Hanoi (VNA) – Authorities in many cities and provinces across Vietnam have organised activities to join Khmer ethnic minority people and Cambodians in celebrating their traditional New Year. Khmer community thanked the Party, State, and authorities for their support in improving the livelihoods of the ethnic minority group and pledged to contribute more to local development. Dak Nong border guards in safeguarding the border and preventing and controlling COVID-19.
In terms of the overall figure, roughly US$406 million came from exports during the reviewed period, representing an increase of 63% against the same period from last year, with some main export items being dragon fruit, mangoes, watermelons, and bananas.
Hoang Chi Hien, director of the Department of the provincial Industry and Trade, said amid numerous difficulties caused by the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the northern province’s import-export activities remain bustling. This is largely due to local businesses focusing on deploying numerous production activities for the purpose of initiating economic recovery efforts in the post-COVID-19 period.
Moving forward, this year Lao Cai province is aiming to reach an import and export turnover target of approximately US$4.6 billion, a rise of 30% compared to 2020.
Along with the implementation of synchronous administrative reform across all fields, the province has continued to apply a range of information technologies. This includes the Vietnam Automated Customs Clearance System (VNACCS/VCIS) and the electronic customs clearance system E-Customs which can facilitate the activities of enterprises, along with deploying the National Single Window and the ASEAN Single Window in an effective manner.
Defense Minister Senior Lieutenant General Phan Van Giang attended and spoke at the event. The ceremony also saw the presence of Deputy Defense Ministers and Deputy Chiefs of the General Staff.
During the training, participating officers will be equipped with line-up regulations and methods for conducting night training, a grenade-throwing contest, and regiment-level exercises.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, General Giang recalled that over the past years, the whole military thoroughly embraced and strictly carried out the Central Military Commission’s Resolution 765 and Decision 60 on raising training quality in the 2013-2020 period and subsequent years. Particularly, agencies and units actively renewed methods of training and conducted sport competitions and exercises to augment troops’ capabilities to meet new task requirements.
Giang also requested the General Staff to equip participating officers with basic contents of staff work and training methods, contributing to addressing shortcomings in conducting military training. Together with carrying out the set program, organizers should pay attention to ensuring absolute safety for participants and equipment and strictly observe training regulations.
He asked trainers to devise suitable training methods to effectively convey training contents to participating officers and hoped that trainees will learn more about skills and effectively apply them to their units’ training in the future.
Translated by Tran Hoai
The command is entrusted with managing and defending the southwestern waters from Ganh Hao estuary (in Bac Lieu province) to Ha Tien (Kien Giang province). Covering the area of 150,000 sq.km, these waters border the waters of Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia. It has a nearly 450 km of coastline, numerous estuaries, and 153 large and small islands, of which 46 are inhabited.
Besides advantages in task performance, the command has also faced many challenges. In fact, in these designated waters, there remains 16,000 sq.km of overlapping waters between Vietnam and Cambodia, 650 sq.km of overlapping waters among Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia, and some 2,800 sq.km of overlapping waters between Vietnam and Malaysia. The sovereignty over these overlapping waters has not been clearly defined, so it is difficult to manage.
Therefore, to maintain peace and stability in the waters, the Naval Region 5 Command has strengthened its ties with the naval forces of regional countries, including the Royal Cambodian Navy and the Royal Thai Navy.
According to Lieutenant Commander Nguyen Trung Thong, Commissar of Flotilla 512 and Senior Lieutenant Pham Van Thuy, Captain of Ship 264 of Brigade 127, the command has conducted joint patrols with regional navies, considering each patrol an intensive training opportunity. During the patrols, participating troops practiced preventing acts of piracy, smuggling, drug trafficking, illegal immigration, and arms- and explosive-trafficking. They also exercised using hand flags and signal lamps in line with the international code of signals.
So far, the Naval Region 5 Command has completed 62 joint patrols with the Royal Cambodia Navy and 42 others with the Royal Thai Navy. It has also maintained a hotline with Regions 1 and 2 of the Royal Thai Navy and naval bases under the Royal Cambodian Navy to exchange information and discuss measures to solve situations occurring in their countries’ adjacent waters. These activities have made important contributions to consolidating solidarity and friendship between their militaries and navies and to upholding a peaceful and stable environment at sea, creating favorable conditions for socio-economic development in each country.
In the years to come, apart from stability in the southwestern waters, there are still potential risks that might cause instability, including illegal fishing in foreign waters. Thus, the Party Committee and Chain-of-command of the Naval Region 5 Command has defined that they will bring into full play what they had achieved, bolster defense diplomacy, including more joint patrols with the Royal Thai and Cambodian navies in order to firmly defend national sovereignty over seas and islands, and maintain order, security, peace, stability, and development in the southwestern waters of the nation.
Translated by Mai Huong
Profit reports of commercial banks in Q1 of this year all hit the mark of several trillion Vietnamese dongs. Specifically, HDBank has just announced that its estimated pre-tax profit in the first quarter exceeded VND2 trillion, up more than 67 percent compared to the same period last year. Of which, profit from services was two times higher than that in the same period for the third consecutive quarter. By March 31, this year, this lender’s credit growth rose by 5.2 percent compared to that by December 31, last year.
MBBank also informed that its profit was estimated at over VND4.57 trillion, 2.1 times higher than the same period last year. The non-performing loan (NPL) ratio dropped sharply from 1.46 percent at the beginning of the year to 1.14 percent.
At the annual general meeting of shareholders (AGM) in early April, ACB leaders said that its profit in Q1 was estimated at above VND3.1 trillion, up more than 61 percent. Sharing at the AGM 2021, MSB’s leaders informed that its net revenue in the first quarter was more than VND2 trillion, an increase of 65 percent year-on-year, leading to an estimated pre-tax profit of VND1.2 trillion, 315 percent higher than the same period last year.
As for the State-owned commercial banks, although the AGM has not been held, Vietcombank’s leaders said that its pre-tax profit in the first quarter was estimated at VND7 trillion, up 34 percent year-on-year and equal to 28 percent of the target of VND25.2 trillion set for the whole year. With a positive Q1 profit, its profit target set for 2021 is within reach. In fact, Vietcombank is assigned the highest credit target among State-owned banks with 10.5 percent while other banks are only at the level of 6-7.5 percent. Many experts said that VietinBank can achieve a profit of US$1 billion this year, thanks to the shift of retail channel and the reduction of the bad debt burden.
In a recent report of SSI Research Center, it is estimated that the pre-tax profit of listed banks in Q1 will increase from 55 percent to 65 percent compared to the same period last year. Of which, State-owned commercial banks will possibly achieve a growth of about 75-85 percent, and joint-stock commercial banks are expected to achieve pre-tax profit growth of about 45-55 percent. The reason for the high growth in Q1 was because lenders have maintained relatively attractive margins and credit prospects have been improved. In addition, most banks have accelerated the write-off of bad debts and increased provision for bad debts in the fourth quarter of last year.
Investors’ expectation of the banking industry’s profit picture is also the reason why banking stocks, namely CTG, VCB, ACB, and MSB, jumped by 40-50 percent in the first quarter.
Optimism in 2021
According to SSI Securities Company, currently, the net profit margins of banks are at a record high. Savings interest rates decreased by 2.25 percent per annum upwards in 2020, and in the first quarter of 2021, some banks continued to cut another 0.1-0.4 percent. These reductions focus on short-term deposits. Currently, most banks are keeping deposit interest rates at a level of 3-4 percent per annum for terms below six months, 3.5-5.5 percent per annum for terms from six to below 12 months, and 4.6-6 percent per annum for terms of 12 months upwards. Although the deposit interest rates sharply dropped to a record-low level, capital mobilization of commercial banks remained extremely positive. Banks’ loan-deposit gap from the beginning of 2020 to now has been strongly widened. Therefore, the net interest margin of most commercial banks had increased robustly in the second half of last year and is now at a historic high level of about 4 percent compared to the normal level of only 3.5 percent. This is one of the reasons why bank profits have soared.
With optimistic business results in Q1, many commercial banks continue to set high growth plans and are confident of completing their profit plans. According to the evaluation of the profit outlook of the banking industry in 2021 of FinnGroup Joint Stock Company, it is forecasted that the growth of after-tax profit of 12 listed commercial banks will be at 18.2 percent this year, higher than the growth of 14.9 percent last year. In which, State-owned banks are expected to have a strong increase in profits, such as Vietcombank with 14.9 percent, BIDV with 41.3 percent, and VietinBank with 41.9 percent. This positive outlook comes from both credit activities and service revenue, especially revenue from bancassurance of many banks, especially large banks like Vietcombank, VietinBank, ACB, MSB, and HDBank, said a representative of FinnGroup Company.
Besides, the representative of VNDirect Securities Company said that the State Bank of Vietnam has just issued Circular No.03/2021 amending and supplementing Circular No.01/2020 on restructuring, exemption, and debt rescheduling for customers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The circular also added a provision for a gradual 3-year allocation of provision for bad debts, which will also help reduce provision expenses for banks, especially in 2021. With the optimistic profitability of banks, banking stocks will still be one of the most potential stock groups in the stock market this year.
By Nhung Nguyen – Translated by Thanh Nha
|After a slow start, the CPTPP is now hoped to benefit Vietnam more|
After two years of implementation, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) has created some positive initial impacts, especially in new markets, but benefits for Vietnam from remain modest.
Nguyen Cam Trang, deputy director of the Agency of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that the growth rate of exports to CPTPP markets was 7.2 per cent lower than the 8.4 per cent growth rate of exports worldwide in the same period.
There is very little information about the effects and impacts of the CPTPP on foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs), what they know about this agreement, and how to take advantage of it, as well as what is preventing them from accessing what is considered significant opportunities from the agreement.
In Vietnam, the effectiveness of the CPTPP depends partly on estimates and actions of foreign direct investment (FDI). Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, director of the WTO and International Trade Centre under the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), noted differences in understanding the legal framework between domestic enterprises and FIEs. Meanwhile, the latter accounts for the highest proportion in imports and exports, with special relations regarding issues of investment protection and openness as well as methodical policy and legal matters.
“The biggest reason why Vietnamese businesses have not taken advantage of the incentives from this trade agreement is that they do not know about the tariff incentives under the CPTPP,” Trang said.
The CTTPP is an ambitious agreement that covers every important aspect of trade and investment. During the first period of implementation, FDI flowing into Vietnam has witnessed increases after a quiet period observing US-China trade tensions in 2019, as well as shifts in supply and production chains towards diversification.
In both trends, the inflow of FDI is expected to increase, especially in East Asia and Southeast Asia. The CPTPP is thus considered to be a favourable factor for the overall FDI attraction process. However, the results of attracting FDI during this period did so far not seem to reflect the trends.
Several problems have been identified from this unexpected fact. In 2019, Vietnam attracted approximately $9.5 billion in registered FDI from CPTPP countries, down nearly 36 per cent compared to 2018. While the total registered capital decreased, the number of new projects increased by 13 per cent compared to 2018, according to data from the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
The average size of new foreign-invested projects from CPTPP countries also fell sharply in 2019, from nearly $11 million per project in 2018 to about $4.7 million in 2019, down 56.9 per cent.
In terms of each partner, investment from Japan into Vietnam had the deepest drop in value from nearly $9 billion in 2018 to just over $4 billion in 2019, equivalent to a downfall of 52 per cent. In terms of speed, FDI decreased sharply from traditional sources such as Australia (down nearly 63 per cent) and Malaysia (down 50 per cent) as well as other markets.
Overall, 2019 was a year for Vietnam that seemed to be less optimistic in terms of attracting FDI through the CPTPP. While FDI from private CPTPP sources fell overall by nearly 36 per cent, newly attracted FDI from private CPTPP sources decreased by even over 61 per cent.
However, the results of attracting investment from CPTPP partners in 2020 were more positive than in 2019, as the Ministry of Planning and Investment recorded $11.8 billion last year.
Trang hoped that the government can make appropriate adjustments in a number of aspects to commit to all business sectors, supporting potential opportunities from the CTTPP that could become more feasible for investors.
However, it is the increase in FDI from the CPTPP in 2020 that has resulted in differing opinions. Some analysts think it is necessary to take a cautious look at the increase in FDI from CPTPP countries in 2020 as it seems to be overblown by comparison with the declines of 2019.
Others argue that the CPTPP and other free trade agreements are contributing to creating Vietnam’s own FDI attraction with transfers from China under the influence of the global health crisis.
CPTPP members, including Australia and Vietnam, have responded to the pandemic by fulfilling commitments to rules-based trade and maintaining open, informative, and transparent supply chains.
David Gottlieb, counsellor for economics and development cooperation of the Australian Embassy in Vietnam, commented that COVID-19 “present the global economy with an array of unprecedented challenges including to the principles of free and open trade.”
“But this crisis has demonstrated the importance of cooperation and strong trading relationships,” Gottlieb said at last week’s Hanoi-based CPTPP conference backed by the Aus4Reform programme aimed to support Vietnam’s reform efforts. “CPTPP members, including Vietnam and Australia, have responded to the crisis by demonstrating our commitment to rule-based trade and by maintaining open supply chains, active communication and transparency.
By Van Nguyen