News on 7 July 2016


1) Vietnam to ask Formosa to change technology in wake of fish death scandal

People are pictured near the wastewater treatment area at the Formosa steel plant in Ha Tinh, located in north-central Vietnam. TuoiTreThe wastewater discharge canal at the Formosa steel plant.

Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group must replace the current technology at its Vietnamese steel making plant, which was responsible for killing dozens of metric tons of fish, Vietnam’s science ministry said on Tuesday (July 5). Vietnam will closely oversee the technology change at the Formosa steel mill in the north-central province of Ha Tinh, which is also part of a five-point commitment the Taiwanese firm has made after its role in the environmental disaster was revealed last week. “Under our supervision, Formosa will have to change some types of technology at their steel mill, in line with what their leaders had promised,” Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Pham Cong Tac said at a ministry press briefing in Hanoi. The Vietnamese government announced on June 30 the results of a two-month inspection into the mass fish deaths observed between April and May along the coast of Ha Tinh a nd three other provinces, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue.

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2) Gold prices rise on global trend

Sài Gòn Jewelry Holdings Co. (SJC)’s gold price rocketed up on July 6 in line with the global trend. Its gold was being traded between VNĐ37.30 million (US$1,672) and VNĐ38 million (buying and selling) per tael, or 1.2 ounces, increasing by VNĐ1.1 million compared with yesterday’s session (July 6). Meanwhile, the price of gold in the Asian market was at $1.36 per ounce, $20 higher than the earlier session. At these trading prices, after converting according to the Vietcombank’s foreign exchange rate, the global price of gold was equal to VNĐ36.79 million per tael, VNĐ1.12 million lower than the price of SJC gold. Domestic gold traders attributed the price hike to weak economic data from China and the unstable situation following Brexit, which had customers’ appetite for gold.

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3) Vietnam fund lists on London bourse

Vietnam Enterprise Investments Limited, one of the oldest and largest Vietnam-focused funds, have officially listed on the London Stock Exchange, fund manager Dragon Capital said on Tuesday (July 5). The move is expected to boost the liquidity and transparency of the certificate of the fund that has nearly US$900 million under management, news website Saigon Times Online said. Nearly half the amount is in the form of stakes in companies listed in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, including in dairy giant Vinamilk, information technology conglomerate FPT, and major lenders ACB and Vietcombank. The 21-year-old fund's portfolio return last year ranged between 16.37 and 59.79 percent, depending on the sector.

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4) Oil edges up on U.S. inventories, but slowing Asia weighs

A pump jack stands idle in Dewitt County, Texas January 13, 2016. REUTERS/ANNA DRIVERA pump jack stands idle in Dewitt County, Texas January 13, 2016. REUTERS/ANNA DRIVER

Oil prices rose in early trading on Thursday (July 7), supported by a report of another fall in U.S. crude inventories as well as a weaker dollar, although a glut of refined products and economic growth concerns continue to weigh on markets. International Brent crude oil futures were trading at $49.08 per barrel at 0045 GMT on Thursday (July 7), up 28 cents from their last settlement. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 27 cents at $47.70 a barrel. Traders said that a report of a reduction in available U.S. crude oil stockpiles had been the main overnight price driver. The American Petroleum Institute trade group said its data showed U.S. crude stockpiles fell by 6.7 million barrels last week, declining for a seventh week in a row. Analysts also pointed to a lower U.S. dollar. "Oil prices also rose, with a weaker U.S.-dollar making commodities priced in the currency more attractive," ANZ bank said.

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5)  Asia stocks bounce, upbeat U.S. data soothes nerves

Asian share markets crept cautiously higher early on Thursday (July 7) after upbeat U.S. economic data took the sting out of losses in European equities and lifted Wall Street to a firmer finish. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.5 percent, having shed 1 percent on Wednesday (July 6) when fears over European instability swept markets. Australian stocks rose 0.7 percent and South Korea put on 1.1 percent. Dealers cautioned that fresh Brexit concerns could flare up at any time, a risk reflected in the parlous state of sterling. The British pound huddled at $1.2918 in early trade, having slid almost 3 percent in the previous two sessions to carve out a 31-year trough of $1.2898.The yen was well bid as a traditional safe harbour and held at 101.10 per U.S. dollar, a major headache for the Bank of Japan as it crimps exports while suppressing much-needed inflation at home. It also kept Japanese shares on the defensive with the Nikkei flat in early trade. Still, it was notable that while bond markets have been signalling recession, equities had stayed fairly resilient.

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(All the above News Items have been sourced from: Reuters, ThanhNien News, Vietnam Net, Tuoitre News)