ADB lends Vietnam US$72m

HANOI – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Tuesday it had lent Vietnam US$72 million (S$108 million) to upgrade health services in parts of the country, including several poverty-stricken provinces.

The project will help build or upgrade 20 hospitals and five district preventive medicine centres in provinces stretching from central Danang city to Binh Thuan province near southern Ho Chi Minh City, said the ADB.

The 32-year project, which will also receive eight million US dollars from the Vietnam government, will include a training school for nurses and paramedics and also fund new water, sanitation and medical waste management systems.

The south-central coastal region is home to nine million people, including about 500,000 from ethnic minorities. Four of the provinces have poverty levels above the national average of 19.5 per cent, said the ADB. — AFP

ADB lends Vietnam US$72m

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ADB lends Vietnam US$1.1 billion to build highway

The Associated Press
Saturday, September 27, 2008

HANOI, Vietnam: The Asian Development Bank has signed a deal to lend Vietnam US$1.1 billion to build a highway linking Hanoi with southern China, the most expensive project the bank has ever financed, a state newspaper reported Saturday.

The highway will link Hanoi with the Chinese city of Kunming and is expected to be completed in 2012, the Vietnam News said.

Speaking at Friday’s signing ceremony, Vietnam’s State Bank Governor Nguyen Van Giau said the project would help stimulate development and reduce poverty in northwestern Vietnam, one of the country’s poorest regions.

“The road will help boost trade between Vietnam northern provinces and China’s Yunnan province … and would partly fill the economic and social gap among regions,” he was quoted as saying.

Calls to the bank’s Hanoi office were not answered Saturday.

In December, ADB officials called the road project the “single biggest project financing in ADB’s history.”

The 151-mile (244-kilometer) highway will link Hanoi and the northern province of Lao Cai, which borders the Chinese province of Yunnan.

The highway will be a toll road that is expected to generate enough revenue to pay off the loans within a decade of opening, the ADB has said.

The new road will link companies in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, to the Vietnamese ports of Hai Phong and Cai Lan.

Source: The Associated Press¦International Herald Tribune

Vietnam’s trade deficit widens

The Associated Press
Wednesday, September 24, 2008

HANOI, Vietnam: Vietnam’s trade deficit has widened to $15.8 billion for the first nine months of the year, nearly double the figure for the same period last year, the General Statistical Office said Wednesday.

From January through September, exports surged 39 percent from a year ago to $48.5 billion, while imports in the period totaled $64.3 billion, jumping 48.3 percent, the statistics office said.

The GSO often issues trade data ahead of the month’s end based on estimates.

Vietnam’s imports were boosted by shipments of machinery, refined gasoline and steel.

The trade deficit in the same period last year was $8.5 percent, and it was $14.1 billion for all of 2007.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s inflation has skyrocketed, hitting 27.9 this month, according to government figures issued earlier this week.

Vietnam’s overheating economy has experienced spiraling inflation and a large trade gap.

In an effort to narrow the widening trade deficit and curb rising prices, the country has slashed its growth target for this year to 7 percent from 8 percent.

The government also said it would aim to keep trade gap for the whole year this year below $20 billion, state media reported.

The Asian Development Bank has lowered its growth forecast for Vietnam to 6.5 percent this year and 6 percent next year.

Last year the country’s economy expanded by 8.2 percent.

Source: The Associated Press

Vietnam’s inflation hits 27.9 percent in Sept

Monday, September 22, 2008

HANOI, Vietnam: Vietnam’s inflation rose 27.9 percent in September, easing slightly from the 17-year high hit in August, the government said Monday.

The soaring consumer price index was driven by price increases in food, transportation, housing and construction materials, said the General Statistic Office, which often issues the data ahead of the month’s end based on estimates.

The country’s inflation rose to 28.3 percent in August, a 17-year high. The inflation rate was 27 percent in July, 26.8 percent in June and 25.2 percent in May.

Overall food costs were up 65 percent in September from a year ago, the government said. The price of housing and construction materials and transportation both rose 26 percent, it said.

Skyrocketing inflation has led to a wave of strikes at factories around the country from workers seeking higher wages.

As part of its effort to curb inflation, the government has increased interest rates and postponed thousands of public investment projects. The government also plans further spending cuts, according to the state controlled media.

The government said the average inflation rate in the first nine months of this year was 22.76 percent. It has forecast that inflation for all of 2008 could hit 25 percent.

The Asian Development Bank has lowered its growth forecast for Vietnam to 6.5 percent this year and 6 percent next year.

Last year the country’s economy expanded by 8.2 percent.

Source: The Associated Press