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Archive for September 5th, 2008|Daily archive page

Trung Nguyen Coffee franchise opens in Singapore

In Uncategorized on September 5, 2008 at 7:28 am

Hanoi (VNA) – A Trung Nguyen Coffee shop has opened in Singapore’s Changi Airport early September, becoming the first franchise under Trung Nguyen’s new image with distinctly Vietnamese appearance .

The Thanh Nien (Young People) Online cited a company executive as saying the 150 square-metre shop would showcase Vietnam ’s coffee-drinking culture that is centered on a personal filter and its robusta coffee.

Vietnam is famed for its robusta coffee of which it is the world’s largest exporter.

In the past Trung Nguyen franchised seven outlets abroad but using its old image.

The company has planned to franchise three more shops under the new image, along with setting up a franchising and managing office in Singapore between now and the end of this year.

The establishment of the office in Singapore is one of Trung Nguyen’s strategic preparatory steps in its roadmap to expand its outlets on the world market, the executive said.

By the end of this year, ten new-look franchises are expected to open in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City while old franchises will be renovated.

Founded in 1996, Trung Nguyen Coffee has so far developed a chain of over 1,000 coffee shops throughout the country and in foreign markets such as the US, China, Singapore and Japan.-

Techmart Hanoi 2008 to open in September

In Uncategorized on September 5, 2008 at 7:27 am

Hanoi (VNA) – The Hanoi Technology and Equipment Fair 2008, scheduled for opening on Sept. 18, hopes to strengthen the cooperation among management agencies, scientists and manufacturers, said one of its organisers.

Techmart Hanoi 2008, the third of its kind, will be jointly held by the Hanoi Department of Science and Technology, the National Assembly’s Committee of Science, Technology and Environment and the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The four-day event will have 307 booths of 271 exhibitors, including the departments of science and technology of six other provinces and seven foreign businesses.

Apart from information technology, automation and bio-technology, Techmart Hanoi will also feature urban architectural planning, public transport, energy saving and environment solutions and traditional crafts.-

Southern localities to build monorail

In Uncategorized on September 5, 2008 at 7:26 am

Hanoi (VNA) – The Southern Transport and Communications Development Research Centre is planning to build a 250 million USD monorail route in the southernmost province of Ca Mau .

Deputy Director of the Centre Dr Tran Xuan Dung said that the 17km monorail route will link the heart of Ca Mau city to the Ca Mau gas-power-fertiliser industrial zone and airport. The route is expected to meet the increasing travelling demand of local people and help develop tourism in the province, he added.

The provincial transport and communications service is calling for foreign and local investors to involve in the project.

For its part, Ho Chi Minh City has signed with Malaysia ’s Berjaya Group a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on a feasibility study on building two monorail routes in the city. They are a 24-km monorail route linking the intersection of Highway 50 with Nguyen Van Linh Boulevard and an 8.5km route from the Go Vap intersection to the Quang Trung Software Park .

By 2020, the city will have three monorail routes with a combined length of 37km.

With less noise and high transport capacity, monorail is considered an effective solution to increase public transport and reduce traffic congestions in urban areas.-

FDI rockets to 8-month high amid inflation

In Uncategorized on September 5, 2008 at 7:25 am

FDI rockets to 8-month high amid inflation

by Na Khue

Despite soaring inflation and low economic growth, foreign investors poured a record US$47 billion into the Vietnamese economy in the first eight months of 2008 – a four-fold increase on the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).

Taiwan topped the table of 38 nations and territories investing in Viet Nam, shelling out $8.6 billion in 112 projects – 18.6 per cent of the total foreign direct investment (FDI). Japan came next with $7.2 billion in 78 projects, followed by Malaysia, Brunei, Canada, Singapore, Thailand, the British Virgin Islands and the US.

Of the 43 cities and provinces attracting FDI this year, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province was the biggest gainer, followed by HCM City and Ha Tinh, Thanh Hoa, Phu Yen, Kien Giang and Dong Nai provinces.

The real estate sector accounted for some 40 per cent of the total registered capital. Significant projects included the $3.4-billion Viet Nam International University Township in HCM City (headed by Malaysia’s Berjaya Group); the $4.2-billion Ho Tram Strip in Ba Ria-Vung Tau (headed by Canada’s Asian Coast Development) and a $4.35-billion tourist project in Phu Yen (headed by Brunei’s New City Properties Development Company).

However, the booming real estate sector is raising concerns among economists who fear that capital invested in these projects is bypassing local workers.

They also point to the fact that developers are consuming vast swathes of farmland that could lead to food shortages and unemployment.

Furthermore, many of the planned real estate projects – which include luxury resorts, villas and apartments – will be out of the reach of average income earners.

However, an official from the MPI played down concerns that the real estate market was overheating. He said there was a dearth of desperately needed five-star hotels and high-end office space in the country. He also said that investment in the sector was giving the struggling local real estate market a welcome injection of capital.

Revenue from operational foreign invested firms this year was $30.4 billion, of which $1.4 billion went into State coffers – 33 per cent more than last year.

In the first eight months of the year, foreign firms created 18,000 jobs, bringing the total number of Vietnamese working for international companies to 1.4 million.

Milking it for all it’s worth

Cash-strapped Vietnamese families are having to fork out some of the highest prices in the world for milk.

According to a report released last week by HCM City-based market research firm FTA, milk in Viet Nam costs US$0.82 per kilo – compared to around $0.80 in the US and Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the EU, Israel and China. In Eastern Europe and South America a kilo of milk cost just US$0.40.

Meanwhile, GDP per capita last year was US$835 in Viet Nam, $5,600 in Eastern Europe, $10,000 in North America and $23,000 in the EU.

In 2007-2008, the price of condensed milk went up 5 to 6 per cent, while the price of powdered milk soared by 23 to 26 per cent. Milk turnover in the local market grew by 20 per cent, while the volume sold increased 6 per cent. Meanwhile, the price of powdered milk went up by 18 to 30 per cent.

A recent poll showed that young mums with toddlers aged two to four were prepared to give half their income to buy the “best milk products” for their young charges. A 400g can of locally made powdered milk now costs VND55,000, while imported powdered milk can cost as much as VND130,000.

The biggest milk producers are Australia and New Zealand.

Nutritionist Dr Dao Thi Yen Thuy said that there was little difference between locally produced and imported milk products, aside from a few much-hyped additives such as taurine and choline, which have little real health benefits.

Ads press on

Market research and advertising firms predict that firms will continue to spend lavishly on promoting their products, despite concerns over falling sales and smaller budgets due to the economic downturn.

Advertising revenue on 29 television channels, one radio station and 64 print publications monitored by TNS MediaVietnam in the first half of this year reached over $230 million, up 16.2 per cent on the $201 million spent in the same period last year.

Almost $171 million was spent on TV ads alone, while $42 million was spent on newspaper ads and $20 million on magazine ads. Radio adverts brought in just $828,000.

However, spending on radio ads saw the biggest increase – 52.5 per cent compared with the first half of last year. Spending on TV advertising grew the least – 14.3 per cent.

The top ten advertisers were Unilever Viet Nam, P&G Viet Nam, Vinamilk, VMS-MobiFone, Dutch Lady Viet Nam, Tan Hiep Phat Brewery, Nestle Viet Nam, Vinaphone, Viet Nam Brewery and Abbott Laboratories Inc. Together they spent almost US$60 million, down 2.1 per cent on the same period last year.

TNS Media Viet Nam managing director Tran Thi Thanh Mai told a local newspaper that some companies were spending less on advertising while the majority were spending more, with the net result that advertising expenditure was increasing. —

Gala night to raise funds for harelipped children

In Uncategorized on September 5, 2008 at 7:25 am

Hanoi (VNA) – To help children with harelip and cleft palate in Vietnam, Operation Smile Vietnam will hold a gala night in Hanoi on September 13.

The “Night of Smiles” gala is expected to draw the participation of 200 guests.

Art works by Vietnam ’s well-known painters and photographers will be auctioned directly by world famous auctioneer Rob Blain at the night.-

Liquidity improves on good news

In Uncategorized on September 5, 2008 at 7:25 am

HA NOI — Liquidity improved strongly last week, despite trading boards falling into the red on the HCM City bourse at the end of the week, as investors see signs of good news ahead.

The VN-Index rose 12.12 points or 2.42 per cent over the week to close at 539.1. The gain was mainly thanks to a 34.69 point jump after strong trading on Monday and Tuesday.

The index lost 22.75 points in the last two days of the week as investors cashed in before the holidays.

Trading volume reached 147 million shares, a 9.3 per cent increase over the previous week, while total turnover rose by 18.5 per cent to VND6.23 trillion (US$377.58 million).

Solid gains by some major stocks including, Saigon Securities Inc (SSI), and Sacombank (STB) contributed to the increase in revenue, according to Nguyen Truong Son, an analyst with FPT Securities.

Early week trading was spurred by a low August inflation rate, as the General Statistic Office announced inflation was up only 1.56 per cent month-on-month. Investors had predicted a three per cent rise, after the Government raised petrol prices by 30 per cent on July 21.

“The low inflation index proves the Government has the capacity to control prices,” said Nguyen Truong Son, at FPT Securities.

Investors were buoyed by news of stable exchange rates and reduced interest rates for loans.

The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) on Friday decided to keep the prime interest rate at 14 per cent, and to triple the interest rate of commercial bank reserves from 1.2 per cent to 3.6 per cent, to help credit institutions lower lending interest rates.

“These moves are good signs, which show that the Government is gradually shifting to the goal of accelerating GDP growth, in conjunction with adjusting monetary policies,” said Nguyen Truong Son.

“The adjustment doesn’t have a great impact on the banking system, but will support investor confidence,” he said.

Earlier last week, the Ministry of Planning and Investment reported a record $47.2 billion worth of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the economy in the first eight months of this year, more than four times the amount of last year.

An investor at Saigon Securities Inc said confidence was definitely up.

Investors are not frightened by a recent sell-off, and are actually ready to buy in, he said.

Do Hoai Nam, an analyst with Kim Long Securities, predicted that there would probably be an upward trend in share prices this week if world oil prices remained at current levels.

Oil rose more than $1 to around $117 a barrel on Friday as Tropical Storm Gustav headed to the Gulf of Mexico, home to a quarter of US crude production, according to Reuters reports.

Foreign investors were net sellers on domestic bourses last week, buying an average of three million shares and fund certificates per day, and selling 4.4 million.

“Despite the market decline in the last two days of the week, demand for shares still remained great,” said FPT analyst Nguyen Truong Son. “With oil prices declining and the domestic economy having stabilised, we expect the VN-Index will not fall below 520 points this week and will bounce back shortly.”

The analyst predicted that the VN-Index would range between 530 and 550 points this week.

At the Ha Noi Securities Trading Centre, the HASTC-Index closed at 192.43 after gaining 28.26 points or 17.2 per cent over the week. About 14.7 million securities changed hands, and trading values averaged VND397 billion ($24 million) per day. —

Vietnam economic forum to focus on economic sustainability

In Uncategorized on September 5, 2008 at 7:24 am

Hanoi (VNA) – The second Vietnam Economic Forum, scheduled to open in Hanoi on September 19, will focus on inflation control, economic growth and social security, said a senior official.

Tran Mai Huong, Executive Deputy General Director of Vietnam News Agency (VNA) and Head of the Organising Board, also told a press briefing in Hanoi on September 4 that these topics meet the Government’s major goals for economic sustainability.

The two-day event, expectedly honoured with the presence of national leaders, executives of regional industrial and financial consortiums and almost 600 guests from various parts of the world, will also mull two other long-term major issues, i.e. infrastructure construction and high-quality human resource development.

Head of the Foreign Investment Department under the Ministry of Planning and Investment Phan Huu Thang said the event aims to promote the national policy and legal system and explore international experts’ viewpoints on problems that are hitting the national economy so as to work out solutions amid a global financial crisis.

Co-sponsors for the event apart from the VNA are the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Asia News Network.

The first forum was held in Ho Chi Minh City in 2007.–

Prices of key goods continue to drop

In Uncategorized on September 5, 2008 at 7:24 am

HCM CITY — Prices of several commodities will continue to drop by 5-10 per cent in September, according to the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade.

Several HCM City-based cooking gas trading companies lowered the price of each 12 kilo canister by VND10,000 as of September 1 in response to global prices falling US$55 per tonne to last month to $820 per tonne.

The maximum cooking gas retail price is now VND256,000 ($15.5) per 12-kilo canister.

Prices of consturction steel have also gone down in recent weeks. Several steel producers cut prices by VND100,000-300,000 per tonne this week.

Rolled steel and bar steel now go for VND17.2-17.5 million per tonne and VND17.4-17.6 million ($1,043-1,068) per tonne, respectively. Meanwhile, prices for several construction bricks dropped by VND300-400 each to around VND800-1,000 each.

Down 10-15 per cent, ceramic and granite bricks are now sold for VND70,000-80,000 ($4.2-4.85) per sq.m and VND125,000-350,000 ($7.58-21.2) per sq.m, respectively.

At Binh Dien Wholesale Market in District 8, prices of several seafood products per kilo are VND2,000-5,000 lower than last week’s prices.

Rates of several items like potatos, carrots, French string beans and cucumbers decreased by VND500-1,000 per kilo at Thu Duc Agricultural Products Wholesale Market.

Nguyen Thanh Ha, deputy trading director of Thu Duc Agricultural Products Wholesale Market, said prices will go down again in one or two more weeks in anticipation of a large shipment of Chinese produce.

According to the Department of Industry and Trade’s estimates, with the fall of raw material prices globally, the lower rate of the US dollar domestically made several goods, especially imported ones, cheaper. Last month’s two fuel price drops sent several companies re-adjusting the prices of their commodities and services for the near future.

Sai Gon Plastics Joint Stock Company plans to reduce their selling prices in tandem with the drop of plastics prices in the global market, said general director Lai Anh Viet. Some household appliances plastic producers plan to cut prices by 5–10 per cent this month. —

Tra catfish prices up on rising demand

In Uncategorized on September 5, 2008 at 7:24 am

CUU LONG DELTA — The price of tra catfish in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta has begun to rise as the supply is falling and export demand remains high.

The Can Tho Fisheries Association (CAFA) predicts that the quantity will not meet demand as breeders cut back production following drastic price drops beginning in May.

Most catfish breeders fear further losses and are not increasing production.

Duong Ngoc Minh, general director of the Tien Giang Province-based Hung Vuong Corporation, which accounts for more than 10 per cent of the country’s total seafood exports, said there was a 40 per cent drop in production.

“Seafood processors will face a shortage of tra catfish for processing early next year if there is no prompt intervention,” he said.

In Dong Thap Province alone, more than 30 per cent of fish breeding areas are idle, and the proportion could rise, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Dong Thap authorities plan to work with the province’s departments and agencies to seek measures to remedy the shortfall.

Seafood processors can now buy catfish at a price of VND14,500-15,000 a kg, up from VND13,500-14,500 a kg in early August.

Bui Huu Tri, chairman of CAFA, said the current price of the fish, however, was still lower than the production cost of VND16,000-17,000 a kg. The delta currently has more than 200,000 tonnes of mature tra catfish but seafood processors need around 500,000-600,000 tonnes from now until the year-end. —

Party leader asks Nam Dinh to boost economic growth

In Uncategorized on September 5, 2008 at 7:24 am

Nam Dinh (VNA) – Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh has requested that the Red River province of Nam Dinh accelerate socio-economic development, combining economic growth with ensuring social welfare and equality.

Whilst working with local authorities on September 3-4, General Secretary Manh urged Nam Dinh to participate in a scheme to turn its provincial capital of the same name into the southern Red River delta’s socio-economic and cultural centre.

Nam Dinh should further boost agricultural production in parallel with industrial and service development, with priority being given to processing in order to bolster agricultural production and increase rural industrialisation and modernisation, the party leader said.

In addition, General Secretary Manh stated that the province should maintain and expand the production of traditional crafts, with increased cooperation with localities that have the materials and manpower to develop these occupations.

Nam Dinh achieved economic growth of 9.15 percent in the first six months of this year, with rapid restructuring being seen in the industrial sector and improved efficiency in agricultural production.

However, the party leader noted that Nam Dinh remains in the group of localities with low economic growth and its actual economic development has failed to live up to its potential.

The general secretary also cited low product value and the processing industry’s low efficiency as weaknesses that the province should focus on addressing and overcoming.

Whilst in Nam Dinh, the party leader attended a ceremony marking the start of a new school year at the Hai Hau High School, one of the province’s flagship schools which has achieved outstanding performances in both teaching and studying.-