Why are foreigners’ house purchases proceeding at a sluggish rate?

Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) will complete the divestment from several subsidiaries by 2020, according to newswire Petrotimes. PetroVietnam will wholly or partially divest all but three subsidiaries Accordingly, PetroVietnam is permitted to retain its entire holdings in only three subsidiaries, namely the parent company PetroVietnam, National Southern Spill Response Centre (Nasos), and PetroVietnam Manpower Training College. PetroVietnam will have to divest part of or entire holdings in its remaining subsidiaries. Notably, from now to 2019, PetroVietnam will entirely divest PVI Holdings, Phuoc An Port Investment and Exploitation Oil and Gas JSC, Green Indochina Development JSC, SSG Real Estate JSC, PetroVietnam Trade Union Finance JSC, PetroVietnam Construction Joint Stock Corporation, and PetroVietnam Maintenance and Repair JSC. PetroVietnam will decrease its holdings below 50 per cent in PetroVietnam Gas Corporation, PetroVietnam Transportation Corporation, Binh Son Refinery and Petrochemical Co., Ltd., and PV Power. According to the newest information, wholly-owned PV Power has released plans to complete its equitisation in December this year. Meanwhile, after having missed the deadline numerous times, PetroVietnam Oil Corporation, another PetroVietnam subsidiary, has yet to release the specific time for its initial public offering (IPO). According to the initial plan, PV Oil was to conduct its IPO by the end of June, selling a 49 per cent stake to strategic shareholders, employees, and other investors. At the time the plans were announced, there were 10 strategic investors, including major oil companies from Japan, South Korea,…... [read more]

The kangaroo emblem of 100 per cent Australian-owned SSESteel Limited (THEP UC) celebrates its 20th anniversary this month, marking the presence in the Vietnamese market of more than three million tonnes of Vietnamese and international-standard construction steel products. Leaving marks across Vietnam Australian group Vietnam Industrial Investments (VII) was listed on the Australian stock market in 1995, and has thus far ventured into several business fields in Vietnam. The firm produces construction steel products, welded wire mesh, metal roofing sheets and structure steel under various brands, including THEP UC, Thep Viet Uc, Austnam, TBS, and VRC. THEP UC “Thep Chuot tui” was founded in 1997. Its headquarters is situated in Hong Bang district in the northern port city of Haiphong, and it has five branch offices in Hanoi, Thanh Hoa, Vinh, Danang, and Ho Chi Minh City. THEP UC core products are wire rod, deformed bars, and rebar in coils, with diameters from D5.5mm to D41mm. In a nod to the brand’s Australian standards, a kangaroo symbol – Australia’s mascot – is embossed on every item produced by the company. In its two-plus decades of existence, THEP UC “Thep Chuot tui”  products have been and continue to be used in many of the country’s major undertakings, helping to cut down on imports. The company’s products have left their mark on the National Convention Centre; the Haiphong Cement Plant; the Thuy Duong…... [read more]

Hanoi, August 17 (VNA) - For several months now, the market for textbooks, reference books and study kits has been abuzz with activity as the new school year approaches.  However, this has also kept concerned agencies busy raiding and seizing illegally printed copies of the above-mentioned materials.  The Vietnam Education Publishing House said its investigation department has busted several cases of illegal printing in the last few months.  In Hanoi, Hai Anh Co Ltd. was found to have illegally printed 30,000 English textbooks; Thien Phu Printing Factory and Hai Chien Packaging Printing Company were discovered to illegally possess a large amount of pirated copies of English textbooks.  In the central region, the department detected illegally-printed primary school textbooks in Quang Ngai province and large volumes of secondary school English textbooks in Da Nang city and Khanh Hoa province. More than 3,000 copies of textbooks, mainly in English, were collected in Dak Lak.  Illegal printing of textbooks isn’t something new, it has been an open secret for many years, something that has never stopped.  Authors, publishers and printing houses have pleaded for this practice to stop, but pirated books still exist despite repeated raids and fines.  No official figures are available about the damage caused, but publishers estimate losses caused by the contraband book market at several billions of  VND every year.  Previously, the activity was confined to new books and bestsellers, but now, all curricula, textbooks, reference books and English books…... [read more]

Instead of lending to large companies, more and more banks have started to lend to small businesses to hedge their risks. More and more banks are offering loans to small businesses, their traditional wariness notwithstanding. - Photo tuoitre.vn At several conferences on credit for enterprises, experts have said that helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access bank loans is very important. However, according to a report by the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 85-90 per cent of Vietnamese enterprises are small and micro businesses that face great difficulty in obtaining credit. Only 40 per cent of them have in fact managed to do so. Banks are cautious about lending money to SMEs due to a lack of trust in their ability to repay. Hoàng Thu Hương of HCM City’s Bình Thạnh District runs an online shop selling sweet dessert and bubble tea and two other drinks and fast food shops. She wants to expand her business but has been unable to borrow from banks, who told her that her business is small and she has no assets to mortgage. She has been forced to borrow from other sources at high interest rates. Small businesses like Hương’s are caught in a vicious circle: they are too small for banks to lend, but they cannot get any bigger without bank loans. Top executives of several banks do not deny this fact,…... [read more]

The United States and Japan will step up their defense cooperation to deal with the threat from nuclear-armed North Korea as tensions in East Asia remain high, officials from the two allies said on Thursday. "For this threat of North Korea, at this meeting we agreed to increase the pressure and to strengthen the alliance capability," Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said after talks with senior U.S. officials in Washington. U.S. fears about North Korea's missile and nuclear bomb programs have grown in recent weeks. Pyongyang has said it was considering plans to fire missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, although North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appears to have delayed the decision. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and their Japanese counterparts agreed at a meeting in Washington on Thursday to work more closely on North Korea. "In light of the threat of North Korea, the four of us confirmed the importance of the unwavering U.S. commitment to extended deterrence," Onodera said. Tillerson said the United States wanted dialogue with Pyongyang, but only if it were meaningful. "Our effort is to cause them to want to engage in talks but engage in talks with an understanding that these talks will lead to a different conclusion than talks of the past," he said. In 2005, North Korea reached an agreement with six countries to suspend its nuclear program in return for diplomatic rewards and energy assistance but the deal later collapsed. U.S. President…... [read more]

Australia is set to regulate virtual currency exchanges such as Bitcoin and strengthen the powers of its financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC as it cracks down on money laundering and terrorism financing. The changes came two weeks after AUSTRAC took the country's biggest bank, the Commonwealth, to court for alleged "serious and systemic non-compliance" of money laundering and terror financing laws. It follows similar reforms by Japan to regulate virtual currency, after the country found itself at the epicenter of a multi-million dollar embezzlement scandal following the collapse of the Tokyo-based MtGox Bitcoin exchange. "Stopping the movement of money to criminals and terrorists is a vital part of our national security defenses and we expect regulated businesses in Australia to comply with our comprehensive regime," Justice Minister Michael Keenan said Thursday. He added that the digital currency exchange sector was being regulated for the first time, while low-risk industries such as cash-in-transit would be subject to fewer regulations. Virtual currency has grown rapidly since the 2009 launch of Bitcoin, and there are now more than 100 crypto-currency options. But the sector has suffered from highly publicized scandals like the 2014 collapse of MtGox. Backers say virtual currencies offer an efficient and anonymous way to store and transfer funds online. But critics argue the lack of a legal framework governing the currency, the opaque way it is traded and its volatility, make it dangerous.... [read more]

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L) shakes hands with his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-ocha (Source: VNA) ​Bangkok (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-ocha expressed their satisfaction at the strong development of Vietnam-Thailand cooperation over the past 41 years since they established diplomatic ties in August 1976, during their talks in Bangkok on August 17. The two PMs recognised that the bilateral relations have been stable and developed in all fields from politics and security to economy and socio-culture, especially after Vietnam and Thailand established a strategic partnership in 2013. To further the relationship in the coming time, they agreed to enhance all-level delegation exchanges and effectively implement cooperation mechanisms in addition to soon organising the third meeting of the joint committee on bilateral cooperation, the third foreign minister-level meeting, the third meeting of the joint committee on trade, and particularly the fourth joint cabinet meeting. [Vietnam aims for deeper relations with Thailand through PM’s visit] Both sides vowed efforts to raise bilateral trade to 20 billion USD by 2020 and support each other to become centres for investment and trade in the region. They agreed to foster rice-related cooperation and provide favourable conditions for Vietnamese and Thai rice to access each other’s market. PM Chan-o-cha affirmed that he will encourage Thai businesses to increase investment in fields critical to Vietnam’s development such as tourism, support industries, finance, banking, science-technology, and agro-fisheries. Both leaders stressed that security-defence …... [read more]

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc arrives in Bangkok to start a three-day official visit to Thailand (Source: VNA) Bangkok (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, his spouse and a high-level Vietnamese delegation arrived in Bangkok on August 17 afternoon to begin a three-day official visit to Thailand. Phuc is scheduled to hold talks with his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-ocha and meet with senior officials as well as receive the Thailand-Vietnam Friendship Association’s officials and visit the Embassy of Vietnam in Thailand. In Bangkok, the PM will address an opening ceremony of the Vietnam-Thailand business forum and attend the Vietnamese goods week at the Lad Prao trade centre. He is expected to host leaders of leading Thai businesses. The PM is also due to visit Nakhon Phanom province in the north-eastern region of Thailand.   [Vietnam aims for deeper relations with Thailand through PM’s visit] On the occasion, the daily Bangkok Post carried a story titled “Thailand and Vietnam: Stronger together” by journalist Kavi Chongkittavorn, saying “In ASEAN, Vietnam is Thailand’s only strategic partner.” The journalist highlighted the historical relations between the two countries and commented the bilateral friendship has been reinforced and developed since Vietnam joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1995. The two sides have increased cooperation in all fields, the journalist said, adding that “Vietnam has taken the high road, quickly expanding the country's foreign trade relations, emerging as the region's most internationally connected, with 17…... [read more]

VPBank targets a pre-tax profit of VND6.8 trillion for this year. — Photo cafef.vn Viet Nam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank) on Thursday officially listed more than 1.33 billion shares on the HCM Stock Exchange (HoSE). The shares were listed at a reference price of VND39,000 (US$1.72) per share. In the first minutes of the at-the-opening-order (ATO) session, VPBank matched a total of 46 million shares with a reference price of VND39,000. This price helped VPBank earn a record of nearly VND1.8 trillion, of which, foreigners spent VND1.45 trillion on purchasing more than 37 million out of 46 million shares during the ATO session. Subsequently, the shares fluctuated from VND33,000 to VND36,000 per share. At the end of the morning session, VPBank shares were at VND36,000, down 7.7 per cent from the reference price. The trading volume of this stock reached VND1.9 trillion, accounting for 53 per cent of the total market liquidity in the morning session. VPBank is the 10th bank to list on the stock exchange and is the 423rd member of HoSE. It is also the private bank with the largest market capitalisation value of nearly VND52 trillion. Bank chairman Ngo Chi Dung said VPBank marked the return of banking stocks to the stock market after nearly three years. Share listing was also a challenge in ensuring sustainable growth and business performance, he said. Besides this, VPBank was responsible for ensuring transparency of information in…... [read more]

Customers shop at a supermarket in HCM City. Around 3,000 retail businesses and 5,300 business households will offer discounts and freebies during HCM City’s annual promotion month from September to December. — VNS Photo HCM City’s annual sales promotion month from September until the end of the year is expected to boost retail sales and attract a large number of foreign visitors. According to the Department of Industry and Trade this year the event is expected to involve 3,000 trade centres, supermarkets, convenience stores and traditional markets and 5,300 business households, a significant increase from last year. They will organise around 12,000 promotions focused on consumer products, electronics, fashion, foodstuff, cosmetics, telecom services, interior decoration items, tourism services, hotels, and others. Besides offering discounts, participating establishments will also offer freebies, lucky draws and free samples. The department said all 24 districts had completed the task of putting up banners to promote the programme. There are usually many programmes during the annual promotion, including an online promotion week, a promotional month fair at the Phu Tho Indoor Stadium, the Diem hen Sai Gon (Saigon meeting place 2017) programme to introduce products made by traditional villages and craft artisans, and several others. Nguyen Phuong Dong, deputy director of the department, said the promotion month would begin with the Hoi tu hang Viet (the convergence of Vietnamese goods) event. To be held for the first time, it will provide Vietnamese companies with…... [read more]

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