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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs    4 February  2015  

Industrial production up 10 per cent

Vietnam: The country's industrial production sector posted a 10 per cent growth rate in January, compared with the same period last year, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said the day before yesterday.

At a press meeting held in Ha Noi to review the country's production situation, the ministry said that the beverage and paper industries took the lead in terms of inventory last month, with a 59.5 per cent and 100 per cent increase, respectively. Other sectors that reported high inventory included food processing (11 per cent), medicine (15 per cent), metal production (32 per cent) and electronics and computers (38 per cent).

The ministry said the high inventory was a result of the upcoming Tet holiday.

Sectors that reported a reduced inventory included tobacco production (34 per cent), leather (8 per cent), chemicals (15 per cent) and electricity equipment (13 per cent).

The ministry also said the prices of beer, alcohol and beverages rose by 5 to 6 per cent due to higher purchasing power.

Beer output in January was estimated to be 261.4 million litres, rising 4.4 per cent in comparison with the same period last year.

Hike in power prices

Deputy Minister Do Thang Hai said at the meeting that the Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN) will not raise power price during the Tet holiday. However, they will review reports from EVN submitted to the Government for adjustment in March.

Previous reports from EVN showed that the group had reported a loss of more than VND8 trillion ($373.8 million) due to foreign exchange fluctuations in 2009-10.

Answering the question on who will benefit from the increasing electricity prices, Hai said the Government, people and businesses will stand to benefit.

He said electricity and petrol prices should be adjusted under the market mechanism. Petrol prices follow the market price as per a Government Decree, issued on September 3, on petrol and oil trading, fuel traders.

This is the reason that cheaper input prices will benefit businesses and the public.

He added that the World Bank has warned that electricity prices in Viet Nam are lower than production costs, resulting in no one wanting to invest in power production.

In addition, the Government has not benefited as foreign invested sectors, which use considerable power, such as cement and steel, enjoy cheap price, he added.

The Government will base its decision on reality and consider the EVN's proposal of a 9.5 per cent increase in power price.

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has also approved the adjustment in electricity retail prices in principle.

Data showed that Vietnamese' average income is much lower than other countries in the region, even though the country's power prices are at such a low level.

Specifically, the electricity price in Viet Nam is equivalent to Malaysia and Indonesia, while its income in 2013 was $1,911 per capita per year. The average income in Malaysia was $10,538 per capita per year, while that of Indonesia was $3,475 per capita per year.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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