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VAM: Vietnam Market Analysis – October 2012

Another down month for the 2 main bourses

Read detailed VAM monthly  Monthly Market Analysis and Chart October 2012

The month of October saw the VN index close at 388.2, losing 0.47% whilst the HNX index fell 4.42% to close at 53.02. The VN30 somehow managed to move the opposite direction, gaining 0.82% to close at 458.56 and was again the best performer of the 3 indices.
 
CPI slowed down as price increases for healthcare and education were nearly completed
The Consumer Price Index rose 0.8% MoM in October, after jumping 2.2% the previous month due to one-off price adjustments in two major government-controlled sectors. Consequently, the YTD inflation appeared to be calmer at 6.02% as the healthcare and pharmaceutical component of the CPI basket decelerated from 17.02% to 5.94% and the education component decelerated from 10.54% to 1.88%. Although pricing pressure from food and foodstuff is seasonally higher in the last quarter, we think the one-digit inflation target of FY2012 is likely to be met. In addition, there is positive news for inflation, as the Ministry of Industry and Trade announced that input price for electricity production has declined in the last three months, and no price adjustment would be scheduled in November.
 
PMI weakened in October
The seasonally adjusted HSBC Manufacturing PMI posted 48.7 in October, down from 49.2 in September. As such, the headline PMI has remained below the critical 50.0 mark for seven months running. Partly, stocks of purchases fell further in October, as the downturn in the manufacturing sector led companies to empty out their inventory holdings. A number of firms also linked lower stocks to reduced levels of input purchasing. Weaker global demand led to a further solid reduction in new export business during October as well. Incoming new export orders have fallen in each of the past six months; subsequently, the latest decline in new export orders was the steepest in the 19-month survey history. In which, companies reported reduced inflows of new business from China, Japan and Taiwan.
 
SBV serious in solving bad debt
According to the latest SBV estimates, the level of NPLs at the end of June stood at 8.82%, which is even higher than that at the end of March (8.6%). As such, the SBV has submitted a proposal to the Prime Minister to set up an asset management company to take over the VND100 trillion (US$6 billion) worth of bad debt. Two options are: (i) to expand the role of the existing Debt Asset Trading Company under the MoF, or (ii) to set up an entirely new entity under the SBV. However it will take time to make any proposal a reality as it will need National Assembly approval which will push it to Q2 2013 at the earliest. In the meantime, banks are required to revalue their loan collaterals, and we believe this process will weigh down financial performance of lenders in the upcoming period.
 
Deadline for closing gold position extended to 30th June, 2013
After declaring the widened gap between domestic and world gold prices is primarily due to banks rushing to cover their gold positions before 25th Nov, SBV has extended the deadline to 30th June, 2013. Total gold mobilization until the new deadline must not exceed the gold needed to settle gold accounts. Since there are still 20 tons of gold needed to repay depositors and banks are not allowed to import gold, the extended deadline is meant to ease pressure on domestic gold price and help banks avoid sizable losses that would occur if they were to buy gold at peak price just to meet the deadline on 25th Nov.
 
Budget deficit in 10M2012 exceeds the whole year target
The YTD budget deficit in October rose to VND155.2 trillion from VND138 trillion last month, exceeding the VND140 trillion full-year target. As of 31st Oct, total tax revenue amounted to VND523.4 trillion, equivalent to 71% of the yearly plan. On the other hand, government spending approached VND 678.6 trillion, or 75% of the yearly plan. The budget deficit equals to 6.9% of GDP, far higher than the target of 4.8%-4.9% for the year, suggesting that room for fiscal policy to stimulate domestic growth is quite limited.
 
Trade balances returned to deficit in October. FDI disbursement unchanged year on year
The trade deficit is USD 500 million in October as imports increased 12% MoM to US$10.4 billion, whilst exports only increased 4% MoM to US$9.9 billion. With a large deficit in October, the trade balance has returned to deficit of US$357 million from a surplus of US$143 million in September. Since demand for import tends to be seasonally high in the last two months of the year, we think the trade balance by year end will likely be a larger deficit. However, the news that FDI disbursement in October reached US$900 million, unchanged year-on-year has provided some comfort that foreign investors still see investment opportunities in Vietnam. In fact, it is heart-warming that the FDI disbursement year to date (US$9 billion) has almost tracked the level achieved over the same period last year (US$9.1 billion), despite tougher economic conditions.
 
Our ViewOur view has hardly changed since last month. As Vietnam’s top leaders are debating on critical issues including proposed amendments to the Constitution and several laws, we see little clarity on the economy or stock market until all that is settled. As such, we prefer to be conservative at this time, holding high cash and only retaining our core equity holdings; companies with strong fundamentals which we have high conviction in and believe will stand the test of change. We take this opportunity to screen the market for resilient companies with little or no debt, strong market position, high growth potential, good cash flow and savvy management with integrity, for possible immediate action when the market turns.
Source: VAM, 16.11.2012
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