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Tra fish farmers earn big bucks with exporters

In Uncategorized on December 18, 2010 at 9:26 am

While most fish farmers in the Mekong Delta are anxious about World Wildlife Fund putting Vietnam’s tra fish on “Don’t buy” list, those in Dong Thap Province’s Hong Ngu District still enjoyed a booming yield thanks to the cooperative model.

(Photo: http://www.hungvuongpanga.com)

“I have just harvested 1,000 tons of small fishes weighted 750-850 gram per one and earned the highest-ever net profit of more than VND3 billion (US$150,000) from selling to the seafood exporter Bianfishco at the price of VND23,000 per kilogram,” said farmer Ho Thi Kim Tho of Hong Ngu District.


Tho said she made a big profit of more than VND8 billion from nearly 3,000 tons of tra fishes so far this year as local exporters bought at high prices.


“I earned more than VND5 billion from selling 2,000 tons of fishes to Bianfishco. This is the amount that I’ve dared not to dream of before,” Nam Phuc, another farmer in the district, said.


Farmers said the cooperation with local seafood exporters helped them made good profits this year. “Since we cooperated with seafood firms, we’ve not been worried about finding buyers, while they helped us to improve our breeding methods,” said a fish farmer in Hong Ngu District.


Bianfishco, also known as Binh An Seafood Co., said it bought fishes from farmers in the Mekong Delta’s provinces of Can Tho, An Giang and Vinh Long to export into the U.S. and Euro.


The cooperative model with farmers directly selling fishes to seafood enterprises was proving to be an adequate way to boost the seafood industry’s growth, said deputy minister of agriculture and rural development Luong Le Phuong.


The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development asked relevant units to shut down the seafood plants, which are not qualified for hygiene standards.


The Ministry also instructed the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) to adjust their seafood firms ranking, relying on quality instead of quantity.


Raising exported pangasius price
At a meeting in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s 20 leading seafood exporters came to an agreement to raise the exported price of tra fish white fillet to $3 per kilogram and red fillet to $2.05 per kilogram. The increase will not be applied to the U.S.’s buyers.


Raising exported prices will encourage local exporters to buy tra fishes at the price of VND21,000 per kilogram or more, which will ensure farmers can make good profits, according to VASEP.


Statistics from the State Bank of Vietnam show that the outstanding loans for agriculture sector reached more than VND358 trillion ($17.9 billion) in the first ten months of the year, of which loans for tra fish farmers rising by 10.5 times of 1998’s figure.

Source: SGGP

VN-Index corrects after big rallies

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 10:07 am

Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index made correction on December 14 as investors sold holdings to take advantages of previous sharp gains.

The gauge of 271 companies and five mutual funds listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange gave up 0.12 percent, or 0.57 points, to close at 489.65 points.


Among the index members, 52 advanced, 197 retreated, while 27 remained unchanged.


Trading volume climed to the highest level this year as 134.9 million shares worth nearly VND3.28 trillion changed hands.


Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Bank or Sacombank (STB) won the position of most active share in volume with 14.87 million shares changing hands.


It was followed by Saigon Securities Inc. (SSI), the country’s largest brokerage, with 10.58 million shares traded.


Vietnam Export Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank or Eximbank (EIB) came in third with 7.44 million shares.


Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam or Vietcombank (VCB) plummeted 13.49 percent to trade at VND29,500. The lender will issue 436,382,579 additional shares to its current shareholders at a ratio of 100:33.


Other losers on the southern market included Danang Rubber Joint Stock Company (DRC), House Viet Nam Joint Stock Company (NVN), and sweets producer Bibica Corporation (BBC).


Food and cosmetics producer S.P.M Corporation (SPM) rebounded 4.92 percent to VND64,000 from VND61,000 the previous day.


Viet Thang Aquafeed Joint Stock Company (VTF) capped its four-day losing streak, rallying 4.9 percent to VND15,000.


Thanh Cong Textile Garment Investment Trading Joint Stock Company (TCM) hiked for four consecutive days, closing up 4.87 percent to VND23,700.


The Hanoi’s HNX-Index slumped 1.77 percent, or 2.15 points, to close at 119.61 points. Nearly 111 million shares changed hands at a value of VND2.26 trillion.


Meanwhile, the UPCom-Index inched up by 0.59 points to 41.93 points this morning. Around 0.3 million shares changed hands at a value of VND3.56 billion as of 11:15 am local time.

Source: SGGP

Big lenders survive interest rate fluctuation

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 10:02 am

During the interest rates fluctuation period, most of small lenders tended to restrain offering loans to maintain liquidity levels, while big ones made a contrast move.

View at ShinhanVina bank (Photo:Minh Tri)

Do Minh Toan, deputy general director of Asia Commercial Bank, known as ACB, said his lender was well-prepared for the increasing capital demand at yearend, offering loans to many regular clients with reasonable rates even when interest rates started to fluctuate.


“High interest rates often bring down businesses’ earnings. However, this year’s healthy growth of local enterprises helped boost lenders’ credit growth,” said Toan.


ACB offer an interest rate of 15.5 percent per year on short-term deposits and 16-16.5 percent on long-term ones.


“Bank interest rate will remain choppy until the New Year Tet holyday on February. With the holiday coming sooner than previous years, the amount of money flowing on the market after Tet will be abundant. Therefore, I expect the deposit rate on February will be set at a lower rate of 12-14 percent a year,” Toan said.


Techcombank, which is the fifth-largest bank in term of assets, triggered an interest rate race last week when announcing it would offer dong depositor rates as high as 17 percent per year.


Other lenders reacted by pushing their own rates up, some as high as 18 percent.
But these offers were rescinded after the central bank requested them to bring the rates down to prevalent market levels – 14 percent or less.


The Hanoi-based lender then was among the first lenders reducing the deposit rate, offering the rate of 13.45-13.95 percent per annum.


Interbank lending rate also climbing
Expecting the fluctuation in interest rates to cool off in the upcoming time has seen many banks replacing monthly interbank loans with weekly ones.


Big lenders are giving interbank loans with three-month payday only, instead of two weeks or one month as they used to be, a general director of a big commercial bank in HCMC, who wants to be unnamed, said, adding the interbank lending rate last week remain at high levels of 19-20 percent per annum.


“The lending rates for shorter-payday loans are much higher. Despite knowing the fact that the rate dropping after Tet, many small banks still had to borrow at the high rate as their liquidity is low,” he said.


Analysts predicted the increasing interbank rate will end soon as the central bank extended the deadline for lenders to raise registered capital by one year to ease pressure on banks having difficulty meeting higher requirements.


Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved the proposal requiring local lenders to raise registered capital levels to VND3 trillion ($153.9 million), by Dec. 31, 2011, the State Bank of Vietnam said on its website Tuesday.

Source: SGGP

Farmers earn big time from selling catfishes to US

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:33 am

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill problem rocketed price of exported catfish fillet to the US market, helping local farmer to gain big profits.

(Photo: http://www.dangcongsan.vn)

“We are taking pretty good profits from the surging catfish prices,” said Nguyen Van Mung, a catfish farmer in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap.


Local seafood producers exporting catfish fillet to the US market bought small catfishes with an average weight of 750-850 gram strongly at very high prices, he said.


“Farming costs this year was reduced significantly as we sold young catfish,” Mung said, adding that this year’s harvest time was 1-2 months sooner than previous years.


Mung gained a net profit of more than VND2 billion (US$100,000) from selling 700 tons of catfishes at the price of VND22,000 ($1) per kilogram, the highest gain in the last three years.


It usually takes farmers 6-7 months to farm catfishes for European and Asian markets. The US people preferred small catfishes, which are around 4-5 months old, so the profit from this market is better, Mung said.  


“Catfish farmer can make a profit of VND3,000-4,000 per kilogram from the current price offered by seafood exporters,” said veteran farmer Nguyen Van Thanh in the adjacent province of An Giang.


Statistics showed that export turnover of Vietnam’s seafood in October rose 20 percent year-on-year to $532 million. The turnover in the first 11 months of the year reached to the highest ever of $4.5 billion, only $3 billion lower than the year’s target. Analysts said the exported catfish fillet price of $4-4.2 per kilogram would ensure a booming harvest to local farmers.


However, the Mekong Delta Agriculture and Rural Development Department warned that farmers still have to deal with many problems after this year’s harvest time, including the lack of reinvestment and the increase in costs of fish foods and medicine.


Farmers said most of them had to borrow money from banks as it cost a huge investment of VND18-20 billion to breed 1,000 tons of catfishes. Borrowers can now expect to pay 16-18 percent interest on loans, up from 13-14 percent just a few weeks ago.


Banks favor co-operatives
The current lending rate of 16-18 percent is the biggest obstacle for local exporters, said Nguyen Van Dao, director of the seafood maker Go Dang. Some exporters said many lenders were not willing to offer loans to them.


Asia Commercial Bank (ACB)’s Can Tho Province branch, meanwhile, said they still loaned catfish exporters. But they restrained to provide loans for individual farmers, who they struggled to supervise.


The branch said they could consider to loan farmers, who cooperate with co-operatives outsourcing for seafood producers. 

Source: SGGP

More big city residents face goiter in Vietnam

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2010 at 8:13 am

Scientists re-create Big Bang in lab

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2010 at 4:51 am

“Green street” campaign kicked off in big cities

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2010 at 1:34 pm

A “Green street” campaign has just been kicked off in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang on October 21.

                   The 1st “Green street” is organized in 2009.

The 2nd campaign is part of the “Go Green Journey” program launched by the Go Green Club (GGC).

The GGC and residents will restore the habit of cleaning streets and their homes every Sunday morning.

The campaign has been implemented in offices, primary and high schools throughout the country.

The “Go Green Journey” program aims to create a hub to promote closely and systematically cooperation between environment protection activities of TMV with other organizations, and dedicated environment volunteer groups in Vietnam.

The program was first launched in 2008 by Toyota Motor Vietnam (TMV) in collaboration with the Vietnam Environment Protection Administration and Ministry of Education and Training.

The program is implemented in 2 phases (2008-2011; and 2011 onwards) to achieve 3 objectives: Raising awareness of the community towards environment protection and to ride on it to make people gradually change their behavior; directly implementing and supporting other environment activities to minimize and stop damages to the environment in Vietnam; supporting and helping individuals and organizations affected by environmental damages.

Source: SGGP

VN-Index revives after big loss

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2010 at 11:53 am

Movements of VN-Index on October 21. (Photo: vietstock.vn)Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index slightly rose on October 21 after a sharp correction made the previous day as investors calmed down.

The index of 264 companies and five mutual funds listed on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange gained 0.65 percent, or 2.88 points, to finish at 445.05 points.


Trading volume dropped by 30 percent over the previous trading session as just around 28.7 million shares, worth VND690 billion changed hands.


Among the index members, 97 advanced, 109 fell, and 63 remained unchanged.


Vietnam Mechanization Electrification & Construction Joint Stock Company (MCG) won the position of most active share in volume with 1.74 million shares changing hands.


It was followed by Ocean Group Joint Stock Company (OGC) with 1.47 million shares.


Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Bank or Sacombank (STB) ranked third with 1.16 million shares.


Sacombank Securities Joint Stock Company (SBS) and Taya Vietnam Electric Wire and Cable Joint Stock Company (TYA) both soared 5 percent to VND25,200 and VND6,300 respectively.


Cuong Thuan Investment Corporation (CTI) rebounded 4.88 percent from a loss of 3.53 percent the previous day to trade at VND34,400.


Mekophar Chemical Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company (MKP) emerged 4.82 percent to VND50,000.


Meanwhile, Ben Tre Aquaproduct Import and Export Joint Stock Company (ABT) slashed 18.89 percent to VND43,800. The company will pay dividends in cash at a ratio of 20 percent on November 11. It will also issue 2,267,927 shares to its current shareholders at a ratio of 20 percent.


An Giang Fisheries Import & Export Joint Stock Company (AGF) gave up 7.52 percent to VND24,600. The company will advance dividends in cash for the first term of this year to its current shareholders at a ratio of 10 percent on December 6.


S.P.M Corporation (SPM) lost 5 percent to VND66,500.


The Hanoi’s HNX-Index struggled to gain 0.24 percent, or 0.27 points, to close at 112.55 points. More than 24.8 million shares traded at VND488.8 billion, a decrease of 30 percent in volume and 26 percent in value over the previous day.


The UPCoM-Index rose 0.39 points to 42.98 points. A total of 0.23 million shares, worth more than VND3.6 billion, were changed hands.

Source: SGGP

VN-Index revives after big loss

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2010 at 11:53 am

Movements of VN-Index on October 21. (Photo: vietstock.vn)Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index slightly rose on October 21 after a sharp correction made the previous day as investors calmed down.

The index of 264 companies and five mutual funds listed on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange gained 0.65 percent, or 2.88 points, to finish at 445.05 points.


Trading volume dropped by 30 percent over the previous trading session as just around 28.7 million shares, worth VND690 billion changed hands.


Among the index members, 97 advanced, 109 fell, and 63 remained unchanged.


Vietnam Mechanization Electrification & Construction Joint Stock Company (MCG) won the position of most active share in volume with 1.74 million shares changing hands.


It was followed by Ocean Group Joint Stock Company (OGC) with 1.47 million shares.


Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Bank or Sacombank (STB) ranked third with 1.16 million shares.


Sacombank Securities Joint Stock Company (SBS) and Taya Vietnam Electric Wire and Cable Joint Stock Company (TYA) both soared 5 percent to VND25,200 and VND6,300 respectively.


Cuong Thuan Investment Corporation (CTI) rebounded 4.88 percent from a loss of 3.53 percent the previous day to trade at VND34,400.


Mekophar Chemical Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company (MKP) emerged 4.82 percent to VND50,000.


Meanwhile, Ben Tre Aquaproduct Import and Export Joint Stock Company (ABT) slashed 18.89 percent to VND43,800. The company will pay dividends in cash at a ratio of 20 percent on November 11. It will also issue 2,267,927 shares to its current shareholders at a ratio of 20 percent.


An Giang Fisheries Import & Export Joint Stock Company (AGF) gave up 7.52 percent to VND24,600. The company will advance dividends in cash for the first term of this year to its current shareholders at a ratio of 10 percent on December 6.


S.P.M Corporation (SPM) lost 5 percent to VND66,500.


The Hanoi’s HNX-Index struggled to gain 0.24 percent, or 0.27 points, to close at 112.55 points. More than 24.8 million shares traded at VND488.8 billion, a decrease of 30 percent in volume and 26 percent in value over the previous day.


The UPCoM-Index rose 0.39 points to 42.98 points. A total of 0.23 million shares, worth more than VND3.6 billion, were changed hands.

Source: SGGP

US shuns some big public works projects

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2010 at 7:56 am

New Jersey’s governor wants to kill a $9 billion-plus train tunnel to New York City because of runaway costs. Six thousand miles away, Hawaii’s outgoing governor is having second thoughts about a proposed $5.5 billion rail line in Honolulu.


In many of the 48 states in between, infrastructure projects are languishing on the drawing board, awaiting the right mix of creative financing, political arm-twisting and timing to move forward. And a struggling economy and a surge of political candidates opposed to big spending could make it a long wait.


Has the nation that built the Hoover Dam, brought electricity to the rural South and engineered the interstate highway system lost its appetite for big public works projects? At a time when other countries are pouring money into steel and concrete, is the U.S. unwilling to think long-term?


“My sense is things have changed,” said Andrew Goetz, a University of Denver professor and an expert on transportation policy. “People now tend to see any project as a waste of money, and that’s just wrong.”

In this Oct. 19, 2010 photo, a large rusty metal wall is seen in North Bergen, N.J., covering construction at the ARC Tunnel. Work on the project has been stopped by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

“I call it the Bridge to Nowhere syndrome,” he added. “High-profile projects get publicized and they become a symbol for any infrastructure project that’s out there, and even the ones that are justified get tarnished by the same charge.”


The so-called Bridge to Nowhere would have cost hundreds of millions of dollars to connect one Alaskan town to an island of 50 residents. It figured in the 2008 presidential election when then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was criticized for initially backing the plan, which was eventually scrapped.


The other cautionary tale of the past few years is Boston’s Big Dig, the highway and tunnel project that was originally envisioned at less than $3 billion and wound up costing nearly $15 billion.


The Big Dig has made it far easier for motorists to get to and from Boston’s airport, and it eliminated a noisy and unsightly elevated highway that cast a shadow over some of the city’s neighborhoods. But construction was plagued by years of delays, corruption and shoddy workmanship that resulted in the death of a motorist in a ceiling collapse.


A report this month by the Treasury Department and the Council of Economic Advisers paints a picture of a country dissatisfied with the state of America’s aging infrastructure and in favor of improvements, but not necessarily eager to commit the dollars to fix it.


Standing in New York’s Penn Station on Thursday in front of a sign touting the proposed tunnel, commuter Bill Mischell of Plainsboro, N.J., gave voice to those conclusions.


“You could make the argument that it will make New Jersey a better place to live, but you also have to weigh it impartially against the huge cost,” Mischell said. “The state’s in pretty significant financial trouble, and the money’s got to come from somewhere.”


Infrastructure spending in the U.S. stands at 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product_ half what it was in 1960 — compared with approximately 9 percent in China and 5 percent for Europe, according to the government report.


“During recessions it is common for state and local governments to cut back on capital projects — such as building schools, roads and parks — in order to meet balanced budget requirements,” the report concluded. “However, the need for improved and expanded infrastructure is just as great during a downturn as it is during a boom.”


The American Society of Civil Engineers calculates that the U.S. would need to spend an additional $1.1 trillion over the next five years to restore roads, bridges, dams, levees and other infrastructure to good condition. In its latest report card, the engineering society gave the nation’s public works a “D” grade.


“Somehow we believe if we ignore it, it will go away,” said Blaine Leonard, the society’s president. “And it won’t. We have to stop hitting the snooze button on this problem.”


He said now is a good time to spend money on infrastructure because construction companies in this weak economy are hungry for work and the costs are relatively low as a result.


Major infrastructure projects of the past benefited from strong leadership, notably the interstate highway system pushed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s, he said. Today, though, “there isn’t any high-level leadership about infrastructure,” so there’s no agreement about priorities, Leonard said.


CG/LA Infrastructure LLC, a Washington consulting firm, recently put together a list of the worthiest 100 large infrastructure projects in North America, totaling about $400 billion. Among the suggestions: a next-generation air traffic control system; high-speed rail linking Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Chicago; a pair of highway projects in Texas; and the tunnel that New Jersey’s governor has threatened to scuttle.

To be sure, there are large-scale projects under way, notably in California, where a combination of federal dollars and voter-approved bonds and local tax increases are funding improvements, from highway widening to the $6.2 billion renovation of the Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland. And this week, Arizona and Nevada hailed the opening of a $240 million bridge that bypasses Hoover Dam.

However, many projects recently completed or in the pipeline secured funding before the economy went into a slide. Some of them might not be approved today.

In New Jersey, construction on a rail tunnel connecting New Jersey and New York City — the largest transportation project under way in the U.S. — began in 2009 under then-Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat. It is projected to double train capacity at peak times as well as provide 6,000 construction jobs immediately and up to 40,000 jobs after its completion in 2018. About $6 billion of the cost is being covered by the federal government and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Earlier this month, Republican Gov. Chris Christie announced he was pulling the plug because the cost had escalated from $5 billion in 2005 to more than $9 billion by the federal government’s estimate, and as much as $14 billion by Christie’s reckoning.

“I simply cannot put the taxpayers of the state of New Jersey on what would be a never-ending hook,” he said.

Christie later agreed to reconsider. The two-week review period expires Friday.

In Hawaii, Republican Gov. Linda Lingle announced recently that she wouldn’t sign off on a federally subsidized rail line until an updated economic study is conducted. And that may not be completed before she leaves office in less than two months. That means the project’s fate could be in her successor’s hands.

In Seattle, new Mayor Mike McGinn is threatening to hold up construction of a massive highway tunnel to replace the waterfront’s dilapidated, earthquake-damaged Alaskan Way Viaduct because he fears city taxpayers will be on the hook if costs spiral beyond the $4.2 billion price tag.

“The issue of the overall cost of the tunnel has been a concern to voters since before the recession, and I think the severity of the state’s and the city’s fiscal situation is causing people to take a harder look at … an expensive and risky project,” McGinn said.

In Wisconsin, Ohio and California, Republican candidates for governor have vowed they won’t endorse high-speed rail projects, despite the promise of billions of dollars from Washington.

Other countries are spending heavily on job-creating infrastructure. Projects include Algeria’s $11.2 billion east-west highway; a planned $10 billion bridge linking the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra; and China’s $60 billion Yangtze River diversion project.

Australia plans to spend $38 billion to relieve traffic congestion in Melbourne, while Britain is preparing for a $45 billion high-speed rail link between London and the West Midlands. Japan is building a $70 billion highway from Tokyo to Osaka, scheduled for completion in 2020.

In the U.S., it often takes a catastrophe to give infrastructure improvements more urgency. The Minneapolis bridge collapse in 2007 that killed 13 people prompted reviews of aging bridges around the country.

“Unfortunately, our attention span is short,” Leonard said. “You would think the Minneapolis bridge collapse would have sent repercussions throughout the system that would have resulted in a transportation funding bill, but it didn’t. Even bridge funding bills didn’t get through Congress.”

Consultant Norman Anderson of CG/LA Infrastructure said the federal government’s recent emphasis on smaller, “shovel-ready” projects to stimulate the economy is misguided and shows a lack of vision.

“You don’t do ‘shovel-ready.’ That is idiotic and extremely uninformed,” he said in an e-mail. “You do projects now because they produce value for an economy 20 to 30 years into the future, as well as producing immediate jobs.”

Source: SGGP

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