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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 11/10   2010-10-11 - Viet Nam Net

First gold-selling ATM presented in Vietnam


The Eastern Asia Commercial Bank (DongA Bank) introduced the first gold-selling Automated Teller Machine (ATM) in its branch in District 5, Ho Chi Minh City on October 9.
Apart from normal ATM functions, it has a feature that allows users to make direct gold transactions.

Tran Phuong Binh, General Director of DongA Bank, said the machine aims to meet the increasing demands of customers.

The bank is scheduled to produce and install 50 more Gold ATMs over the country by the end of this year, he added.

Thanh Giong Cup awarded to 100 outstanding entrepreneurs

Thanh Giong Cup was given to 100 outstanding entrepreneurs at a ceremony held in Hanoi on October 9 by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

The event honoured entrepreneurs who recorded good business performance thereby creating jobs for the community and benefiting society.

The 100 Thanh Giong Cup winners are outstanding entrepreneurs who have taken full advantage of opportunities to restructure their businesses to deal with environmental protection, labour relations in enterprises and business administration.

Businesses were evaluated based on revenues, technological renovations, and effective policies for workers, and the entrepreneurs had to be creative and dynamic in their business administration and projects to protect the environment.

Two of the 100 outstanding entrepreneurs in 2010 are Thai Tuan Chi- President of the Executive Board and Director of the Thai Tuan Joint Stock Company, and Bui Ngoc Bao, President of the Executive Board of the Vietnam National Petroleum Corporation.

Seminar celebrates Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day

A national seminar highlighting Ho Chi Minh’s thoughts on businesses and entrepreneurs was held in Hanoi on October 9 by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) to mark Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day (October 13).

Addressing the seminar, VCCI Chairman Dr. Vu Tien Loc underscored the importance of developing a strong group of highly competitive, patriotic and socially responsible entrepreneurs to play a key role in boosting national industrialisation, modernisation and international integration and to elevate Vietnam’s standing in the international arena.

There should be changes in the quality and structure to enable Vietnamese businesses to operate on a par with those at regional and international standard. It is essential to enhance Party leadership and State management in revamping institutions and policies in order to create the best possible conditions for businesses and entrepreneurs to develop, Mr Loc emphasised.

Participants pointed out limitations, including the quantity and quality of entrepreneurs who are failing to meet the country’s development requirements. The majority of them are operating in most of small economic sectors and their knowledge of business laws and management practices is very limited.

Discussions were also focused on developing businesses based on Ho Chi Minh’s thoughts and views on industrial and trading circles, the role of business, and the development of economic sectors.

Petrol stockpiled as imports continue

The quickest way to lower stockpiles of refined petroleum products produced by the Dung Quat Oil Refinery would be to reduce petrol imports, said PetroVietnam General Director Pham Dinh Thuc on October 7.

Domestic petrol consumption has been up 10 percent lower than predicted this year, while production at the Dung Quat Oil Refinery now exceeds the annual plan by 25 percent, he said.

In the fourth quarter of this year, the refinery is expected to produce about 1.9 million tonnes of petrol, while domestic petrol distributors such as PVOil, Petec and Petrolimex have contracted to buy only 430,000 tonnes from the refinery.

As a result, stockpiles which have already reached 75,000 tonnes are predicted to grow to 727,000 tonnes by the end of the year.

Petrolimex Deputy Director Dam Thi Huyen said PetroVietnam should anticipate petrol demand in light of import contracts already signed by domestic distributors, who would have to pay heavy penalties for breaching the agreements.

Thuc suggested that importers might be able to re-export products to other buyers, even if they cannot break their contracts.

The Dung Quat Oil Refinery faced difficulties in its first period of operation, and had been expected to operate at only 80 percent of capacity this year.

Timber exports surge in major markets

The turnover from timber and furniture exports in the first nine months of this year is estimated at US$2.43 billion, a year-on-year increase of 37.7 percent, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

The ministry reported that the total export turnover of forestry products has risen to US$2.6 billion.

According to Vietnam’s Timber and Forest Products Association, timber exports are showing positive signs, as orders for exports from now until the end of the year have risen rapidly and many of them to the country’s major markets such as the US and the EU are very substantial.

Timber now is amongst the top five Vietnamese exports, and the country is Southeast Asia’s second biggest timber exporter.

Vietnam now has more than 2,500 timber processing businesses, 2.8 times higher than in 2000 and 7.7 times more than 1990. The number of non-State businesses represents 90 percent of the total.

Timber exports in recent years have increased sharply with more than 3,000 different items produced. Vietnamese wooden products are now sold in 120 foreign markets, including the US, EU, Japan, Australia, the Republic of Korea, China and Malaysia.

However, besides domestic resources, Vietnam also has to import a large amount of materials for the industry.

In the first nine months of this year, Vietnam imported US$827 million worth of timber, down by 31 percent year-on-year.

Malaysia keen on Vietnam’s franchise market

Vietnam is a new strategic market for Malaysian businesses to invest in franchises, announced the Malaysian Franchise Association (MFA).

At a seminar held in the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur on October 6, MFA Managing Director Sofia Leong Abdullah praised the growth of Vietnam- a country with a population of 87.9 million.

Vietnam’s purchasing power has also rapidly increased, partly thanks to US$20 billion in foreign remittance, he said, noting that the country’s franchise market is strongly developing with the average turnover increasing by 50 percent each year and this trend is expected to last till 2012.

During talks with reporters after the seminar, Abdullah said that the MFA will work with Perbadanan National, a leading agency employed by the government to develop the country’s franchise industry, and the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) to promote Vietnam’s potential market to Malaysian businesses.

The MFA intends to bring seven or eight local franchises to Vietnam by the end of this year, he said, adding that the number will increase in 2011.

According to Abdullah, demand for franchises in Vietnam can be seen in the retail sector with 25 percent, beverages 20 percent, restaurant services 16 percent, fashion 9 percent and education 5 percent.

He underlined that education is the sector where the MFA sees the biggest potential, including English language programmes, that Malaysian brands can tap into.

Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other cities such as Da Nang, Can Tho and Hai Phong will be strategic destinations for Malaysian companies to invest in, he said.

Vietnam to import 300,000 tonnes of sugar in 2011

According to the latest report on supply and demand in the sugar market by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam will have to import about 300,000 tonnes of sugar in 2011.

Vietnam’s sugar output is projected to reach approximately 1 million tonnes next year.

Regarding steadily increasing sugar prices, Do Van Hao, a representative of the Information Centre of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the main cause is an imbalance in domestic supply and demand.

Vietnam-ROK two-way trade keeps rising

By September this year, two-way trade between Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (ROK) had reached by 81.4 percent, an increase of 33.78 percent over last year, reported the General Department of Vietnam Customs and the Korean International Trade Association.

In the first 8 months of this year, Vietnam’s total export turnover to the ROK had reached by US$1.85 billion (27.16 percent increase) and the import turnover was US$5.91 billion (36 percent increase), upping two-way trade between the two countries by US$7.75 billion (33.78 percent increase).

Since March, the export revenues have exceeded US$200 million on a monthly basic, raising total two-way trade to more than US$1 billion.

In the meantime, imports turnover have shown signs of declining.

A plan afoot to boost exports to Africa

In response to the Government’s national action plan to strengthen cooperation with African countries, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has approved a project to help Vietnamese businesses boost their exports to the continent.

The MoIT also introduced an action programme focusing on expanding commercial exchanges and boosting exports to Africa.

With the assistance of state management agencies, Vietnamese enterprises are paying more attention to doing business with African partners. However, they are still facing numerous challenges including incomplete legal policies, poor infrastructure, undeveloped banking system, and a lack of information about African countries.

In order to exploit the potential of these markets, it is necessary for the state to introduce policies to encourage small- and medium-sized businesses to do more business in Africa.

In addition, big businesses should group together to focus on exporting special products to key markets in Africa.

The Africa is the world’s third largest continent covering a total area of 30 million square kilometers and has 54 countries with a total population of more than 1 billion and plentiful natural resources.

Turnover between Vietnam and US continues to grow

Vietnamese exports to the American market reached US$7.9 billion in the first seven months, up 14 percent against the same period last year, according to the US Department of Commerce (DOC).

The DOC said that garments and textiles continued to take the lead amongst Vietnam’s key exports to the US, earning a turnover of US$3.2 billion, up 12 percent, followed by timber and interior and footwear. Among top five export items to the US market are agricultural produce at US$455 million (up 30.7 percent) and seafood at US$366 million, (up 5.9 percent).

In the reviewed period, the US’s imports to Vietnam reached more than US$2 billion, up 19.8 percent over a year ago, bringing the total import-export turnover between Vietnam and the US to US$9.9 billion (up 15.1 percent).

The DOC forecast that Vietnam’s export turnover to the US is likely to reach US$14.2 billion this year, up 15 percent compared to last year’s figure.

Leather and footwear exports reach US$5.4 billion

Leather and footwear exports in 2010 are expected to reach US$5.4 billion, announced the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association.

In the first 9 months of this year, the sector’s export revenue is estimated to have reached US$3.6 billion, an increase of 23.1 percent over 2009. The EU remains the leading importer, followed by the US, Mexico, Brazil and Japan.

According to Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam’s leather and footwear exports have grown healthily over last year due to the world’s economic recovery. The country is currently the fourth largest exporter in the world.

However, the sector depends on imported raw materials, equipment and capital. Therefore, the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association has submitted to the Government a new strategy of development till 2020, in which the rate of domestic materials used will reach between 65-75 percent compared with 50 percent at present.

Dragon fruit gains access to Chile, RoK markets

Chile and the Republic of Korea (RoK) have officially opened up their markets to Vietnamese dragon fruit.

The President of the Binh Thuan Dragon Fruit Association, Bui Dang Hung, said on October 5 that only radiated or heat-treated dragon fruit was acceptable for export to the two markets.

Also, dragon fruit farms had to be checked and granted licences by the two countries’ plant protection departments under the ministries of agriculture if they wanted to export their products, he said.

Currently, businesses in the southern province of Binh Thuan are engaging in the process of receiving licences from Chile and the RoK, Hung added.

Early this month, out-of-season dragon fruits in Binh Thuan province have been shipped to China at a price of VND8,000 per kg.

A seminar is scheduled to take place in the northern province of Lang Son to help Chinese and Vietnamese businesses deal with difficulties when exporting dragon fruits to China in small volumes.

Binh Thuan has 12,300 ha of dragon fruit trees, of which 2,100 ha have been grown under VietGAP standards. The province’s main export market is Asian nations, especially China, with 70 percent of market share, followed by the US and European countries.

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