[Round-up] Vietnam Central Bank Buys in Forex, EU-Vietnam FTA Text Released

Tuan Minh

22:51 02/02/2016

BizLIVE - The State Bank of Vietnam has started buying in foreign currency after months of injections in a move to curb the appreciation of the dong. Vietnam and the EU have released the full text of a bilateral trade agreement.

[Round-up] Vietnam Central Bank Buys in Forex, EU-Vietnam FTA Text Released

Vietnam's central bank has started buying in forex.

Vietnam Central Bank Buys in Forex
The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the country’s central bank, on February 1 for the first time bought in U.S. dollar at 22,300 dong per USD after months of pumping foreign currency to buttress the market, local media reported.
The SBV bought in some $300 million from local banks Monday, according to the Saigon Times newspaper.
The SBV quoted the selling price of the greenback at 22,511 dong a dollar. After the SBV’s move, local commercial banks quoted the U.S. dollar at 22,260 dong for bid and 22,330 dong for ask.  
The abundant supply of foreign currency has led to a 1.11% devaluation of the U.S. dollar against to Vietnamese dong in the year to date.
HCM City Businesses Invest $3 Billion in Central Highlands
Over 200 companies from Ho Chi Minh City have poured nearly 68 trillion (roughly $3 billion) into 287 projects in the Central Highlands provinces, according to the region’s Steering Committee.
The investment cooperation between HCM City and five Central Highlands provinces – Dak Lak, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Dak Nong, and Lam Dong – has involved a number of fields, including agro-forestry, ecological tourism, mining, and hydropower.
Vietnam Govt Oks Sale of 70% of Shipyard to Netherlands Firm
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved the proposal of Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (SBIC) to sell a 70% stake of Damen Song Cam Shipyard to the Netherlands’ Damen Shipyards Group.
The Dutch group’s attempt to buy the stake in Damen Song Cam Shipyard in the northern city of Hai Phong had been rejected in 2014 as foreign ownership was capped at 49% in the company, said SBIC.
The government last June issued Decree No. 60, which was issued to guide securities law, removed limits for foreign investors in some sectors.
JICA to Provide Loans for Vietnam Agro Sector
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will support the Vietnamese agricultural sector by providing funding for a number of projects, Mori Mutsuya, JICA Vietnam chief representative, told Nguyen Dong Tien, deputy governor of the State Bank of Vietnam.
JICA’s program comes in the context that Vietnam’s agricultural sector will face headwinds as the country is joining free trade agreements.
Oil Crash Persistently Hurts PetroVietnam
State-run energy firm PetroVietnam said it had revenues of 81.1 trillion dong ($3.62 billion) in January, meeting 74% of the month’s plan.
The average price of crude oil in the month was $32.4 a barrel, down $9.6 a barrel from that in December 2015.
A 54% shortfall of the oil price in comparison with the plan has dampened performance of a PetroVietnam subsidiaries and even caused losses to PV Oild and PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corp. (PVEP), a PetroVietnam executive said.
Techcombank, Vietnam Airlines to Set up Airline
Vietnam Technological and Commercial JS Bank (Techcombank) and national carrier Vietnam Airlines (VNA) have jointly sought permission from the Ministry of Transport to establish a new airline on the back of rearranging Vietnam Air Service Company (VASCO).
VASCO, a subsidiary of VNA, is operating some domestic routes with an ATR 72 aircraft fleet.
The new airline will have a registered capital of 300 billion ($13.4 million), of which VNA will hold a 51% stake while Techcombank will take the rest through its two subsidiaries Techcom Capital and Techcomdeveloper.
Vietnam Strives to Revamp Customs ahead of FTAs
The World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) would boost customs reforms in Vietnam to facilitate trade across borders in line with international standards, the Vietnam News Agency cited an official as saying.
This is important as the Southeast Asia country is striving to hasten customs reforms riding on the hope of increasing exports as a number of free trade agreements (FTAs) are on the horizon.
Nguyen Toan, director of the International Co-operation Department under the General Department of Customs, said that the TFA, which includes provisions for expediting the movement and release and clearance of goods, would also create favorable conditions for Vietnam to implement commitments in FTAs that the country had signed and was going to sign.
Gas Prices Continue to Fall following Import Price Drop
Saigon Petro Company Monday reduced the retail price of a 12kg cooking gas cylinder in HCM City by 20,500 dong ($0.92) to 257,000 dong ($11.47).
The other major gas distributors are now selling 12kg cooking gas canisters for 264,500 dong ($11.89) to 268,000 dong ($12.05).
According to gas companies, the price cut followed a fall in the average imported gas price by $67.5 to $300 per ton in February 2016.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade and the European Commission have released the text of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), whose negotiations were finalized last December.
The text will now be subject to a legal review to verify its consistency and ensure that all the provisions are formulated in a legally-sound way.
Prices of the U.S. dollar have been on the decline, touching a five-month low last week, due to ample supply.
The U.S. dollar last Friday lost 195 dong per dollar in value from a week earlier and 285 dong from the start of this year, according to the Ministry of Finance-run Thoi Bao Tai Chinh (Financial Times) newspaper.