Aug. 29 – The sales of local Vietnamese products have dipped by five percent year on year despite inflation while the sales of imported goods have risen by as much as 20 to 30 percent.
As living standards improve, Vietnamese are now willing to pay a premium for imported products that are better designed and packaged.
In June 2008, United States consulting company, A.T. Kearney ranked Vietnam as the the most attractive retail investment market in the world, unseating India from the top spot a year earlier
"Despite slowing economies in developed countries, the retail opportunity in emerging economies is more compelling than ever as less than 10 percent of the retail market in these countries is organized," said Hana Ben-Shabat, a partner with A.T. Kearney in a statement. "These markets will provide the engines for continued growth and profits for global retailers as sales in their home countries turn sluggish."
Aug. 28 – Vietnam decreased fuel prices for the second time in a row this month. Gasoline prices will be cut from VND18,000 to VND17,000 a liter while kerosene from VND19,000 to VND18,000.
On August 14, the government cut the price of 92-RON gasoline by VND1,000 a liter in response to dropping world crude prices. Compared to a record US$147.27 a barrel last July 11, crude oil futures have dropped by 21 percent.
By Chua Siew Joo
Aug. 27 – According to the Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), residents and environmentalists in Thailand have expressed suspicions that dams in China and destruction of small Mekong river islands to clear passage for Chinese cargo ships have contributed to severe flooding in the Mekong basin countries.
The Mekong River Commission (MRC), established by Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam in 1995, has since issued a statement in August accruing the abnormally high water runoff in the northern part of the Mekong basin following heavy rainfall to the tropical storm Kammuri.
Aug. 26 – The government will soon pass the country’s first telecom law that will allow telecom operators to buy or re-sell licenses to other companies.
According to the current draft of the telecommunications law, each license purchase must be approved by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) to ensure competition among operators and allow foreign investors to easily enter the market.
The license buyer must take all rights and duties of the seller. “Current regulations ban telecom license purchasing, while almost nations in the world allow this to happen”, said an MIC source.
Aug. 21 – Indian power equipment company, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has bagged a US$50 million contract to build a 200-megawatt (MW) hydroelectric power plant in Vietnam.
The Nam Chien Hydro Power project aims to meet the country’s growing energy demand and join its rapidly growing power sector that is expected to expand by 16 percent annually. The project will be financed through a US$45 million line of credit given by the Indian government and managed by the Export Import Bank of India.
Aug. 19 – The Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee has approved a resolution that will speed up development in its agricultural, forestry and fishery sector with target annual growths of 3 to 3.5 percent by 2010.
The resolution hopes to increase rural incomes by 2.5 times and incorporate rural laborers to account for 30 percent of the country’s total workforce by 2020.
The government plans to have more than 50 percent of the workforce to undergo training. It assured that despite the planned rural development, Vietnam will still maintain its capacity for rice production to ensure national food security.
Aug. 15 – Vietnam has reduced the price of gas by up to 5.3 percent beginning today. The new prices reflect the drop in world oil prices of more than 20 percent from July.
"The government has ordered us to reduce prices following world price declines," a Petrolimex official told Thanh Nien News.
By Chua Siew Joo
Aug. 14 – Vietnamese workers in Asia and the Middle East are sending money home like their counterparts in the United States, Australia and Europe.
It may be a sign that lives are getting better for these migrant workers as they are currently not only sending money back to their family but also investing in business.
The Dong A Money Transfer Company reported receiving remittances of US$631 million in the first half of 2008 and expects the figure for the whole year to be US$1.2 billion. Sai Gon Thuong Tin Bank and Vietcombank (VCB) reported remittances of US$420 million and US$730 million respectively.
Aug. 13 – For the first time, Vietnam's Department of Customs will open an online forum on August 22 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to take customs inquiries.
The office located in the southern Binh Duong province and is expected to field questions from more than 2,300 local businesses. It will soon extend its services to include import-export procedures through e-customs.
The website address is www.haiquanbinhduong.gov.vn.
Aug. 11- The State Bank of Vietnam announced on its website that it will no longer issue licenses for establishing joint-stock commercial banks.
The move is in response to the government’s call to revise rules for the industry.
In a statement the government said, “Pending the revisions, the issue of permits for establishing new joint-stock commercial banks will be stopped temporarily.”
The government has warned that state-owned companies should stay within their core businesses rather than diversifying to industries ranging from real estate to banking.