ACV targets nearly 487 million USD in revenue amid COVID-19
The Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) has targeted earning over 11.3 trillion VND (486.9 million USD) in revenue and over 2 trillion VND (86.1 million USD) in pre-tax profit in 2020.
To ensure the fulfillment of its targets and plans for 2020 amid impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, ACV will focus on monitoring, evaluating and forecasting the market recovery in order to take timely solutions and make appropriate adjustments to its production and business activities.
It will also minimise regular and operation costs, promptly assess and adjust a number of investment projects to meet market growth needs and ensure capital efficiency.
A representative of the corporation said the firm intends to speed up investment projects, especially key ones such as building T3 Terminal at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, expanding T2 Terminal and an apron at Noi Bai International Airport and Terminal T2 at Phu Bai International Airport.
Apart from upgrading airport infrastructure, ACV also pays attention to promoting IT application in management and operation activities. In the third quarter, it will put non-stop toll collection systems into operation in 21 airports, and equip the airports with aviation information management systems.
Additionally, the firm will enhance investment and promote modernisation in term of security, and improve the quality of services it supplies.
According to ACV General Director Vu The Phiet, in 2019, the firm saw stable production and business activities as it completed and exceeded all of its targets.
ACV’s passenger throughput last year continued to maintain a double-digit growth, reaching over 116 million, equivalent to 103 percent of the plan, up 12 percent compared to 2018.
The company reported total revenue and post-tax profit of nearly 20.5 trillion VND and over 8 trillion VND, up 15 percent and 33 percent, respectively, year on year.
Fifth bank completes all three pillars of Basel II
The Southeast Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SeABank) said it has completed the second pillar of Basel II standards, which is supervisory review.
Together with the realisation of the first and third pillars of Basel II – minimum capital requirements and market discipline – last October, SeABank becomes the fifth bank in Vietnam to complete all three pillars.
Basel II is the second edition of the Basel Accords, which are recommendations on banking law and regulations issued by the Basel Committee on banking supervision. It aims to enhance competition and transparency in the banking system and make banks more resistant to market changes.
Under the second pillar, a bank must have an Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process (ICAAP) in place. It must conduct periodic internal capital adequacy assessments in accordance with its risk profile and determine a strategy for maintaining the necessary capital level.
The four other banks that completed the three pillars are the Vietnam International Commercial Joint Stock Bank (VIB), the Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank), the Vietnam Property Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank), and the Vietnam Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MSB).
GoViet to be rebranded as Gojek Vietnam
GoViet, one of Vietnam’s leading on-demand multi-service platforms, on July 3 announced that it will unite its app and brand under Gojek to become Gojek Vietnam.
Phung Tuan Duc, GoViet co-founder and former chief operating officer, has been appointed as general manager of Gojek Vietnam.
Gojek is Southeast Asia’s leading technology group and a pioneer of the integrated super app model connecting users to over two million registered driver-partners and 500,000 merchants in over 200 cities across five Southeast Asian countries.
The Gojek app, which is underpinned by a new international technology platform, will enable the company to fulfil Vietnamese users’ changing needs and priorities by innovating and introducing new features and products more quickly and seamlessly.
The app will deliver improved user experience, with a cleaner, simpler user interface and multiple feature upgrades. Vietnamese users will also be able to access Gojek services in Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand.
Since its launch in Vietnam in August 2018, GoViet has seen exponential growth, establishing a thriving ecosystem of users and creating significant positive social impact for drivers and merchants.
With services for motorbike ride-hailing (GoBike), logistics (GoSend), and food delivery (GoFood), GoViet currently serves millions of consumers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It has created income-earning opportunities for more than 150,000 driver-partners and 80,000 merchants, the majority of which are micro, small, and medium-sized businesses.
Andrew Lee, Group Head of International at Gojek, said Vietnam is the Gojek’s first foreign market outside Indonesia.
Gojek commits to continuing this sort of success, he said, adding that by uniting apps and brand, Gojek will be able to deliver an even better experience for users.
COVID-19 wreaks havoc on Cambodia’s tourism industry
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on Cambodia’s tourism industry, with nearly 3,000 tourism and tourism-related businesses closing and more than 45,000 workers losing jobs as of May.
Cambodia is one of the Southeast Asian countries that strictly enforce restrictions on foreign arrivals to prevent the spread of the disease. However, this has led to increased unemployment and debt burden, seriously affecting socio-economic development. Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism forecast that the local tourism industry will lose 3 billion USD this year.
President of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents Chhay Sivlin has expressed her concern regarding the entry requirements and called on the government to ease the travel restrictions.
“Businesses would not survive if they remain in place,” she said.
According to Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon, the local tourism sector has seen some positive signs. During the first three weeks of June, more than 450,000 tourists visited Cambodia – an increase of 7.24 percent compared to the first three weeks of May.
However, President of the Asia-Pacific Travel Association Thoun Sinan said that the Cambodian tourism still depends heavily on international tourists and only domestic holidaymakers cannot save this industry. If the pandemic ends at the end of this year, the sector will recover by 20 percent and can only fully recover by 2025, he forecast.
Indonesia asks Singapore to re-open borders for tourism activities
The Indonesian government has asked Singapore to soon re-open its borders, particularly those that connect the city state to the tourist areas of Bintan and Batam in Riau Islands, which have been closed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During his visit to Batam on July 2, Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan made a phone call with Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakhrisnan, requesting the latter to reopen borders that serve as entry points to Bintan and Batam.
Minister Pandjaitan said that Minister Balakhrisnan agreed to review Indonesia’s request after Singapore’s general election, which is scheduled for July 10.
Singapore closed borders to short-term visitors in March.
The Indonesian Embassy in Singapore said that the country is likely to close access in and out until December this year.
Border closures have impacted tourism and the economy in Riau Islands, which depends largely on Singaporean tourists.
Batam Mayor Muhammad Rudi said on the same day that he had asked Batam’s representative office for the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) to call on the Singaporean Health Ministry to provide them with a roadmap of when the border connecting Batam and Singapore would be reopened.
The Batam administration also contacted the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore to promote the reopening of international ferry routes connecting the two countries.
Indonesian State banks to disburse 6.32 billion USD to help businesses
The State-Owned Banks Association (Himbara) on July 2 expressed optimism that its bank members can disburse up to 90 trillion Rp (6.32 billion USD) in loans to help small businesses recover from the severe economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Himbara chairman and Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) president director Sunarso said the banks were ready and committed to expand their loan disbursements to three times the amount of funding placed by the government as part of its national economic recovery programme.
The four Himbara members comprise BRI, Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI), Bank Tabungan Negara (BTN) and Bank Mandiri.
The banks will prioritise the disbursement to the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) segment in several sectors like food and distribution, tourism, transportation, housing and construction.
The banks deem these sectors as having potential demand amid the easing of the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) as the government strives to keep the economy running.
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati announced last week that the government would place 30 trillion Rp in state-owned banks to be disbursed as loans to businesses to help support economic recovery.
The fund placement and the working capital loan guarantee are part of the government’s 695.2 trillion Rp budget to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has battered Indonesia’s healthcare system and the social and economy sectors.
The government now expects the country’s economy to contract by 0.4 percent this year under the worst-case scenario or grow 1 percent under the baseline scenario as the pandemic ravages the economy.
Indonesia raises 930 mln USD in Samurai bonds to fund pandemic response
The Indonesian Finance Ministry announced on July 3 that the country has raised 100 billion JPY (930 million USD) from the issuance of five-tranche Samurai bonds to offset the national budget deficit and fund the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its statement, the ministry said this is the first issuance of the sovereign Japanese yen in 2020 and the first issuance from an Asian country since the pandemic hit.
The money raised will be used to finance the budget deficit, as well as fund COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts, it noted.
The Indonesian government faces the daunting task of funding the budget deficit of 6.34 percent of gross domestic product this year, with 695.2 trillion Rp (49 billion USD) set aside to bolster its economy and strengthen its health care system.
The government is planning to offer 900.4 trillion Rp worth of bonds in the second half of the year to fund the country’s response to the pandemic.
It had raised 630.5 trillion Rp worth of debt papers until June this year, including 4.3 billion USD from a three-tranche US-dollar bond in April and 2.5 billion USD from a three-tranche global sukuk (sharia-compliant bond) last month.
The joint lead arrangers of the above-mentioned Samurai bond issuance are Daiwa Securities, Nomura Securities, SMBC Nikko Securities and Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
The government now expects the country’s full-year growth of only 1 percent under the baseline scenario in 2020 or full-year contraction of 0.4 percent in the worst-case scenario.
State budget revenue unlikely to reach 2020 plan due to COVID-19: Minister
It is unlikely that State budget revenue will reach the 2020 target approved by the National Assembly of over 1.51 quadrillion VND (64.89 billion USD) due to the impact of COVID-19, Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung has said.
Vietnam has seen significant declines in State budget revenue since the beginning of the year as a result of business and production stagnation, while the State budget is funding a number of relief packages to recover industries and businesses.
According to the General Statistics Office, as of June 15 State budget revenue totalled 607.1 trillion VND, equivalent to 40.1 percent of the annual target. The figure included 503.8 trillion VND in domestic collection and 20.2 trillion VND from crude oil, equal to 39.9 percent and 57.5 percent of targets, respectively.
This year’s State budget revenue will fall because of low economic growth, plunging oil prices and, in particular, tax cuts introduced to ease the burden on enterprises and household businesses from the outbreak, Dung said.
Many companies have scaled down production in the face of weakening demand and disruptions to supply chains, putting enormous pressure on the State budget, he explained.
The Ministry of Finance has proposed the Government waive or cut taxes and fees to support those affected by COVID-19, worth a total of about 200 trillion VND, he continued, citing a five-month extension for the payment of taxes and land use fees as an example of such measures.
The ministry also suggested providing tax exemptions on imported medical materials and equipment for the COVID-19 response and imports of materials for various industries, including footwear, textiles and garments, processing of agriculture, forestry and fishery products, mechanical engineering, support industries, and automobiles, he added.
Dung further noted that the ministry has put extra effort into restructuring State budget revenues, with the proportion of domestic collections expanding from around 68.7 percent of the total during the 2011-2015 period to 81.5 percent in 2016-2020.
The ministry is set to raise domestic collections to 84 percent of the total this year, he said.
Industrial production gradually rebounding: GSO
Industrial production was greatly affected by COVID-19 in the first half of 2020 but has gradually bounced back since May, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).
Industrial production value rose 2.71 percent year-on-year in the first half, with an increase of 5.1 percent in the first quarter followed by just 0.74 percent in the second, as the economy was hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak.
Processing and manufacturing was up 4.96 percent in the January-June period – the slowest first-half pace since 2011, electricity production and distribution up 3.04 percent, and water supply, waste, and wastewater treatment up 3.76 percent. Meanwhile, mining shrank 5.4 percent.
Pham Dinh Thuy, Director of the GSO’s Industrial Statistics Department, said COVID-19 disrupted the supply of input materials for industrial production, especially processing and manufacturing, from many countries.
Government Decree No 100/2019/ND-CP, which sets stricter fines for road and railway traffic violations and took effect on January 1, changed alcohol consumption habits and subsequently affected beverage production, he noted.
Several industries saw sharp declines in production during the first half, including motor vehicle (16.4 percent), crude oil and natural gas (11.3 percent), the repair, maintenance, and installation of machinery and equipment (9.5 percent), and beverage (8.8 percent).
Others grew and contributed to overall growth, such as the manufacture of medicines, pharmaceutical chemicals, and medicinal materials (27.9 percent), the production of coke and refined petroleum products (15 percent), metal ore mining (13.3 percent), the production of electronic and optical devices (9.8 percent), and pulp and paper production (9.1 percent).
GSO Deputy General Director Nguyen Thi Huong said that because the pandemic was brought under control early in Vietnam, economic sectors have begun returning to normal and industrial production regained growth momentum since May.
To achieve faster growth in the months to come, she suggested ministries, sectors, and localities step up the reform of procedures to help business’s access support policies, assist them in seeking material supply sources, and encourage consumers to purchase locally-made products.
Vietnam, US look to balance trade
With huge potential for comprehensive cooperation, Vietnam and the US are boosting two-way trade in a more balanced manner to ensure sustainable development, experts have said.
Commercial Counsellor and head of the Vietnam Trade Office in the US Bui Huy Son said two-way trade rose from 450 million USD in 1994 to 75 billion USD in 2019.
Since the Vietnam-US trade agreement was signed in 2000, Vietnam’s exports to the US have changed considerably, moving from apparel and leather and footwear to agro-fisheries.
Shipments of apparel went up 24 percent last year, footwear 11 percent, mobile phones and spare parts 15 percent, computers and electronics 10 percent, and wooden furniture 9 percent.
Ten commodities earned over 1 billion USD from exports to the US, including apparel, with 14.8 billion USD, mobile phones and spareparts 8.8 billion USD, footwear 6.6 billion USD, and wooden furniture 5.3 billion USD.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has also actively directed the implementation of an action programme towards harmonious and sustainable trade between the two countries.
Vietnam will import more from the US, in particular energy, farm produce, pharmaceuticals, and machinery and equipment for production and daily use.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said recent changes to global supply chains have resulted in Vietnam becoming the 27th largest importer and the 16th largest trade partner of the US.
The US also wants to import products where Vietnam possesses strengths, such as farm produce, apparel, leather and footwear, machinery, and electronics. Vietnam, meanwhile, has demand for high-tech equipment, telecommunications, and farm produce from the US.
With GDP growth of nearly 7 percent each year and a population approaching 100 million, Vietnam is viewed as a promising market for US enterprises in health care, education, telecoms, retail, finance-banking, and energy.
Some 130 countries and territories are now investing in Vietnam, with a combined registered capital of more than 340 billion USD. The US has 900 valid projects worth over 9 billion USD.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, a number of US companies plan to move their investment from other regional nations to Vietnam.
US enterprises are also looking to export more LPG to Vietnam.
Speaking highly of the Vietnamese Government’s efforts to improve administrative reforms and the business climate, President and CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council Alexander C. Feldman suggested that Vietnam further enhance transparency regarding procurement, bidding, and foreign trade, thus creating a legal environment conducive to innovation and the digital economy.
Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh called on businesses to grasp the commitments made in free trade agreements between Vietnam and major markets, especially those relating to tariff incentives and rules of origin.
He said the MoIT welcomes US enterprises to conduct long-term business in Vietnam and cooperate with Vietnamese partners in hi-tech agriculture, clean technology, and biotechnology, thus helping Vietnam deeply penetrate into regional and global supply chains.
The ministry has also come up with major schemes to improve the competitiveness of exports, he said, particularly industrial and processed products, which also helps Vietnam join supply chains.
Enterprises should outline effective business strategies to navigate the US market, contributing to further tightening Vietnam-US trade ties in the future, the minister added.
Foreign tourists to Indonesia plunge nearly 90 percent due to COVID-19
Statistics Indonesia (BPS) announced on July 1 that Indonesia had welcomed only 163,646 foreign tourist arrivals in May, a drop of 86.9 percent year-on-year, due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the figure represented a 3.1 percent month-on-month increase from 158,718 recorded in April.
BPS head Suhariyanto said the country’s tourism is still being severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic . The government has prepared a strategy to revive tourism, but the recovery will take time because we don’t know when the COVID-19 crisis will end, he said.
Tourism has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak, with many tourist destinations empty since March, as countries around the world imposed travel restrictions and the implementation of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in Indonesia forced people to stay at home.
Decreasing visits were recorded at almost all points of entry, he said, adding that annual arrival figures at major airports, such as Ngurah Rai (in Denpasar, Bali), Soekarno-Hatta (in Tangerang, Banten) and Juanda (in Surabaya, East Java) international airports, have dropped almost 100 percent.
Increases in arrivals were recorded at only several points of entry, such as Batam, Riau Island, which has become a major point of entry for visitors from Malaysia and Singapore.
Hotels across Indonesia have also recorded prolonged low occupancy rates. BPS’ data show the average occupancy rate of star hotels in May was only 14.45 percent.
From January to May, Indonesia recorded just 2.9 million foreign tourist visits, a 53.56 percent drop from the same period last year.
Vietsovpetro surpasses first-half natural gas exploitation target
The Vietnam-Russia oil and gas joint venture Vietsovpetro has reported that its natural gas exploitation in the first half of the year surpassed 17.3 percent of its target and reached 47 million cu m.
The joint venture also implemented contracts with partners for operation and exploitation services at mines.
It extracted and brought ashore 694.7 million cu.m of gas, exceeding 28.1 percent of the plan during the period.
Regarding marine construction, Vietsovpetro processed over 3,986 tonnes and performed offshore assembly of over 5,917 tonnes of metal structure. Anti-corrosion work was performed on an area of over 112,023 sq.m, while 11.8 km of underground pipelines were installed.
Of note, Vietsovpetro manufactured and installed the BK-21 platform offshore, with its superstructure now being built.
Vietsovpetro said that in the last six months, it continued to implement synchronous solutions, in particular organisational-technical measures (OTM), to overcome difficulties and complete its annual business and production plan in the context of ongoing impacts from COVID-19.
Chinese firm to carry out 160-mln-USD logistics project in Cambodian capital
China Good Cars Holding Ltd is looking for a strategic location for its proposed 160-million-USD modern heavy vehicle parking terminal on the outskirts of Phnom Penh to serve as a major gateway into the capital, the Phnom Penh Post reported on July 2.
Company representatives recently met with Phnom Penh municipal Governor Khuong Sreng to discuss the project.
Spokesman of the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall Met Meas Pheakdey said the capital city strongly supports the project, given the severe shortage of lorry parking in the capital.
Cambodia Logistics Association President Sin Chanthy stated that the facility, once operational, will improve freight transportation and logistics in the country.
He said the private transport sector currently faces a severe shortage of lorry parking.
The number of registered vehicles in Cambodia rose 13 percent last year. Newly registered vehicles last year totalled 640,183, including15,956 heavy vehicles, 92,958 cars and 531,269 motorcycles.
The COVID-19 is seriously affecting the country’s logistics sector, with 10-15 percent of firms forecast to go bankruptcy in the next three months.
Ninh Thuận develops co-operatives sustainably
The south-central province of Ninh Thuận has stepped up measures to sustainably develop its collective economy.
The province has 84 co-operatives and 1,300 co-operative groups with a total of 44,600 members that operate in agriculture, forestry and salt production besides many non-agricultural fields.
Trần Quốc Nam, deputy chairman of the province People’s Committee and head of the province Steering Committee for Renewal and Development of Collective Economy and Co-operatives, said collectives had contributed much to the province’s socio-economic development by creating jobs and helping reduce poverty and build new-style rural areas.
To develop the collective economy, the province was focusing on reorganising co-operatives based on the 2012 Co-operative Law.
It would help them access land and credit and provide advanced technologies for production.
It would also provide guidelines for the establishment of new co-operatives, attract new members, increase the capital of co-operatives, build brands, and promote trade.
It planned to establish eight to 10 new co-operatives and focus on developing agricultural co-operatives this year.
It wanted each commune to have at least one efficiently operating co-operative that produces and consumes specifically identified local products by this year.
It wanted to increase the rate of highly efficient co-operatives from the current 36 per cent to 45 – 50 per cent by the end of this year.
Co-operative members had an average income of VNĐ35 million (US$1,500) last year.
Highly efficient co-operatives
Many co-operatives in the province have been operating highly efficiently and developing value chains for their products, most of them specifically identified ones such as grape, asparagus and goat and sheep.
The Châu Rế Agriculture and Service Co-operative in Ninh Phước District, established in 2018 with 73 women members, mostly trades vegetables and agricultural inputs.
It grows asparagus and rice in Phước Hải Commune, which has sandy soil and is drought – prone.
Châu Thị Xéo, its director, said the co-operative used advanced farming techniques to grow asparagus, improving yields and quality.
“Asparagus … is harvested daily, and provides jobs and steady incomes for many women.”
The province Department of Industry and Trade has helped it build a facility for post-harvest handling of asparagus.
It has also helped co-operatives find outlets, invest in advanced facilities for processing agriculture produce and in generating solar energy for drying the produce, and has helped agriculture co-operatives produce to Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards.
It has acted as a link between co-operatives and companies to develop their production and secure outlets.
The Suối Đá Agriculture and Service Co-operative in Thuận Bắc District’s Lợi Hải Commune found more outlets after the province helped it participate in a seminar on linkages between supply and demand in Bình Định Province last year.
Đỗ Huỳnh Hoàng, its director, said after the seminar that the co-operative signed a contract with the Bình Định Sài Gòn Co.op Limited Company in Bình Định to sell its black pigs and Thuận Bắc chicken.
The co-operative was also promoting its products in other cities and provinces, he said.
Thua Thien – Hue to expect two growth scenarios
Thua Thien–Hue Province expects two growth scenarios for the remaining six months of 2020, according to the provincial Statistical Office.
In the first scenario, the province’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) would expand 2.8 per cent.
In the second, Thua Thien–Hue would achieve a growth rate of 3.77 per cent, if the province could maintain a GRDP growth rate of 6 – 7 per cent in the remainder of the year, combined with concentrated efforts from the authority as well as other favourable conditions.
In the first six months of this year, Thua Thien-Hue’s GRDP grew 0.38 per cent, the lowest rate in decades.
With the service sector at the core of the province’s economy, Thua Thien–Hue was hit badly by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meeting the target growth pace of 7.5 – 8 per cent for 2020 would be challenging, said director of the provincial Statistical Office Ngo Lieu.
Despite the negative impact of the pandemic, Thua Thien–Hue’s economic picture is still optimistic.
The province’s industrial production index in the first six months grew over 3 per cent, with the mining industry and manufacturing climbed 8.96 per cent and 4.45 per cent, respectively.
The province’s spearhead industries such as processing shrimps for export, packaging and medical equipment production have been the major driving force for such growth.
Thua Thien–Hue also disbursed VND10.9 trillion of investment, a 9.9 per cent increase compared to last year and welcomed four new foreign investment projects worth $15.41 million
Government bonds sold for US$1.4 billion in June
The State Treasury raised total VND32.6 trillion (more than US$1.4 billion) worth of government bonds in 16 auctions at the Ha Noi Stock Exchange in June.
G-bond sales in June was up 77.2 per cent on-month with 90 per cent of the total offered volume being sold.
Annual interest rates of 10-year and 15-year bonds rose by 0.04-0.05 per cent against May while those of five-year and 20-year ones declined 0.04-0.25 per cent.
On the secondary G-bond market, trading value averaged nearly VND8.2 billion per session, a month-on-month decrease of 11.8 per cent.
Total outright purchases of G-bonds in June dropped 8 per cent on-month to VND114 trillion. Total trading value of G-bonds via repurchasing agreements (repos) was VND65.3 trillion, up 7.9 per cent month-on-month.
Foreign investors made outright purchases of more than VND5.2 trillion, and outright sales of over VND3 trillion. They did not make any repo transactions.
Total listed G-bonds were valued at more than VND1.16 quadrillion as of June 30.
Banks offer relief to 230,700 pandemic-hit borrowers in HCM City
Banks in HCM City had slashed interest rates, extended debt repayment deadlines, and maintained debt classifications for businesses hurt by the COVID-19 on the total loans worth more than VND384.6 trillion (US$16.53 billion) as of June 29.
About 230,700 borrowers have so far benefited from these policies which were adopted in response to the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV)’s Circular No.1/2020-TT-NHNN on offering financial relief to pandemic-hit companies, SBV HCM City Branch Deputy Director Nguyen Hoang Minh told a conference in the city on Thursday.
The event was co-organised by the SBV branch in HCM City and the municipal Department of Industry and Trade to help firms restore and expand business and production.
Minh said interest rates have been cut for loans worth over VND49.97 trillion of nearly 17,420 borrowers and new soft loans worth of more than VND270.42 trillion offered to over 44,600 pandemic-hit customers.
“As many as 168,670 borrowers have had their debt payoff plan extended,” Minh said.
Speaking at the event, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Tran Vinh Tuyen highly appreciated the local lenders’ aid for businesses since many of those are struggling to cushion the blow from the coronavirus.
SBV Deputy Governor Dao Minh Tu vowed that the banking sector will continue working with HCM City to support firms to tackle challenges and recover from the pandemic.
The SBV will maintain a flexible monetary policy as well as stable interest rates and foreign exchanges in the future, he continued, urging local lenders to improve their digital platforms and services to enable their customers to save time and cut costs.
Representatives from the 16 banks in the city signed an agreement to postpone debt repayment plans and reduce interest rates for over 17,000 local enterprises, mostly small- and medium-sized, affected by the pandemic with total loans of more than VND87 trillion.
The central bank in early March issued Circular No 1, guiding credit institutions to reschedule debt payment plans, waive or reduce lending rates and fees for loans and offer new soft loans to projects and enterprises that need further capital to maintain or resume their operations amid the social distancing period to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Ha Tinh eyes $43 million resort project
The Onsen Fuji Services Travel Joint Stock Company has proposed investing in a high-class marine resort project, the Wyndham Costa Ha Tinh, in the central province of Ha Tinh.
The project with a total investment of nearly VND1 trillion (US$43 million) is set to be built in Thach Ha District’s Thach Van and Thach Tri communes. It is expected to maximise the potential of land and marine tourism in the area while improving local people’s living conditions.
The company plans to build a shoptel area providing commercial houses for accommodation. The hotel area would have high-end apartments managed by the US Wyndham Hotel Group. In addition, the project would also have villas, an entertainment area and trade centre, restaurants, bars and parking lots.
The project would connect with existing tourism areas to create a diversified tourism complex in the province.
Gelex to raise stake in Viglacera
The Vietnam Electrical Equipment JSC (Gelex) plans to acquire a 21 per cent stake in the industrial group Viglacera.
Gelex will purchase 95 million Viglacera shares to raise its ownership to 46.15 per cent or 260.93 million shares.
Gelex and related shareholders are holding 112 million shares or 2.94 per cent of Viglacera’s capital.
The bidding price will not be lower than the average 60-day price of Viglacera shares prior to the official offer.
Gelex targets to acquire the controlling stake in Viglacera in 2020 and other smaller firms to increase its market share in the industrial real estate sector.
In 2019, Gelex posted an 11.8 per cent increase in total revenue and a 23.6 per cent growth in pre-tax profit, which reached VND15.3 trillion and VND1.1 trillion, respectively.
However, the figures were 8 per cent and 20 per cent lower than the firm’s full-year targets, respectively.
According to the board of directors, the failure to secure the controlling stake at Viglacera was blamed for Gelex’s lower earnings in 2019.
If the acquisition had not been planned in 2019, Gelex could have seen its revenue and pre-tax profit beat the full-year targets by 10.6 per cent and 2.4 per cent, respectively.
In 2020, Gelex expects two scenarios which include and exclude the acquisition of Viglacera.
If the deal is completed early in the fourth quarter of the year, Gelex will record VND19.6 trillion worth of total revenue and VND975 billion worth of pre-tax profit.
On the other hand, total revenue this year will be VND19.5 trillion and pre-tax profit will be VND735 billion.
At Viglacera’s annual shareholder meeting on June 19, the Ministry of Construction said the ministry was planning to sell all its shares in Viglacera by the end of 2020.
A plan was being prepared and it would be submitted to the Prime Minister to make sure the deal would be transparent, public and profitable for the State budget, the ministry said.
Viglacera was once a State-owned enterprise. The company was equitised in 2019 and the Government, through the Ministry of Construction, cut its ownership to 38.85 per cent from the previous 100 per cent.
At the annual shareholders’ meeting, Viglacera reported total revenue in 2019 rose 9 per cent on-year to VND10.14 trillion and total pre-tax profit inched up 2 per cent to VND970 billion.
The company forecast total revenue would fall to VND8.3 trillion in 2020 and pre-tax profit would contract to VND750 billion as the COVID-19 pandemic had been affecting the firm’s business activities.
Viglacera also reported pre-tax profit in the first five months of the year was estimated at VND343 billion.
Gelex shares (HoSE: GEX) gained as much as 1.46 per cent and Viglacera shares (HoSE: VGC) jumped as much as 3.83 per cent on Friday.
Localities heavily dependant on tourism post negative growth: official
The coronavirus pandemic has severely affected many provinces and cities nationwide that are heavily dependant on tourism and related services, leaving their economies contracting during the first half of this year, stated Nguyen Thi Huong, vice general director of the General Statistics Office (GSO).
Data from the GSO revealed that the 12 provinces and cities that posted a negative economic growth in the first half comprised Vinh Phuc, Bac Ninh, Hoa Binh, Danang, Quang Nam, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Ben Tre, Hau Giang, Soc Trang and Ca Mau.
Of these, the central city of Danang saw its gross regional domestic product (GRDP) drop by 3.61%, while that of Quang Nam and Khanh Hoa provinces dipped 11.51% and 12.02%, respectively.
Apart from the heavy reliance on tourists, the economies of some localities are also controlled by the foreign direct investment (FDI) sector. As the pandemic has triggered delays in the exports of FDI companies, the economic growth of these localities has been hindered, Huong noted.
Dr Vu Sy Cuong, an instructor at the Academy of Finance, admitted that it was understandable that the localities with a heavy reliance on tourism would record negative growth, as the entire country was going all out to combat Covid-19 at that time.
With the drastic measures taken to contain the spread of Covid-19, Danang, Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam and Ba Ria-Vung Tau, where tourism plays a crucial role, were bound to encounter greater impacts than other localities, Cuong added.
In Danang alone, the tourism and services sector annually contributes as much as 64% to the city’s GRDP and it was hit first and the hardest by this public health crisis, an economic expert told Tuoi Tre newspaper.
However, some experts forecast that this central city still has room for further growth, with its plan to boost the supporting industry expected to encourage growth. In addition, Danang can stimulate its growth by facilitating public investments and capital disbursements for major projects.
Three-fourths of Vietnamese consumers prefer local goods
A recent study by Nielsen showed that up to 76 percent of Vietnamese consumers prefer locally made products.
About 17 percent of the respondents said they buy only domestic goods while 59 percent said they consume mostly local products, compared to the respective global averages of 11 percent and 54 percent.
Consumers prioritise Vietnamese goods since product origin is clear and they want to support domestic producers, according to the global measurement firm.
The study also found that health is the top concern of Vietnamese with 69 percent of consumers showing readiness to pay more for high-quality and safe products, much higher than the global average of 49 percent.
Nielsen noted there are three main factors affecting consumers’ post-COVID-19 shopping habits, namely quality and effectiveness, products with local origin, and technology, which promote the development of consumption trends such as the preference for domestic and high-quality goods./.
Indonesia says trade, investment deal with Australia takes effect
An Indonesia-Australia deal that eliminates most trade tariffs between the two nations and aims to open up investment, took effect on July 5, Reuters quoted Indonesia’s Trade Ministry as saying.
The Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA), signed last year and ratified by the Indonesia’s parliament in February, aims to boost bilateral trade that was worth 7.8 billion USD in 2019.
“COVID-19 has resulted in economic slowdown in nearly all countries,” Indonesian Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto said in a statement. “IA-CEPA momentum can be used to maintaining Indonesian trade and improve competitiveness.”
In a signing ceremony last year, the two countries said the pact would eliminate all Australian tariffs on imports from Indonesia, while 94 percent of Indonesian tariffs would be gradually removed.
Australia aims to boost exports including wheat, iron ore and dairy, while Indonesia hopes to increase automotive exports, textile and electronics. The deal opens up investment, including for Australian universities in Indonesia.
Indonesia to offer 62.3 billion USD in bonds in H2 to finance coronavirus fight
Indonesia is preparing to offer 900.4 trillion Rp (62.35 billion USD) worth of sovereign debt papers (SBN) in the second half of the year as debt financing swells significantly to fund the country’s coronavirus response, Jakarta Post reported.
The Indonesian government had raised 630.5 trillion Rp worth of SBN as of June this year, including 2.5 billion USD from a three-tranche global sukuk (sharia-compliant bond) last month, according to the coountry’s Finance Ministry’s financing strategy and portfolio director, Riko Amir.
President Joko Widodo signed in June Perpres No. 72/2020, a presidential regulation that regulates an increase in state spending and a widening state budget deficit amid Indonesia’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The Indonesian government now officially states that the 2020 state budget deficit is expected to reach 1.03 quadrillion Rp or 6.34 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). A previous presidential regulation, Perpres No. 54/2020, which also amended the budget, stipulated a deficit of 5.07 percent.
The government has again increased its planned spending on Indonesia’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic amid plunging tax revenue and a widening state budget deficit.
It is now setting aside 695.2 trillion Rp in funds for healthcare and economic stimulus spending to cushion the impact of the outbreak. This is the latest increase from the previous allocation of 677.2 trillion Rp, as the government ups its budget allocation for labor-intensive industries and regional administrations.
Google Indonesia to impose 10 percent VAT on customers
Technology giant Google in Indonesia has announced that it is ready to charge 10 percent of value added tax (VAT) on customers if required by the host country’s government.
The tax collection will be implemented after the regulations on digital tax are issued in this August.
Jason Tedjasukman, Head of Corporate Communications of Google Indonesia said that the firm will start the scheme on customers in Indonesia after relevant terms become effective.
Meanwhile, Hestu Yoga Saksama, Director of Counseling, Services, and Public Relations at Indonesia’s Directorate General of Tax said that there are some criteria on VAT charge on digital products for e-commerce users abroad. For example, the tax will be applied on those who sell digital goods to customers in Indonesia with transaction value exceeding 600 million rupiah (41,949 USD) in a year or 50 million rupiah per month, he said.
Hestu added that the definition of businesses subjected for VAT charging will base only on the value of transactions with buyers in Indonesia or access and access authority from Indonesia. The tax will not be imposed on goods or services enjoying tax exemption under the law, he said.
Cambodia encourages unemployed people to take up farming
Cambodia’s Agriculture Ministry has ordered its officials across the country to hold campaigns to encourage people made jobless during the COVID-19 pandemic to take up farming, Khmer Times reported July 4.
In a letter signed earlier this week, Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon outlined measures which need to be taken to boost the agricultural sector during border lockdowns triggered by the coronavirus.
He said the agricultural sector is key to kick-starting the country’s economy during these hard times.
Cambodia’s economy has been hurt by the disease and may decrease to 1.9 percent in 2020, the letter said.
Sakhon asked officials to encourage people to do farming by providing support on farming techniques and also provide solutions to problems they may encounter.
He said the campaign is aimed at improving the employment rates and livelihoods of people, especially migrant workers who have returned to their home provinces during the pandemic.
Last month, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen told the launch of the Cash Transfer Programme for Poor and Vulnerable Households during COVID-19 that his government has decided to allocate about 100 million USD to develop rural infrastructure and provide employment opportunities for rural people.
Da Nang job festival draws over 1,000 students, labourers
More than 1,000 students and residents in the central city of Da Nang flocked to a job festival on July 5 to seek advice and opportunities in both training and employment.
The event, jointly held by the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union in Da Nang city, the municipal Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, and the city young entrepreneurs’ association, brought together 150 businesses with 26 booths.
It also featured a dialogue between young entrepreneurs and students, along with 10 booths for vocational training establishments to provide consultation in this regard.
According to Nguyen Thanh Diep, deputy director of the job service centre under the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, the centre organises four job transaction sessions each month.
However, he added, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, only 15 sessions have been held so far this year.
Given the increasing number of job hunters in the post-pandemic period, the centre will organise a job transaction every Friday, while joining hands with job service centres in Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Thua Thien-Hue provinces to hold online sessions, he said.
The unemployment rate in Vietnamese urban areas in the second quarter jumped to the highest in the past decade due to the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the General Statistics Office (GSO) revealed.
The national jobless rate in the first half of this year was estimated at 2.26 percent, as compared with 1.99 percent recorded last year. The rate in urban and rural areas stood at 3.26 percent and 1.59 percent, respectively.
Singapore’s retail sales make new record drop in May
Singapore’s total retail sales decreased by 52.1 percent in May – the highest decrease since 1986, the country’s Department of Statistics released on July 3.
The drop in May, which beat April’s previous record of 40.3 percent, marked the 16th consecutive month Singapore’s retail sales have experienced decreases.
Like in April, only two categories of retail sales saw growth in May. With essential services remaining open, sales at supermarkets and hypermarkets rose 56.1 percent, while those of minimarts and convenience stores rose 9.1 percent.
Sellers of discretionary items were again hit hardest by the forced closure, with sales of watches and jewellery plunging 96.9 percent. Department store sales sank 93.4 percent while shops selling clothes and footwear saw takings drop 89.1 percent.
May, however, is likely to be the worst month for retailers, with sales set to begin recovering as Singapore’s partial lockdown began gradually lifting on June 2.
First Vietnam-Japan teleconference on support industries opens
A teleconference on trade promotion between Vietnam and Japan in support industries opened on July 7.
It is the two countries’ first virtual event in this field and jointly held by the Tokyo Metropolitan Small and Medium Enterprise Support Centre, the Vietnamese Trade Office in Japan, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
It aims to help businesses popularise products and seek cooperation opportunities amid the complexities brought about by COVID-19.
Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Trade Counsellor in Japan Ta Duc Minh underlined that the two countries’ cooperation in support industries has yet to match potential.
The added value of Vietnamese companies remains modest, he said, urging them to further invest in research and development and modern equipment.
Japan is Vietnam’s third-largest trade partner, with two-way trade reaching 15.6 billion USD in the first five months of this year, up 2.2 percent against the same period last year, despite the impact of COVID-19.
Vietnam’s exports to Japan during the period stood at 7.83 billion USD while imports totalled 7.77 billion USD.
Vietnam shipped the first batch of lychee to Japan last month – more than two tonnes that sold out in just one day.
It expects to export a total of 200 tonnes of the tropical fruit to the country via air and sea this year.
Local price of pigs drops level with imports
The selling price of pigs plunged to VND84,000 ($3.6) per kg to better align with the price of imports from Thailand.
According to a report published by the Import Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, in June, the price of pigs in the local market decreased to better compete with imported pigs.
Notably, in the northern region, the price stands at VND85,000-91,000 ($3.70-3.96) per kg, while in the central region it is VND84,000-88,000 ($3.65-$3.80) and VND85,000-88,000 in ($3.70-3.80) the southern region.
The department forecast that prices will continue to decline in the coming weeks as pig imports from Thailand increase. These imported pigs fetch VND81,000 – 82,000 ($3.52-3.56) per kg.
According to statistics published by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, as of now, enterprises registered to legally import 800,000 pigs from Thailand.
Although the African swine fever is now under control and the pig herds are being repopulated, local supply still falls short of demand. Besides, repopulation progresses quite slowly because the price of breeding pigs has been soaring and farming households’ concerns of another ASF outbreak.
The total pig population across the country decreased by 7.5 per cent on-year in June and the pork output reached 1.6 million tonnes, down 8.8 per cent.
According to the Department of Animal Health under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, eight registered Vietnamese businesses are eligible to import live pigs from Thailand with the estimated number of more than 1.9 million animals.
The ministry had given the green light to the import of live pigs from Thailand for farming and slaughter starting from June 12.
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