Garment export value hits US$5.3 billion during Jan-Feb

The export turnover of garment and textile products reached 5.3 billion USD in the first two months of 2020, down 3.5 percent year-on-year.
Of the total, 4.2 billion USD came from the shipment of clothes and 512 million USD from yarn, down 2.3 percent and 16 percent, respectively, according to the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VINATEX).
At present, the supply of raw materials basically meets production demand in March and April.
However, the sector is facing a lot of difficulties, as the world economy is affected seriously by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), resulting in a decrease in global demand.
Vietnam’s garment and textile exports fetched 39 billion USD in 2019, up 7.55 percent over the previous year but 1 billion USD lower than the target.
In 2020, the industry aims to achieve an export turnover of about 42 billion USD./.
Thua Thien-Hue aims to draw 10 projects in IPs, IZs
The central province of Thua Thien – Hue aims to attract 8-10 domestic and foreign investment projects with total registered capital of 6-8 trillion VND (257.4 -343 million USD) to its economic zones (EZs) and industrial zones (IZs) in 2020.
The province also targets 6 trillion VND (257.4 million USD) of registered investment to be disbursed by the end of this year, online newspaper baodautu.vn cited head of the provincial EZs and IZs Management Board Le Van Tue as saying.
This year, the provincial EZs and IZs would see work started on nine major projects, Tue said.
One of them is an automotive assembly and manufacturing complex worth 2.7 trillion VND (117.4 million USD). Financed by the Bach Viet Automobile Manufacturing Industry Joint Stock Company, the complex spans 50ha in the Chan May-Lang Co EZ. Its construction will begin in the third quarter of this year and will be finished in 2024.
Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Phan Ngoc Tho said his province would focus on perfecting infrastructure to create an attractive investment environment while supporting enterprises in fulfilling investment procedures to lure more investment to local zones.
Tho also asked provincial EZs and IZs Management Boards to draw up plans and investment incentives that would help to attract strategic investors with adequate financial capacities and reputable trademarks.
Last year, local EZs and IZs attracted 10 projects with total investment of nearly 10 trillion VND (428.5 million USD), bringing the total number of projects located in their facilities to 146, worth some 100 trillion VND (4.28 billion USD).
Currently, nearly 200 businesses are operating in these zones, creating 31,500 jobs. Last year, their revenues topped 28 trillion VND (1.2 billion USD), contributing 2.66 trillion VND (114 million USD) to the local budget./.
Can Tho city solicits investment in housing
Can Tho city, the most developed locality in the Mekong Delta, continues to seek investment in housing projects.
According to analysts, the city housing market will enjoy steady growth this year.
Thieu Quang Thai, Vice Chairman of the Can Tho Real Estate Association, said the market would continue to grow thanks to the Government’s investment in transport infrastructure.
Investment by city-based real estate firms as well as those from other localities in lands has perked up the market.
Nguyen Minh Tri, Director of Tin Phat Real Estate Company, said the market would continue to grow strongly because the city is the delta’s urban hub and economic growth would cause housing demand to surge.
The prices of some residential projects have risen by up three times in two years.
In the Cuu Long – Him Lam urban area, the price is now 20-22 million VND (some 865-950 USD) per square metre. It is 22-25 million VND (950-1,079 USD) in the Hong Loan Residential Area Lot 5C, 17-25 million VND (733-1,079 USD) in the Stella Mega City residential area, 15-23 million VND (about 647-992 USD) in the Con Khuong Cuu Long- Him Lam residential area, and 35-40 million VND (1,508-1,724 USD) in the Nam Long-Hong Phat residential area.
An 80-100sq.m of land in Phu An and Tan Phu resettlement areas in Cai Rang district now costs 1.2 – 1.5 billion VND (51,700-64,700 USD), up from just 250-300 million VND two years ago.
The availability of proper infrastructure is one of the factors stimulating the growth of the market, Thai said.
The city is carrying out a scheme to exploit lands in 2017-2021 while conforming with overall planning.
It will quickly clear encumbrances on lands to ensure investors can begin work quickly and achieve maximum investment efficiency.
Can Tho has a number of advantages that can enable it to become one of the country’s real estate hubs.
It has attracted many large developers like Vingroup, Novaland, FLC, and LDG./.
Kien Giang to expand industrial shrimp farming
The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang plans to increase the area under industrial and semi-industrial shrimp farming models to 3,200ha and annual output to 28,000 tonnes this year, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Quang Trong Thao, deputy director of the department, said to ensure safe, sustainable and efficient shrimp farming, the province would carefully monitor the farming environment and outbreak of diseases to promptly address problems.
The province is carrying out a plan to proactively monitor for diseases in shrimp farming areas in Kien Luong district’s Binh Tri commune, a major industrial shrimp farming area in the province, and will later create a shrimp farming area free of white spot, yellow head and taura diseases in the commune.
The province, one of the delta’s largest shrimp producers, is setting up 44 sites to demonstrate the industrial and semi-industrial shrimp farming models. Farmers can visit them to learn how to practice the models.
The province will also teach farmers shrimp farming techniques that use advanced technologies and water efficiently and Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards, according to the department.
It will act as a link for shrimp farmers to tie up with companies to ensure they can sell their output and invest in infrastructure required for industrial and semi-industrial shrimp farming.
It will instal a three-phase power supply system in Kien Luong, An Bien and An Minh districts to meet the requirements of industrial and semi-industrial shrimp farmers.
Ha Tien city will dredge irrigation canals to ensure there is adequate water supply for aquaculture.
Farmers in the province have so far harvested 700ha of industrial and semi-industrial shrimp this year, producing 3,632 tonnes.
Last year they had produced more than 24,800 tonnes on 2,850ha, including more than 950ha under the two-stage industrial farming model.
Under the model, juvenile shrimp are raised in a nursery pond for a few weeks in the first phase and then transferred to a main pond for breeding.
The pond beds are covered with plastic sheets and nets are hung above to keep out sunlight. Ponds are also equipped with oxygenation facilities.
This model provides high incomes for farmers and processors and protects the environment since wastewater is treated before being released into the environment.
In Hon Dat district’s Tho Son commune, many farmers have successfully adopted it.
Mai Van Nhuong of Tho Son’s Hon Queo hamlet was one of first, having tried it during the last shrimp crop.
He earned more than 200 million VND (8,600 USD) from farming shrimp in a 2,000sq.m pond, he said.
The model is efficient since the shrimp contract few diseases and require less tending than in traditional models, he said.
“Thanks to modern facilities, farmers can easily manage the environment.”
Vo Thanh Binh of the Tho Son Commune Economy – Agricultural Technique Division said traditional methods require a lot of time and labour to renovate ponds after each crop.
Farmers cannot manage food residues and other waste in their shrimp ponds and the animals are easily affected by diseases whereas under the two-stage industrial shrimp farming model they can actively manage these problems and improve the shrimp survival rate, he added./.
HCM City’s IP, EPZs need revamp to attract investment
With its neighbouring provinces offering competitive land rentals and other incentives at industrial parks to attract investors, Ho Chi Minh City needs to step up its game too.
There are 17 industrial parks (IPs) and export processing zones (EPZs) in the city and they have an occupation rate of 68 percent, with specialised industrial parks, except the Quang Trung Software City, not attracting much interest from enterprises.
For example, the Automotive- Mechanical Industrial Park established three years ago on an area of nearly 100ha in Cu Chi District has attracted only 12 companies who have invested around 900 billion VND (38.8 million USD) and lease around 20ha, or one-fifth of its area.
A recent study conducted by the HCM City Export Processing Zone and Industrial Park Authority (Hepza) and a research team from the HCM City University of Economics found that the city’s advantages over neighbouring localities with regard to attracting investment in its IPs and EPZs have reduced since the latter are offering competitive land rentals and other incentives.
The infrastructure at many of the city’s IPs and EPZs fall short of investors’ needs.
While the average rent is 74 USD per square metre in Dong Nai for a lease term of 40-50 years, 43.7 USD in Binh Duong and 76 USD in Long An, it is 125 USD in HCM City.
The city needs to restructure and switch to newer models of IPs and EPZs now to continue to attract investment, ensuring it has appropriate mechanisms and policies during the transition process.
Dau tu (Investment Review) newspaper reported the city has sought the Government’s approval to make 1/2,000 scale plan for a new 380ha industrial park in Pham Van Hai commune, Binh Chanh district.
It will be a specialised industrial park prioritising innovative start-ups and producers and distributors in new industries and technologies./.
VN imports of US goods continue to rise

The US is one of Viet Nam’s largest sources of goods and its imports are increasing, according to the General Department of Customs.
Last year the imports were worth US$14.36 billion after rising by 18 per cent.
They included $4.85 billion worth of computers, electronic products and components, a 59.1 per cent rise.
Imports of plastic products rose by 84.3 per cent to nearly $826.5 million.
Other imports set to rise this year are seafood and feed ingredients imported as prices drop due to the US-China trade war and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tran Van Truong, director of the Hoang Gia International Seafood Trading Company Limited, said with the US’s lobster exports to China falling, so have prices, and so imports by Viet Nam have been increasing sharply.
Lobster prices are at their lowest ever. Animals weighing 1.3-3 kg now cost only VND750,000 per kilogramme to import compared to VND900,000-1 million usually.
People are not eating out much because of the Covid-19 scare, and so supply to restaurants has decreased but on the other hand the number of people cooking lobsters at home has increased, Truong said.
Pham Duc Binh, general director of Thanh Binh JSC, a cattle feed production company, said the prices of feed ingredients imported from the US have dropped by 20-30 per cent because of the trade war.—
Petrol retail prices plummet

Retail prices of petrol decreased significantly on Sunday, making it the fifth consecutive reduction since the beginning of this year.
Following the latest adjustment by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance, the price of biofuel E5 RON92 has fallen by VND2,290 to VND16,056 (US$0.69) per litre, and RON95-III is down by VND2,315 to VND16,812 per litre.
The prices of diesel 0.05S and kerosene are now VND13,035 per litre and VND11,846 per litre, down VND1,750 and VND1,830 per litre, respectively.
Mazut 180CST 3.5S now stands at no more than VND10,501 per kilogramme, down VND1,353 per kilogramme.
The two ministries review fuel prices every 15 days to adjust domestic prices in accordance with fluctuations in the global market.
They decided to subsidise VND200 per litre for E5 RON92; VND800 per litre for RON95, diesel and kerosene; and VND100 per kg for mazut.
Seafood exports face additional hurdles due to COVID-19
The export of seafood products is projected to face numerous challenges over the coming year following a sharp decline during the first two months of 2020, largely as a result of the negative impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.
According to statistics released by the Vietnam Department of Aquatic Products Processing and Development, seafood exports during the two-month period suffered an annual fall of 15.9% to US$932 million.
Furthermore, the negative impact of the COVID-19 epidemic has led to seafood exports to foreign markets decreasing sharply in comparison to the same period last year, of which several markets saw a plummet in export value, including China with drops of 43.48%, the Republic of Korea with a fall of 31.53%, the United States with a decrease of 26.34%, whilst those to Japan declined 28.16%.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) reports the agricultural sector is poised to face a number of hurdles in the near future. Challenges include the impact of climate change that causes prolonged drought and saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta region, along with the “yellow card” given by the European Commission to the country’s seafood exports, which has yet to be removed.
Most notably, the complicated nature of developments surrounding the COVID-19 epidemic is anticipated to cause a large impact on the nation’s seafood exports, especially to China, the country’s main importer.
The MARD says despite these challenges, the incentives of new-generation free trade agreements such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement will serve to enhance the competitiveness of local seafood products within the global market.
In addition, the reduction of anti-dumping tax rates in the US market and the US Department of Agriculture’s equivalent recognition of food safety control systems with regards to the country’s catfish products will serve to help local seafood products make further inroads into the market.
In consideration of these factors, the fisheries sector aims to reach an export target of 8.5 million tonnes of aquatic products, raking in around US$10 billion during the course of the year in the process.
Further fee reductions to promote cashless payments amid pandemic
The fees for fast interbank fund transfers would be cut for the second time this year to promote cashless payments in the context of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The State Bank of Việt Nam late last week asked the National Payment Corporation of Việt Nam (NAPAS) to reduce interbank fund transfer fees by half for transactions of sums worth from VNĐ500,001 (US$21) to VNĐ2 million each.
Accordingly, NAPAS would cut its service fees for electronic switching for local banks from currently VNĐ1,800 to VNĐ900 per transaction, starting from March 25 to the end of this year, which would enable local banks to cut the fees for interbank fund transfer for customers.
Commercial banks and branches of foreign banks was asked to reduce the fees for interbank fund transfers by at least VNĐ900 per transaction and were encouraged to offer bigger reductions.
The central bank also allowed the National Credit Information Centre of Việt Nam (CIC) to reduce the fees on local banks for using credit information, from March 1 to the end of this year.
In mid-February, NAPAS cut the fee for electronic switching from VNĐ1,800 to VNĐ500 per transaction for sums worth VNĐ500,000 or less.
To date, 32 out of 45 member banks of NAPAS cut fees for customers by 90 per cent and even some offered zero charges for fast interbank fund transfers, following the NAPAS’s move in February.
Promoting cashless payment was highlighted as one of important measures to remove difficulties for business and production amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A survey by IDG Vietnam, a member of the International Data Group, in 2019 revealed that cash payments still account for 79 per cent in Việt Nam.
Under the cashless payment development project for 2016-20, Việt Nam targeted that cash would account for 10 per cent of the total money in circulation by the end of 2020.
Recently, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc also asked the central bank to submit a pilot project about mobile money.
Transport companies cut trips by the handful during COVID-19 epidemic
Transport companies have sharply reduced travel between Hanoi and other provinces after the first patients tested positive for COVID-19.
On March 11, at Nuoc Ngam Bus Station in Hanoi, there were only two passengers waiting for the Hoang Long Bus to Haiphong. Driver Nguyen Xuan Dung said that they used to have a bus every 30 minutes, but now they leave once an hour with very few passengers. He said both the number of trips and passengers reduced by about half.
Driver Nguyen Van Thuy at An Phu Quy Bus, who plies the route from Hanoi to Vinh Town in the central province of Nghe An, said the number of daily passengers has dropped by up to 40 per cent since the first novel coronavirus case was confirmed in the capital on March 6. The company now operates only 10-12 daily trips, compared to the 20 before.
Other routes from Hanoi are facing a similar plight. Do Van Bang, director of Sao Viet Bus, said that the number of passengers has fallen by 70 per cent from before the COVID-19 epidemic and is now down 40 per cent since February.
The company only runs 10 buses a day from Hanoi to the northern province of Lao Cai, compared to the 30 before the epidemic, he said. “Even with this, we’ve had to cancel several trips or drive with just a few passengers.”
Trinh Hoai Nam, deputy director of Nuoc Ngam Bus Station, said that the number of active buses has fallen from 500 to 340 a day since the first confirmed case in the city. Most companies have cut trips down by 30-50 per cent from the city to other northern localities.
In a talk with Vnexpress.net , Nguyen Anh Toan, director of Hanoi Transport Station JSC which operates four bus stations in the city, said that the latest developments in the novel coronavirus epidemic have resulted in fewer passengers than in February.
All major bus stations – My Dinh, Giap Bat, and Yen Nghia – have seen customer numbers drop by 30-40 per cent from before the epidemic.
Since March 6 to early March 14, seven cased tested positive for COVID-19, most of whom travelled on flight VN0054 or family members, as well as some visitors. Hanoi has locked down a street and an alley to contain the disease, and is preparing 1,000 hospital beds in case the virus spreads further.
48 cases have tested positive for COVID-19, 16 of whom have been cured while the 32 remaining cases have been detected since March 6.
Tan Hiep Phat may be little aid for Yeah1 recovery
The partnership with Tan Hiep Phat may not live up to the expectations of Yeah1 as the local beverage firm has been struggling to recover their business after the “fly scandal.
Local media company Yeah1 Group (HSX: YEG) on March 12 signed an agreement on strategic co-operation with Tan Hiep Phat. The two sides will jointly develop applications on Yeah1’s digital platforms and roll out marketing programmes this year.
With its 15 years of experience in multimedia, Yeah1 could help Tan Hiep Phat to better approach young people of the X, Y, and Z generations. The local media firm has offered marketing solutions for big brands like Samsung, Heineken, Unilever, Grab, and LG, among others.
At the signing ceremony, Yeah1 chairman Nguyen Anh Nhuong Tong, said that under the strategic co-operation with the soft drink maker, Yeah1 expects to raise its revenue by 25.5 per cent to $78 million and profit by 134 per cent to $5.2 million this year. It expects cash and cash equivalents at $26.1 million and debts to stay at $9.9 million.
However, as Tan Hiep Phat has been struggling to recover its performance after the “fly” scandal five years ago, and its ability to support Yeah1 remains questionable.
Specifically, the public embarrassment cost the company VND2 trillion ($86.96 million) and Tan Hiep Phat has been ailing ever since.
In 2016, one year after the scandal, Tan Hiep Phat recorded VND6.1 trillion ($265.2 million), only a quarter of its revenue target of $1 billion in 2018. Notably, its off-trade market share narrowed down to 13.1 per cent in 2017 from 16.5 per cent in 2013, according to Euromonitor.
Off-trade is the key sales channel of the soft drink manufacturer, with thousands of stores and distributors across the country. The segment accounts for about 60 per cent of its performance, while the remaining 40 per cent is on-trade.
Tan Hiep Phat is lagging behind the annual growth of the beverage industry, which is reflected by its shrinking market share. Along with the scandal, the downturn in demand for bottled tea – the company’s main product – is another major reason behind its weak performance.
The average growth rate of the kind of goods in 2012-2017 was 14.7 per cent, but it fell to 2.8 per cent in 2016-2017. Euromonitor stated that consumers prefer healthy food and beverages. To ride the trend, companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi have launched items with low calories and sugar content. Meanwhile, Tan Hiep Phat seems to have no intention to make a change.
Currently, the firm has yet to publish its business results for 2018 and 2019. More telling is that the firm maintains the $1 billion revenue target but changed the timeline to 2023.
VinaCapital ties up with SAIGONTEL to develop 50MW rooftop solar power
SkyX Solar, a subsidiary of VinaCapital Group, has recently inked a joint venture agreement with SAIGONTEL to build and operate rooftop solar projects for industrial facilities within the industrial parks affiliated with the latter.
SkyX Solar will have a majority stake in the joint venture and will be responsible for the development of the projects. The joint venture will initially focus on 10 industrial parks to develop and operate more than 50MW of rooftop solar assets to start with. Six of these industrial parks are in the central and southern regions of Vietnam which have the highest irradiation levels.
The joint venture will offer an end-to-end renewable energy solution to creditworthy client partners which entails zero capex, zero opex from them but at the same time brings cost savings and reduces their carbon footprint while ensuring that there is zero disruption in their main operations.
Samresh Kumar, executive chairman of SkyX Solar and managing director of VinaCapital, said, “Rooftop solar, especially for the commercial and industrial (C&I) segment, will be a game-changer for the renewable energy sector in Vietnam. We are excited to partner with SAIGONTEL, a member of SGI Group and a market leader in industrial park development, to transform large ‘idle’ roofs into sources of clean energy. This partnership is a strong milestone in our journey to 150MW + development in Vietnam over the next three years.”
Nguyen Cam Phuong, CEO of SAIGONTEL, added, “We believe that rooftop solar solutions will enable us to provide differentiated added value to the partners and customers of our industrial parks by helping them reduce carbon footprint and achieve significant cost savings at the same time. This segment is in the early stages in the country and we believe SkyX Solar, backed by VinaCapital, is the right player to provide world-class solutions for our own and our clients’ facilities.”
Devoid of any land, transmission, or licensing issues, the rooftop solar power market in Vietnam is witnessing significant demand as leading companies increasingly focus on sustainability and managing rising electricity prices. It is expected that more than 4,000MW of rooftop solar power will actually be developed in the next five to seven years in the country – and the potential is even bigger.
However, given the nascent nature of the sector and its unique challenges, strong local players with deep market insights and experience as well as international standards for technical and ESG practices such as SkyX Solar are best placed to successfully deliver world-class solutions to client partners.
New FiT hike paves way for investment in biomass electricity
The feed-in tariff (FiT) for biomass power projects will range from VND1,634 to VND1,968 (7.1-8.6 US cents) per kWh, exclusive of value-added tax, setting the stage for more investment in biomass electricity and to achieving the objectives of the revised Power Development Plan VII.
Under the prime minister’s newly-approved Decision No.08/2020/QD-TTg on amending and supplementing some articles of Decision No.24/2014/QD-TTg on support mechanism for the development of biomass power projects in Vietnam, the FiT applied for co-generation heat power projects will be VND1,634, equivalent to 7.03 US cents, per kWh while for other types of biomass projects it will be VND1,968, equivalent to 8.47 US cents per kWh. The tariff is calculated at the central exchange rate of VND/USD and does not include value-added tax (VAT).
This move aims to attract more investment in biomass electricity generation and achieve the objectives of the revised Power Development Plan (PDP) VII, which set the goal for biomass electricity production to 660MW, 1,200MW, and 3,000MW in 2020, 2025, and 2030, respectively. In 2019, only 175MW of installed biomass capacity was feeding into the grid.
Sven Ernedal, director of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project (4E)/EVEF, Energy Support Program (ESP), said, “Vietnam has great potential for biomass, which can be exploited for energy production, especially electricity. The decision of the Government of Vietnam to create favourable conditions for biomass power development will help the country reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create more green jobs, improve the security and quality of electricity supply, as well as enhance the competitiveness of the sugar industry by increasing revenue for sugar companies, increasing efficiency, and reducing waste.”
He added that biomass energy plays a very important role in fulfilling Vietnam’s Nationally Determined Contribution commitment, green growth strategy, and Sustainable Development Goals. This renewable energy source will help Vietnam meet the growing energy demand as the economy continues to grow.
Tobias Cossen, director of Sustainable Bioenergy Markets, ESP, added, “In regard to the renewable energy policy in Vietnam, attention has been concentrated on solar and wind energy lately. The increase of the FiT for biomass is a very positive signal from the government, showing that bioenergy will have its place in the future energy matrix.”
The EU‐Vietnam Energy Facility (EVEF), implemented by GIZ, has supported the Ministry of Industry and Trade in recent years in the calculation of biomass tariff.
GIZ has been also working with its political partner the Electricity and Renewable Energy Agency of the Ministry of Industry and Trade since 2019 to implement the Climate Protection through Sustainable Bioenergy Markets in Vietnam project to explicitly improve the preconditions for the sustainable use of biomass for electricity and heat generation in the country.
In the face of spiralling social and environmental concerns caused by rapid population growth and fast-paced economic development, the circular economy is proving the right answer to Vietnam’s sustainable development future.
Most recently, pioneering businesses like SCG, Dow Vietnam, and Unilever Vietnam have joined efforts with Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) to launch the first public-private collaboration (PPC) model in building a circular economy in plastic waste management, heralding a fresh direction for the local business community.
Economic development, in parallel with preserving natural resources and minimising harm to the environment, is, by essence, the core of circular economy. Under the “production-usage-recycling” format, the circular economy has consumed natural resources in a responsible way, simultaneously bolstering production efficiency.
Via realising sweeping changes to production and value chains and consumption patterns, redesigning industrial systems, and ensuring effective waste management, the process has created many added values while enhancing sustainability of businesses towards the environment and society alike.
A ceremony for collaboration towards a circular economy in plastic waste management was held last month
In recent years, the linear economy employing the “take-make-dispose” model has left countless repercussions on the living environment. Vietnamese garbage is forecast to be doubled in the next 15 years. Meanwhile, the country’s waste recycling just fetches below one-tenth of total rubbish volume.
A bulk volume of plastic waste is either directly buried at dumping sites or being discharged into the ocean. In this context, propelling the model of the circular economy proves the smart move Vietnam needs to adopt towards achieving sustainable development goals.
The greatest challenge to Vietnam currently is that most of businesses, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), have finite capacity when it comes to recycling technology. In addition, it is the inherent habit in production and consumption patterns of the whole society in using single-use nylon bags and other plastic items.
Collaboration between businesses, particularly leading players, in tackling plastic waste has since become an imperative demand to push up the circular economy model in Vietnam.
The country came up with first-of-its kind PPC model towards building a circular economy in plastic waste management in February, with engagement of industry players such as SCG, Dow Vietnam, Unilever Vietnam, and the MoNRE.
The model aims to promote knowledge sharing, technology transfer, public awareness enhancement, and reforms and innovation to radically settle the plastic waste dilemma, particularly how to deal with single-use plastic packaging on a nationwide scale.
The engagement of SCG in particular – a leading industrial conglomerate in the ASEAN – is an eminent instance for the application of the circular economy in production and business activities, as well as efforts in networking with relevant stakeholders for cycle perfection across the whole value chain.
One of SCG’s biggest efforts in this regards was the biennial Sustainable Development Symposium held in 2018 in Thailand under theme “Circular Economy: The Future We Create”.
The event inspired and connected 1,000-plus representatives from government and non-government organisations, and businesses, bringing the ASEAN into the journey the circular economy model has made towards achieving sustainable development goals in the region.
At the symposium, regional leading players shared their valued experiences on promoting circular economy development, as well as pushing up collaboration of public-private sectors to expedite circular economy on an extensive scale. In the role as chair, SCG brought to exposure many typical examples from its operation practices, heralding new fresh directions for the parties engaged.
In Vietnam, SCG plans to make the $5.2 billion Long Son Petrochemical project – the biggest complex of its kind in the country – in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau its pilot for circular economy applications in Vietnam.
Along with this the complex, which kicked-off construction in 2017, will perfectly meet circular economy requirements with gas emissions and discharged water meeting set standards and its solid waste being taken back for reuse, creating fresh value.
A leading player in sustainable development in Southeast Asia, harmonising business growth and social and environmental benefits is the top priority in SCG’s development strategy.
Promoting the circular economy model is the next step this 108-year old business group is set to take on, in order to achieve future prosperity of businesses and the community in the region. According to SCG, this approach should be what local firms need to apply for the foreseeable future.
Vietnam not in international guarantee for Bac Lieu LNG-to-power project
The government and local authorities will not be mentioned in the document of international guarantee for investors in the Bac Lieu LNG-to-power project.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc emphasised this point to both Bac Lieu People’s Committee and the investor, stressing that the government and local authorities will accompany the investor to smooth out difficulties and deal with administrative procedures.
The prime minister assigned Bac Lieu People’s Committee in charge of selecting the investor to develop the project.
Furthermore, the province will have to submit an environmental impact assessment report and a proposal to hand over the onshore area to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment for the appraisal of project.
Regarding the proposal to accelerate the signing of the power purchase agreements (PPA), the prime minister required the Ministry of Industry and Trade to work in collaboration with Electricity of Vietnam and Bac Lieu People’s Committee to negotiate with the investor.
In December 2019, the Government Office issued Letter No.1725/TTg-CN, granting the prime minister’s approval to include the Bac Lieu LNG-to-power project in the revised National Power Development Plan for 2011-2020 with vision to 2030. The entire 3,200MW capacity of the project was added to the planning. On January 21, 2020, Bac Lieu People’s Committee granted the licence approving the project’s investment planning to the investor, Delta Offshore Energy Pte., Ltd.
The investor expected to complete the investment procedures as well as preparations for construction by the end of this year and then implement the construction of infrastructure in the next three year. The first-phase turbine facility with the capacity of 750MW is expected to start operation by the end of 2023. The entire project, with a total designed capacity of 3,200 MW will be finished before December 2027.
Thien Tan solar power project connected to national power grid
Another solar power plant of privately-held Thien Tan Group has been plugged into the national power grid in the southern province of Ninh Thuan after the first one – the 19.2MW Mo Duc Solar Power Plant – was inaugurated in the central province of Quang Ngai last April.
The new plant, named Thien Tan, has a capacity of 50MW and completed construction in seven months (from July 2019 to February 2020), two months ahead of schedule.
The project represents a total investment of VND1.248 trillion ($54.26 million) using the most advanced technology in the world with a 65-degree, one-axis rotating support system designed and manufactured by US FTC Solar, which automatically rotates in the direction of the sun to maximise energy absorption.
With German SMA inverter, Taiwan’s 380w battery capacity, and 20 per cent panel efficiency, the plant is expected to produce 95 million kW a year.
This is the first phase of the great Thien Tan Solar Ninh Thuan project with a total capacity touching 1,000MW on an area of 1,400 hectares.
According to the investor, this is the first phase of the great Thien Tan Solar Ninh Thuan project that will have a total capacity touching 1,000MW on an area of 1,400 hectares. The project’s second phase is expected to start soon, after securing support from relevant ministries, central agencies, as well as local authorities.
Thien Tan Group, a multi-sector investor, executes projects from transport infrastructure with Pham Van Dong road in Quang Ngai city to NH1A bypass crossing Duc Pho and Mo Duc in Quang Ngai province to urban projects such as Thien But park, Thien Tan ecological urban area, or a five-star hotel and commercial centre in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, to name but a few.
In particular, Thien Tan is allegedly the only private enterprise in Quang Ngai so far with efficient investment in the field of renewable energy. The company has been running two hydroelectric projects – Ha Nang with an investment of nearly VND800 billion ($34.78 million) having a capacity of 70 million kW per year and Dak Re valued at VND3.2 trillion ($139.13 million) with a capacity of 60MW.
Investment funds of VFM dropped by COVID-19
Major funds of VietFund Management (VFM) – the largest local fund management company – have been shrinking due to the COVID-19 outbreak, with some even falling by 20 per cent since the beginning of the year.
The local stock exchange has experienced much unhappiness because of the US-China trade war, tensions among powerful countries, and especially the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The VN-Index ended the session on March 12 at 769.25 points, down 19.95 per cent against late last year. The sudden hit in the first quarter has negatively impacted investors, particularly big funds because of their inability to restructure investment portfolios in time.
The latest reports published by securities companies showed that the VND7 trillion ($304.35 million) VFM could not avoid the shock, with most of its investments losing value, following the general trend on the stock exchange.
Its biggest fund – VFMVN30 ETF (code: E1VFVN30) worth VND5.7 trillion ($247.83 million) on March 12 saw a decline of 18.21 per cent in net asset value per share (NAVPS). VFMVN30 ETF is the second-largest exchange-traded fund in Vietnam (behind VNM ETF) that applies the reference index VN30. That is also the reason behind its recent plunge.
Meanwhile, VFMVF1 with the investment scale of VND414 billion ($18 million) also saw NAVPS reduce by 16.18 per cent compared to the beginning of the year. The other VFM fund, the VND99 billion ($4.3 million) VFMVF4 recorded a slash of 20.21 per cent, worse than the VN-Index’s 19.95 per cent decrease.
On the other hand, VFMVSF and VFMVFC fared somewhat better in NAVPS, falling 13.75 and 2.12 per cent, mainly due to their focus on debt securities and certificates of deposit. Nevertheless, their investment scales are smaller, about VND35 billion ($1.5 million) and VND2.5 billion ($108,700), respectively.
Thanks to specialising in bonds, VFMVFB reported the best performance with a NAVPS growth of 2.02 per cent. As the securities market is heading into a painful recession, bond funds will be safer for investors.
Companies on treasury stock buyback to mitigate COVID-19 impacts
With stocks taking a plunge with the COVID-19 outbreak, companies are starting to buy back treasury shares to stabilise stock prices.
PAN Group has just approved a plan to buy back 21.6 million of its treasury stocks. Hodeco (HSX: HDC), Dat Phuong (HSX: DPG), and PVI Holdings (HNX: PVI) are also planning to take back millions of stocks. Also, Cuong Thuan Idico (HSX: CTI) and food company Sao Ta (HSX: FMC) decided to repurchase15.7 million and two million treasury stocks, respectively.
Moreover, VRC Real Estate and Investment JSC (HSX: VRC) also polled shareholders and decided to buy up to 20 per cent of its total outstanding shares.
TP Bank (HSX: TPB) was the first bank to announce getting 10 million stocks, with the expected trading timeline of March 20-April 18. Meanwhile, An Duong Thao Dien (HSX: HAR) bought 2.1 out of the 5.1 million stocks it released to the market.
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Businesses are taking back treasury shares to shore up plunging stock prices. The acquisition is aimed to raise value for shareholders and stabilise stock prices. For a long time, treasury stocks have been used to avoid being controlled by investors registering to buy a tremendous load of stocks when prices were heavily down.
Buying treasury stocks and lowering the number of outstanding stocks also help companies increase profit per share performance, inflating prospects in their annual business results.
Most of these companies have seen their tickers fly low since the epidemic. For instance, VRC is down 70 per cent since early 2020. PAN also dropped by 20 per cent to VND17,000 (74 US cents) per stock. Based on the price, PAN Group may spend VND370 billion ($16.1 million) on buying back the 21.6 million treasury stocks they want.
HDC also declined by 35 per cent within three months while DPG fell by 37 per cent since early 2020.
Government’s action plan promotes economic resources
The Government has just issued Resolution No.30/NQ-CP on promulgating the Government’s Action Program to implement the Politburo’s Resolution No. 39-NQ/TW of January 15, 2019, on improving the management efficiency, exploitation, use and promotion of resources of the economy.
Accordingly, regarding human resources, the proportion of employees working in agriculture, forestry and fisheries will be less than 33% of the total labour force of the country by 2025, with an aim to basically overcome the imbalance between the supply and demand of human resources in the economy, establish a job placement system based on position and strengthen the talented career system.
For material resources, a relatively synchronous and modern system of facilities and socio-economic infrastructure is expected to be formed by 2025, withurgent and key constructions projects to be completed to create motivation for socio-economic development. In addition, national financial security should be maintainedand the state budget overspending rate should be gradually reduced.

Regarding the main tasks and solutions, with the tasks assigned in previous documents, ministries, branches and localities should continue to perform common tasks in a synchronous and effective manner and at the same time regularly review and propose amendments and supplements to documents of the Government and the Prime Minister on the management and development of all resources.