|Last year's figure was $750 million higher than the amount in 2012.— Photo cafef
Le Hung Vong
Remittances from overseas Vietnamese channeled through HCM City banks rose to a four-year high of US$4.85 billion last year, far more than the target set last year by the Central Bank's HCM City branch.
Last year's figure was $750 million higher than the amount in 2012.
HCM City remittances typically account for 40-50 per cent of the country's total, according to Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the State Bank of Viet Nam's HCM City branch.
Minh said remittances mainly come from the US, Europe, China, Australia and Southeast Asia, and the amount of remittances from China in 2013 was much higher than previous years.
The rising amounts of money remitted by guest workers have also significantly contributed to remittances to HCM City, Minh said.
According to figures from the Overseas Labour Department (under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs), remittances from Vietnamese workers abroad were about $2.2 billion, a year-on-year increase of 10 per cent, accounting for one-fifth to one-fourth of total incoming remittances.
This was the highest figure in the past five years. In previous years, remittances ranged from $1.8 billion to $2 billion annually.
Dao Cong Hai, deputy head of the Overseas Labour Department, was quoted by Thoi Bao Kinh Te Sai Gon (Sai Gon Economic Times) as saying that an increase in guest labourers had helped raise incoming remittances.
About 88,000 Vietnamese labourers were sent to foreign countries as guest labourers in 2013, up by 10 per cent compared with 2012.
Countries and territories that employ Vietnamese labourers include Taiwan (with 40,000 workers), Japan (with 10,000), Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates.
High salaries were also a factor for an increase in overseas Vietnamese remittances. Hai added that Vietnamese guest labourers earn monthly pay of $1,000 to $1,500 per month in Japan or Taiwan.
According to the Committee for Overseas Vietnamese under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Viet Nam receives $11 billion remittances last year, ranking among the world's 10 leading remittance recipients.
About 4.5 million overseas Vietnamese are residing abroad. In addition, 500,000 Vietnamese are working as guest workers in other countries.
The number of countries from where money is remitted to Viet Nam has risen to 200 from 16 in 1994.
Cashing in on cashews
With total exports of 264,000 tonnes of cashew nuts and export turnover of US$1.66 billion last year, Viet Nam remained the biggest cashew nut exporter for eight consecutive years.
According to the Viet Nam Cashew Nut Association, if the turnover of cashew nut by-products, such as cashew oil, is counted, exports of cashew nuts from Viet Nam in 2013 reached $2 billion.
The US, China and the Netherlands are the biggest buyers of Vietnamese cashew nuts.
The association said this was the eighth year that Viet Nam had surpassed India to become the world's largest cashew nut exporter.
It indicates the great efforts taken by cashew processors and exporters when the world cashew market was stagnant and the purchasing power on the decline, said the association.
In 2014, the association has encouraged cashew businesses to better process the nuts to increase export turnover to over $2 billion while maintaining the volume of exports at the same level as in 2013.
Meanwhile, West African sellers have committed to supply Viet Nam with sufficient raw materials for the country's cashew-nut processing plants.
Localities hit export high
Nineteen provinces and cities, or over 30 per cent of localities across the country, have attained export turnover of over US$1 billion last year.
According to figures released by the Customs Bureau, 14.3 per cent of localities scored more than $2 billion and four cities and provinces had export turnover of more than $10 billion. These included HCM City and Bac Ninh Province, which attained more than $25 billion in exports.
These 19 localities attained total exports of $115.7 billion, accounting for 87.6 per cent of the country's total export turnover.
Meanwhile, these localities also took the lead in attracting foreign direct investment.
HCM City, which tops the list of localities attracting the biggest FDI, with total foreign direct investment of $33.35 billion, is the number one exporter in the country.
Bac Ninh Province, which ranks 12th in FDI attraction (with total FDI of $4.58 billion), ranks second in export turnover. However, with the rising volume of FDI added to the province in recent years, Bac Ninh is expected to become the country's largest exporter.
They were followed by Binh Duong, which has total FDI of $18.7 billion and ranked third in exports; and Dong Nai Province with FDI volume of nearly $20.7 billion and fourth in export turnover.
Ha Noi, which is ranked third in FDI attraction with total FDI of over $21.7 billion, is expected to surpass the export target of $10 billion soon.
With total FDI of $6 billion, Hai Duong is ranked 10th in FDI attraction but sixth in export turnover.
Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province is ranked second in FDI attraction ($23.4 billion, but ninth in export turnover) while Hai Phong is ranked 78th in both FDI attraction and export turnover.
Of the 42 provinces and cities which enjoyed trade surpluses last year, Bac Ninh tops the list with nearly $3.48 billion; Binh Duong, $3.07 billion; Ca Mau, $1.043 billion; An Giang, $915 million; Can Tho, $861 million and HCM City, $859 million.
According to a Government website, more localities in the country are expected to attain over $1 billion in exports this year after more FDI projects become operational and exports of farm/forestry/aquaculture products begin to recover.
Also, Viet Nam is expected to sign a free trade agreement with Europe and join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will result in increased export value. In addition, global economic recovery will also add to the uptick in exports. — VNS