Shares show mixed performance in two markets

Japan's labour market is getting so tight that companies are starting to convert contract and part-time workers into full-time, regular employees to prevent them from leaving. It is a move that could lift wages and spending but squeeze profits. The trend is a reversal from the decades-long practice here of hiring cheaper contract workers who receive few benefits and are easier to hire and fire. They now make up more than a third of the workforce. Companies are willing to reverse course and take on the extra costs that come with regular employees because of the tightest labour market since the 1970s, as Japan's population ages and declines. "We consider this as necessary investment for the future rather than a burden," said Mayumi Kuroda, a spokeswoman for Credit Saison Co Ltd, a credit card issuer that plans to turn 2,200 part-timers and other contract workers into regular employees in mid-September. They will qualify for bonuses and benefits, such as retirement plans, when they join the regular ranks. The company won't disclose the cost but predicts it won't have a big impact on earnings, Kuroda said. "We hope this will help employees keep up motivation and come up with innovations," she said. "If we fail to deliver, only the cost will rise." Last year, the average monthly pay for regular workers was 321,700 yen ($2,932) while for contract workers it was 211,800 yen ($1,924), so a change in status can mean a big jump in pay plus benefits workers weren't…... [read more]

This year, with inflation in Egypt hitting record highs, customers seemed more interested in gawking at the cattle than buying any ahead of Friday, the first day of Eid al-Adha. The cattle traders in the Ashmun market, north of the capital Cairo, jostled to lure customers into buying a buffalo or a sheep for Eid al-Adha, the annual Muslim holiday when custom requires a sacrifice. "Last year there was more business. This year, no one wants to buy cattle because of the increased prices," said one trader, Mohammed Masoud. The cost of everything has gone up in Egypt since the country floated the pound late last year -- decreasing its value to the dollar by half -- and raised fuel prices. Masoud fed his livestock fodder that cost 2.5 pounds ($0.14) a kilogram before the currency was floated. It now costs him seven pounds. "A calf that cost 15,000 pounds last year now costs 30,000," he said. Eid al-Adha is one of the holiest days in the Islamic calendar when the major pilgrimage takes place in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. To commemorate Abraham accepting to sacrifice his son to God only for him to be provided with a ram instead, many Muslims sacrifice a sheep or a cow. Meat has always been a luxury to many in a country where poverty is rampant, but the new prices are putting off even those who had purchased cattle in previous years to sacrifice on the first day of Eid and distribute the…... [read more]

Cu Da village has been making soy sauce since its founding more than 400 years ago. In the past, every local household stored several jars of soy sauce to use all year round. Today, soy sauce is made not only for villagers’ own use, but to sell outside the village. The soy sauce is made from glutinous rice, salt, soybeans, and water. The sauce is more delicious if it is made with rain water. The rice should be ‘Nep cai hoa vang’ – a special variety of sticky rice of high quality and special flavor grown mainly in the northern delta and midland provinces. Dinh Van Tinh whose family has been engaged in the craft for 5 generations, said “Technically, making soy sauce involves two steps.  Cooked glutinous rice is fermented for several days in an incubation chamber. After 5 or 6 days, the rice koji, resembling soft green-lentil cake, is moved to a salt tank. That’s the first step, making koji. Second is to make bean sauce. Roasted soybeans are ground, then cooked again, and boiled for an hour before being scooped into basins to cool down, then poured into jars. Depending on the size of the jars, it takes 15 to 20 days to steep the bean sauce, which is then mixed with the koji. The paste is returned to the jars and dried under the sun as long as possible.” Making koji, called mốc in Vietnamese, is the…... [read more]

Thailand, Bhutan to double mutual trade within five years. (Photo: Internet) Bangkok (NNT/VNA) - The joint trade committee of Thailand and Bhutan has agreed to boost the mutual trade of the two countries in the near future during a meeting in Bangkok. The meeting, co-chaired by Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn and Bhutan’s Economic Affairs Minister Lyonpo Lekey Dorji, approved of a plan to double each other’s trade value within five years.  Apiradi disclosed on August 31 that the value of trade between Thailand and Bhutan averaged 25 million USD a year. Bhutan’s new economic development policy paves the way for foreign investments, which will benefit Thai investors in the areas of construction, medicine, tourism and agriculture.  Bhutan has opened four industrial estates near the Indian border, making it possible for Thai business operators to build factories in Bhutan and export their goods to India without duty under the India Bhutan Free Trade Agreement.  Apiradi added the Ministry of Commerce would discuss an investment facilitation plan for Thai businessmen eyeing new markets in Bhutan with the Board of Investment of Thailand.  The delegates from Bhutan are scheduled to visit the Support Arts and Crafts International Center of Thailand tomorrow to study handicraft development there, before proposing a joint skills enhancement and marketing project during a two-year period.-VNA... [read more]

The Ha Noi Consultant and Construction Investment JSC on Wednesday began trading one million shares on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) under code CCH.— Photo The Ha Noi Consultant and Construction Investment JSC on Wednesday began trading one million shares on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) under code CCH. The trading of CCH shares on UPCoM, the sub-exchange of the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, has raised the total number of traded stocks on the northern bourse to 1,000 with total 32.4 billion shares being traded. Of the total number, 379 companies are listed on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange with more than 11.2 billion shares being traded, an increase of 1.9 per cent from late last year, and total market capitalisation of VND190 trillion (US$8.44 billion). Another 621 companies are being traded on UPCoM with more than 21.2 billion shares and market capitalisation of VND464.5 trillion. The number of firms that began trading on UPCoM has been rising since the beginning of the year, from 454 stocks at the end of 2016 to the current 621 stocks. A number of large-cap firms have traded their shares on UPCoM , such as Viet Tien Garment JSC (VGG), mining firm Masan Resource (MSR) and national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines (HVN), reflecting the market’s attractiveness for investors. — VNS ... [read more]

Tra fish being processed by workers at Bien Dong Seafood Co in the southern city of Can Tho. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Liem With the largest population in the world and an increasing affluent one, China is a lucrative market for Vietnamese seafood products. But the market also comes with potential risks and unpredictability, requiring Vietnamese firms to be cautious when exporting there, a conference heard in HCM City on August 30. Le Hang, deputy director of the VASEP (Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers) Training and Trade Promotion Centre, told “China Seafood Market: Potential for Viet Nam’s Suppliers” that fisheries exports to China soared from US$152 million in 2007 to $860 million last year. Shrimp and tra fish saw the strongest increase, but continue to have the potential for double digit growth rate in the coming years, she said. Chinese are increasingly eating more fish than meat, while local output from aquaculture and fishing is shrinking, offering Vietnamese exporters a good opportunity, she said. But the market also has risks, she warned. China could tighten hygiene, food safety and quarantine regulations, she said. Yang Yong, chairman of GuangZhou Nutriera Biotechnology Co Ltd, said Chinese consumers are increasingly looking at product quality, safety and convenience. Brands are one of the key factors for them in choosing a product, and are willing to pay 20-30 per cent more, he said. Therefore, Vietnamese exporters could increase processing…... [read more]

Without consumers of ash, Mong Duong 1 thermal power plant is facing possible closure, wasting VND37 trillion ($1.6 billion) of state investment. Vinh Tan 4 fire caused by safety mistake $2 billion Hai Duong thermal plant construction kicked-off Tan Tao Energy signs MoU on thermal plant The Mong Duong 1 thermal power plant is facing risk of closure As reported by newswire VnExpress, at the August 29 “Thermal power plant development and solutions for environmental protection” seminar, Nguyen Tien Thanh, general director of Mong Duong 1, said that since the official operation at the end of 2015, the plant has teamed up with many units to draw out solutions for reusing ash. At present, the ash at the bottom of the plant (about 400,000 tonnes per year) was purchased for cement manufacturing and concrete mixing, while the fly ash (about 600,000 tonnes per year) proves difficult to find buyers. According to Thanh, Mong Duong 1’s ash dump site has a volume of 2.25 million cubic metres, but 1.8 cubic metres have already been used. “In eight months, this thermal power plant will face the risk of closure, meaning that VND37 trillion ($1.6 billion) of state investment will be wasted,” Thanh said and proposed related agencies to approve the construction of the second ash dump site to contain fly ash, while…... [read more]

An 117-year-old condemned building collapsed in the Indian financial hub of Mumbai on Thursday after torrential rains this week, killing at least 22 people, with about 10 other people feared trapped, police and fire official said. Officials added rescuers were able to pull 35 people from the debris of the six-storey building, 13 of whom were injured. Disaster struck early in the morning as Mumbai was recovering from two days of heavy rain and flooding in which 14 people died. The collapse was the second in Mumbai in little over a month. In late July, 17 people were killed when a four-storey building collapsed after suspected unauthorized renovation work. “There was a massive bang. We couldn’t see anything due to the dust and smoke. Once the dust settled, we realized it was a building collapse,” said area resident Amina Sheikh. The building, in a densely-populated part of the city, housed a nursery school despite being declared unsafe by the municipal housing authority in 2011 though no children had arrived at the school when the collapse occurred. But there were many families living there. Relatives pleaded with rescuers to help find their loved ones as about 200 police and fire personnel searched debris for dead and injured. Police have yet to establish what caused the collapse near Crawford market, a landmark of south Mumbai’s old city with narrow streets packed with markets and shops which has a large Muslim community. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a statement of condolences, said the…... [read more]

Sixty-four years after North Korea and the United States signed an armistice to suspend the Korean War, the U.S. State Department has forbidden American citizens from traveling to the hermit state. The notice was put in the federal register on August 2; it becomes effective on Friday. The travel ban is a relatively easy picking amongst a platter of bad choices for President Donald Trump. The U.S. president has not yet elaborated on his warning to North Korea that “all options are on the table” after Pyongyang fired a missile over Japan on Tuesday, but something like the travel curb could be a small sign of what is to come. The restriction on visits to North Korea came about because over the last decade it has for various reasons detained around 15 U.S. citizens, all of whom have become bargaining chips and leverage for Pyongyang in its dealings with Washington. It’s a pattern that forces U.S. officials to expend resources, time and political capital to try to secure the release of these Americans. Most tragically, in July Pyongyang returned one detainee – Michigan college student Otto Warmbier – in a coma. His death a few days later gave impetus to the State Department’s push for a travel ban. Separate from this initiative and before Warmbier’s death, a bipartisan-sponsored bill to stop Americans traveling to North Korea began wending its way through Congress. It is not clear yet what that will end up including or how this State Department ban…... [read more]

The Japan-Vietnam Medical Instrument JSC (JVC) targets VND630 billion (US$28 million) in net revenue for 2017, an increase of 26 per cent from last year’s number, the management board said at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Thursday.— Photo The Japan-Vietnam Medical Instrument JSC (JVC) targets VND630 billion (US$28 million) in net revenue for 2017, an increase of 26 per cent from last year’s number, the management board said at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Thursday. JVC also aims to earn VND19 billion in post-tax profit, which would be a huge improvement compared to a loss of VND31.7 billion made in 2016. Last year, the company managed to reduce its losses to VND31.7 billion from VND1.36 trillion in 2015 and cut its bad debt provision to VND23 billion from VND1.3 trillion in 2015. However, the management board said that JVC will not make dividend payout for 2017 if the company still records accumulated loss by the end of the year. In 2016, JVC managed to reclaim the market shares in 14 southern provinces and became the authorised dealer of the Japan-based technology conglomerate Hitachi. It also plans to participate in new hospital projects, make stronger investment in private healthcare sector and reduce its inventory to help improve its performance. To achieve such results, the management board said that JVC could be divided into two units, with one keeping all “bad” assets and the other one keeping “good” assets. …... [read more]

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