Archive for the ‘exports’ Category

Vietnam Needs to Increase Rice Exports to Africa, Tuoi Tre Says

November 26, 2008

Vietnam needs to increase rice shipments to Africa as there is strong demand for the country’s exports, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported, citing three officials from the continent.

African nations buy about 20 percent of Vietnam’s rice exports and have become the third-largest market after Asia and the Middle East, the report said, citing government data released yesterday at a conference in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Southeast Asian nation shipped about 1 million metric tons of rice to Africa this year, Tuoi Tre said, without giving figures for earlier years.

The officials named in the report included Macaria Baira, vice chairwoman of International Cooperation and Integration for South Africa and Jules Touka from Cameroon’s Chamber of Commerce.

From Bloomberg,
By Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen

China Learning To Play By The Rules?

November 17, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama told a Pittsburgh crowd this year that “trade with China will only be good for you if China itself plays by the rules.” Well, thanks to its membership in the World Trade Organization, China is learning to do precisely that.

The latest example came Thursday, when American, European and Chinese negotiators resolved a trade tiff over financial information suppliers. The dispute started in 2006 when Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency, insisted that foreigners hand over private client data and use Xinhua as their sole distribution agent. The agency aimed to set up its own competing news service, Xinhua 08 — presumably after stealing foreign client lists and business plans.

The Wall Street Journal

The move upset an earlier deal between China and such foreign firms as then-Reuters (now Thomson Reuters), Bloomberg and Dow Jones, which is owned by News Corp. and owns this newspaper. Xinhua had tried to muscle foreigners out of the market in the 1990s, and the U.S. and European Union agreed at the time that their firms would be subject to content oversight by Xinhua in exchange for permission to operate in China and sell directly to clients.

After the latest Xinhua power play, the Bush Administration filed a complaint at the WTO. The European Union and Canada joined the U.S. case. After eight months of negotiation, the governments announced Thursday that China had more or less caved. Foreigners will be allowed to distribute news directly to their clients, without interference from Xinhua, and will not be forced to cough up confidential client information to obtain a business license. China also promised to set up an independent regulator to oversee the industry, removing Xinhua’s oversight, by June 1 next year.

In other words, China agreed to play by WTO rules. This isn’t a one-off event….

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Vietnam in quandary over inflation, global economic downturn

November 16, 2008

Vietnam, like much of the world, is trying to stimulate its economy amid the global downturn, but it is in a quandary because it must also keep rampant inflation from flaring up again, say experts.

With a small and relatively insulated banking sector, Vietnam was not directly exposed to the subprime crisis that sparked the Wall Street meltdown and the subsequent worldwide credit crunch and financial turmoil.

But the wider economic repercussions of what has been called the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression are already being felt in Vietnam, especially in the crucial export sector.

Containers are seen piling up at Saigon port in Ho Chi Minh ...
Containers are seen piling up at Saigon port in Ho Chi Minh city in June 2008. Vietnam, like much of the world, is trying to stimulate its economy amid the global downturn, but it is in a quandary because it must also keep rampant inflation from flaring up again, say experts.(AFP/File/Hoang Dinh Nam)

Amid slackening overseas demand, Vietnam’s monthly exports have steadily fallen from US$6.5 billion (US$1 = RM3.59) in July, to US$6 billion in August,US$5.1 billion in October.


And, although it’s too early to say foreigners are pulling out of financial markets, in the past month they have been net sellers of bonds and stocks.

Inflation has been in double digits all year and stood at 26.7 per cent in October, a slight fall after a drop in global energy and commodity prices. The government’s target is to bring annual inflation down to 23-24 per cent in 2008, and to less than 15 per cent in 2009.

Aiming to reduce liquidity to fight inflation, the government had raised interest rates and bank reserve requirements several times this year. But this has also starved businesses of credit for investment and working capital, forcing the central bank to reverse its monetary policy as both local and international factors have slowed economic growth in Vietnam.

A farmer throws a net to catch fish on a flooded paddy field ... 
A farmer throws a net to catch fish on a flooded paddy field in Phuong My village, 25 km (16 miles) outside Hanoi November 12, 2008. Hanoi reported 22 deaths from the worst inundations in more than three decades, officials said.REUTERS/Kham (VIETNAM)

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Vietnam to grow genetically modified crops

November 13, 2008

Vietnam plans to test genetically modified (GM) agricultural crops from now until 2010 and then grow them on a large scale, media reports in the communist country said on Thursday.

Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat announced the plan in a National Assembly session this week, said the state-run Vietnam News Agency.


Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat talks to media in 2006. Vietnam ... 
Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat talks to media in 2006. Vietnam plans to test genetically modified (GM) agricultural crops from now until 2010 and then grow them on a large scale, media reports in the communist country said on Thursday.(AFP/File/Hoang Dinh Nam)

Under the government plan, Vietnam would from 2011 plant GM species of maize, cotton and soybean, said the news site Vietnamnet quoting experts attending a recent biotechnology workshop.

The Ho Chi Minh City Biotechnology Centre plans to grow a GM maize variety from the Philippines on a trial basis, the report said.

GM technology has been highly controversial, praised by some for increasing yields and improving varieties, and condemned by others for creating “frankenfoods” that pose dangers to the environment and people’s health.

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China’s Premier Says Global Financial Meltdown “Worse Than First Thought” for China

November 13, 2008

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao said the effect of the global financial meltdown on the country was “worse than expected,” state media said Thursday, in a sign of growing concern at the impact of the crisis.


Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at a press conference in Beijing. ... 
Part geologist, part economist, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at a press conference in Beijing. Wen Jiabao has said the effect of the global financial meltdown on the country was “worse than expected,” state media have said, in a sign of growing concern at the impact of the crisis.(AFP/File/Eric Feferberg)  

Wen was quoted as making the assessment by the director of the National Bureau of Statistics Ma Jiantang when he briefed his staff on Tuesday, according to the website of the bureau’s newspaper China Information News.

“The impact of the global financial crisis on the Chinese economy is much worse than many had expected,” Ma said according to the website, passing on remarks made by Wen.

China initially said the global financial crisis would not cause too much harm to its economy, but in recent days the signals from Beijing have changed markedly.

Wen’s comment comes after the Chinese government unveiled a four trillion yuan (586 billion dollars) economic stimulus plan on Sunday aimed at boosting domestic consumer demand in the face of flagging exports.

China’s Disquieting Trade Surplus

November 11, 2008

A huge trade surplus amid all the doom and gloom suddenly surrounding China’s exporters seems counterintuitive. Yet, China has just racked up its third record trade surplus — and markets are spooked.

The newly released October trade figures show that exports, at $128.3 billion, were up 19.2% year on year. That was the third consecutive monthly deceleration in export growth, but it was better than expected, especially as the export-driven south of the country has seen a wave of factory closings and layoffs. ( See “Cold Christmas For China’s Manufacturers”) It was also impressive when you consider that China’s European export markets are in recession and those in the United States and Japan contracting.

But a trade balance has two components and imports, at $93.1 billion, were up a less-than-expected 15.6%. That faster deceleration than exports is the reason the trade surplus widened and points to an accelerating cooling of domestic demand, though falling commodity prices would also have contributed to the value of imports.

The figures were announced after Asian markets closed but European stocks fell on the news as investors questioned whether the slowdown in domestic demand implied by the trade figures meant China would not be an effective engine of global growth. (See “Europe Worries About China Trade Surplus.”) At midday in New York, U.S. stock indexes were showing losses of around 3.0%, and the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index (nyse: FXInews people ), an exchange-traded fund that reflects large companies in China that are available to international investors, slid 5.6%, or $1.49, to $25.12.

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Russian Oil Exports Down 25%

November 9, 2008

By Maria Ermakova

Bloomberg — Russian oil exports have dropped 25 percent below “normal” levels, OAO Transneft Chief Executive Officer Nikolai Tokarev told reporters today, according to Interfax.

An oil pump is seen on the shore near Santa Cruz del Norte, ...

The reductions are “temporary,” Tokarev said, according to the report. “The companies have contracts and obligations to their foreign partners, and they will fulfill them.”

Russia cut its crude export duty by 23 percent to $287.30 a metric ton from Nov. 1, according to a government order published in the official Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper on Nov. 5.

Transneft is Russia’s state oil pipeline operator.

Mikhail Barkov, spokesman for Transneft, and Marina Dracheva, spokeswoman for TNK-BP, BP Plc’s Russian oil venture, declined to provide an immediate comment on the report. Vladimir Semakov, spokesman for OAO Lukoil, Russia’s largest non-state oil producer, couldn’t be reached.

China’s economy may expand at the slowest pace in nearly two decades

November 8, 2008

When China’s President Hu Jintao made his first official visit to Washington in April of 2006, President Bush asked his counterpart which of the numerous challenges China faced was the most serious — which one kept Hu awake at night worrying. “Unemployment,” Hu reportedly answered without hesitating.
China's President Hu Jintao speaks at a celebration meeting ... 
China’s President Hu Jintao speaks at a celebration meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing November 7, 2008. China held a meeting on Friday morning to award people who made outstanding contributions to the Shenzhou VII manned space flight, Xinhua reported.REUTERS/Jason Lee (CHINA)
By Paul Panckhurst and Li Yanping

Nov. 8 (Bloomberg) — China’s economy may expand at the slowest pace in nearly two decades next year as demand for exports slumps in the U.S. and Europe and government spending fails to bridge the gap.

Gross domestic product may advance 7.5 percent or less, the weakest since 1990, according to estimates by Credit Suisse AG, UBS AG and Deutsche Bank AG. Royal Bank of Scotland Plc predicts the economy will grow 8 percent next year, while 5 percent “can’t be ruled out.”

China hasn’t yet ramped up spending on railways, roads, and low-cost housing by enough to stop a slowing economy from cooling more, economists said. At stake is the contribution to global growth — 27 percent last year — that Premier Wen Jiabao says is the nation’s way of helping the world through the financial crisis.

China's Premier Wen Jiabao delivers a speech during the ...
China’s Premier Wen Jiabao delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of Beijing high-level conference on climate change at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing November 7, 2008.REUTERS/Jason Lee (CHINA)

“The government’s fiscal stimulus plan may not come in time to avert a deeper economic slowdown,” said Ha Jiming, chief economist at China International Capital Corp in Beijing. Growth may be 7.3 percent next year, he said.

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China to Launch Stimulus Package?
BEIJING (Reuters) – Evidence is mounting that China might launch a massive economic stimulus package in the near future as worries over a sharp slowdown in the world’s fourth-largest economy intensify, officials said on Friday.

From media reports to comments by government economists, speculation is swirling that Beijing would soon work out a comprehensive and aggressive plan soon to boost its sagging economic growth rate.

What lends more ammunition to the speculation is that China Finance Minister Xie Xuren earlier this week left the Asia-Pacific finance ministers’ conference in Peru suddenly before the gathering got underway.

He also canceled his attendance at the G20 meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil, leaving his deputy, Li Yong, to represent the Chinese Finance Ministry.

Official sources said he was summoned back to Beijing by his bosses to discuss important and urgent policies.

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Once Sizzling, China’s Economy Shows Rapid Signs of Fizzling

November 7, 2008

Each new forecast of China’s economic fortunes predicts slower growth than the forecast that preceded it.

By David Barboza
The New York Times

Just as China attained supercharged growth that astounded much of the world, it appears to be slowing more sharply and more quickly than anyone anticipated.

“It’s tough to be optimistic,” said Stephen Green, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Shanghai. “The three engines of growth — exports, investment and consumption — have all slowed down.”

The signs are so troubling that last week Prime Minister Wen Jiabao warned that this year would be “the worst in recent years for our economic development.”

A series of government reports released over the last few weeks indicated that China’s export juggernaut was moderating. Real estate construction projects are being suspended. Consumer confidence is in decline. And many factories in southern China are closing, putting tens of thousands of migrant laborers out of work.

Some Chinese companies have even reported that Christmas orders — which were supposed to be placed in late summer or early fall — were down 20 percent this year, as big retailers and toy marketers grew gloomy about the holiday season.

Until recently, many economists had insisted that China was insulated from the global financial crisis rippling through the United States and Europe, and that the Chinese Communist Party had the tools to keep the economy chugging along. But newly released data suggests that nearly every sector of the economy is slowing and credit is tightening in a nation that has grown accustomed to sizzling hot growth.

While few economists expect China to fall into recession, analysts are forecasting the worst growth in more than a decade, with the economy expected to expand by as little as 5.8 percent in the fourth quarter this year, down from about 11 percent in 2007.

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Vietnam Urges Rice Exporters to Buy, Ship Stockpiles

November 7, 2008

BVietnam, the world’s second-biggest rice exporter [after Thailand], is calling on companies to buy up stockpiles from farmers for shipment overseas before the harvest this month, according to a statement on the government’s Web site.

By Van Nguyen and Rattaphol Onsanit, Bloomberg

State-run Vietnam Southern Food Corp. and Vietnam Northern Food Corp. will have to buy 300,000 metric tons that meet export standards, said the statement, citing Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai. The ministries of trade and foreign affairs together with the Vietnam Food Association will seek overseas customers.

The Southeast Asian nation is facing a rice glut after restricting exports earlier this year amid concerns there may be a shortage. Increased exports may further depress global rice prices, which have slumped about 40 percent in Chicago since reaching a record in April.

“Vietnam’s rice production has been rising, and its government is encouraging traders to get this supply out,” said Visut Tanprasatprinya, vice president of Bangkok-based Siam Rice Trading (Thailand) Ltd., which ships around 200,000 tons a year. “That’s why we see prices tanking.”

The price of Thailand’s 100 percent grade B white rice, a benchmark for the commodity across Asia, was set at $595 a metric ton this week by the Thai Rice Exporters Association. That’s the lowest price since March.

Higher rice shipments may help Vietnam to sustain economic growth after the government pared back targets for expansion this year because of surging inflation, a widening trade deficit and the global financial crisis.

Debt Payments

Deputy Prime Minister Hai asked Vietnam’s commercial banks to extend companies’ overdue debt payments and grant more loans at the “lowest possible lending rate,” allowing them to purchase more rice, said the statement, which was issued yesterday.

Exporters borrowed more than 18.8 trillion dong ($1.1 billion) in the first nine months to buy 3.2 million tons of rice, the central bank reported, according to the statement.

The total amount of rice available for export this year may be 5.3 millions tons, instead of an August projection of 4.6 million tons, the Lao Dong newspaper reported on Nov. 1., citing the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Between January and October, the country shipped about 4 million tons….

Above: Vietnamese farmers harvest rice…

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