show optimism over economic growth
|A worker weaves sacks at
the Indra Gaudli Jute Joint-stock Company in HCM City. SMEs are
presently optimistic about the economic climate. — VNA/VNS Photo Pham
HCM CITY — Most
Vietnamese small- and medium-sized enterprises still believe economic conditions
will continue at the same pace or get better, but a sizeable minority of 33 per
cent expect the economy to cool, according to a recent HSBC Commercial Banking
The HSBC Asia-Pacific
Small Business Confidence Survey was conducted by research company TNS in the
second quarter of the year.
It covered more than 3,000
small- and medium-sized enterprises in 10 countries and territories, including
Hong Kong, mailand China, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Singapore, India, Viet Nam, South
Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Despite concerns about
economic conditions, most of the companies surveyed said they planned to
maintain or increase staff and continue with capital investment.
They also expect trade to
continue to be robust.
Companies were asked about
their local economic outlook for the next six months, their plans to increase or
reduce capital investment and staffing levels, and their expectations for trade
volume with mainland China, Asia and the rest of the world.
In the survey, India’s
small businesses were the most optimistic across a wide variety of key
indicators, including economic outlook and trade.
The Taiwan SME survey
results also revealed optimism, likely due to the improving political situation
But in Korea the
increasingly uncertain economic and political conditions have reduced optimism
since the end of 2007.
According to Margaret
Leung, global co-head of commercial banking of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking
Corporation Limited, Asia’s small businesses were still doing well in exports
and were experiencing healthy domestic demand.
While the region is not
immune to global economic factors, the survey suggests that for now SMEs are
still growing their businesses and expecting strong trade, especially within
A majority of respondents
say their trading will remain at the current buoyant level or will grow.
India was the most
optimistic about trade growth with China and the rest of Asia as well as the
rest of the world.
SMEs surveyed in Viet Nam
remained overwhelmingly positive about trade prospects with China, the rest of
Asia and the rest of the world.
About 55 per cent say
trade volumes with mainland China will grow, and 32 per cent say they will
remain the same as last year.
As for the rest of Asia,
57 per cent expect trade growth and 35 per cent expect the same volumes as last
Trade with the rest of
world has the same prospect: 49 per cent expect growth and 38 per cent expect
trade levels to remain the same.
Commenting on Viet Nam’s
results, Huynh Buu Quang, head of commercial banking of HSBC in Viet Nam, said:
"Viet Nam’s economy has been going through a difficult time in the first
half of 2008 with high inflation, a trade deficit, a weakening dong and a
volatile foreign exchange market.
"This explains why
SMEs are now expressing more cautious views on the economic outlook compared to
a very optimistic view expressed six months ago. However, it’s heartening to
see … that they appear to be very proactive and have a positive attitude
through continuous investing and recruiting and have high confidence about
The survey found that 54
per cent of Vietnamese SMEs expect increased capital investment and 41 per cent
at the same level for the rest of the year.
While 74 per cent of SMEs
across Asia plan to maintain current staffing levels, in Viet Nam 44 per cent
were planning to increase headcount.
Quang said another HSBC
survey showed that 70 per cent of Vietnamese SMEs wanted to obtain loans from
banks for business maintenance and development.
SMEs account from around
35-40 per cent of HSBC Viet Nam’s corporate clients. —VNS