Bureau Chief, Vietnam
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Feb 11, 2011

Vietnam devalues dong again in step to alleviate woes

HANOI, Feb 11 (Reuters) – Vietnam devalued its beleaguered
currency on Friday for the third time in a year, as authorities
start to try to address festering economic problems that critics
say have been brushed aside in the pursuit of growth.

The State Bank of Vietnam dropped the dong’s reference rate
by 8.5 percent against the dollar and narrowed the
currency’s trading band to 1 percent from 3 percent on either
side of that midpoint rate.

Jan 19, 2011

Vietnam PM set for second term as Politburo unveiled

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung was reappointed to the ruling Communist Party’s Politburo on Wednesday, paving the way for him to serve a second term and make good on his pledge to stabilise the economy.

Dung has presided over five years of robust economic expansion that averaged at 7 percent a year, but the Vietnamese leaders came under criticism that they allowed big imbalances to build up in the $100 billion economy in their pursuit of rapid growth.

Jan 19, 2011

Vietnam PM Dung survives to see likely second term

HANOI (Reuters) – When Vietnam’s massive state shipbuilder Vinashin nearly collapsed last year in a scandal that triggered credit rating downgrades, a barrage of criticism flew toward Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

But it didn’t stick.

On Wednesday, the ambitious 61-year-old political survivor was re-appointed to the ruling Communist Party’s elite Politburo in a step that diplomats, party sources and analysts said paves the way for him to serve a second term as prime minister.

Jan 18, 2011

Vietnam reshuffles leaders, but policy seen consistent

HANOI (Reuters) – A third of the ruling Communist Party’s 15-man Politburo in Vietnam stepped down at a five-yearly congress on Tuesday, part of a reshuffle that will bring new, younger faces into the ageing leadership.

At the first meeting of a newly elected Central Committee, Nguyen Phu Trong, an ideologue who heads parliament, was elected to the party’s top post, general secretary, a source with knowledge of the vote said on condition of anonymity.

Jan 18, 2011

Third of Vietnam Politburo steps down in reshuffle

HANOI (Reuters) – A third of Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party’s 15-man Politburo stepped down at a five-yearly congress on Tuesday, part of a reshuffle that could bring new, younger faces into Vietnam’s aging leadership. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung was re-elected, as expected, to the policy-making Central Committee, made up of the party’s top 175 officials.

But it was unclear whether he would end up with more power when full results from the closed-door gathering are due to be announced on Wednesday, including the composition of an expanded 17-member Politburo and the General Secretary.

Jan 18, 2011

Vietnam to reshuffle leaders but bold reforms elusive

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party will reshuffle its leaders on Tuesday at a secretive conclave to

set the policy tone in one of the world’s fastest-growing frontier markets.

Jan 17, 2011

As Vietnam booms, Communist Party struggles to keep up

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam’s ruling Communists are replenishing their aging ranks with younger, better-educated policymakers and entrepreneurs as the 81-year-old party founded by Marxist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh struggles to stay relevant.

The party will select a new policy-making Central Committee on Monday that is likely to be stacked with younger faces, and they vote this week on a test scheme to admit entrepreneurs into the country’s stodgy socialist bureaucracy.

Jan 13, 2011

Special Report: Vietnam’s capitalist roaders follow China trail

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam (Reuters), Jan 13 – Nguyen Duc Tai was on a mission one sweltering January morning in Vietnam’s commercial capital, Ho Chi Minh City.

Flush with cash from his annual bonus, he wanted to buy his wife a new mobile phone, a gift for the coming Tet lunar new year holidays. In a county where the average annual income is about $1,100, a good phone is a big investment. Tai wanted to make the right choice with his 5 million dong ($250).

Jan 12, 2011

Vietnam’s Party Congress opens, focus on economy

HANOI, Jan 12 (Reuters) – Vietnam’s ruling communists
opened an eight-day party congress on Wednesday with a candid
admission the fast-growing economy had become unstable, as
delegates began the process of reshuffling leaders and
charting new policies.

As leaders sang the national anthem to begin the
five-yearly event, streets in the chilly capital Hanoi were
festooned with red and yellow banners, some bearing the iconic
hammer and sickle. Propaganda posters bore the smiling
likeness of revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh or of proud,
uniformed workers.

Dec 23, 2010

S&P downgrades Vietnam on susceptible bank sector

HANOI, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Standard & Poor’s Ratings
Services lowered Vietnam’s long-term sovereign credit ratings
on Thursday, following similar cuts by rivals this year, on
concerns the banking sector has become more vulnerable to
shocks.
It also put a negative outlook on Techcombank, which
is 20 percent owned by HSBC Holdings Plc ,
and downgraded Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam
(BIDV) and Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam.
Thursday’s move put some daylight between S&P’s
sovereign credit ratings of Vietnam and its regional peers
Indonesia and the Philippines, highlighting the divergent
economic fortunes.
Although it was not mentioned by S&P, the
beleaguered state-run shipbuilding conglomerate Vinashin was
poised to enter default on a widely watched debt payment on
Thursday unless an 11th-hour deal could be struck with
international creditors.

S&P warned on Dec. 13 that exposure to Vinashin, or
Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group, was likely to damage the
creditworthiness and balance sheets of some Vietnamese banks.