Vietnam is looking forward to Malaysia’s support to develop Halal food industry, contributing to lifting the bilateral trade to 18 billion USD by 2025, Ministry of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien told his Malaysian counterpart Mohamed Azmin Ali during their recent meeting in Hanoi.

The minister said the global Halal market is growing robustly, with its total value reaching around 2.44 trillion USD in 2018. Some 56 percent of the figure – or over 1.36 trillion USD – comes from food and beverages, which is expected to expand 6.3 percent annually to exceed 1.97 trillion USD by 2024, he added.

Malaysian enterprises stand ready to share experience and expertise to help those from Vietnam gain broader access to Halal certification, the official stressed.

He further said that since Vietnam expects to welcome many foreign visitors who consume Halal-certified products during the upcoming SEA Games 31, the event will be an opportunity for the two countries to together build a Halal ecosystem matching both sides’ potentials.

During the meeting, the two ministers also discussed the Vietnam-Malaysia joint committee for trade, deemed as an effective cooperation mechanism. As a result of COVID-19 impacts, it had to cancel routine meetings, so Minister Dien, as its co-chairman, proposed the two sides promptly prepare for its official meeting by finalising the programme and pushing for technical meetings.

The Malaysia minister also said he hopes the committee’s annual meeting to be held as soon as possible and suggested the two countries to look into ways to narrow Malaysia’s trade deficit with Vietnam.

Malaysia is currently Vietnam’s second largest trade partner in ASEAN and ninth globally. Meanwhile, Vietnam is Malaysia’s third biggest trade partner.

Middle East market remains promising for Vietnamese exporters

With a population of 400 million, the Middle East is emerging as a promising market for Vietnamese exporters, according to experts.

Thanks to the rising oil prices, the Middle East is enjoying high growth. Among 16 regional countries, Vietnam has mostly traded with six member nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), namely the UAE, Arab Saudi, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

Trade between Vietnam and the GCC countries has surged from 2.7 billion USD in 2012 to 12.5 billion USD in 2021.

So far, Vietnam has signed economic, trade and scientific-technological cooperation agreements with five GCC countries, trade deals with two nations, double-tax avoidance agreements with five countries and investment protection deals with four countries. Vietnamese products are suitable to the demands of the GCC countries.

Over 9 bln USD spent on import of animal feed raw materials

Vietnam spent 9.07 billion USD to import nearly 22.3 million tonnes of raw materials for animal feed production in 2021, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)’s Department of Livestock.

The department also reported at a conference to discuss solutions to promoting pig breeding and strengthening the management of animal feed production and business held by the MARD on March 18 in Hanoi that due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and especially the recent Russia-Ukraine conflict, the prices of many raw materials for animal feed production have increased strongly.

Notably, the price has increased by about 29.3 percent for corn, 33.4 percent for soybean oil, 23.1 percent for cornmeal, and 49.5 percent for wheat.

The department forecast that the prices of raw materials will remain high to the end of this year.

So far, Vietnam’s livestock sector has made up 25.2 percent of GDP of the agricultural sector.

Higher animal feed price causes difficulties for livestock industry

The recent increase in price of animal feed has brought more difficulties for the livestock production of businesses and farmers.

After the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, many animal feed products have seen a new price increase due to the impact of the higher world price of raw materials for animal feed production compared to the end of 2021.

Specifically, the price has increased by about 22 percent for soybean oil, 21 percent for soybeans, 16 percent for soybean meal and 9 percent for corn.

The main reason is due to the influence of adverse weather in the main growing areas in South American countries which provide a large volume of raw materials for feed production in the world.

Transportation costs are also constantly increasing because of petrol and oil price hikes. In addition, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is having a great impact on corn and wheat prices at home and abroad.

The most favoured nation (MFN) tariff for some imported animal feed products has been reduced from the end of 2021 such as from 3 percent to zero for wheat and from 5 percent to 2 percent for corn.

However, the cost of animal feed accounts for 65-70 percent of the production cost in the livestock sector. Therefore, the record increase of those prices of animal feed materials has caused huge difficulties and challenges for the domestic livestock industry, especially pig farming.

FDI flow to Binh Duong triples in Q1

Binh Duong attracted about 1.6 billion USD worth of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first quarter of 2022, 3.6 times higher than that in the same period last year.

Binh Duong also lured 36 trillion VND (1.57 billion USD) of domestic capital, an annual increase on 16.9 percent.

During the period, a total of 22 investment licences were granted to enterprises to operate at local industrial parks.

Notably among the investors, the toy manufacturer LEGO Group decided to pour more than 1 billion USD on the building of its 44ha factory at the Vietnam – Singapore Industrial Park III in Binh Duong, making it the largest Danish-invested project in Vietnam to date. The plant is hoped to generate 4,000 jobs in the next 15 years.

The province has 29 concentrated industrial parks covering nearly 13,000 ha of land, with their average occupancy rate exceeding 83.4 percent. So far, Binh Duong has recorded 4,033 valid FDI projects worth over 37.7 billion USD.

Dien Bien province, Korean partners cooperate in different fields

The northern province of Dien Bien have signed memoranda of understanding on cooperation with the Vietnam-Korea Business and Investment Association (VKBIA), the Korea Chamber of Business in Vietnam (Korcham) and businesses from the Republic of Korea (RoK).

The cooperation documents, inked at a conference in Dien Bien Phu city on March 21, cover technology transfer in ginseng cultivation and processing and agricultural development, investment attraction and tourism in Dien Bien.

Earlier, VKBIA and Korcham made a field-trip to Tuan Giao district to study its potential for ginseng growing.

Petrol prices down by 600 VND per litres after seven hikes

Retail petrol prices reduced by more than 600 VND per litre from 3pm on March 21 following the latest adjustment by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance.

Accordingly, the retail price of RON95 bio-fuel dropped by 632 VND to a maximum of 29,192 VND (1.28 USD) per litre, while that of E5RON92 was adjusted down by 655 VND to no more than 28,330 VND per litre.

This is the first decline following seven consecutive hikes of petrol prices in 2022, with total increases amounting to over 6,500 VND per litre.

The two ministries also decided to use the petrol price stabilisation fund at a rate of 200 VND per litre for E5 RON 92, and 50 VND per litre for RON 95, and 400 VND per litre for diesel.

Vietnam, RoK firms eye stronger trade connection

An online event to connect firms of Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (RoK) is taking place as part of activities to mark the 30th founding anniversary of the diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Hosted by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) in Hanoi, the five-day event starting from March 21 sees the participation of 58 suppliers from Daegu, Jeonju, Incheon, Gyeongbuk of the RoK and 76 Vietnamese businesses.

Businesses of the two countries focus their discussion on issues related transporting samples from the RoK to Vietnam for testing, requirements for quality certification of Korean and international standards, and conditions to become a distributor.

Some potential agreements are hoped to be discussed in more detail in the near future.

After the programme, enterprises of both sides will continue to receive support from KOTRA Hanoi in negotiations, thus towards signing and performing export-import contracts.

Vietnamese, Lao businesses work to speed up strategic cooperation projects

Vietnamese and Lao businesses discussed ways to speed up the implementation of large-scale Vietnamese-invested projects in Laos and seek new cooperation projects of strategic importance during a workshop in Vientiane on March 21.

Within the event’s framework, Vietnamese multi-sector firm FLC Group and Laos’ Petroleum Trading Lao Public Company (PetroTrade) signed a memorandum of understanding on the development of the Vientiane-Vung Ang railway project.

Under the MoU, FLC and PetroTrade will work together to prepare for the construction of the section from Vung Ang seaport in the central province of Ha Tinh to Cha Lo border gate in Quang Binh of the Vientiane-Vung Ang railway project. This is an important section of the Vientiane-Vung Ang railway route that has total investment of about 5 billion USD. The project is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of this year.

Number of passengers using Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban metrol line up 30 percent

The number of passengers using the Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban elevated rail line has surged by 30 percent compared to the previous months, according to Hanoi Metro One Member Limited Company (Hanoi Metro) – a State-owned enterprise specialising in the operation and maintenance of urban railway in Hanoi.

The line carries more than 10,000 passengers per day on average and 15,000 at weekends. The company attributed the increase to the fact that people has found the service convenient after it has been put into operation for several months.

The resumption of business activities and the switch to a flexible adaption to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the rising cost of fuel price are also reasons for the surge in passengers.

Currently, there are 54 bus routes connecting to the Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban elevated rail line, of which Cat Linh and Yen Nghia stations have 16 bus lines and intermediate stations have 8-9 bus routes.

Local enterprises should promote traceability: official

Domestic enterprises need to enhance the application of traceability technology and improve product quality assessment technology, said Tran Thanh Hai, deputy director of the Department Import and Export.

He said it would help Vietnamese products compete in domestic and foreign markets.

Farmers and businesses need to change their thinking about international agricultural trade, including traceability requirements in import markets such as the EU, the US, and even China, from production to processing.

It is necessary to improve the value of Vietnamese agricultural products by building product brands and developing sustainable agriculture production, reducing pesticides and chemical fertilisers, and expanding ​​organic farm production, Hai said.

Traceability plays a vital role in the agricultural industry, including exports. Traceability is the best tool to protect the reputation of businesses and the best way to convey messages of the manufacturers to consumers.

Strict requirements for imported products and demand for goods with guaranteed quality and origin on the domestic market are increasing.

Potential of Mekong Delta ports waits to be tapped

With more than 14,800km waterways, the Mekong Delta has great potential to develop port and logistics infrastructure, but it has yet to take advantage of it with the existing system lacking intra-regional connectivity.

Logistics enterprises in the delta only offer shipping, warehousing, customs procedures, and local transportation services, and have not integrated to create a logistics chain.

Investment in transport infrastructure is key to boosting exports of local agricultural and seafood products, in which the region has enormous potential, according to experts.

Now the exports face bottlenecks like scattered transport infrastructure, which increase transport costs and affect their competitiveness.

According to the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management, logistics activities in the Mekong Delta remain largely unplanned.

More than 85 per cent of its ports are scattered with each having a capacity of less than 10,000 tonnes of cargo a year.

Viet Nam’s rapid loan growth impedes bank capitalisation drive

Low capitalisation levels are likely to remain a credit weakness for rated Vietnamese banks as rapid loan growth will make it challenging to raise capital adequacy ratios (CARs) in the next two to three years, according to Fitch Ratings.

In a report released recently, the rating agency said the capitalisation of Viet Nam’s banking sector has improved gradually in recent years amid rising profitability and banks’ capital raising efforts. Fitch estimates that the banks that are still to become Basel II compliant need only about US$0.6 billion of new capital to meet the local Basel II minimum CAR requirement of 8 per cent before the implementation deadline in January 2023.

According to Fitch, the capital accumulation has been low, despite the strong profitability many domestic banks have reported in recent years. This is because most of the rise in retained earnings was consumed by rapid loan growth.

Fitch said the State Bank of Viet Nam’s credit growth target remains at a high 14 per cent for 2022 (2017-2021 average: 14 per cent), indicating that the system capital ratio is not likely to improve quickly. This is especially true if restrictions on cash dividends, in place since March 2020, are relaxed.

Fitch could assess most Vietnamese banks’ viability ratings a notch higher if their core capital ratios were 2-3 percentage points higher. However, the rating agency believes that, except for those banks raising external capital, organic improvements are likely to remain modest in the near term, in spite of rising profitability.

ETFs bullish about securities market

With more firms being added to portfolios in Q1, foreign Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are optimistic about Viet Nam’s securities market.

SSI Securities Corp. reported that two foreign ETFs had restructured their portfolios.

Notably, FTSE Vietnam Index has added DPM, VCG and VND to its portfolio and excluded no firms from the roster.

The Vietnam All-share Index has done likewise by including BCG, FRT, SHB, VCG and VND.

In February, net positive capital flows could be observed from most foreign ETFs, including VFMVN Diamond (VND400 billion), SSIAM VNFIN Lead (VND80 billion) and Global X MSCI Vietnam (VND75 billion).

However, there were still some ETFs bucking the trend. Notably, VFM VN30 withdrew up to VND744 billion from the market last month.

Angimex signs billion-dollar rice export contract with the Republic of Sierra Leone

An Giang Import-Export JSC (Angimex) – a member of agricultural food producer and exporter Louis Holding Group – recently welcomed the President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, and a high-level delegation to its rice factory in Long Xuyen.

The event marked the signing of an MoU on a three-year rice export contract with the West African country and was witnessed by the president. This visit, along with the largest purchase so far in 2022, is the premise for Angimex to maintain its leading position in ensuring transcontinental food security.

According to the MoU, Angimex will export 3 million tonnes of rice to Sierra Leone under a three-year contract. This kind of deal has a substantial influence, helping Angimex to access new markets and diverse customer groups in the future.

The continuous application of new agricultural technology in farming enables Vietnam’s leading rice enterprise to ensure rice grain quality and meet the strict standards of its partners.

Manufacturing recovers well in Q1

The manufacturing sector witnessed accelerated growth and increased investor confidence in February. The reopening of borders is also a promising sign that is expected to further strengthen the confidence of international markets.

Last week, the government issued Resolution No.32/NQ-CP. It is a positive sign for the country’s industrial sector, allowing citizens from 13 countries to travel to Vietnam for 15 days without a visa.

The Vietnamese manufacturing sector was in recovery mode in February with accelerated growth and improved investor confidence. According to IHS Markit, Vietnam’s Purchasing Managers’ Index reached 54.3, increasing from 53.7 in January.

Vietnam’s industrial production rose by 8.4 per cent on-year in February, compared to a 2.8 per cent increase in January. Manufacturing output also improved from 2.8 per cent in January to 10 per cent in February.

The northern province of Bac Ninh currently leads in terms of FDI attraction. It is followed closely by the neighbouring province of Thai Nguyen, which has attracted $924 million, accounting for 18.5 per cent of Vietnam’s FDI this year. This is largely thanks to a notable investment by Samsung Electro-Mechanics Vietnam Co., Ltd. when it was granted an investment certificate to add $920 million to its project. The company’s investment at Yen Binh Industrial Park now stands at nearly $2.3 billion.

The reopening of borders is important in strengthening the confidence of international investors and is a promising sign for the industrial sector. Prominent businesses have already invested in factories and expanded production.

FLC inks Vientiane-Vung Ang railway project

Vietnam’s FLC Group and Laos’ Petroleum Trading Lao Public Company (PetroTrade) yesterday, March 21, signed a memorandum of understanding on developing the Vientiane-Vung Ang railway project.
The signing took place in the Lao capital of Vientiane, with the ministers of Planning and Investment of the two countries witnessing.

FLC and PetroTrade will jointly prepare to construct a railway section from the Vung Ang seaport in the north-central province of Ha Tinh to the Cha Lo border gate in Quang Binh. This is an important section of the Vientiane-Vung Ang rail line, whose total investment is some US$5 million.

The project has a total length of around 555 kilometers, with a 452-kilometer section in Laos and the rest in Vietnam.

The two sides expected to break ground on the project in the fourth quarter of this year.

Oil prices inch down

Gasoline prices were revised down by VND630-650 a liter today, March 21, while diesel oil was priced VND1,630 lower per liter, all far below earlier forecast of a price drop of some VND2,000 per liter.

Specifically, the E5 RON92 gasoline price was reduced by VND650, the RON95 was VND630 lower, while other oil products were priced VND560-1,670 lower per liter or kilo, according to a document jointly issued by the Ministries of Finance and Industry and Trade.

As such, after the price revision, E5 RON92 now sells for VND28,330 a liter, RON95 VND29,190, diesel oil VND23,630, kerosene VND22,240, and fuel oil VND20,420. This is the first cut of oil prices after six consecutive price increases since early this year.

The two ministries stated that the global oil prices over the past ten days tumbled by between 7.3% and 15.7%, but oil prices tended to increase again in the past couple of days. The local price adjustment is not aligned to global price movements to allow for a larger room for price maneuver in the coming time.

Dat Xanh chairman acquires over 20.7 million shares

Luong Tri Thin, chairman of Dat Xanh Group (DXG), has spent more than VND800 billion buying over 20.7 million DXG shares. His transaction was conducted from February 28 to March 18.

Of the 20.7 million shares, 20 million were acquired through order-matching and put-through trades. With the price of VND41,900 on March 18, Thin spent nearly VND840 billion on the 20 million shares.

The remaining 725,000 shares were bought through the employee stock ownership plan at VND7.25 billion.

Thin currently holds nearly 105 million DXG shares, or a 17.46% stake, up nearly 3.4%.

Tran Viet Anh, a member of DXG’s board and head of the group’s internal audit board, has sold more than 4.5 million DXG shares to own 115,000 shares. He has also resigned from the post of a board member of Dat Xanh due to personal reasons.

Vinacomin finds it hard to ensure adequate coal

The record-high price of coal, coupled with import woes, is preventing the Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) from importing coal, making it tough to ensure sufficient coal supply for thermal power plants as ordered by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Last week, the ministry asked Vinacomin and another firm to provide coal for power stations as committed in their signed contracts, ordering the two to ensure adequate coal for the plants.

Heavy reliance on the quantity and quality of imported coal also delayed the supply of coal in the first quarter of 2022, according to Vinacomin’s recent dispatch to the ministry.

In the first three months of the year, the firm imported a mere 325,000 tons of coal. As such, the supply of blended coal for the thermal power plants in the first quarter amounted to some 1.1 million tons, equivalent to 7.8% of the full-year target, dropping by 2.4 million tons against the first-quarter target.

Under the plan, Vinacomin will supply 43 million tons of coal in 2022, with 1.8 million tons to be imported.

Rice export seen rising in 2022 as shipments active in Jan-Feb

Vietnam saw a strong rise in rice export in the first two months of the year. The demand for the food staple is expected to be stronger.

Data from the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) showed that the country exported over 6.2 million tons of rice worth over US$3.2 billion last year. This volume edged down 0.19% while the price was US$526 per ton, up over US$27 year-on-year.

The Philippines was still the biggest buyer of Vietnamese rice in 2021 as it accounted for over 39% of Vietnam’s total rice exports. It imported over 2.4 million tons, up more than 10% against the year-ago figure.

In the first two months of this year, Vietnam shipped over 974,000 tons of rice overseas, worth over US$469 million, improving 49% in volume and 31% in value compared to the same period last year.

VFA said Thailand and India are the two main rice suppliers that would impact the global rice market this year.

Enterprises support Covid-19 infections without symptoms to go to work

The authorities of Long An, Ca Mau have just issued temporary regulations to adapt safely, flexibly and effectively to the Covid-19 pandemic in the Mekong Delta provinces, including the pilot regulation of allowing Covid-19 infected employees and close contacts of confirmed cases who are with mild or without symptom to go to work.

Particularly those Covid-19 infections, who are cadres, civil servants and public officials working for Party, State organizations and units, production and business facilities, companies, factories, with mild or without symptoms are temporarily allowed to go to the working places or work online flexibly.