Lending rate forecast to be cut by 1-1.5pp in 2024


Hanoi: There will be little room for further reduction in deposit interest rates in 2024 as they have dropped deeply to pre-COVID-19 levels, while the lending interest rate can still be lowered by 1-1.5 percentage points next year, Vietcombank Securities (VCBS) forecast.

Under a newly released report, VCBS said compared to the end of 2022, the average deposit interest rate in the banking system has decreased by 2-2.9 percentage points, depending on terms. However, the decline has not been fully reflected as the cost of deposit mobilisation has only decreased by 0.1 percentage point from the peak.

According to VCBS, the deposit interest rate level currently drops deeply to the pre-COVID-19 level and there is little room for further reduction. However, during the period of economic recovery, maintaining low interest rates will be a priority. At the same time, keeping a low deposit interest rate for a long time is also a necessary condition to pull the lending interest rate down.

Besides, the handling of corp
orate bonds requires a lot of capital resources and a low interest rate will be a prerequisite to faster handling of the bonds.

According to VCBS, by the end of the third quarter of 2023, the average lending interest rate recorded on the financial statements of listed banks decreased by about 0.6 percentage points compared to the peak in the first quarter of 2023. However, lending interest rate is still about 1.6 percentage points higher than the bottom recorded in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Specifically, after the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) lowered its policy interest rates four times, deposit interest rates decreased rapidly. Actual lending interest rate has also gone down by about 2-2.5 percentage points for new loans. However, the interest rate applied to outstanding loans is still high at more than 10% per year.

VCBS expects the lending interest rate will decrease by another 1-1.5 percentage points in 2024. In particular, banks will consider lowering interest rate for some groups of firms which have
good business prospects, with an aim to restructure debts and support customers through difficult times.

However, experts forecast that banks will be more cautious in lending as their net interest margin (NIM) is on the decline and bad debt is on the rise. Therefore, VCBS believes that there will be a difference in lending interest rate reduction.

Besides, the group of private banks will drop the rate more sharply than the group of State-owned banks due to a rise in late debt repayment. VCBS expects lending interest rates of private banks will improve in the near future when customers return to repay debts.

Tran Hoai Nam, deputy general director of HDBank, also said there is currently no room to reduce deposit interest rates, while lending interest rates will gradually decrease until the first quarter of next year.

However, it is difficult to make a long-term forecast for the rate after that time, as it depends on domestic and world macro-economic fluctuations, Nam said./.
Source: Vietnam News Agency

Domestic gold prices hit new record high


Hanoi: Domestic gold prices kept skyrocketing on December 20 morning to pass the historic high, reaching 75.4 million VND (nearly 3,100 USD) per tael (1.2 ounces).

At 9:13 am in Hanoi, Doji Group listed each tael of SJC gold at 74.4 – 75.4 million VND (buying – selling), adding 550,000 VND for buying and 500,000 VND for the selling side from a day before.

Meanwhile, Phu Quy Group rated the precious metal at the same prices to Doji Group’s, up 550,000 VND for both buying and selling compared to the previous day.

The prices of gold also went up in the global market when the USD weakens and investors are waiting for the announcement of a series of new economic data later this week.

The upward trend in gold prices occurs as the US dollar index decreases by 0.4%, and the yield on 10-year US government bonds is near its lowest level since July 2022.

Bart Melek, Global Head of Commodity Strategy at TD Securities, has said that investors have been strongly buying gold in anticipation of the Federal Reserve (FED)
‘s cutting interest rates before inflation reaches its target./.
Source: Vietnam News Agency

Vietnam’s trade surplus surges to record high


Hanoi: Vietnam recorded a trade surplus of 26 billion USD in 2023, nearly tripling the figure last year and the highest on record, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Phan Thi Thang said at a teleconference held in Hanoi on December 20.

According to a report from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, despite formidable challenges in trade activities posed by poor economic growth and weak demand in large export markets such as the US, the EU, Japan and ASEAN, Vietnam capitalised on the recovery of its major and traditional markets to promote export.

The country shipped 354.5 billion USD worth of products in the year, down 4.6% year-on-year, which, Thang said, marked an easing from the 12% in the first half.

She added that 33 items recorded export turnover of 1 billion USD in 11 months, of which seven posted a value of more than 10 billion USD, accounting for 66% of the total revenue.

Farm produce was among key exports, she said, adding processed industrial products accounted for 85% of the export turnover.

General Director of the ministry’s Agency for Foreign Trade Tran Duy Dong said export showed signs of recovery in the end of 2023, and relished the prospect of better export situation in 2024 on the back of current free trade agreements (FTAs), and conclusion of negotiations and implementation of the trade deals with new markets such as Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

He stressed that the sound political relations with such trade partners as China, the EU and the US will create a premise for Vietnam to expand its economic, trade and investment cooperation.

Given those advantages, the ministry will strive to increase the export revenue growth by 6%, and trade surplus to some 15 billion USD in 2024, he said, underscoring the ministry will work to diversify export markets and supply chains, support enterprises to capitalise on the existing FTAs, especially the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP), the EU-Vietnam FTA and the UK-Vietnam FTA, to bolster shipments.

Ad
ditionally, it will coordinate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to negotiate with China for official export of more agricultural products from Vietnam, and speed up customs clearance at Vietnam-China border gates, Dong added./.
Source: Vietnam News Agency

Purchasing power on Christmas market still weak


Hanoi: A wide range of decorations with stable prices are now available in the Hanoi market as Christmas is nearing, but purchasing power remains weak.

Sellers on such streets as Hang Ma, Hang Luoc, and Luong Van Can, home to many toy and decorations stores, said that this year, consumers are tightening their belts due to economic difficulties, leading to slow consumption though Christmas is just around the corner.

Most visitors here are young people coming for sightseeing and taking check-in photos, they noted.

Nguyen Van Bay, owner of a souvenir shop on Hang Luoc in Hoan Kiem district, said the street has become more vibrant on these days, but the majority of visitors are youngsters going out for pleasure.

There are few buyers, which have nosedived by 30 – 50% compared to previous years.

Economic difficulties have discouraged people from spending, especially on Christmas decorations, he added.

Sharing the same view, Hoang Thi Van Anh, a shop owner on Hang Ma in Hoan Kiem district, noted prices of deco
rations this year are equivalent to last year’s, but purchasing power has yet to meet expectations because of economic slowdown.

Therefore, she continued, her store has offered some new and unique products to attract buyers.

Aside from decorations, the market of fresh pine trees also has diverse products to offer. Most of the trees are imported from Denmark, the Netherlands, and China.

In addition to the traditional market, Christmas decorations and gifts with prices about 20% lower are also being sold on e-marketplaces such as Lazada, Sendo, and Shopee or social media platforms like Facebook or Zalo./.
Source: Vietnam News Agency

Can Tho, UK look to cooperation in education, health, transport infrastructure


Can Tho: Vice Chairman of the Can Tho People’s Committee Duong Tan Hien on December 11 hosted a visiting delegation from the British Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City, with the sides expressing their intention for better joint work in education, health, and transport infrastructure.

Heading the delegation, Deputy Consul General Sam Wood expressed his hope that UK localities can connect and collaborate with the Vietnamese Mekong Delta city with a focus on the above-said areas, and enjoy favourable conditions created by and assistance from the municipal authorities.

The diplomat vowed to engage in the organisation of various networking activities during his tenure to bring investors from the UK to Can Tho to seek opportunities for investment partnerships.

Hien told his guests the three sectors are the city’s investment attraction priorities, and that Can Tho welcomes UK enterprises to the city to study the local market and forming cooperation.

Can Tho wishes to capitalise on opportunities brought about
by the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) serving improved trade between it and UK firms, particularly regarding its strong fields such as rice, fruit, and fishery.

Between January and October, Can Tho exported to the UK 19.51 million USD worth mostly of rice, aquatic products, apparel, handicrafts and processed farm produce./
Source: Vietnam News Agency

VNU-Hanoi has two more disciplines ranked by Times Higher Education

Hanoi: Courses in Education and Clinical and Health of the Vietnam National University, Hanoi (VNU, Hanoi) find a place in the Times Higher Education (THE)’s World University Ranking by Subjects 2024, which was released on October 26.

The two subjects, evaluated by THE for the first time, gained the global rankings in the 401-500 group for Education, and 601-800 group for Clinical and Health.

With the latest recognition, the VNU, Hanoi now has eight subjects listed on THE’s rankings. The others are Social Sciences (501-600), Business and Economics (601-800), Life Sciences (801-1000), Computer Sciences (801-1000), Engineering (801-1000) and Physical Sciences (801-1000).

THE’s rankings also cover Arts and Humanity, Law, and Psychology.

The rankings are based on THE’s survey, Elsevier’s Scopus database, and data provided by education establishments.

The 2024 version is based on THE’s new WUR 3.0 methodology, which includes 18 carefully calibrated performance indicators that measure an institution’s performance across five areas of teaching, research environment, research quality, industry and international outlook./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Vietnam, Japan foster educational cooperation

Vietnamese Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Kim Son on October 11 highly valued Japan’s educational development, and suggested the country share its experience with Vietnam to step up bilateral cooperation in this field.

At his meeting with Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Moriyama Masahito in Tokyo, Son stressed that Vietnam wants to learn from foreign countries’ advanced education, especially Japan’s policy on general education.

The minister expressed his hope that the two sides will foster collaboration in higher education, with more Vietnamese students to study in Japan, especially through scholarship programmes granted by the Japanese Government and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).

He suggested Japan further support Vietnam in implementing the present projects and work on plans to boost cooperation between the two countries’ higher education institutions in terms of training, research and the exchange of lectures and students.

Son called on Japan to expand short-term training courses in the country for Vietnamese public servants.

For his part, Moriyama affirmed that Vietnam is one of Japan’s strategic partners in Asia-Pacific, saying the two countries have maintained collaboration in general education and student exchanges.

Regarding the exchange of undergraduate and postgraduate students, the minister agreed with his Vietnamese counterpart’s suggestions, stressing that relevant agencies of both sides need to make greater efforts in this regard.

Moriyama noted with pleasure to witness, together with Son, the exchange of a memorandum of understanding between the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training and Japan’s Mizuno Group on cooperation in physical education at primary schools in Vietnam.

On October 10, Son and his entourage visited the Tokyo Gakugei University and met with the university’s representatives.

He is scheduled to hold a meeting with the Vice President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on October 13./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Six Vietnamese universities named in THE world rankings 2024

Six Vietnamese universities have been listed in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024 (THE WUR 2024) which include nearly 1,904 universities across 108 countries and territories.

In the rankings released on September 28, Duy Tan University and Ton Duc Thang University were placed between 601st and 800th, while Vietnam National University (VNU) – Hanoi in the 1,201st- 1,500th group, and VNU-HCM City, Hanoi University of Science and Technology and Hue University in the 1,501+ group.

Compared to the previous rankings, three universities have their places dropped, namely the Duy Tan University and Ton Duc Thang University that ranked in the 401st – 500th group and the VNU-Hanoi in the 1,001st – 1,200th group in 2023. The other three universities maintained their rankings.

This year, THE increased the number of evaluation criteria from 13 to 18 in five groups: teaching, research environment, research quality, industry and international outlook.

The rankings analysed over 134 million citations from 16.5 million scientific publications in the Scopus database and survey responses from 68,402 scholars worldwide. This edition of the ranking featured the largest number of participating universities, with 2,673 institutions.

According to THE WUR 2024, the top five universities in the world are Oxford University, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, and Cambridge University.

In Asia, the top performers include Tsinghua University and Peking University (China), National University of Singapore, University of Tokyo (Japan), and Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency