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Home » VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS OCTOBER 23

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS OCTOBER 23

by Ag Kan Kyaw
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Economic recovery plan to boost national growth

Vietnam should focus on accelerating the disbursement of public investment and the economic recovery programme in the next two years to promote national growth, according to Le Thi Thuy Van, deputy director of National Institute for Finance under the Ministry of Finance.

Obstacles regarding interest rate support should be removed so that enterprises, cooperatives and households can access capital soon, she said in an interview with Vietnam News Agency on measures that Vietnam should adopt in response to risks from the decline of the global economy.

The implementation of monetary policy should be conducted in a cautious, proactive and flexible manner to ensure interest rate stability as well as to support the economy and stabilise the exchange rate.

Priority should be given to fiscal policy and expanded. Taxes and fees need to be reviewed to provide the best support for businesses to resume production and economic growth.

Measures to control prices, as well as inflation, should be taken to ensure inflation is kept below 4%, Van said.

It is essential for Vietnam to enhance production capacity and build an independent and resilient economy, she said, adding that this orientation will help Vietnam become less dependent on external sources while minimising damage caused by disruptions in global supply chains and from China’s “Zero Covid” policy.

Given the fact that major economies face the risk of recession, Vietnam must anticipate the challenges that might arise including imported inflation, she noted.

Vietnam could suffer exchange rate fluctuations as the US and Europe hike interest rates which will have an impact on the world financial market.

The State Bank of Vietnam has recently intervened in the foreign exchange market to stabilise the exchange rate, so foreign exchange reserves will be reduced, she said, adding that this is also a challenge.

According to Van, the adjustment of regulatory interest rates by the SBV aims to narrow the gap between the Vietnamese dong and US dollar, thereby stabilising the exchange rate.

However, it also has an impact on the national economy. An increased interest rate will raise the input costs of enterprises, reducing the need for loans to expand production, thereby affecting the growth potential of the economy, she said.

HCM City hotel room rates increase again

The average hotel room rate in HCM City in the third quarter saw a considerable increase thanks to the local tourism sector’s recovery.

The HCM City hotel market report by Savills Vietnam showed that in the third quarter of this year, the city’s average hotel room rate was nearly VND1.7 million (USD68.54) a day, up 22 percent against the previous quarter and 50 percent up on-year.

Between January and September this year, the hotel room occupancy rate in HCM City was 58 percent, representing a quarter-on-quarter rise of 19 percent.

HCM City attracted more than 10 million domestic visitors in the third quarter of this year, accounting for 45 percent of the country’s total number of figures of this kind, up nearly 70 percent on-year.

Hotels ranked between 3-4 stars have reopened after the Covid-19 pandemic. In the fourth quarter of this year, the five-star Hilton Saigon Hotel in the District is scheduled to be put into service to provide 312 rooms.

During the period, HCM City served 1.6 million foreign tourists, up 240 percent compared to the second quarter.

In the first nine months of 2022, the southern metropolis welcomed 2.1 million international travellers and 21.6 million domestic visitors. The city’s tourism industry earned revenues of VND92.3 trillion.

Vietnam likely to yield US$10 trade surplus this year

Vietnam is likely to produce a trade surplus of US$10 billion this year despite enduring global market uncertainties and fluctuations, Minister of Trade and Industry Nguyen Hong Dien told the ongoing year-end session of the National Assembly.

As of October 21, the country’s trade surplus hit a record high of roughly US$8 billion, and the figure is likely to rise to US$10 billion by the end of the year, Minister Dien said on October 22.

He attributed these positive signs to solutions the Government, ministries, and especially the business community have implemented to stimulate consumption demand and connect product consumption outlets in order to promote trade exchanges.

He recalled that despite facing the negative impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Vietnam’s total foreign trade turnover last year hit US$668 billion, making the country one of the 20 largest economies in the world in terms of international trade.

As of October 20 this year the country’s total foreign trade turnover stood at an estimated US$620 billion, and the figure is likely to climb to US$800 billion by the end of the year, with the trade surplus set to rise to US$10 billion.  

The Minister admitted that export growth, despite its high rate, is not sustainable due to a lack of balance in the structure of export markets, the structure of exported goods, and the structure of export businesses. He cited statistics indicating that foreign direct investment (FDI) businesses make up 74% of the country’s total export turnover, while the export capacity of State-owned businesses remains weak.

To meet this year’s target, Minister Dien said it is necessary to continue to boost exports, strengthen import management, and promote official export in association with restructuring commodities and building brands.

According to the Minister, other solutions include bringing into full play free trade agreements that Vietnam has signed, effectively promoting the role of the system of trade bureau overseas, and releasing early warning about risks and trade lawsuits.

Vietnamese tech firms have room to grow

Vietnamese tech firms are expected to grow rapidly in both the mid-and long-term thanks to rising IT demand around the world and rapid digital transformation at home.

Statista, a German company specialising in market and consumer data, said IT services spending is expected to amount to 1.28 trillion USD and 1.39 trillion VND in 2022 and 2023, up 7.9% and 8.8%, respectively.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications targeted 100,000 digital firms in Vietnam by 2025, a rise of 56.25% from 2021.

Software exports by domestic enterprises has increased with new contracts. Tech conglomerate FPT, for example, earned 11.73 trillion VND (478.83 million USD) from exports as of August, up 28.7% year-on-year.

Meanwhile, digital transformation has been accelerated by both businesses and the public sector.

The Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) and Vietnam Public Joint Stock Commercial Bank (PVcomBank) have rolled out projects on digital transformation with services offered by tech group CMC.

Provinces including Nam Dinh, Thua Thien-Hue, Dak Nong and Hau Giang have also engaged in strategic cooperation in digital transformation with FPT and CMC.

The telecom segment is expected to grow stably thanks to a rise in the number of broadband subscribers (8-10%), and a boom of 4G and 5G services.

Stock companies said that IT firms will continue double-digit growth, and major groups like the military-run Industry and Telecommunication Group (Viettel), the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), FPT and CMC still have ample room to grow.

Notably, Vietnam has advantages in its IT workforce market.

According to HSBC, 51 percent of programmers in Vietnam are 29-30 years old. The hourly wage for IT outsourcing software development in Vietnam is about 18 USD, equivalent to 64% in other Asian nations and 10% in the US.

Therefore, customers from big markets like the US, Japan, the EU and Asia-Pacific have selected Vietnam as an ideal destination for cooperation in IT development.

ForeScout Technologies of the US, which delivers automated cybersecurity across the digital terrain, has recognised CMC Saigon Technology & Solution (CMC TSSG) as its Gold Partner and the only Service Delivery Partner in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, FPT and CMC also offer  services in Japan, the US, the EU and Asia-Pacific.

Fitch Solutions forecast that Vietnam’s IT market will reach 208 trillion VND this year, and 370 trillion VND by 2026.

Vietnam’s seafood imports soar 36.8% in Jan-Sept

Vietnam spent US$2.04 billion importing seafood between January and September, up 36.8% versus the year-ago period, according to statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

In September, Vietnam’s seafood import bill expanded 44.5% month-on-month to nearly US$200 million.

India was the largest seafood exporter to Vietnam in the first nine months of this year, with a value of US$279 million, up 13.08% year-on-year. Indonesia came second with US$199 million, up 87.8%.

Norway ranked third in exporting seafood to Vietnam, gaining nearly US$183 million in the January-September period, up 6.06%.

China, Taiwan, Japan, and Russia were other top seafood exporters to Vietnam, with each of them shipping over US$100 million worth of seafood to the country.

Many Vietnamese businesses imported seafood to serve the demand of the domestic market and even process them for exports to gain more profits as the prices are quite low compared to the raw material in the country.

Regarding seafood exports, Vietnam gained over US$8.5 billion in the January-September period, up 38% year-on-year. Among those, shrimp exports brought in nearly US$3.4 billion, up 23% versus the year-ago period.

Tra fish exports gained nearly US$2 billion, up 82.6%, while exports of crab, other crustaceans and cephalopods brought in US$165 million, up 37.9%.

In the first nine months, Vietnam’s seafood industry gained a trade surplus of around US$6.47 billion.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers predicted the seafood export value would reach US$10 billion by the end of November 2022, beating the year’s target set by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Ex-director of Dong Nai’s DPI detained on graft charges

Bo Ngoc Thu, former director of the Dong Nai Province Department of Planning and Investment (DPI), has been detained on alleged charges of graft, reported the local media.

Investigators of the Ministry of Public Security today, October 20, searched Thu’s residence in Quang Vinh Ward, Bien Hoa City, Dong Nai after her detention. She was charged with abusing her powers while on duty.

Thu had spent many years working at the DPI of Dong Nai before she retired in December 2015.

Prior to her arrest, Thu had been several times summoned by Ministry of Public Security investigators who were looking into her role as advisor to the then leaders of Dong Nai Province in the process of approving the Dong Nai Province General Hospital development project.

Shortly earlier, Ministry of Public Security investigators detained Dinh Quoc Thai, former chairman of Dong Nai, and Tran Dinh Thanh, former Party secretary of Dong Nai, on alleged charges of taking bribes.

The detention of the trio resulted from an expanded probe by the Ministry of Public Security into allegations of criminal offenses at the Dong Nai Province General Hospital project, Advanced International Joint Stock Company (AIC) and other related parties.

Dinh Quoc Thai served as head of the steering committee for the Dong Nai Province General Hospital construction project and Bo Ngoc Thu was permanent deputy head of the steering committee.

The police long ago issued an arrest warrant for the chairwoman of AIC, Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhan, but she is still at large.

Also involved in this case is Phan Huy Anh Vu, director of the Dong Nai Province Department of Health and former director of the Dong Nai Province General Hospital. Vu is now in police custody.

Vu and Nhan were allegedly found to have colluded to overestimate the project cost and pocket hundreds of billions of Vietnamese dong.

Funding shortfall leaves Ben Luc-Long Thanh Expy suspended

The slow pace of capital disbursement has impeded the progress of the Ben Luc-Long Thanh Expressway project, leaving it unable to meet deadlines. 

The construction value of the project has reached an estimated VND11 trillion, equivalent to some 80% of the construction volume, Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC) reported.

The project’s total investment is VND31.32 trillion, using loans of over VND13.6 trillion from the Asian Development Bank, nearly VND12 trillion from the Japan International Cooperation Agency and nearly VND5.7 trillion from domestic reciprocal funds.

However, legal procedures have hindered the capital disbursement, putting some construction bidding packages under suspension, said Pham Hong Quang, general director of VEC.

Thus, VEC proposed the government extend the deadline for the project to September 30, 2025, and allow it to raise funds on its own to carry out the project.

Recently, National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue said during a project inspection that the National Assembly’s Standing Committee and the Government had focused on removing hurdles.

Accordingly, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee asked the Ministry of Transport to allocate foreign official development assistance and concessional loans to the project.

The Ben Luc-Long Thanh Expressway broke ground in mid-2014 and was scheduled for completion in 2019. The expressway is 57.8 kilometers long, connecting HCMC and the neighboring provinces of Dong Nai and Long An.

On July 22, 2020, the prime minister issued Decision 1131, extending the deadline to complete the project to December 31, 2023. 

Securities stocks likely to be cheaper

The group of securities stocks recently faced a sharper decline than the general market. Many stocks lost up to 70-80% from their peaks.

Securities stocks are always the most sensitive group to the fluctuations of the general market. Due to the deep fall of the market over the past month, the market prices of securities stocks have plummeted by 30-40%.

The losses were even larger than the decline when the market hit a bottom during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Agribank Securities Company (Agriseco), the group of securities stocks has very high volatility and is linked with the stock market’s movements that directly affect business activities.

The stock market recently dropped sharply in terms of both liquidity and value, so the significant losses of securities stocks prices were expected.

In the short term, Agriseco believes that the selling force still weighs on the group and shows no sign of ceasing, therefore, it is still ambiguous to determine the bottom of the group at this time. However, when the market shows signs of recovery, the securities group may have a better bounce than other groups. The price to book (P/B) ratio of this group is currently around 1x. Although the ratio is much lower than previous periods, it is a suitable level when the overall market is deteriorating.

With the volatility of the stock market in the third quarter, it is not difficult to forecast that all activities of securities companies will be affected.

Brokerage revenue may drop dramatically due to the overall decline in both liquidity and value. The average transaction value in the third quarter was only VNĐ16 trillion per session (658 million USD), a nearly 40% decrease over the same period last year. Some sessions even recorded the average transaction value of only 10 trillion VND.

Gross profit plunged due to rising competition, higher commissions paid to brokers, while transaction fees tend to be lower and lower.

Margin lending, which is considered the main source of income for securities companies, also shrunk. Margin debt balance of the whole market has decreased by 40% from the peak and is expected to continue to go down in the fourth quarter. The sharp decline of the market since mid-September until now has forced many securities companies to sell mortgages to recover loans when the margin ratio exceeds the prescribed threshold, making investors more cautious in using margin.

The financial advisory segment (IB) was adversely affected by the market’s movements. In particular, securities companies providing services associated with corporate bond issuance will be severely affected by recent developments.

Proprietary activities, including both stocks and bonds, faced challenges in the third quarter. Many companies may face the risk of losses in proprietary trading if they do not exit their positions in time when the VN-Index fell by nearly 6% in the third quarter. In September alone, the benchmark index lost nearly 12%.

While in the third quarter of last year, securities companies raced to report record profits, this year, many companies were unable to avoid losses or sharp falls in profits.

HCM City’s trade, tourism join digital transformation trend

With COVID-19 well under control, Ho Chi Minh City’s trade, service and tourism sectors have been working to promote their digital transformation, especially supply chain technology.

The municipal chapter of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Gotadi Travel Technologies JSC have recently signed a memorandum of understanding on boosting cooperation in the promotion of trade, services and tourism. The two sides also agreed to strengthen support for the business community to implement their innovation and digital transformation process in the fields.

The partnership was formed in the context that the municipal Tourism Department is stepping up the implementation of a smart tourism project, which aims to develop a tourism-service data system serving the needs from visitors, residents, travel companies, and management agencies.

It will build an ecosystem of closely related information technology solutions, which use a tourism sharing database to help tourists and residents look up tourist information, search for and book tickets, and accommodations, among other travel items. This will help enhance the experience for domestic and foreign consumers.

According to Bui Thi Ngoc Hieu, deputy head of the department, the sector has so far operated a smart tourism application, employed 3D technology in tourism advertisements, and posted the city’s tourism resources on the Google Earth and Google Map platforms. HCM City’s tourism products are available on the e-commerce trading floors such as Shopee and Traveloka.

In the first nine months of 2022, the southern metropolis reeled in over 804.7 trillion VND (32.53 billion USD) in retail and service revenue, up 25.9% annually.

As of September, it welcomed 21.6 million domestic and more than 2.1 million foreign tourists.

Budget revenue forecast 14.3% higher than plan this year

Budget revenue was forecast to be 14.3% higher than the plan this year but the structure lacked stability as the increase was mainly from land-related revenue.

According to the report presented by Minister of Finance Ho Duc Phoc to the National Assembly at the meeting on October 20, budget revenue in the first nine months of this year met 94% of the plan, of which, domestic revenue was equivalent to 88.9% of the plan while the revenue from crude oil and import-export was 11.3% and 8.8% higher than the plan, respectively.

Regarding budget spending, Phoc said that spending in January – September was estimated to meet 60.9% of the plan. The spending for investment and development was equivalent to 48.1%.

For the full year, budget spending was forecast to be 14.1% higher than planned.

The disbursement rate of public investment was expected at 96%.

Vietnam was expected to run a trade deficit of 4.5% of GDP this year, which was within the National Assembly’s allowed limit, Phoc said.

The Government would strive to increase budget revenue and enhance savings to reduce the level of overspending, he said.

Petrol prices continue to rise in latest adjustment

Retail prices of oil and petrol increased starting from 3pm on October 21, following the latest adjustment by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Ministry of Finance.

Accordingly, the ceiling retail price of E5 RON92 rose by 200 VND to 21,490 VND (0.87 USD) per litre, and that of RON95 bio-fuel went up 340 VND to 22,340 VND per litre.

The prices of oils were also adjusted up, with that of diesel oil up by 600 VND to 24,780 VND per litre, and that of kerosene up by 840 VND to 23,660 VND per litre. Meanwhile, the price of Mazut oil dropped 200 VND to 13,890 VND per kg.

 The two ministries also decided to extract 200-400 VND per litre from petrol price for the petrol price stabilisation fund.

Since the beginning of this year, petrol prices have been adjusted 28 times, with 15 times up and 12 times down, and one unchanged.

VinaCapital remains positive about banking sector’s long-term outlook

Last week, the State Bank of Vietnam decided to put Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) under special control and revamped the bank’s management to help the bank stabilize its operation, but analysts said the recent problem at SCB does not have any potential consequences on the banking system.

Michael Kokalari, chief economist at VinaCapital, said there is no potential system consequence from the recent events as evidenced by the facts that there have not been runs at any other banks in Vietnam, and the inter-bank market has continued to function normally since the SCB news emerged. He also cited Bloomberg news as reporting that the S&P banking team opined that the risk from this event is limited to the individual bank and that “we do not expect a material impact on our sovereign credit ratings on Vietnam.”

In a recent report, analysts of VNDirect Securities Corporation also held that recent negative information and fluctuations have put pressure on the banking system’s liquidity, but the risk to liquidity is not significant for many reasons.

“Firstly, the authorities’ efforts to combat the ‘dollarisation’ of the economy and increase cashless transactions during the period have yielded remarkable results.

“According to our observations, people’s confidence in the banking system has been strengthened, while the habit of hoarding cash has decreased remarkably, helping the system’s liquidity,” said the report.

Secondly, macro-stability and the health of the current banking system have greatly improved. Currently, nearly 20 commercial banks have been recognised as meeting Basel II standards, of which six banks have completed all three pillars. In addition, the ratio of short-term capital and medium- and long-term loans decreased to 34% on October 1 and will decrease to 30% from October 1, 2023.

In the third quarter, many banks continued to record positive business results despite the fluctuations on the financial market. Insiders said the banking sector may face some risks in the short term, but the long-term outlook remains positive.

According to VinaCapital, in the short term, worries over the banking sector may come from slight margin pressure due to higher funding cost and slower adjustments in lending rates in part due to the government’s call to limit the rate of increase in lending rates.

Besides, perceived risk to asset quality from corporate bonds that are potentially unable to be refinanced, rolled over or re-paid amidst slightly tighter issuance requirements (and possibly shaken confidence in future bond issuances).

However, VinaCapital is of the view that Vietnam’s banking sector remains attractive.  

“In the long run, the banking sector continues to hold high appeal due to its high margins, well controlled asset quality, low penetration rate of mortgage and retail loans, and rising incomes (i.e Vietnam is still at an early stage of economic development, so the country’s banking sector is nowhere close to a high maturity stage),” according to the chief economist at VinaCapital.

Fishery sector takes various measures to get EC yellow card removed

Vietnam’s fishery sector is preparing for the visit by an EC delegation at the end of this month, during which they will inspect the fight against illegal, unreported and undocumented (IUU) fishing in the Southeast Asian nation.

The “yellow card” imposed by the EC has hindered the development of the domestic fishery sector as well as the country’s seafood processing and export. Therefore, the entire industry is working hard towards the removal of the warning.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the aquatic sector have been striving to implement the 2017 Law on Fisheries and combat IUU fishing.

Since the imposition of the “yellow card” warning in 2017, all of the offshore fishing boats measuring at least 15 metres in length have been equipped with monitoring devices.

Many boats that committed violations of regulations have been strictly punished with their operation licences revoked, either temporarily or permanently.

General Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP) Truong Dinh Hoe said the association has rolled out concerted solutions in an effort to remove the warning, adding that it has coordinated with localities to hold dialogues with fishermen, helping them to remove obstacles in the IUU combat.

According to Hoe, apart from Europe, other markets such as Japan have also imposed the fishing rules, which has posed challenges to domestic businesses.

Given this, the VASEP suggested the ministry invest more in infrastructure at fishing ports, and digitalise the fishery sector, he stressed, explaining that digital data can attest efforts by fishermen and the sector in this regard.

Hoe also emphasised the need to change the mindset of fishermen in the new era – digitalisation – in order to reprieve the fishing ban.

The VASEP has also accompanied the ministry in the communication work to raise public awareness against IUU fishing, he said, adding that the association joins the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre to present 1,000 notebooks with relevant contents to local students.

An EC delegation will visit Vietnam at the end of October to inspect the fight of IUU fishing.

Last year, Vietnam earned over 1.4 billion USD from fishery exports to the EU, with 420 million USD from seafood and 980 million USD from aquaculture.

Coffee exhibition to open at Independence Palace in December

An exhibition providing a platform for coffee lovers to network and explore more about Vietnamese coffee will take place at the Independence Palace in HCM City on December 17-18.

The Coffeerary Exhibition will feature the presence of major Vietnamese and international coffee brands, as well as coffee machine and accessories brands.

In particular, there will be stalls introducing green products from coffee farms of ethnic minority groups in the country such as the Oh Mi Ko Ho farm of the K’Ho people in Lam Dong’s Di Linh District.

The exhibition will set up a “coffee forest” decorated with 100 trees of different coffee varieties in Vietnam to offer people knowledge about the country’s coffee.

There will be a stall for participants to exchange old books about coffee as part of the “One Book One Coffee” project to build bookcases for children and young people in remote and isolated areas.

Participants will also have a chance to meet and share with Miss Peace Vietnam 2022 Tran Thi Ban Mai, the ambassador of the “One Book One Coffee” project, during the exhibition.

The organiser will host professional competitions for at-home baristas, including Coffeerary Home Espresso 2022 for those who are passionate about crafting espresso at home, and Coffeerary Home Brewing 2022 for those who are passionate about crafting coffee using the pour over method at home.

The preliminary rounds will be held online until November 30. The judges will choose the eight best competitors for the final rounds taking place on December 17 at Independence Palace.

Work remains to put land parcel division back on track
     
 Viet Nam needs to find more radical solutions to prevent the rampant division of land parcels for sale for the healthy development of the real estate market.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the division of land parcels and conversion of land for sale has been taking place rampantly and illegally in many provinces and cities in recent years, which, together with speculation activities, caused a land fever and market disturbance.

The consequences are severe as land prices inflate, farmers do not have land for cultivation and planning is disrupted.

A report by the Ministry of Construction pointed out that small investors were collecting residential land, agricultural land, and land for perennial crops in many provinces, including Dong Nai, Binh Phuoc, Ba Ria – Vung Tau and Dak Lak then divided into plots for sale, causing threats to the real estate market.

To prevent rampant and illegal land parcel divisions, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in late August asked provinces and cities to enhance land management and strictly handle the unlawful division of agricultural and forestry land.

Many provinces and cities tightened the management of land parcel division and the issuance of land ownership certificates, even temporarily halted the handling of procedures for the division of land parcels to cool down the increasing land fever.

Ha Noi People’s Committee recently asked for inspections to be carried out to prevent and strictly handle cases of levelling hills, mountains, lakes, ponds and riverbanks, which are then divided into plots to sell for profits and illegal construction on agricultural land.

The capital city in late March suspended the receipt and handling of administrative procedures for the division of agricultural and non-residential land parcels. At the same time, a draft regulation about conditions for land division in the capital city was being developed.

The suspension, coupled with the imposition of a transfer tax on market prices, caused land transactions on the outskirts of the capital city to drop significantly. A municipal People’s Committee report showed that the budget revenue from houses and land was low in the first eight months of this year, equivalent to 41.5 per cent of the plan.

Other provinces also took action to tighten land division, such as the southern Dong Nai Province, which, starting this October, increased the minimum area of agricultural land before division from 1,000 sq.m to 2,000 sq.m.

Railway sector falls far below target

Most targets set for the railway sector have not been realized, hampering the development of the railway industry for 2020 with a vision to 2030, according to a report submitted to the National Assembly by the Government.

As part of the overall planning scheme, seven major lines are to be fully renovated by 2025, comprising the routes of Hanoi – HCMC, Hanoi – Lao Cai, Hanoi – Haiphong, Hanoi – Thai Nguyen, Hanoi – Lang Son, Kep – Chi Linh, and Kep – Luu Xa. However, only two lines, Hanoi – HCMC and Hanoi – Lao Cai, have been upgraded.

Besides, major traffic bottlenecks, such as those on the North-South Railway across Hai Van, Khe Net Pass and the Hoa Duyet – Thanh Luyen Segment, have yet to be tackled.

As for newly-constructed routes, the Yen Vien – Pha Lai – Halong – Cai Lan Railway Line, which is set to stretch 129 kilometers, has seen only 5.67 kilometers completed.

The North-South high-speed railway project is pending as the State Appraisal Council has been reviewing and appraising the investment policies before they are submitted to the National Assembly.

The plans for the railway lines in the eastern ring road in the focal area of Hanoi and those linking Bien Hoa – Vung Tau and Haiphong Seaport – Lach Huyen are still in the research phase.

In addition, the railways connecting inland waterways are few and far between, with railway spurs having been built to reach only two inland ports in Viet Tri and Ninh Binh and an inland clearance depot.

There are two railway lines facilitating connectivity with China, located in Lao Cai and Lang Son. However, the one in Lao Cai is facing challenges due to the incompatible track gauge.

At the same time, there is no railway line to Laos and Cambodia.

The Government figures showed that the current market share of railway transportation fell short of the planned target, with only 1-2% of passengers and 1-3% of goods transported via rail.

Railway development as a capital-intensive sector is mainly backed by public investment fund. Still, the national railway projects saw insufficient funds.

The Government said that the investment for the railway industry between 2021 and 2025 reached only VND15,467 billion, or 4.73% of the total VND272,709 billion earmarked for the overall mid-term investment plan.

In 2022, VND1,837 billion has been injected into upgrading the railway infrastructure via the Transport Ministry, accounting for 3.65% of the total VND50,328 billion.

Dung Quat oil refinery ramps up output to ease fuel shortfall

Dung Quat Oil Refinery in the central province of Quang Ngai has been operating at 109% capacity in an attempt to help alleviate fuel shortages in the domestic market, according to Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical Co., Ltd., the operator of the refinery.

The company has seen a growing demand for fuel after increasing the refinery’s output from 105% to 107% of capacity previously. Then, after securing an adequate volume of crude oil for production, the company decided to hike the output to 109%, surpassing its 2022 target of 103%, said Cao Tuan Si, deputy director of the Dung Quat oil refinery.

Given the rising demand and the stable supply of crude oil, the refinery could further operate at 110% capacity, he added.

The company, whose BSR shares are traded on the Unlisted Public Company Market, has closely monitored the market developments, maintained its operating capacity at a high level, and ramped up fuel sales to meet the domestic demand.

In the year to September, it had sold over 5.8 million cubic meters of fuel. The inventory of the Dung Quat oil refinery usually remains low.

Source : Vietnam Net

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