to over $11 billion from last year.

According to figures released by the customs, phone and component exports helped reduce the country’s trade deficit in the first half to less than $1 billion, much lower than forecast.

In the period Viet Nam’s exports amounted to over $61.54 billion, a year-on-year increase of 15.1 per cent, and imports topped $62.47 billion, up 15.6 per cent.

Thus deficit of $933 million is much lower than the original estimation of $1.4 billion by the National Statistics Office earlier this year.

Korean giant Samsung’s investment and exports from its plant in the northern province of Bac Ninh is one of the major reasons for the sharp rise in phone and component exports this year.

Exports by the Samsung factory in the first six months were worth some $11 billion, or almost hitting the level of $12.6 billion recorded in the whole of last year, according to the Bac Ninh Industrial Zones Authority.

Samsung has played an important role in making mobile phones and components the top export item for Viet Nam. With a huge contribution from the company, phones and components are expected to fetch around $20 billion this year.

Their exports were worth $1.88 billion in June, a slump of 13 per cent from May.

The export of mobile phones and components grew 198.4 per cent in 2011 and 98.8 per cent last year.

Credit rating shortfalls hold back bond market

The development of the corporate bond market in Viet Nam has fallen short of its potential due to the lack of an effective credit rating system, according to financial analysts.

Only 39 corporate bonds are listed on the HCM City Stock Exchange and there is nearly no trading of these bonds. From the perspective of market insiders, the bourse has failed to become an effective channel for businesses to raise capital.

According to Do Viet Dung, a financial expert from the Ministry of Finance’s Banks and Financial Institutions Department, investors are not keen on corporate bonds due to the lack of information on credit risks and poorly thought-out interest rates.

“Interest rates partly reflect the financial health of businesses,” Dung said during an interview with Thoi bao ngan hang (Banking Times). “If the credibility of a company is low, the offered interest rate should be higher. However, there’s no standard for determining rational interest rates for corporate bonds because of the lack of real credit ratings.”

Dung said banks were the major buyers of these bonds as they already had long-term credit relationships with enterprises, but this trend was a cause for concern. All corporate bonds offered in 2012 and 2013 were bought by commercial banks.

“The objective of the corporate bond market is to help businesses raise capital by issuing debt instruments and diversifying bond buyers. But if the buyers are only banks, the dependence on the banking system is even larger,” Dung said.

In 2012, 43 companies registered to issue corporate bonds with a total value of nearly VND33.74 trillion (US$1.6 billion) but only VND24.33 trillion ($1.16 billion) worth of bonds were issued successfully.

The number for the first half of this year was almost VND19.04 trillion ($906.7 million) and VND8.28 trillion ($394.3 million), respectively, according to data from the Ministry of Finance.

Issuers are mostly banks and State-owned enterprises. Some private companies also issued bonds but the success of these bonds is not yet clear.

To boost the development of this market, the Ministry of Finance was finalising a draft decree on the establishment and operation of credit rating companies, said Phan Thi Thu Hien, deputy director of the Banks and Financial Institutions Department.

Hien said the wide use of credit ratings will have a great impact on the capital market, including on the prices of debt instruments and activities of both investors and issuers.

Sugarcane yields sweeten but quality still lags

Sugarcane yields have risen more than 14 per cent this year against the previous 11-month season, but an oversupply and the low quality of sugar remain pressing concerns of the industry.

The country’s sugar mills produced 1.53 million tonnes of sugar from mid-August last year to mid-July this year, up 14.5 per cent, according to the Department of Processing and Trade for Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Products and Salt Production.

Department officials were speaking at a meeting held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Mekong Delta Hau Giang Province on Thursday to review the 2012-13 sugar season.

Despite a higher output this season, participants at the meeting said that the quality of domestically produced sugar was lower than sugar produced in other countries.

In addition, there is a large inventory of sugar in the country, which indicates that supply and demand have not been balanced well, according to Nguyen Trong Thua, head of the Department of Processing and Trade for Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Products and Salt Production.

The country now has 1.53 million tonnes of sugar, not including the quantity of sugar imported under World Trade Organisation commitments this year.

The country’s annual sugar demand is 1.3-1.4 million tonnes, according to the Viet Nam Sugarcane and Sugar Association.

Thua said the industry’s sustainable development could be ensured if the cultivation areas remained about the same size and supply was better managed.

He said that farmers should focus on better sugarcane strains, which could improve yield and quality.

The country’s average yield of sugar is 5.5-5.8 tonnes per hectare, equal to half the world’s average yield.

In addition, sugar mills should work together more closely to harvest, buy and process sugarcane, he said.

Thua also recommended the use of sugar byproducts for the production of fertiliser, alcohol and electricity. This would increase profits for the sector, he said.

According to the sugar association, production costs of sugarcane and sugar production are still high.

Meeting participants also noted that sugarcane was being transported to sugar mills several days after harvest, leading to high levels of post-harvest losses.

And in some areas, farmers harvested their sugarcane too early, affecting quality.

Attendees at the meeting also asked government agencies to impose higher penalties on sugar smugglers.

In the 2012-13 sugar season, farmers planted more than 298,000ha of sugarcane, up by 15,000ha, with an average yield of 63.9 tonnes per hectare, an increase of 2.2 tonnes per hectare in yield against the 2011-12 sugar season.

Fund supports housing market

Up to VND11 billion (US$524,000) of the Government’s VND30 trillion ($1.42 billion) loan package to support the property market has been provided to 56 home buyers, the Ministry of Construction said.

The Viet Nam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank) received 160 applications for loans under the package while the Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam received 100.

The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV), meanwhile, has announced the signing of loan contracts to two social housing developers to build new or convert existing projects.

They are Vicoland Joint Stock Company, which is developing social housing in central Thua Thien-Hue Province, with a loan of VND117.709 billion ($5.605 million), and Hoang Quan Real Estate Corporation, which is converting housing in HCM City, with VND540 billion ($25.72 million).

Ministry statistics show there are 47 commercial housing projects which have applied to convert to social housing, involving 33,000 apartments and a total investment of VND19 trillion ($905 million).

Sixteen commercial projects asking for permission to reduce the size of their apartments will increase the total number from 4,700 units to 6,600 units.

Thirty social housing and conversion projects were sent to the State Bank to determine their eligibility for loans. Of them, four were State-owned enterprises and four were joint-stock companies with State holdings. The rest were in the private sector.

The support package aimed to clear the backlog of high-price apartments and to help low-income earners get a home, the ministry said.

It was being strict in its assessments to meet the letter of the law which meant there was no preferential treatment.

Besides the five banks appointed to implement the support package, many other banks offered credit at preferential interest rates to home buyers.

HDBank offered loans at 0 per cent interest rate for the first year for those who bought apartments in the Dragon Hill Residence and Suits in Phuoc Kien Commune, HCM City’s Nha Be District. The loan could be up to 70 per cent of the apartment value.

Eximbank had a VND5 trillion ($238.095 million) loan package with interest rates at 10-12 per cent per year over the first two years.

Vietbank had two credit packages for home buyers: one at 11.5 per cent to December 31, to be adjusted every three months thereafter; the other was interest-free for the first month, 12.56 per cent for the following 11 months, and according to the bank’s policy thereafter.

Nam A Bank offered rates of 0-10.9 per cent per year for the first three months for loans from VND200 million ($9,300) to VND5 billion ($238,905) before September 30.

Nam A Bank deputy general director Tran Ngoc Tam said, however, that many people hesitated to borrow from banks for home purchases and those who were really in need of social housing did not meet lender requirements.

Surge in footwear exports sees revenue on track to top US$9b

Viet Nam’s footwear exports are well on track to top US$9 billion this year, according to the Viet Nam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso).

Over the first half of this year, earnings from footwear exports totalled about $4 billion, a 14 per cent increase over the same period a year ago or 6.5 per cent of the country’s total export turnover, Lefaso said.

The US remained the country’s most lucrative market with revenue hitting $1.27 billion (up 21 per cent year-on-year), followed by the UK with $206.12 million (up 6.5 per cent), Belgium with $250.45 million (up 23 per cent) and Germany with $197.51 million (up 5 per cent).

Footwear producers have thrived since the second quarter, and see increasing export orders from now to the year-end, Lefaso said.

According to the association, if successfully negotiated, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would bring about opportunities for the Vietnamese leather and footwear industry to penetrate a large market.

The association added that Viet Nam’s leather and footwear products would enjoy preferential tax of zero per cent, reduced from the current 14.3 per cent.

This would help Vietnamese shoe enterprises to increase their competitiveness over other major shoe exporters that were not TPP members.

However, the association said the TPP would also bring about challenges for Viet Nam’s shoes industry, as the agreement had a compulsory localisation rate for raw materials.

Domestic businesses have a low localisation rate of 40 per cent, as the industry depends highly on imported materials.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade encouraged footwear businesses to increase their investment in material production and modern and environmentally friendly technologies.

Bac Ninh reports fall in revenue

The northern province of Bac Ninh reports that tax and fee collections have reduced by VND226 billion (US$10.7 million) in the first half of this year.

The Bac Ninh Department of Taxation said tax collection from import-export activities reached VND1.680 trillion ($80 million) in the first six months of this year, making up 33.6 per cent of what was projected for the year, 87.7 per cent up on a year ago.

The revenue decline was largely attributed to the sharp reduction in import-export activities, particularly after Samsung Electronics Vietnam (SEV) and Samsung SDI Vietnam Co (a research and investing information company) was permitted to turn into an export processing company instead of an foreign-invested enterprise.

As a result, tax collection from import-export items of these two companies reduced by VND226 billion ($10.76 million) per quarter, according to a provincial report signed by Luong Thanh, deputy chairman of the provincial people’s committee.

According to the provincial customs statistics, in the first two months of last year, SEV paid VND80.4 billion ($3.82 million) in tax while Samsung SDI Vietnam paid VND80 billion ($3.8 million) and in the first two months of this year tax collection was VND3.2 billion ($152,000) only. The reason was largely due to the change in SEV and Samsung SDI in September last year.

Once becoming a processing export companies they were tax free.

The report said that in the remaining months, the provincial customs would deal with difficulties in collecting taxes and fees. It predicted it would collect about VND3.8 trillion ($180 million) this year.

The provincial domestic revenue was estimated to reach VND3.1 trillion ($147 million), representing 53 per cent of what was projected, a year-on-year rise of 50 per cent.

Of this figure, the foreign invested sector would contribute VND1.12 trillion ($53.3 million) making up 62 per cent of what was targeted.

Previously, unlike many other provinces and cities, northern Bac Ninh Province collected a large amount of taxes and fees from the foreign investment sector.

Savills to open regional base

Property services provider Savills has announced further expansion of its South East Asia operations with the establishment of a new real estate consultancy in the region, and the move will be spearheaded by the company’s Viet Nam office.

Viet Nam units would help leverage emerging market experience, including Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, Savills Viet Nam said in a press release early this week.

Savills Viet Nam said that there had been an influx of investors seeking opportunities for early entry into Indochina and Myanmar, and they believed that these markets would be increasingly active in the coming years.

According to the company, Myanmar’s Yangon market had performed particularly well, with interest in the Myanmar becoming more intense and foreign capital being injected into virtually every sector of this nation’s economy.

Over the last year, office rents there have risen by 80 per cent, five-star hotel room rates have increased 70 per cent, serviced apartment rents have grown by half and quality retail has gone up 10 per cent.

Da Nang provides housing design

Central Da Nang Province’s Department of Construction is providing free house designs for residents planning to build their own homes.

Currently, there are two house designs for land measuring 5-metres wide and 20-metres long.

Local residents can download the designs at www.sxd.danang.gov.vn.

Japanese firm to manage plaza

Japan’s Okamura Tokyo recently signed an agreement to manage and operate The Pegasus Plaza in southern Dong Nai Province’s Bien Hoa City.

The Toan Thinh Phat Architecture Investment Construction Joint Stock Company began construction Pegasus Plaza in 2011 with total capital of VND700 billion ($33.34 million).

The 20-floor building was expected to be completed in November.

Many fish die after heavy rain

Tonnes of fish in Thanh Hoa Province’s Hai Binh Commune mysteriously died after a heavy rain on July 23, putting local farmers in difficulties.

By the end of the next day, not only the fish on the farms of 10 local families died, but also fish in streams died and were seen floating on the water.

Families in the area started to get into the fish-raising business years ago, attracted by potentially high profits. They had spent everything on the fish farm and now it’s all been washed away.

Tran Ba Bien, a farmer in Tan Hai Village said, “The colour of the water changed on that day. It’s highly likely that the water has been polluted by the livestock and poultry feed processing plants in Hai Thanh District.”

A fish flour processing company, and several households that earn their livings from steaming and drying fish are located along the river.

Vice-Chairman of Hai Thanh Commune People’s Committee said they have sent officials to assess the damage and will report the losses to the district authorities.

Meanwhile local farmers are waiting for a reasonable explanation for the sudden death of so many fish.

Government bonds sold for 325 billion VND

The State Treasury mobilised 325 billion VND in Government bonds through a tender organised by the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) on July 29.

The HNX put forward Govt. bonds worth 4 trillion VND in total for tender on the day. They included bonds of two-, three-, five- and ten-year terms.

The mobilised funds include 200 billion VND in two-year bonds with an annual interest rate of 7.28 percent, 125 billion VND in ten-year bonds with the annual interest rate of 8.9 percent.

Since the beginning of this year, the State Treasury has mobilised over 104 trillion VND in Govt. bonds via tender.

Mekong deluge delays rice buying

The Viet Nam Food Association has sought more time to buy 1 million tonnes of rice for the temporary reserve, saying heavy rains in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta have prevented farmers from harvesting.

The Government had set a deadline on July 31, and the association wants two more weeks.

The programme began on June 15, and food companies have managed to buy only 60-70 per cent of their allotted quotas.

They said they cannot find enough paddy to buy since the delta harvest has been prevented by the rains.

According to the Cultivation Department, around 700,000ha out of the 1.68 million hectares of summer-autumn rice are yet to be harvested.

Rice prices in the domestic market have risen significantly in recent days.

Currently traders buy paddy at VND5,600-5,700 per kilo for long-grain varieties and VND5,300-5,400 for IR50404, up around VND500 from a month ago.

Rice export prices have also gone up recently, the VFA said, adding that exporters have been selling 5 per cent broken rice at US$405 a tonne.

The VFA has also raised the floor price for 25 per cent broken rice by $10 a tonne to $375.

As of July 18 businesses had exported 3.73 million tonnes for a free-on-board value of $1.6 billion.

In a recent meeting, VFA chairman Truong Thanh Phong assured that the export situation would improve in the coming months, and advised firms not to be in a rush to sell, thus undercutting each other.

With advantages like competitive prices and fresh rice, Viet Nam has the opportunity to increase exports, he added.

Coffee prices fall on Brazil news

Coffee prices fell sharply at the beginning of last week after rumours of a frost in Brazil’s coffee growing areas dissipated.

Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producer and exporter.

On the NYSE Liffe robusta futures exchange in London, September prices closed the week at US$1,921 per tonne.

In the week ending on July 19, coffee prices had risen by $93 per tonne to close at $1,968 following rumours of an imminent cold frost in Brazil’s coffee areas.

At this time every year world coffee markets become jittery amid fears global production could be hit if temperatures plummet.

The prices “defrosted” on futures exchanges and domestic markets after a Brazilian meteorologist reported very slight frost in areas in Parana state, which produces not more than 5 per cent of the country’s coffee output, Pham Ky Anh, a coffee analyst based in HCM City, said.

The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture forecast output to reach 48.6 million bags [of 60 kilogrammes each] in the 2013-14 marketing season.

In a poll by Reuters, 32 coffee market players and experts forecast Brazil’s output to be 53.05 million bags.

“The world has more than enough coffee when the market players estimated a coffee surplus of about 3 million bags including 500,000 bags of robusta coffee,” Anh cited a recent poll survey by Reuters as saying.

In Viet Nam, the domestic market in the Central Highlands came down consequently to VND40,200 (US$2) per kilo from VND41,700.

“Offers of exportable coffee are very thin and expensive, at $80 per tonne over the benchmark of London futures exchange for grade 2.5 per cent black and broken beans because Viet Nam is in the in-between crop period,” Anh said.

On the other hand, unsold coffee stocks are in strong hands though bought at high prices, so they do not want to sell at the moment.

“Many coffee stock holders are waiting for another rumour about Brazilian frost, which could push their coffee value higher,” a major exporter based in Dak Lak Province said.

“The rumours about Brazilian frost made the coffee price in the domestic market hot. But, at the current level of around VND40,000 per kilo, it is turning to ‘freezing’ point.”

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development estimated recently that Viet Nam could ship 93,000 tonnes of coffee in July, taking the year’s total to around 890,000 tonnes.

But in the 10 months since the coffee marketing season began last October, exports are estimated at 1.27 million tonnes, much less than the 1.38 million tonnes a year earlier.

“The realistic demand for Vietnamese robusta coffee from international roasters is 125,000 to 135,000 tonnes per month,” Anh explained.

Viet Nam’s coffee output in the 2012-13 crop could reach 24.95 and 25 million bags, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Reuters’ polls found.

“If we follow Viet Nam’s Coffee and Cocoa Association’s estimate, at only 20 million bags or 1.2 million tonnes, we don’t have any more coffee for export in the two months to come,” Anh said.

“The estimates by USDA and Reuters are seemingly more realistic,” an exporter based in HCM City said.

Viet Nam’s lower volumes and higher prices of coffee encouraged buyers to source coffee at cheaper price in Europe.

By July 22, robusta coffee stocks certified by the NYSE Liffe exchange in London saw a drawdown of 17,500 tonnes, the largest drop in stocks held in the different warehouses nominated by the exchange.

A coffee is approved by the exchange when it satisfies all requirements related to quality stated in the futures contract.

A trader can sell to the exchange only when its coffee has been certified.

A grade 2 certification, normally better than the grade 2.5 per cent black and broken beans that Vietnamese exporters often sell, can only be sold at $30 per tonne below the exchange’s benchmark price.

The current offer of FOB HCM City port for Vietnamese robusta grade 2.5 per cent black and broken beans is $80 above the London exchange price, meaning it is $110 higher.

This explains why coffee buyers have chosen spot coffee in European warehouses instead of sourcing from origin, including Viet Nam, the world’s biggest exporter of robusta.

Indonesian firm plans to invest in VN power stations

Indonesia’s State-owned coal company PT Bukit Asam (PTBA) plans to invest in coal-fired power stations in Viet Nam while expanding their interests in coal mining and distribution in the country.

PTBA’s President Milawarma said the company had sold 500,000 tonnes of coal to Viet Nam in the first half of this year and met with representatives of the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade to discuss its investment plans for the country.

PTBA had seen an opportunity to export our coal, as well as investing in Viet Nam, he noted.

Hue casts wide for investment

The central Thua Thien Hue Province has made calls for further investment in a wide range of projects, with promises of incentive policies and smoother investment procedures from the local authorities.

“The province is seeking for resources that could utilise local potential for its development,” said Phan Ngoc Tho, deputy chairman of the province People’s Committee during an online forum held last week.

Tho pledged incentives and easier procedures for investors who now register in the province.

The local authorities are in need of investors for projects manufacturing solar batteries and high-class glass in Phong Dien District, where the white sand gives the area a lot of potential.

In Huong Tra District, projects in forestation, cultivating herbal plants, processing agricultural products, nurturing seedlings and animal husbandry are top of the list of investment appeal.

The provincial Department of Planning and Investment said it would give investors quick access to water, power and road traffic and lease costs and taxation would be offered at the maximum rate for incentives regulated by the central government.

At the Chan May – Lang Co economic zone, which utilises Chan May’s deep water port, exemptions of 50 per cent of corporate tax could be applied to projects involved in the development of the ports infrastructure, automobile assembly, the logistics industry and high-end resorts.

The province also has five industrial parks, including Phong Dien, Phu Bai, Tu Ha, Phu Da and Quang Vinh.

According to Tho, by 2013, the province had granted investment licences to 75 foreign projects with a total capital of US$2 billion. Domestic investors are also carrying out 255 projects at a total cost of $1.4 billion.

Earlier investors, including the Hue Brewery Company, the SCAVI textiles company, Laguna Resort and Luks Cement, are currently doing well in the province thanks to the local preferential business environment.

New technologies to be exhibited in HCM City

An international exhibition on plastics, rubber, packaging, printing, food technologies and automation will be held in HCM City from September 3-6 at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre.

It will offer local manufacturers an excellent opportunity to source suitable materials for their operations.

Advanced technologies and services will be on display at the exhibition, looking for interested parties and ways of penetrating the Vietnamese market.

There will be numerous associated events taking place and 460 stands will represent over 260 companies from 15 countries and territories across the world.

The exhibition has been co-organised by the Viet Nam National Trade Fair and Advertising Company VINEXAD, the Taiwanese company Chan Chao International, the Yorkers Trade Marketing Service Company from Hong Kong, the Paper Communication Exhibition Services Company also from Hong Kong, the Viet Nam Plastics Association (VPA) and the Viet Nam Rubber Association (VRA).

Foreign owner spurs progress on slow $70m ParkCity project

The long-delayed ParkCity Hanoi residential project has seen dynamic progress in the six months since the foreign investor of the joint venture bought out its Vietnamese partner.

An insider in the Malaysian-owned Perdana ParkCity, which is now in the total control of the project, explained that their first move was to replace the projects subsiding foundations.

“To correct this, the company invested another $7 million,” the source added.

The sinking foundations were a major cause of friction between the partners, who could not agree on a solution.

ParkCity is a 77 hectare property located at the intersection of Le Trong Tan and Le Van Luong streets in western Hanoi.

The project will comprise of suburban homes and apartment blocks, shopping centre, park, sports facilities, and an international school. In the first and second phases, Park City plans to complete around 1,200 villas, semi-detached houses, and high-rise apartments.

The first lowrise residential area – the Ngoc Lan suburb – is undergoing its initial building stage with plans to complete the structures by October, with them likely to be handed over to customers during the second quarter of 2014.

ParkCity Hanoi and its contractor Ecoba Vietnam held a ground-breaking ceremony last month for the Hoang Lan suburb, the project’s second neighbourhood.

Hoang Lan will be a guarded and gated neighbourhood consisting of 144 townhouses and 16 semi-detached villas.

In early 2013, Perdana ParkCity announced it had completed its acquisition of 40 per cent of Vietnam International Township Development JSC (VIDC) from the former partner Vinaconex Hoang Thanh, officially ending the 60-40 partnership that began in 2009.

VIDC’s CEO Lawrence Peh commented that the acquisition was vital to moving the project forward and noted the company’s track record and financial strength.

Perdana ParkCity is the property development subsidiary of Samling Group, a Malaysian timber conglomerate.

The company has another project, Marina ParkCity in East Malaysia and flagship project Desa ParkCity in Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

Once completed, Desa ParkCity will include 7,000 homes with a population of roughly 35,000 and a 17.4 hectare town centre with around 300,000 square metres of commercial space.

Yaw Chee Siew, chairman of Perdana ParkCity, was recently voted Malaysian Property Man of the Year for his exceptional vision and achievements.

Source: VEF/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/Dantri/VIR

By vivian