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Coal prices, electric rates to stay stable, vows ministry

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2010 at 9:30 am

Coal prices, electric rates to stay stable, vows ministry

QĐND – Monday, December 20, 2010, 21:26 (GMT+7)

Coal and power prices would not go up in the first quarter of 2011, said the head of the Ministry of Finance (MoF) Price Management Department, Nguyen Tien Thoa.

The ministry had taken the decision because prices of these two utilities often had a knock-on effect on other goods and services, which could lead to an unwanted general price rise, said Thoa at a press conference on Friday.

“Price fluctuations often occur at the end of the year owing to increased demand. Therefore, from now until early next year, MoF will focus on resolving difficulties in production. We want to balance supply and demand and to avoid any shortages, essentially in underprivileged areas.”

According to the General Statistics Office, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is likely to hit 11 percent this year. Thoa said weaknesses of the economy had played a part in the increase.

”Growth depends mainly on increased investment but investment remains inefficient and competitiveness is low,” said Thoa at the press conference.

He added that the Ministry of Finance (MoF) had taken numerous steps to help stabilise prices.

“For example, MoF has instructed localities to use local standby budgets to provide non-interest capital for enterprises that trade reserved commodities; this will allow them to sell items at prices 5-10 percent lower than the usual market price,” Thoa said.

Thoa added that MoF had informed localities to delay the purchase of non-essential items to minimise demand-pull inflation.

“These classic solutions are significant if we want price stabilisation.”

MoF’s recent inspections in HCM City and several other southern provinces revealed that these localities had already stockpiled enough essential goods to meet local needs. Localities had also set up sales and distribution networks to better service underprivileged areas.

Thoa added the MoF had provided financial support to help regions facing severe weather to recover short-term vegetable crops and had urged local farmers not to export pigs, which were essential for the New Year holiday.

Forecasts predicted further economic recovery next year, which would lead to the increased demand for production inputs, and have an impact on prices.

“To that end, MoF will continue reforming the market-oriented pricing management mechanism, and respect enterprise and trader’s rights to set their own prices and forms of competition by replacing Pricing Ordinance by Pricing Law,” said Thoa.

“Next year, implementation of the market price scheme should be incorporated into the completion of the goods and service logistics system. We should also strive to reduce production costs and implement policies which ensure underprivileged households have access to basic social services including education, healthcare, and housing.”

Ensuring supplies

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa discussed measures aimed at market stability and ensuring adequate supplies of essential goods during Tet in meeting with officials from the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade last Thursday.

Department deputy director, Le Anh Dao, said firms had stockpiled 15,800 tonnes of rice and sticky rice, almost twice the quantity originally planned for. They had also put aside 9,800 tonnes of sugar (233 percent of the plan), 14,500 tonnes of meat, 5,200 tonnes of fruits and vegetables; and 55 million eggs.

At present, the Co.op Mart supermarket chain has stocks valued at 30 percent more than their planned value.

And it isn’t just firms that have signed up for a city price stabilisation programme that are stocking up; other companies are preparing for the year’s biggest festival which falls in early February this time.

German supermarket chain Metro has food stocks worth 1.1 trillion VND (56.4 million USD).

French supermarket Big C also has large stocks and has promised to keep prices and supply relatively stable for the next two months.

The MoIT has instructed the Department to continue working closely with firms to keep prices of goods like petrol, cement, and food stable during Tet.

Besides the eight essential goods targeted under the programme, authorities should also ensure adequate supply of cakes, candies, and jams for the Lunar New Year, Thoa said.

He said cities needed to ensure that all markets sell goods covered by the price stabilisation programme.

The Department of Transport should also give rush hour priority to vehicles delivering to supermarkets and shopping malls.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

PM wants stable prices and supply of goods during Tet

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:34 am

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on November 30 called on ministries, sectors and local agencies to continue to boost production of goods and supply, and ensure a stable market during Tet (Lunar New Year) next February and the first quarter of 2011.

Shoppers at a supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City during Tet last year.

The PM said though the Government has adopted many measures to step up production and ensure price stabilization and the balance of supply and demand for goods and services since the beginning of this year, the consumer price index (CPI) rose to 9.58 percent in November, impacting production and people’s lives.

The CPI of November increased by 1.86 percent over the previous month. This figure was an increase of 11.09 percent over the same period last year.

The national average CPI in 11 months exceeded the annual forecast with a year-on-year increase of 8.96 percent.

At the beginning of this year, the Government targeted a nationwide CPI of eight percent.

PM Dung said the cause of the problem was a few organizations and individuals that did not take price management seriously.

Speculation and groundless rumors about goods shortage and financial situation haven’t been controlled and prevented promptly, affecting implementation of the Government’s measures against inflation and for ensuring social welfare.

He instructed ministers and local authorities to focus on removing legal barriers and create favorable conditions for enterprises to expand production and business to ensure smooth provision of essential commodities like rice, poultry, meat, vegetables, milk, construction materials, medicines and travel services.

He wanted producers to forecast demand to ensure adequate supply nationwide before, during and after the festival.

The Ministry of Finance was assigned to co-ordinate with other relevant ministries and localities to maintain the prices of coal, electricity and petrol.

He wanted the ministry to reschedule adjustment of prices of goods and services that are subject to the State’s pricing control. 

He told the State Bank of Vietnam to take strong measures to stabilize the prices of gold and foreign currencies as well as interest rates.

The bank was asked to keep watch on the market and give severe punishments to those who speculate or corner gold and foreign currencies on the market.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade was ordered to adopt solutions to ensure sufficient supply of goods, and encourage enterprises to attend the price stabilization program and expand their distribution systems to rural and remote areas.

He also instructed market agencies to keep a close eye on things to prevent speculation, smuggling, and trade fraud, and apply criminal prosecution if necessary.

Source: SGGP

After rocky spell, dong/dollar establish stable relationship

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2010 at 4:43 pm

After rocky spell, dong/dollar establish stable relationship

QĐND – Monday, June 21, 2010, 22:26 (GMT+7)

SBV has confounded critics who said Vietnam’s currency was getting out of control.

The State Bank (SBV) has succeeded in stabilizing the interbank exchange rate at 18,544 dong per dollar, while purchasing dollars to build up reserves.

SBV has reported that in the first quarter of 2010, Vietnam’s foreign currency reserves increased by two billion dollars.  Meanwhile, the World Bank forecasts that reserves may reach $17.5 billion by the end of 2010 after dipping to $15.2 billion late last year.

Foreign currency supply and demand have been in balance and liquidity high.  Banks are able to manage their foreign currency positions themselves without buying dollars, yen and euros from the State Bank. Export companies, which have earnings in foreign currencies, now sell their foreign currencies to banks instead of hoarding dollars, as was common several months ago. From mid-April to mid-May, the State Bank purchased $1 billion from banks.

The dong/dollar exchange rate quoted by commercial banks is now sometimes lower than SBV’s ceiling level (the interbank exchange rate plus three percent). On June 15, commercial banks were trading dong for dollars at 18,945-18,990 to $1.  The exchange rate on the curb market has sometimes been even lower than the rates quoted by commercial banks, something that’s rarely seen. In mid-June, the curb rate was 19,010 dong to the dollar.

With the dong/dollar exchange rate has been stable, enterprises have lost interest in speculating against the dong, and individuals are less apt to buy dollars to keep under their pillows.  Thus dollar deposits at banks have increased more slowly than dong deposits.

According to SBV, dong balances held by clients of credit institutions increased by 2.89 percent in May, and foreign currency deposits by 1.19 percent.

Meanwhile, the demand for loans in foreign currencies has increased rapidly. SBV says outstanding loans rose 1.86 percent in May – dong credit was up 1.53 percent, while foreign currency credit was up 3.16 percent.  That’s considered to reflect a preference for the lower interest rates still in effect on foreign currency loans now that fears of further dong devaluation have eased.

Foreign currency loans typically bear somewhat lower interest rates lower than  dong loans.  In the recent past, however, businesses did not dare to borrow in dollar because they feared they’d have to repay in more expensive foreign currencies.

If the current rapid increase of the loans in foreign currencies continues, an imbalance of the foreign currency supply and demand could emerge by the end of 2010.

Le Xuan Nghia, Deputy Chairman of the National Finance Supervision Council, points out that most of the foreign currency loans are short term loans due in less than one year). Do Minh Toan of ACB Bank says many, mostly with 6-9 month terms, will come due in September and October. Pham Hong Hai of HSBC predicts a dollars squeeze then, because businesses will be hunting for dollars to pay debts back to banks.

There’s a cyclical factor, too.  The demand for dollars always increases sharply in the last months of years because businesses need dollars to import goods. In September and October of 2009, businesses in HCM City alone spent $3 billion to import goods.

Source: VNN

Source: QDND

Trade deficit to be kept at stable level

In Uncategorized on March 26, 2010 at 7:24 am

Trade deficit to be kept at stable level

QĐND – Thursday, March 25, 2010, 21:12 (GMT+7)

The government’s decisions to raise the prices of several commodities in March, and the minimum salary for employees, starting on May 1, will not make the State budget deficit increase, Finance Minister Vu Van Ninh has confirmed.

In an interview granted to Tin Tuc (News Bulletin) newspaper on March 25, Mr Ninh said the government has mobilised sufficient resources to carry out the salary reform scheme this year, under which the minimum salary for employees will increase to VND730,000 from the current VND650,000. It has also allocated budget for ministries, sectors and localities to meet the targets for socio-economic development this year.

Minister Ninh said his ministry will cooperate closely with relevant ministries and localities to iron out snags for businesses by further improving the investment environment and abolishing improper fees. He called on businesses to update technology and use fuel economically so as not to incur losses as a result of price hikes on input materials.

He confirmed that there will be no price adjustments for electricity and coal until the end of this year. He said since early March the Ministry of Finance and relevant agencies have examined the prices of cement, fertilizer, building materials, liquefied gas, sugar and fodder which are among essential commodities vulnerable to any market fluctuations. The ministry has also sent telegrams to provinces and cities, requesting that they establish inspection teams to keep market prices in check.

The ministry has proposed that the Prime Minister instruct State economic groups and corporations to stockpile and provide a sufficient supply of commodities for production and domestic use aimed at reining in possible runaway inflation, and to take part in poverty reduction projects.

The ministry has also asked petrol businesses to extend the timing between price adjustments from now until June if the global market fluctuates, in order to soften the psychological impact.

To achieve steady economic growth and curb runaway inflation, the Ministry of Finance has made recommendations to the government to take a host of measures. Accordingly, the government will continue to apply State-managed market price mechanisms despite global fluctuations, control monopolies and encourage price competition. It will closely monitor the registration and listing of prices of commodities and services designated for national target programmes.

The government will apply a flexible financial policy under strict scrutiny, strengthen the management of tax collection, and extend the deadline for corporate income tax for small- and medium-sized enterprises, mostly garment and footwear makers.

It will manage the foreign currency market flexibly in relation to the interest rates, the price consumer index and trade balance to increase exports and reduce imports. It will also effectively cope with any fluctuations in capital flows, stabilise the overall payment balance and keep the foreign currency reserves within safety limits. 

The National Assembly has approved a resolution to keep the inflation rate at less than 7 percent and the budget deficit at 6.2 percent of GDP in 2010.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Government moves to keep prices stable

In Politics-Society on March 21, 2010 at 7:28 am

Government moves to keep prices stable

QĐND – Saturday, March 20, 2010, 20:53 (GMT+7)

The Government has placed great importance on inspecting and monitoring the market while ensuring sufficient stocks of commodities for consumption to manage prices in a stable manner.

Finance Minister Vu Van Ninh made the statement at the 29th meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee in Hanoi on March 19.

He said the consumer price index (CPI) increase of 3.35 percent in the past two months was reasonable and in line with expectation.

He affirmed that the adjusted 6.8 percent rise in electricity prices this year would push the CPI up by 0.16 percent and increase production costs for some sectors by between 0.09 percent and 2.28 percent.

Minister Ninh noted that the adjustment in the price of coal for electricity generation will impact only the price of electricity, not that of other commodities, as in the remaining months of this year, electricity and coal prices will not be adjusted further.

He cited reports from localities saying in the meantime, commodity prices are inching down with that of foodstuffs decreasing more than that of grains.

Regarding the issue of budget deficit, he said last year due to an economic decline, the Government launched stimulus packages to promote production, which, however, resulted in a slight increase in budget overspending.

This year, the Government has set out to reduce overspending by keeping expenditures in check, he said.

“At present, the national debt balance remains at a safe level with no bad debts, ensuring financial security,” Minister Ninh emphasised.


Source: QDND

Laos’ economy to remain stable growth for next few years

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Vientiane (VNA) – Laos’ economic growth is expected to remain stable over the next few years despite the global financial crisis, said Lao Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Bounthavy Sisouphanthong.

The MPI official made this forecast on November 18 while undertaking the mid-term review of the sixth national socio-economic development plan for the period 2006 to 2010.

The forecast was based on the robust growth of Laos’ hydropower and mining sectors, the Deputy Minister said.

According to the MPI’s report, Laos registered an average annual growth rate of 6.5 percent during 1990 and 2005. In 2006 and 2007, the growth rate reached 7.9 and 8 percent, respectively.

Deputy Minister Bounthavy said he believed that economic growth would remain strong at the end of the sixth five-year plan.-