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    Vietnam to Implement Minimum Wage Hike in 2009

    Oct. 15 – Vietnam's Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs said that beginning Jan. 1, 2009, monthly minimum salaries for employees in domestic enterprises will rise between VND110,000 to VND180,000 while those for foreign-invested businesses will increase by VND120,000 to VND200,000.

    The changes are part of the agency's 2008-2012 salary, social insurance and allowance reform plan, that aims to standardize the minimum salary for all businesses by 2012.

    The salary rates were based on GDP growth and consumer price index (CPI) in the first nine months of this year, wage increases in the labor market, enterprises’ pa

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    Vietnam’s Long An Province Cancels Industrial Zone Investments

    Oct. 13 – Vietnam's province of Long An has postponed investments in some of its industrial zones due to concerns on land use.

    The province’s Natural Resources and Environment Department Director Nguyen Van Thiep told Thanh Nien News that the province will only build one 300-hectare golf course in Duc Hoa District instead of the planned 13 golf courses.

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    Vietnam Implements Regulations for Environmental Sustainability

    By Chua Siew Joo

    Oct. 8 – All industrial zones in Dong Nai province will be required to install a central wastewater treatment plant by the end of 2008 or face suspension, according to Phan Van Het, deputy director of Resources and Environment Department.

    Last September, a Taiwanese firm, Vedan Vietnam, was caught by environment inspectors from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment for dumping untreated waste water into the Thi Vai River for more than a decade.

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    Vietnam’s Foreign Investment Climate

    By Chua Siew Joo

    Sept. 28 – In the first nine months of 2008, investment by foreign businesses in Vietnam exceeded US$57.12 billion, almost a fivefold year-on-year increase, according to Vietnam's Foreign Investment Agency. Vietnam’s foreign direct investment for 2007 amounted to US$20.3 billion.

    The Foreign Investment Agency revealed that the capital for new projects amounted to US$56.2 billion; projects in industry and construction accounted for 57 percent and 55 percent of the total FDI and the overall number of projects respectively. Meanwhile, the service sector attracted FDI of US$23.7 billion for 361 projects; the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors attracted FDI of US$1.12 billion.

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    Malaysian Steel Company to Invest in US$9.8 Billion Steel Mill Venture

    Sept. 24 – Vietnam has approved the joint venture deal between Malaysia’s Lion Industries and Vietnam’s shipbuilding group, Vinashin, for a US$9.8 billion steel mill.

    The steel mill will be located in the south-central province of Ninh Thuan with an annual capacity of 14.42 million tons.

    According to a statement from Ninh Thuan’s People’s Committee, construction should begin by next year and be completed in 2025. The first phase of the project will cost about US$2.75 billion.

    The details of the deal, like how much each company would invest, still has not been released.

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    Vietnam’s Consumer Price Index Rises by 0.18%

    Sept. 23 – According to Vietnam’s General Statistics Office, the consumer price index for September rose by only 0.18 percent.

    It is the lowest monthly gain since the start of the year.

    The CPI increases registered in seven out of ten essential commodity groups, with cultural, sports and entertainment services having the highest price hike of 1.45 percent, along with educational services with 1.4 percent.

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    Vietnam Reduces Fuel Prices By Up to 5.3%

    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.

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    The Ups and Downs of Vietnam’s Economy

    June 11 – Things are changing so fast in Vietnam, it's hard to keep track. Last year with a GDP growth rate of 8.5 percent, the country was the place to be, money was pouring in, infrastructure was booming & the country was minting millionaires. Now however times seem to have changed drastically for Vietnam. The countrys' grappling with runaway inflation (25 percent), the highest interest rates in Asia (12 percent), a plunging currency (the dong fell 1.5 percent against the dollar in the last 6 months) and their stock markets nosedived 60 percent to become the worst performing in the world over the last month.

    To make matters worse, Moody's, which grades creditworthiness, lowered Vietnam's ratings outlook last week to negative from positive. Poor ratings signal that banks may have trouble meeting their financial obligations, undermining investors' confidence in the country. In a nutshell, the economy overheated and the government was too slow to respond, says Jonathan Pincus, chief economist for the United Nations Development Program in Vietnam in a recent Time magazine article.

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