[Round-up] Vietnam Gets More Japanese ODA, Gradually Tapers Lending to Real Estate

Tuan Minh

18:23 30/05/2016

BizLIVE - The Vietnamese government has secured another $1.5 billion in ODA from Japan to develop infrastructure projects. The State Bank of Vietnam has taken a softer-than-planned stance on tightening conditions for lending to the real estate sector.

[Round-up] Vietnam Gets More Japanese ODA, Gradually Tapers Lending to Real Estate

An employee counts Vietnamese dong bank-notes near U.S. dollar bank-notes at a bank in Hanoi, Vietnam Aug 12, 2015. Photo: Reuters

FPT Signs Contract with Two Japanese Printing Companies
Vietnam's software giant FPT signed contracts with Toppan Printing Company Limited and Tokyo Shoseki Company Limited, two companies operating in the field of printing and education in Japan, according to Vietnam News Agency.
These two are among the areas that FPT is making an effort to boost in the Japanese market. Currently, companies providing business process outsourcing (BPO) services in the Japanese market mainly come from China and the Philippines.
Vietnam Central Bank Tightens Lending to Real Estate Gradually
The State Bank of Vietnam, the country’s central bank, has adopted long-awaited amendments to Circular 36 dated in November 2014. Among them, the risk weighting of real estate loans will be increased from 150% to 200% starting January 2017, lower than 250% proposed earlier by the bank.
The amendments also specify a roadmap for the maximum ratio of short-term capital used for medium- and long-term loans to be reduced from 60% to 40%.
According to the new regulation, the 60% ratio will be kept until December 31 this year and lowered to 50% from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017, and to 40% from the beginning of 2018.
Inflation Must Be Curbed at 5%: Deputy PM
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has asked government agencies to closely coordinate efforts to keep inflation at 4%-5% for the whole 2016 after consumer prices continuously increased between January and May.
European Tourist Arrivals to Vietnam Rise on Visa Relaxation
Vietnam welcomed 697,200 tourists from Europe in the first five months of this year, an increase of 13.9% from a year earlier, after 10 months the Vietnamese government granted visa exemptions for citizens of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.
Foreign arrivals to Vietnam reached four million in the five-month period, rising 20% year-on-year, according to the General Statistics Office.
Vietnam Banking Regulator Eases Dollar Lending
The State Bank of Vietnam has allowed local lenders to resume giving short-term loans in U.S. dollar until the end of this year to certain exporters in a move to support economic growth.
The banking authority on March 31 asked all commercial banks to stop providing USD-denominated loans to both companies and individuals, as it sought to avoid dollar hoarding
As many as 33,225 companies in Vietnam stopped operating in the first five months of this year, or 220 per day, according to a report of the General Statistics Office (GSO).
Between January and May, 28,582 firms suspended operations, rising 25.9% from a year earlier, while the number of business cessations increased 19.5% to 4,643, data showed.
Vietnam posted a trade deficit of $400 million in May following surpluses in the two previous months, the General Statistics Office (GSO) said in its latest report.   
In the first five months of this year, the country enjoyed a trade surplus of $1.36 billion, thanks to a surplus of $9.1 billion of foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs), according to the government-run office.
Foreign investors won approval to put an additional $647.3 million in Ho Chi Minh City in the year to May 15, representing a decrease of 38.6% from the same period of 2015, according to the city’s statistics office.
Fresh foreign direct investment (FDI) approvals reached $481.2 million in the period while capital increases totaled $166.1 million.
Japan will provide loans worth 166 billion Japanese yen ($1.5 billion) in official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam, affirming its status as the latter’s largest ODA donor.
Under the agreements, Japan will lend $820 million to develop a railway connecting downtown Ho Chi Minh City and its suburbs, $500 million to build Thai Binh thermal power plant, and $191 million to improve the water environment in HCM City.  
Sembcorp Development Ltd, a subsidiary of Singapore-based Sembcorp Industries Ltd, has plans to construct an innovation park in Ho Chi Minh City, the engine of Vietnam’s economy, local media reported.
During a working session with HCM City’s mayor Nguyen Thanh Phong, the firm’s Chief Executive Officer Kelvin Teo said such an innovation park would attract scientists, interdisciplinary experts, technology developers and investors from all over the world to develop value-added products.
Ho Chi Minh City authorities have appointed a consortium of Japanese and South Korean conglomerates to carry out a mixed-use real estate project which has been somewhat delayed in the city’s center.
The consortium is comprised of South Korea’s Lotte Asset Development, Lotte Shopping, Hotel Lotte, Lotte Engineering & Construction and Japanese firms namely Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Estate, and Toshiba Corporation.