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Samson:  S&P raises Việt Nam long-term sovereign credit rating to BB+; outlook Stable

27th May, 2022

S&P Global Ratings on Thursday upgraded its long-term sovereign credit rating on Việt Nam to BB+ from BB.

The move comes on the back of the country’s strong economic recovery prospects following the progressive lift of domestic and cross-border mobility restrictions, outstanding improvement in vaccination rates, and flexible shift in COVID-containment policy.

The ratings outlook is stable.

Against the backdrop of challenging global developments and deep scarring effects of the pandemic leading to more than 30 downgrades by credit rating agencies in the year to date, Việt Nam is one of the only two sovereigns in the Asia-Pacific region to have been upgraded this year – the other being Taiwan (China).

According to S&P, the significant improvements in government administrative processes, in particular the governance quality of government guaranteed debt obligations, robust economic growth prospects, strong external position and resilient FDI flows despite pandemic disruptions were also factored in to S&P’s decision to upgrade Việt Nam’s ratings.

The stable outlook reflects S&P’s expectations that over the next 12-24 months, Việt Nam’s economy will continue to recover from the challenges posed by the pandemic over the past two years, which will support the external position and contain fiscal deficits.

In S&P’s view, Việt Nam’s GDP per capita has risen quickly in the past few years and is expected to reach a 10-year weighted average growth of real GDP per capita of approximately 4.8 per cent, significantly higher than the average of Việt Nam’s peers at a similar income level. S&P forecasts real GDP will grow 6.9 per cent in 2022 and maintain a long-term trend of growing 6.5-7 per cent from 2023 onward.

Việt Nam’s macroeconomic stability combined with advantages in competitive labour, improved education standards and favourable demographics have been key growth drivers in strengthening Việt Nam’s attractiveness as a favourable destination for global enterprises in manufacturing sector, creating momentum for exports and consumption growth, according to the rating agency.

On the social front, S&P acknowledges that the Vietnamese Government has generally delivered strong development outcomes in the past decade, strengthening strong social compact between the government and citizens.

On the fiscal front, S&P also recognises that Việt Nam’s public finances have been stable despite pressures posed by the pandemic and it expects the fiscal deficit to be temporarily widened due to the implementation of the social-economic recovery programme. However, S&P states that the policy space is ample in the context of sharp reduction of public debt.

S&P’s upgrade of Việt Nam’s credit ratings amid evolving challenges across the globe reflects the agency’s appreciation of the proactive measures by the Party, National Assembly and the Government to stabilise the macro-economy and consolidate socio-political foundation.

This is also testament to the agency’s recognition of the effective coordination led by Ministry of Finance, related ministries and agencies, to communicate Việt Nam’s policies and achievements to the international community.

According to the Ministry of Finance, it will continue to provide information and updates to allow credit rating agencies and international institutions to form a comprehensive assessment of Việt Nam’s strong and improving credit profile.

Nguyễn Văn Toàn, vice chairman of the Vietnam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises, told Việt Nam News that the S&P’s upgrade will be a positive driver for the country’s foreign investment attraction next time.

“Thanks to success in the pandemic-containment policy and the recognition from international organisations, I forecast Việt Nam’s FDI in 2022 will continue to increase significantly against last year,” Toàn said.

According to Toàn, FDI disbursement in the first four months of this year reached US$5.92 billion, a year-on-year rise of 7.6 per cent. Foreign investors invested in 18 out of 21 economic sectors, mostly in processing-manufacturing sector with $6.2 billion, accounting for 57.2 per cent of the total FDI. It was followed by real estate with $2.8 million, and retail with $667.8 million.  LINK


Samson:  Vietnamese economy to do well in 2022: experts

26th May, 2022

The Vietnamese economy recovered more slowly than the world economy last year, but the reverse is likely to be true this year.

BIDV Chief Economist Cấn Văn Lực made the forecast at the conference “Vietnam financial market 2021 and outlook 2022” yesterday.

Lực had three possible scenarios for the Vietnamese economy in 2022. In the best-case scenario, the economy is expected to rebound strongly with an annual growth rate of 6-6.5 per cent. The figure is adjusted down to 5.5-6 per cent in the base-case scenario, and to 4.5-5 per cent if things do not turn out well.

Meanwhile, inflation is believed to rise steadily due to global inflationary pressures. “I’m quite sure that Vietnamese inflation will rise to around 3.8-4.2 per cent this year. It’s inevitable amid rapid-rising global inflation,” he added.

Additionally, Lực was optimistic that the securities market is likely to become more sound and stable after several corrections. The VN-Index is forecast to rise slightly by 7.7 per cent to reach 1,614 points in the best-case scenario.

Regarding the banking system, credit growth is expected to hit 14-15 per cent while the non-performing loan ratio would be kept at around 2 per cent. Pre-tax profits of credit institutions are estimated to grow by 20-25 per cent against 2021.

The insurance market is also expected to do well in 2022 profit-wise with a growth of 18-20 per cent. However, profits from investment activities are likely to stay lower than in 2020 and 2021.

Economic expert Lê Xuân Nghĩa believed that the corporate bond market is a capital-raising channel more important than medium- and long-term bank loans. It is the case because corporate bonds are more flexible than bank loans. “When bonds mature, firms can issue new bonds to service the due bonds. They can not do the same for bank loans,” he explained.

The expert feared that the currently-stagnated bond market would hold back ongoing bond-financed projects and stifle new projects, putting firms at risk of defaults. He was also concerned that the stagnation would freeze the realty market and drive many banks to a critical situation. He called for transparency and accountability in the bond market to solve the problem.

Phạm Xuân Hòe, Secretary-General of Vietnam Financial Leasing Association, estimated total financial assets in the economy at over 300 per cent of GDP. The ratio was so high that it signalled a structurally-problematic real economy.  “Such a high ratio is the main cause for turbulence in Vietnamese financial markets in recent years,” he said.

The secretary-general also highlighted asset leasing as an effective financial channel for firms, notably small- and medium-sized businesses. However, legal frameworks for the channel have been outdated and need to be replaced to unlock its potential.

Phạm Thị Hoàng Anh, Director of Research Institute for Banking, Banking Academy of Vietnam, opined that the State Bank of Vietnam had managed central exchange rates with much success. Notably, foreign reserves reached US$114 billion by late 2021. “The abundant reserves will give SBV ample room to safeguard financial security,” she said.

The director also revealed that total credit to commercial real estate hit VNĐ783 trillion by late March 2022, higher than the same period in previous years but still in the safe zone.

Vũ Nhữ Thăng, Vice Chairman of the National Financial Supervisory Commission, was concerned that risks in the realty market might spill over into the banking system and securities market, putting firms on the line. “The size of the contagion effects depends on the volume of the privately-placed bonds issued by realty firms and the volume of those held by banks,” he stressed. He also underlined Circular 16 issued by the SBV in 2021 as a timely regulation that constrained banks’ privately-placed bond ownership, effectively curbing the spillover.   LINK

Samson:  Việt Nam-Asia DX Summit 2022 opens in Hà Nội

26th May, 2022

The Việt Nam-Asia Digital Transformation (DX) Summit 2022 opened in Hà Nội yesterday, where experts are examining ways to further utilise the advantages of digitalisation for the economy and society.

The digital economy is making many important contributions to the global economy, said Nguyễn Văn Khoa, Việt Nam Software and IT Services Association (Vinasa) chairman.

Facing the trend towards digitalisation, many countries have taken the opportunity to develop the digital economy and have issued their own development strategies, he added.

The summit is organised by Vinasa under the direction and patronage of the Ministry of Information and Communications.

Data from Google and Temasek shows that the Vietnamese internet economy achieved US$21 billion last year and contributed more than 5 per cent of the country’s GDP.

Studies show that the growth rate of the Vietnamese digital economy is seven times higher than in 2015 and is expected to reach more than $57 billion by 2025, ranking second in Southeast Asia. “Việt Nam is facing an opportunity to promote the internet economy, especially digital transformation platforms,” said Khoa.

Vinasa’s chairman shared that the proportion of the digital economy in each industry and field was forecast to be about 20 per cent.

The Government’s goal is for the digital economy to account for 20 per cent of GDP by 2025. By 2030, the corresponding figure is 30 per cent of GDP. “This is the most challenging goal, especially for traditional industries, and requires the determination of everyone to participate,” he added.

Creating Vietnamese platforms

The Vinasa chairman shared that digital transformation has created a data resource.

Speaking at the summit, he said that in order to successfully realise the extremely challenging goal of the Prime Minister, Việt Nam’s digital economy development needs cooperation from all political levels and economic components. “Digital technology enterprises are making efforts to develop quality digital transformation platforms and solutions, invest in research and accelerate the application of new technologies, such as AI and blockchain. They are also making great efforts to work together in building a digital ecosystem to help agencies, organisations and businesses in digital transformation,” said Khoa.

In the framework of the event, Nguyễn Trọng Đường, deputy director of the Department of Enterprise Management, Ministry of Information and Communications, introduced in detail the Strategy for the development of the digital economy and digital society in Việt Nam.

The development of the digital economy and digital society is to bring the activities of people and businesses to the digital environment, said Đường.

The digital environment is a global environment, therefore Việt Nam’s digital economy and digital society development strategy should be built on the basis of international references selectively, combined with Việt Nam’s practice of clearly defining the concept of the digital economy and society.

The core, unique and different point of Việt Nam in the development of the digital economy and digital society was to bring the activities of people and businesses to the digital environment using Vietnamese digital platforms, he noted.

This was the guiding spirit of the strategy, which names 54 specific digital platforms. In these, 35 digital platforms will be prioritised to deploy first this year, he said. The breakthrough point is the rapid dissemination of national digital platforms to serve the unique and specific needs of the Vietnamese people and enterprises, said Đường.

With the role of leading the implementation of the strategy of digital transformation, the Ministry of Information and Communications hopes to receive the cooperation of ministries, branches and localities to develop action plans.

Đường also called on the participation of the technology business community, to deploy and achieve the goals set out by the strategy.

The two-day forum is expected to attract more than 2,500 domestic and international delegates and more than 10,000 online followers. The forum is an event to celebrate “Digital Transformation Day” on October 10, which the Prime Minister has just approved  LINK


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