Bureau Chief, Vietnam
John's Feed
Dec 9, 2010

Environmental changes challenge Vietnam government

LONG XUYEN, Vietnam (Reuters) – About a year ago some farmers from Binh Thanh commune in Vietnam’s southern rice growing heartland suspected the worst — that their irrigation water had become too salty.

They telephoned Vo Thanh, the head of An Giang province’s hydro-meteorology center, and he came to take water samples from the commune, which is about 20 km (12 miles) from the sea.

Dec 8, 2010

Vinashin must pay its own debts – Vietnamese minister

HANOI, Dec 8 (Reuters) – Troubled Vietnamese shipbuilder Vinashin is
responsible for re-paying its own debts, including $60 million due later this
month to international creditors, a government minister said on Wednesday.

The comments by Minister of Planning and Investment Vo Hong Phuc confirmed
that one of the country’s biggest state-owned firms was unlikely to get
financial aid from the government to tackle a mountain of debt that brought it
close to bankruptcy.

Dec 7, 2010

Vietnam c.bank to focus on low inflation, stability

HANOI, Dec 7 (Reuters) – Vietnam’s central bank said on
Tuesday its top priority next year would be controlling
inflation and stabilising the economy, and the International
Monetary Fund advised further monetary tightening.

In 2011, the State Bank of Vietnam “will actively, flexibly
and prudently conduct monetary policies in order to give the
first priority to controlling inflation and stabilising the
macroeconomy, contributing to growth (in the) economy”,
Governor Nguyen Van Giau said in remarks prepared for a donors’
meeting.

Dec 6, 2010

Vietnam shipbuilder’s woes spread, miner downgraded

HANOI, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Standard & Poor’s on Monday cut
its long-term credit rating on Vietnam’s state mining group
Vinacomin after signs the government might not help a similar
state-owned company, troubled shipbuilder Vinashin, with debt
payments.
    What happens to Vinashin will set the tone for Vietnamese
borrowing in the near future. Should Vinashin fail to make its
debt payments, not only would the cost of capital rise for
other state-owned companies, but questions may be asked about
the government’s ability to service its debt, analysts say.

“We downgraded Vinacomin to reflect our view of the ‘low’
likelihood of extraordinary government support to the
company… in the event of financial distress,” S&P said in a
statement.

Nov 24, 2010

Vietnam PM takes some responsibility for shipbuilder

HANOI, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen
Tan Dung tried to put a debacle that has dented his political
career behind him on Wednesday, taking some responsibility
before lawmakers for the near-collapse of state shipbuilder
Vinashin.

Analysts say Vietnam’s biggest corporate failure ever has
raised questions about Dung’s future, and some delegates to the
National Assembly were clearly not satisfied with his
unwillingness to take personal responsibility.

Nov 5, 2010

Q+A-What next for the Vietnamese dong?

HANOI, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Vietnam raised interest rates on
Friday, a day after the government ruled out a devaluation of
the dong VND=VN from now until early February and a senior
economic official said the central bank will instead tap
foreign exchange reserves to keep the beleaguered currency
stable.

Below are some questions and answers related to this latest
approach to the currency’s chronic weakness.

Nov 5, 2010

Vietnam raises rates after pledging no devaluation

HANOI, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Vietnam’s central bank raised
interest rates on Friday, one day after the government pledged
steps to stabilise the beleaguered dong VND=VN while vowing
not to devalue the currency for at least three months.

Vietnam is also facing growing inflationary pressure.

The State Bank of Vietnam increased its three key rates by
100 basis points each, bringing the benchmark base rate and the
refinance rate to 9 percent and the discount rate to 7 percent,
it said in a statement on its website, www.sbv.gov.vn.

Oct 31, 2010

Risks linger as China, Japan spar over islets

HANOI (Reuters) – Japan and China talk of building a strategic partnership but they can’t seem to avoid tactical scraps.

A high-profile breakdown in diplomacy over the question of whether Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan would meet one-on-one at a regional summit in Hanoi has raised questions about the risks from lingering brinksmanship between Asia’s two biggest economies.

Oct 31, 2010

Analysis: Risks linger as China, Japan spar over islets

HANOI (Reuters) – Japan and China talk of building a strategic partnership but they can’t seem to avoid tactical scraps.

A high-profile breakdown in diplomacy over the question of whether Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan would meet one-on-one at a regional summit in Hanoi has raised questions about the risks from lingering brinksmanship between Asia’s two biggest economies.

Oct 30, 2010

Clinton joins summit after China, Japan flare-up

HANOI (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joins an Asia-Pacific summit Saturday after a flare-up in Chinese anger at Japan over disputed islands that cast doubt over prospects for reconciliation between the two Asian powers.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry official accused Japan of damaging the atmosphere between the two countries Friday after Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara raised the issue of the Senkaku islands, called the Diaoyus in Chinese, at the summit. Both China and Japan claim sovereignty over the isles.