News Bulletin 66 - Week 1, June 2021

As the country’s biggest city entered its second week of social distancing, the government announced the launch of a vaccine fund calling on businesses, both local and foreign, and individuals to contribute to the fund. The fund will be used to buy Covid-19 vaccines from abroad and for supporting “Made in Vietnam” vaccines. The fund so far has received USD45 million while pledges reached over USD300 million.

As a sign of the ongoing pandemic is impacting on the local economy, HCMC received USD1.34 billion in Foreign Direct Investments in the first five months of this year, at significant 16.52% declined from the same time a year ago.

The past week spotlight

Slow Vaccine Rollout Creates Risks for Pandemic Standout Vietnam

A slow vaccine rollout will delay the government’s ability to open up the economy, according to a post on the government’s website, which did not cite any specific official. The country may lose its economic advantage if it can’t reach herd immunity with 70% of the population vaccinated, the post said.

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Let’s look at some other related financial and business news during the past week:

1. HCM City FDI down 16.52 per cent but 2nd highest in country

HCM City received US$1.34 billion worth of FDI in the first five months of this year, a 16.52 per cent decline year-on-year.

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2. Cinema operators in Vietnam seek recognition as essential business in appeal for gov’t support

The four biggest players in Vietnam’s film distribution industry have called on the prime minister to classify the sector as essential since they want to reopen their cinema systems as soon as possible to overcome coronavirus hardship.

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3. Vietnam rice rates fall as buyers hunt cheaper deals

Rice export prices in Vietnam fell this week, as buyers switched to cheaper offers from other hubs, while the nation’s largest rice growing area grappled with a re-emergence of COVID-19 infections.

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4. Vietnam slips in global business environment resilience ranking

Vietnam has dropped five places from last year to 96th place in the 2021 business environment resilience index, ranking below several Southeast Asian peers.

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5. HCM City foreign remittances rise by 13%

Despite the COVID-19 outbreak roiling the global economy, overseas remittances to HCM City were worth US$2.6 billion in the first five months of this year.

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6. Vietnam stock market posts world’s highest gains

Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index has surged 34.51 percent in the first half of this year, marking the highest increase in the world.

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7. Bloomberg: Vietnam’s e-commerce growth potential alluring

Though Euromonitor International estimates e-commerce accounted for just 3 percent of Vietnam’s retail market last year, the smallest among Southeast Asia’s major economies, the potential for growth is alluring, the newswire said on June 2.

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8. Demand for deposits soar as cashless payments become more popular

Demand for deposits by individuals have increased significantly in recent months as people tended to switch to cashless payment methods, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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9. Cryptocurrency rollercoaster ride frays investor nerves

Four months of a cryptocurrency rollercoaster ride has left Vietnamese stressed out, with many withdrawing from the market, accepting losses.

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10. Malaysia's Hibiscus Petroleum buys Repsol assets, enters Vietnam market

Malaysian oil and gas exploration and production company Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd (HIBI.KL) has acquired Spanish energy major Repsol Exploración, S.A.'s (REP.MC) upstream assets in Malaysia and Vietnam for a cash consideration of $212.5 million, it said in a stock exchange filing on Friday.

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