Banks recover, but VN Index continues to slide

Longer morning stock market hours aim to promote liquidity (16-05-2009) HA NOI — Stock market trading hours will be extended by 15 minutes in the morning from next month following the State Securities Commission approval. The longer trading hours will help activate transactions and promote market liquidity, commission Market Development Department head Nguyen Son said. The commission is working with stock exchanges and the securities depository centre to revise the capacity of technical and payment systems for the longer trading hours, Son said. Previously, the commission planned to lengthen the trading hours to the whole afternoon which would have helped investors catch up with what was happening in the world market, he said. "But the extra session needed more advancing technical and payment systems which take time to get working well." In the attempt to promote investment activities in equity market, the commission submitted a draft on a trading method to the Ministry of Finance in which it allowed investors to open more than one account and sell or buy in the same session. At present, an investor has only one account open in one securities firm and each investor is allowed to sell or buy shares in a single session. — VNS... [read more]

Vietnam will conduct food safety control system which is equivalent to that of the US (Photo: VNA) Hanoi (VNA) — Vietnam’s tra fish exports to the United States have remained stable after it imposed a demand that exporting countries demonstrate their food safety control system is equivalent to that of the US. An announcement to this effect by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) on August 17 has belied fears and reports that exports of the fish could be rejected or cancelled in the coming time. Reports of rejection or cancellation of Vietnamese tra fish exports “has no basis,” VASEP said in a note. It said that tra fish exports to the US had declined in the first quarter due to a shortage of raw materials, but recovered in the second quarter with an 8.4 percent increase, thanks to rising demand and increase in supply of raw material. VASEP General Secretary Truong Dinh Hoe said while the equivalence process was not yet completed, it was prudent not to assume any possibility of Vietnam not passing such determination or speculate on suspension of ongoing exports.   “During the 18-month transitional period, both sides have worked out cooperative approaches to common issues in question and US Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has also given close guidance on how to comply with its requirements,” Hoe said. He also said that while Vietnam’s tra fish industry has well developed with substantial and stringent food safety control system, he is concerned that an import discrimination policy by…... [read more]

Representatives of ADB and TPBank shake hands after signing a trade finance agreement in Hanoi (Photo courtesy of TPBank) Hanoi (VNA) - Tien Phong Commercial Joint-Stock Bank (TPBank) has received 45 million USD from the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s Trade Finance Programme (TFP), bringing the total to 75 million USD. The additional trade finance will help to considerably improve TPBank’s credit capacity in the market. Santosh Pokharel, TFP’s relationship manager, said the additional trade finance was decided after ADB reviewed TPBank’s details. TPBank General Director Nguyen Hung said ADB increased guarantees for TPBank by 2.5 times in a very short time, showing the foreign bank’s confidence in TPBank. Earlier, ADB provided TPBank with 30 million USD on May 24. [ABBank, TPBank join ADB trade finance programme] "The finance would help TPBank increase its presence in the international market, contributing to supporting its business customers to expand their transactions worldwide," Hung added.  In addition to ADB, TPBank has been attractive to other foreign partners. Earlier, it received 18.3 million USD investment from IFC. TPBank has total assets of some 106 trillion VND (about 4.6 billion USD), 4,000 employees and an extensive network of 55 branches and transaction offices in Vietnam. Currently, with more than 1.5 million individual customers and businesses, TPBank has been asserting its position as a strong, sustainable and healthy bank in the country.-VNA... [read more]

A net house for vegetable production under VietGAP standards of ​a cooperative in Hoa Phu commune of Hoa Vang district, Da Nang city (Photo: VNA) Hanoi (VNA) - Each cooperative should itself improve competitiveness and mobilise synergistic resources, apply advanced technology as well as improve management effectiveness combined with branding and marketing. Deputy Director of the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s (MPI’s) Cooperatives Department Bui Nghi made the statement during a seminar held by the ministry on August 18 in Hanoi. The cooperative sector needs to give priority to structural reform as well as stimulate renovation to improve operational efficiency, adapting to current market conditions and the international integration process, he said. Cooperatives were formed and developed in Vietnam long ago. However, the country’s socio-economic situation has changed, requiring them to renovate accordingly in order to operate more effectively. According to Nghi, the 2012 Law on Cooperatives facilitated cooperative development in line with the country’s economic development, associated with the process of international integration, he said. They should be restructured and transformed into modern models, expanding the scale of production and developing production toward specialisation and professionalism, generating products of high quality and added value, meeting domestic requirements as well as joining the global value chain, he added. Foreign experts said Vietnamese cooperatives should also learn from international practices, including a number of cooperative development models of developed countries such as Canada, the Netherlands and Germany. [Ben Tre: New cooperatives to…... [read more]

While agreeing with the spirit of taxation and carrying a spotless record of tax payments, Coca-Cola Vietnam claims the Ministry of Financial's proposal to isolate non-alcoholic beverages and soft drinks for taxation goes against international best practices. MoF would add 10-20 per cent SCT on soft drinks to restrict consumption RELATED CONTENTS: Competition heats up in the Vietnam soft drink market Traders in southern India call for ban on Pepsi, Coke Coca-Cola Vietnam finally pays tax after claiming losses for 20 years Long-running PepsiCo tax dispute set to fizzle out MoF pulls u-turn on fizzy beverage tax position A representative of Coca-Cola system told VIR that the corporation agrees with the spirit of taxation because Coca-Cola recognises that governments need revenue for constructing infrastructure and providing necessary services and the Coca-Cola system has consistently paid all taxes according to local laws. However, Coca-Cola opposes the isolation of non-alcoholic beverages for the addition of special consumption tax (SCT). The discriminatory taxes conflict with the best practices in international fiscal policy of broad-based taxes with low rates and few exceptions. At the August 15 press conference announcing the plan to adjust some articles of the Law on Tax, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) proposed applying an SCT of 10 or 20 per cent on soft drinks from 2019. Soft…... [read more]

VPA claimed on its website that domestic pepper prices had been fluctuating abnormally since late July due to price manipulation by Chinese traders. VPA said its members reported that Chinese traders ordered large quantities of pepper from domestic exporters, pushing them to deliver as soon as possible, which created the market signal of large demand.  Therefore, many Vietnamese exporters had to buy pepper from farmers and agents at high prices in order to meet the terms of these contracts. However, they did not pay deposits on the signed contracts, claiming the money transfer was delayed due to bank paperwork. At the same time, the Chinese traders contacted local pepper supplying agents and promised to sell them pepper at below market value. The agents agreed, aiming to then sell it on to exporters.  However, the Chinese businesses only sold them a small portion at a low price, then claimed the product was out of stock and raised the price sharply. The Chinese firms terminated the high-price contracts they initially signed with exporters, and local exporters were unable to contact them. After receiving information about the alleged scam, the ministry asked VPA to provide a list of local exporters affected by such transactions.  However, VPA said it did not have suffiicient resources to list the enterprises. In addition, businesses would not share information about their partners. “We do not have sufficient basis to conclude that foreign traders have been manipulating the pepper market.…... [read more]

A professional skills contest at Hanoi University of Education (Photo: VNA) Hanoi (VNA) - The Ministry of Education and Training will regulate specific floor marks for teacher training colleges and universities from 2018 as part of measures to improve teacher training quality. Floor mark is the minimum mark Vietnamese students must obtain from national exams to be eligible to study at any university or college. The move was made after a number of teacher training colleges and universities in Vietnam pushed cut-off marks to a record low to enroll enough students. Some institutions even lowered their pass marks to nine out of 30. Vietnamese 12th graders took the national exam in June with separate tests in math, literature, English and basic sciences. Their total scores in three of these tests are used to determine which university or college, if any, will accept them. The new regulation was revealed by Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha at a working session with rectors of teacher training institutions nationwide on August 16. This regulation is quite unique as the ministry had previously decided to not set general floor marks for all universities and colleges from 2018 but let them decide their own pass marks. Participants at the meeting said among the key reasons leading to the low benchmark was that the number of pedagogical institutions exceeded the real demand, due to which many institutions failed to enroll enough students. The high rate of unemployment…... [read more]

NDO – Over 200 experts, policy makers and representatives from business community gathered at a policy dialogue on the environment and sustainable development, hosted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Da Nang on August 18. Speaking at the event, Deputy Head of MONRE’s Vietnam Environment Administration, Hoang Van Thuc, emphasised that Vietnam’s strong development in recent years has been the result of efforts from a range of economic sectors, in which the business community plays a crucial role. However, alongside the socio-economic achievements, environmental issues are causing complex implications, in which pollution and environmental degradation have tended to increase, creating an increasingly direct threat to the development. According to Thuc, in the context of globalisation, the effective implementation of corporate social responsibility, especially environmental protection, would help enterprises improve their competitiveness and penetrate into the international market, while ensuring their sustainable development. However, the execution of environmental protection activities in enterprises remains an issue, with a range of difficulties and obstacles that require the support and coordination from the relevant environmental management agencies, Thuc stated. Various issues on environmental protection procedures, to be implemented before the commencement of any project, were discussed at the event, including environmental impact assessment, environmental protection planning, licencing for exploitation of water sources, treatment of hazardous waste, environmental monitoring, and a list of establishments likely to cause environmental pollution that require special monitoring. The conference offered an opportunity for environmental agencies to receive…... [read more]

Saigon Securities Inc (SSI) exchange in Hanoi (Photo: VNA) Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - Local markets were fragile on August 17 after gains in a day earlier, with both indices falling on weakening investor sentiment. The benchmark VN-Index on the HCM Stock Exchange fell 0.77 percent to close August 17's session at 767.59 points. The southern market index increased 0.33 percent in the previous session. On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index also edged down 1.23 percent to end at 100.49 points. The northern market index rose 0.44 percent on August 16.   Large-cap stocks continued to impact the market heavily as 24 of the 30 largest shares by market value and liquidity on the HCM Stock Exchange declined and only six advanced. Shares of most sectors were under high selling pressure, including banks, steelmakers, energy, construction and real estate companies. Except the Vietnam Prosperity Commercial Joint Stock Bank (VPB) which closed flat on its first trading session on August 17, all other six listed lenders on HCM City’s exchange dropped between 0.5 percent and 6.6 percent. VPBank on August 17 began to trade its entire 1.33 billion shares on the HCM Stock Exchange at a reference price of 39,000 VND (1.72 USD) a share. VPB dropped to 33,000 in the morning session but recovered and settled at 39,000 VND by the end of its first trading day, the most expensive bank share on the market. More than 58 million VPB shares…... [read more]

Representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico convened behind closed doors at a Washington, D.C. hotel in an effort to strike a new North American Free Trade Agreement. And not far away, industry representatives from all three nations sat waiting and hoping to influence the talks. After two days of meetings, lobbyists admitted privately that they remained mostly in the dark, swapping rumors about dates and times of future meetings but unsure what progress was being made in the first round of discussions. The meetings were largely expected to be procedural, with little discussion on substance in the early days. The decision to renegotiate NAFTA has largely been driven by politics, chiefly U.S. President Donald Trump, who earlier this year threatened to withdraw entirely. Business, on the other hand, has largely praised the agreement and hopes to convince all three governments to make minimal changes to the pact. U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade has quadrupled since NAFTA took effect in 1994, surpassing $1 trillion in 2015. "We're all in the same boat," said Flavio Volpe, president of the Canada's Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association. "In the end we all serve primarily the U.S. consumer. So if you're going to raise the cost structure, or if you're going to change the dynamic flow of good or people in those three countries, you're really hurting the cost to market for the U.S. customer." The U.S. had an autos and auto parts trade deficit of $74 billion with Mexico last year – without which, there…... [read more]

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