|Most companies at industrial parks and export processing zones in HCM City, Binh Duong and Dong Nai have resumed normal operations.— Photo thesaigontimes
Compiled by Le Hung Vong
After shuttering due to violence during protests against China's illegal positioning of an oil rig in Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in early May, most companies at industrial parks and export processing zones in HCM City, Binh Duong and Dong Nai have resumed normal operations.
Vo Van Tien, who works for the foreign-owned FreeTrend company at the Linh Trung Export Processing Zone No1, said his company closed on May 14 and 15, but workers have since resumed work and things are normal. Tien said they had to work harder to make up for the lost time and were paid for the two days.
Cu Phat Nghiep, the chairman of the Federation of Trade Union at Taiwanese-owned Pouyen Viet Nam Co Ltd — the firm that has the largest number of workers in HCM City — was quoted by Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper as saying that everything has returned to normal.
Hugo, Kolun, Domex, and Danu Companies based in Linh Trung EPZ No1 and damaged by rioters, have also resumed operations.
As of May 20, Green Star, Kim Hong, FreeTrend A, Shap VN, and New Toyo in Linh Trung Export Processing Zone No2, Paiho Company in Tan Tao IP, and NTex VN in Tay Bac Cu Chi IP have all started working again.
All of more than 300 enterprises in Tan Thuan EPZ have also resumed operations, with many of them doing night shifts to meet their orders.
Vo Ngoc Quoc Thuan, chairman of the Go Vap District People's Committee, said last week district authorities were focused on efforts to ensure security for foreign companies and that no more incidents occurred.
Thuan said Go Vap has 17 Taiwanese businesses employing nearly 20,000 workers.
The chairman of the Federation of Trade Union of HCM City IPs and EPZs, Tran Cong Khanh, said the efforts taken by State agencies have helped minimise damages caused during last week's riots to the city's EPZs and IPs.
Speaking at a meeting with a Government delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh on Wednesday, Binh Duong Province authorities said over 95 per cent of enterprises in the province have reopened after the previous week's incidents.
The chairman of the Korean Trade and Industry Association in HCM City, Lee Jong Hoe, said the recent riots have caused damage to not only foreign enterprises but also the Vietnamese Government.
"We should sympathise with each other and should jointly seek solutions for the situation," he said.
On Friday, Dong Nai Province authorities said almost all the 166 firms in the province hit by the protests have resumed operations.
At a meeting with Deputy PM Vu Van Ninh on Thursday Dong Nai chairman Dinh Quoc Thai said the province sent teams to affected companies to discuss solutions.
Vo Thanh Lap, head of the Dong Nai IPs Authority, was quoted by Thoi Bao Kinh Te Sai Gon (Sai Gon Economic Times) newspaper as saying that the plants affected in the riots did not suffer much damage and even the worst hit are set to resume operations soon.
Gold trading up
The volume of gold traded at commercial banks and jewellery firms in HCM City reached around 10,000 taels (37.5 grammes each) per day in the past week, according to the State Bank of Viet Nam.
Of this, Saigon Jewelry Company (SJC) accounted for around 2,000-3,000 taels, and each of the banks permitted to trade gold, for a few hundred taels.
The volume was the second highest traded in a day in recent years, an SJC representative who asked not to be named said.
A HCM City banker said it was possible lenders banks who have outstanding gold loans had increased gold prices and then urged their borrowers to buy gold to repay their debt, warning gold prices could keep rising.
Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the central bank's HCM City office, was quoted by Thoi Bao Kinh Te Sai Gon newspaper as saying that authorities are investigating the illegal trade in gold and foreign currencies through unofficial channels and also keeping a close watch on banking activities to take timely action. The Vietnamese dong is stable, he said.
The loan-to-deposit ratio is 80-81 per cent and inter-bank lending interest rates remain low, he said.
He said the exchange rate is only likely to fluctuate slightly since the availability of foreign exchange is quite high and the central bank has pledged to keep the fluctuation at around 1 per cent this year.
While gold prices remained at around $1,390 in the global market in the past week, domestic prices fell to VND36.7 million ($1,735) per tael on Friday morning from VND37.5 million on Tuesday. However, this was VND100,000 higher than on Thursday. — VNS