Vietnam visa - vietnam visa online - vietnam visa fee
Vietnam visa - vietnam visa online - vietnam visa fee
Aug 31 2011

Resort takes endangered fish off menu

resort takes endangered fish off menu

A resort on Vietnam southern island Phu Quoc has removed the endangered blue fin tuna from its menu in an effort to promote environmental friendly practices.


The tuna removal by the “eco-resort” Mango Bay is part of the campaign “Out of stock, out of excuse”, supported by Wildlife At Risk (WAR), a non-profit wildlife conservation organization based in Ho Chi Minh City and active throughout Vietnam’s southern provinces, the resort said in a press release this week.


Blue fin tuna has received support from many environmental activists, NGOs and movie stars such as Brad Pitt and Charlize Theron.


Mango Bay has been trying to make itself look environmental friendly by using natural materials such as rammed earth for its bungalows and locally-made furniture.

Aug 31 2011

Vietnam to hike banks’ forex reserve ratio

vietnam to hike banks forex reserve ratio

Vietnam’s central bank said it will raise compulsory reserve ratios for foreign currency deposits from next month, the third increase this year as it strives to shore up the local currency and discourage the use of dollars.

The move will effectively make it more expensive for banks to deal in dollars, which make up the bulk of foreign currency deposits in Vietnam. The State Bank of Vietnam has capped the dollar deposit rate at 2 percent as of June.

“This is very much in keeping with their overall policy of making it less attractive to hold dollars,” said Alan Pham, chief economist at the brokerage VinaSecurities.

“I think the purpose is really to stabilize the FX market and to strengthen the dong.”

The central bank said it would raise the reserves banks must set aside on their non-term foreign exchange deposits and those with terms up to 12 months to 8 percent from 7 percent.

The rate for compulsory reserves on foreign currency deposits with terms longer than 12 months was raised to 6 percent from 5 percent, the central bank said in a statement.

The new ratios will come into effect for deposits from September, it said.

In a separate statement the State Bank of Vietnam said it would maintain the 14 percent ceiling rate on dong deposits until year-end to help lenders reduce lending rates.

The ceiling, a degree of control by Vietnam’s central bank over the commercial loans market, was imposed on March 3.

The central bank’s pledge to keep the deposit rate ceiling came after the government urged it to hold policy rates for now and deploy monetary tools “flexibly” for the rest of 2011 to trim price pressures.

The move will allow banks to reduce their lending rates to a targeted 17-19 percent range as of mid-September, the State Bank of Vietnam said in a statement after a meeting with banks last Friday.

Narrow forex rate move

It also pledged to adjust the dong against the dollar within a 1 percent band by the end of 2011, based on an expected surplus of $2.5 billion to $4.5 billion in balance of international payments, the statement said.

Compulsory reserve ratios for dong-denominated deposits were left unchanged at 1 percent to 3 percent, depending on the time and type of credit institution.

A total of 12 banks, which altogether account for 80 percent of Vietnam’s banking market, met with the central bank last Friday and agreed to cut dong loan rates.

Some economists say the move could hinder inflation-fighting measures. The government estimated last week that the annual consumer price index hit 23 percent this month, the 12th consecutive month of increases in the number.

The dong, meanwhile, has weakened in recent weeks after holding its ground in the wake of a devaluation in February, as demand for dollars — used to settle gold import payments, both legitimate illicit — rose in line with prices of the precious metal on domestic and global markets.

On Monday the dong slipped to 21,120/21,200 per dollar from 20,920/20,970 a week ago and 20,570/20,620 a month ago on unofficial markets.

Last Tuesday the central bank authorized at least one domestic firm to import more gold to help cool soaring prices, after having allowed an import of 5 tons of gold in early August.

When gold demand rises in Vietnam, dollar demand rises in tandem, putting the dong under pressure to fall.

Aug 31 2011

Vietnam’s 1-year bonds gain as fuel-price cut may slow inflation

vietnam%e2%80%99s 1 year bonds gain as fuel price cut may slow inflation

Vietnam’s one-year bonds advanced for the first time in four days on speculation last week’s reduction in local fuel prices will help cool inflation. The dong was stable.

The nation cut costs of oil products by as much as 2.3 percent on Aug. 26 after consumer-price gains quickened to 23.02 percent, the most since November 2008, according to government data. The so-called 92-RON gasoline, the most commonly used fuel, was cut to 20,800 dong ($1) a liter from 21,300 dong, according to a statement on the government’s website.

“The recent fuel price cut will lower input costs in industries, which in turn will help bring down prices and inflation,” said Pham Minh Hoang, a fixed-income dealer at Ocean Commercial Joint-Stock Bank in Hanoi. “Yields at auctions will probably drop as banks will buy more bonds on expectation interest rates will decline next year.”

The yield on the one-year note lost five basis points, or 0.05 percentage point, to 12.27 percent, according to a daily fixing from banks compiled by Bloomberg.

The dong was unchanged at 20,832 per dollar as of 4:30 p.m. in Hanoi, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The central bank fixed the reference rate at 20,628, unchanged since Aug. 24, according to its website. The currency is allowed to trade up to 1 percent on either side of the rate.

Aug 30 2011

Honda Vietnam faces over $158 mln overdue tax claim

honda vietnam faces over 158 mln overdue tax claim

Honda Vietnam has sent a letter to the Prime Minister, asking for help after local customs agencies in Hanoi planned to ask it to pay over VND3.3 trillion (US$158.4 million) in overdue taxes, Tuoi Tre reported Saturday.

According to the company, there are different interpretations of import taxes on car accessories, and the customs agencies in Hanoi and the northern province of Vinh Phuc failed to understand it properly.

In its report, Tuoi Tre quoted Hoang Viet Cuong, deputy chief of Vietnam Customs, as saying that the agency has ordered the mentioned customs agencies to review all questions posed by Honda Vietnam.

Cuong said at the moment they are yet to conclude whether the overdue taxes claimed by the agencies were correct or not.

However, if the company can prove that they have paid taxes correctly, customs have to accept it, the official added.

In the meantime, another official from Hanoi’s customs agency said in the newspaper that the taxes vary, depending on how auto accessories are connected.

Aug 30 2011

Fuel prices slightly lower in Vietnam

fuel prices slightly lower in vietnam

Vietnam’s finance ministry announced on Friday that it would cut retail fuel prices, after refusing to lower the prices earlier this month, despite a sharp fall in crude oil prices, VnExpress reported.

According to the ministry’s latest announcement, gas prices will decrease by VND500 (US$0.024) per liter. For example, the price of A92, the most popular gasoline product in the country, now is sold at VND20,800 per liter instead of VND21.300.

Diesel and kerosene saw a price deduction of VND300 per liter, as well, the newswire reported.

In its announcement, the Ministry of Finance also asked petrol companies to set aside VND300 of every liter of gasoline they sell to the price stabilization fund instead of VND400 per liter as previously required, according to the VnExpress report.

Some companies’ representatives said in the report that the ministry’s latest move was unexpected, even though they knew that it would happen sooner or later considering the world’s prices.

It quoted a leader of PV Oil as saying that over the past 30 days companies earned VND400 in profits for every liter of A92 sold, so the latest price deduction will make importers suffer losses a bit.

But, he said that as the world’s prices are on decrease, the losses will be compensated soon.

Meanwhile, a high-ranking official from the ministry said the latest deduction wasn’t unexpected, because with public formulas, “consumers can totally follow up the local and world’s markets,” VnExpress reported.

According to experts, while the decrease of between VND300-500 per liter isn’t remarkable, it will help make consumers believe that they are being treated fairly.

On August 11, the finance ministry announced that it would keep the prices of petroleum products unchanged despite public anticipation of a reduction following a sharp fall in crude oil prices.

The ministry’s price control department then even published formulas and market prices from a 30-day period of oil imported from Singapore, which supplies most of petroleum products to Vietnam’s companies, according to the newswire.

Aug 30 2011

Vietnam banks reach agreement to cut interest rates

vietnam banks reach agreement to cut interest rates

Twelve Vietnamese banks have agreed to lower their lending interest rates to 17-19 percent, supporting a call from the central bank to make loans more affordable for businesses.

The lenders reached the agreement Friday, after the State Bank of Vietnam promised to be more flexible with banking policies and help commercial banks increase their liquidity.

However, the monetary authority said it will not revise its credit growth target for 2011, which has been set at 20 percent.

A banker speaking on the condition of anonymity said it’s likely that banks will be able to cut interest rates on short-term loans, but right now their money supply for long-term loans is still strained.

It’s hard for banks to make any promise on medium and long-term interest rates at this point, he said.

Vietnam’s government said in a statement last week that the central bank will keep the cap on interest rates for dong deposits at 14 percent. The central bank on Friday, once again, ordered lenders to respect the cap.

Le Xuan Nghia, vice-chairman of the National Financial Supervisory Commission, said it would not be easy to lower interest rates considering inflation is still higher than 20 percent, but at least small cuts in borrowing costs are now possible.

“Banking liquidity has improved, interbank rates have stabilized, and government bond yields have fallen. So there is a real window for small cuts in interest rates,” he told Thanh Nien.

Nguyen Van Binh, the new governor of the State Bank of Vietnam, said earlier this month that the central bank aimed to lower dong lending rates to a range of 17 percent to 19 percent starting from mid-September.

As of August 19 most banks offered loans for agricultural and manufacturing sectors at rates of 16.5 to 21 percent, according to the State Bank of Vietnam.

The central bank is expected to announced specific measures to reduce interest rates at another meeting with commercial banks in September, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

Aug 29 2011

Hoi An town on the brink, officials say

hoi an town on the brink officials say

Hoi An Town is set to become history in a couple of years as new owners tear down walls and make changes to accommodate their business and old owners have no funds to preserve their houses in their original state, officials say.


Statistics compiled by authorities of Quang Nam Province show that 83 houses in the town have been sold to others and 181 others have been rented out, the Vietnam News Agency said in a report.


Some people, after buying several houses next to each other, have pulled down the walls between the houses to make a bigger shop.


For business purposes, new house owners in Hoi An have changed the interior of the houses, affecting the house structure, especially the corners for worshipping ancestors.


Nguyen Su, secretary of Hoi An’s Party unit, said at a recent conference about preserving Hoi An that the town reported dozens of violations in construction every month.


“With current speed of violations, we will lose the ancient town in three or four years,” Su said.


“Preserving each house or each gable … is the matter of life and death,” he said.


The secretary said that local government has to be determined to punish all violations.


All the patterned tiles and extra stories added to the houses during recent construction work have to be removed in order to preserve the beauty of the ancient town, Su said.


Hoi An, which was recognized a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO in 1999, is now home to 1,360 old houses.


Since 1999, the town has invested more than VND66 billion (US$3.17 million) from the state budget and foreign funds to restore 166 national relics in the town, and more than VND5.2 billion on 110 private relics.


But a survey by the town authorities showed that there are still 103 houses severely damaged and on the verge of collapsing at any time.


The houses would be threatened by the flood season this year, officials said.


Tran Van An, deputy director of Hoi An Cultural Heritage Preservation Management Center, calculated that the town has only managed to save more than VND10 billion every year for preserving the houses.


An said such low investments cannot save the houses, which need much more money.


Many traditional materials once used for the houses are now hard to find as logging in Quang Nam has been banned and brick and lime kilns that used traditional methods were also shut down to protect the environment, he said.


Some house owners even face the pressure from their family members, who live far away but want the houses be sold and the money shared between themselves.


Le Van Giang, Chairman of Hoi An People’s Committee, said he has received a lot of letters from such house owners asking for help.

Aug 29 2011

Goldman, HSBC submit bids to advise Vietinbank on bond sale

goldman hsbc submit bids to advise vietinbank on bond sale

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank AG are among 13 financial institutions that submitted bids to advise Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry Trade on its planned $500 million overseas bond sale, according to Deputy General Director Le Duc Tho.

Others that sent in bids include HSBC Holdings Plc, Standard Chartered Plc, Australia New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. and BNP Paribas SA, Tho said in a telephone interview Monday.

The sale would be the first international offering of Vietnamese notes this year and will test investor confidence in the country, which has struggled to damp Asia’s fastest inflation as its currency slid to the worst-performing in Asia.

“They need a good, recognizable name to help them with the bond sale,” said Francois Chavasseau, Ho Chi Minh City-based head of fixed income research at Sacombank Securities Joint Stock Co. “Vietnam is still viewed as quite a risky place at the moment by foreign investors. Whether a big name will be enough to win more confidence, I’m not sure.”

The country’s second-largest listed lender by market value, commonly known as VietinBank, has sought approval from the country’s central bank to sell $500 million of bonds overseas later this year, Tho said earlier this month. The sale would be the first of dollar-denominated notes for the bank, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Vietnam’s banking system is weak and non-performing loans are “heavily understated” in official data, Fitch Ratings said in an Aug. 8 note. The extra yield investors demand to own dollar debt sold by Vietnam instead of similar-maturity Treasuries has risen 110 basis points this quarter to 445 basis points, according to JPMorgan Chase Co.’s Asia Credit Index.

VietinBank is rated at B by Fitch, the fifth-highest non- investment grade rating, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Tho said in May the lender planned to sell between $500 million and $1 billion of bonds late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter of the year. It opted for a lower amount after reassessing its financial needs and due to global market conditions, Tho said Aug. 22.

The lender’s shares gained 2 percent to 25,900 dong at close on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange today. The dong, has slid 6.4 percent this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It was devalued by about 7 percent in February, the most since at least 1993.

Vietnam’s inflation accelerated to 23 percent this month, the highest rate among 17 Asian economies tracked by Bloomberg.

VietinBank has the equivalent of $374 million of bonds and loans outstanding, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Aug 29 2011

Vietnam to raise banks’ forex compulsory reserves from Sept

vietnam to raise banks forex compulsory reserves from sept

Vietnam’s central bank said on Monday it will raise the amount of compulsory reserves banks must keep on non-term foreign currency deposits and on those with terms of up to 12 months to 8 percent from 7 percent.

The rate for compulsory reserves on foreign currency deposits with terms longer than 12 months was raised to 6 percent from 5 percent, the central bank said in a statement.

The ruling will come into effect for deposits from September, it said.

Aug 29 2011

Honda in talks with Vietnam government over back taxes claims

honda in talks with vietnam government over back taxes claims

Honda Motor Co., Japan’s third- largest carmaker, is in talks with the Vietnamese government over claims that its local unit owes “back taxes” from importing parts to the country.

The company’s unit in Vietnam was contacted by tax authorities there about the claim, Honda spokesman Tomohiro Okada said by phone Tuesday.

“We have received information on back taxes in Vietnam for the import of our four-wheel parts, but because discussions are still ongoing with the Vietnam tax agency, we cannot announce any details right now,” Okada said.

The carmaker is planning to build a factory for two-wheel vehicle assembly in Vietnam by the end of 2012 and has no plans to leave the country, Okada said.

The online newswire VnExpress reported earlier today that the Japanese Embassy in Hanoi asked the Vietnamese government to help resolve a dispute over $160 million in taxes which local customs authorities say the local unit owes. The report cited a letter written by Hiroshi Kitamura, a Japanese embassy official, to the Finance Ministry and customs department.

Lo Thi Nhu, the head of the import-export tax division of Vietnam’s customs authority, said she was in a meeting when reached on her mobile phone and could not immediately comment.

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