[Round-up] Switzerland Backs Vietnam-EFTA FTA, New Rules Set for Foreign Financiers

Tuan Minh

20:24 05/01/2016

BizLIVE - The Swiss government supports Vietnam in signing a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association. The Vietnamese central bank has laid out new rules for foreign investors who want to invest in non-banking financial firms.

[Round-up] Switzerland Backs Vietnam-EFTA FTA, New Rules Set for Foreign Financiers

The Swiss government supports Vietnam in signing a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association.

Switzerland Supports Vietnam in FTA with EFTA
The Swiss government backs Vietnam in signing a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which includes four member states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, newly-appointed Swiss Ambassador Beatrice Maser Mallor told Nguyen Thien Nhan, chairman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front.
Switzerland will further provide official development aids for Vietnam, with a focus on economic and energy sectors.
Mr. Nguyen Thien Nhan expressed hopes the European country would aid Vietnam in finance, banking, green growth and climate change mitigation.
Vietnam Forecast to Rank among 10 Fastest Growing Economies in 2016
Vietnam’s economy is forecast to expand approximately 7% year-on-year in 2016, putting it among the fastest growing economies, according to The Economist.
Ranking before Vietnam are Turkmenistan, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, India, Bhutan, Ivory Coast.
Condo Sales Volume in HCM City Hits Record High in 2015: CBRE
An estimated 36,160 condos were sold in Ho Chi Minh City in 2015, up by 98% y-o-y, marking a record high sales volume in a single year, said CBRE in a report released on January 5.
Q4 2015 alone reported estimated sales volumes at 10,340 units (a large increase of 28% q-o-q for both individual buyers and en-bloc buyers) and 8,218 units (a slight increase of 2% q-o-q for only end-buyers) respectively.
“Vietnam’s real estate market is reaping benefits from the favorable conditions of the market,” says the real estate firm, referring to low inflation and low mortgage rate.  
Nestlé Vietnam Eyes 15% Growth in 2016: CEO
Nestlé Vietnam, which has been present in the country since 1990s, sets a 15% growth target for 2016, Ganesan Ampalavanar, managing director of Nestlé Vietnam, told the Vietnam Investment Review.
“Apart from the three key brands of NESCAFÉ, MAGGI, and MILO, we are producing a large range of other products. 90% of our products in Vietnam are manufactured domestically in our factories throughout the country,” he said.
The firm now has three factories and two LaVie bottle factories in Vietnam. Its sixth factory is going to be put into operation in a northern province very soon.
Vietnam Sets New Rules for Foreign Financiers
Foreign credit institutions intending to contribute to establishing non-banking financial companies will be required to have a minimum $10 billion of assets at the end of the previous year as of February 8.
Under Circular 30/2015/TT-NHNN recently issued by the State Bank of Vietnam, these institutions also have to operate profitably for three consecutive financial years prior to the year they file for licensing.
Becamex IDC to Go Public in Q1/2016
Becamex IDC Corporation, a large industrial investment firm based in the southern province of Binh Duong, plans to launch an initial public offering in the first quarter of this year.
The state ownership in the firm will be cut to 75% in the first phase and to 50% by 2020. The firm was valued at 113 trillion dong ($5.4 billion) as of 2011.
Becamex IDC now runs 28 subsidiaries covering areas of securities, finance, insurance, banking, construction, trading, real estate, services, telecommunication - information technology , concrete production, construction materials, mining, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and education with a registered capital of 5.5 trillion dong ($244.44 million).
Vietnam Expressway Developer’s Capital Base Set to Surge
The Vietnamese government has approved Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC) to lift its registered capital to 72.6 trillion dong ($3.23 billion) by 2018 from one trillion dong ($44.44 million) now.
The state-run highway developer has planned to sell stakes in five expressways which have a combined 550 kilometers in length and an investment of $6 billion.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on Monday urged the Ministry of Transport (MoT) to raise funds from non-state sources, including foreign investments, to develop transport infrastructure as state budget expenditures are limited and the nation’s public debt is nearing the upper limit.
“Budget spending and sovereign bond issuance will be restricted to ensure public debt safety. To upgrade our infrastructure, we have no other choice but to attract domestic and foreign investments,” he said.
Saigon Asset Management Corporation (SAM), a Vietnam-focused fund management and investment banking firm, and My Chau Investment Corp (My Chau Pharmacy) have inked an agreement to buy a 15% stake in the latter.
The value of the deal, however, was not disclosed.
The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the country’s central bank, set the interbank rate for U.S. dollar/dong transactions at 21,907 on January 5, 0.05% lower than on January 4, when it started to announce the reference rate on a daily basis.
“With the new FX methodology, instead of one-off devaluations as seen in the past, we could see the central bank guiding dollar/dong gradually higher over time,” Reuters cited an ANZ report as saying on Monday.