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March 5

Released at: 12:49, 05/03/2018 PRESS WATCH

March 5

VET's round-up of news from Vietnamese media for March 5.

Thai Nguyen Iron and Steel may take Chinese ECP contractor to court

The Thai Nguyen Iron and Steel JSC (Tisco) is considering taking Chinese contractor the China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) to court to deal with a long-running dispute over an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. This is one of three options the Vietnam Steel Corporation (VNSteel) asked Tisco to consider to definitively deal with the dispute between the investor and the contractor relating to the EPC contract for the Thai Nguyen Iron and Steel Plant, Phase 2.

Fitch upgrades Military Bank’s IDR

Fitch Ratings has upgraded the long-term issuer default rating (IDR) of Military Bank to “B+” from “B” with a stable outlook and its viability rating to “b+” from “b”, while affirming the IDRs of Agribank, VietinBank, Vietcombank and ACB. The changes take into account Vietnam’s banking system’s enhanced operating environment, with improved economic policy-making from authorities promoting macroeconomic stability and predictability. This has enabled banks to significantly reduce their exposure to legacy problem loans that have long weighed on their balance sheets and address the banking system’s long-standing structural weaknesses such as thin capital buffers and weak profitability over the longer term.

AirAsia to launch Vietnam joint venture

Malaysian budget airline AirAsia plans to launch a joint venture in Vietnam later this year. The new carrier may operate in the second half of this year after obtaining necessary approval. AirAsia earlier clinched an agreement with the Hanoi-based Gumin Company and the Hai Au Aviation JSC to form a joint venture, which would have paid-up charter capital of around VND1 trillion ($44 million). Gumin would hold almost 70 per cent while 30 per cent would belong to AirAsia Investment Ltd, a unit of AirAsia Bhd.

Rice exports to rise this year

Vietnam is likely to export 6.5 million tons of rice in 2018 compared to 5.8 million tons in 2017, according to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan. About 80 per cent of rice exports this year will be of high quality. In the first two months, Vietnam shipped 861,000 tons of rice, worth $419 million, up 17 per cent and 34 per cent, respectively, year-on-year. The Philippines was the largest export market, with 26.9 per cent, followed by China with 23.5 per cent.

Fashion show opens Ao Dai Festival 2018

A fashion show highlighting the ao dai, Vietnam’s traditional outfit, opened the Ao Dai Festival 2018 in Ho Chi Minh City from March 3 to 25. The event is one of many cultural and artistic activities at the annual Ao Dai Festival, organized by the city’s Department of Culture and Sports. The show, Charming Vietnamese Ao Dai, attracted 22 leading designers and introduced more than 1,200 designs to the public.

FMCG grows 5.4% in 2017

Vietnam’s fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry, measured through traditional trade channels, grew 5.4 per cent last year, higher than the 4.9 per cent increase in 2016. In the fourth quarter of last year, however, growth slowed significantly, to just 0.5 per cent versus 6.4 per cent in the third quarter, according to the Nielsen Quarterly Market Pulse report. The report showed that the slowdown was seen across all the super FMCG categories, including food, milk, household care, and personal care. Only beverages enjoyed a significantly higher increase than the other groups, of 3.2 per cent.

State Treasury to issue $8.8 billion in bonds this year

The State Treasury of Vietnam plans to issue bonds worth VND200 trillion ($8.8 billion) this year; much higher than last year. It will mobilize VND20 trillion ($878.3 million) for under five-year bonds and VND30 trillion ($1.3 billion) for five-year bonds. Seven-year bonds will be worth VND36 trillion ($1.58 billion), while the 10, 15, 20 and 30-year bonds are estimated at VND37 trillion ($1.6 billion), VND32 trillion ($1.4 billion), VND20 trillion ($878.3 million) and VND25 trillion ($1.1 billion), respectively.

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