Vinalines reports shock 2011 profits after huge first-half losses
The Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) announced a pre-tax profit of VND62 billion (USD2.95 million) after total revenue of VND24.7 trillion (USD1.16 billion) in 2011.
The figures have come as quite a surprise after it suffered losses of up to VND660 billion (USD31.4 million) in the first half of the year. The result rebuffs doubts that the firm will be unable to avoid losses after its 15-years of operations, particularly in the context of economic difficulties both inside and outside the country.
Tran Thien, Director of the Bien Dong Marine Transport Company, an affiliate of Vinalines, said, “Marine transport firms have faced difficulties due to loan rates of 23-24% per annum. It costs VND30-40 billion (USD1.42-1.9 million) to invest in the construction of a 20,000-tonne ship.”
Vinalines’ total transported cargo volume was estimated at 36.8 million tonnes in 2011, up just 1% compared to 2010 and just 2% higher than the annual plan. Many of the ships are struggling to find cargo.
Vinalines, however, has yet to reveal how it attained it’s surprising profits.
This year, Vinalines targets to make a pre-tax profit of VND120 billion (USD5.71 million) on revenues of VND27.2 trillion (USD1.29 billion).
The company will focus on speeding up the implementation of projects, including the second phase of the Cai Cui Seaport and the first phases of the Saigon-Hiep Phuoc and Son Tra ports.
In the first six months of 2012, Vinalines will turn a number of its affiliates into joint stock and limited member companies.
New expressways to be up and running soon
Cau Gie-Ninh Binh Expressway and parts of HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway projects under the North-South Expressway network will be put into use by the middle of the year, Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC) said.
Over 98% of total road area of HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway project has been cleared, Le Manh Hung, director of the project, said in a meeting organized at a construction site in HCMC’s District 9 on Tuesday.
The amount of disbursed capital for the project in 2011 reached more than VND2 trillion, doubling the original figure set a year earlier. The project management board strives to disburse VND3.1 trillion this year, paving the way to complete the first tender package as scheduled.
In particular, tender packages 1A and 1B are expected to finish by July and December respectively.
HCMC will hand over the remaining site to the project investors by the second quarter of this year at the latest in an effort to guarantee implementation pace, Le Hoang Quan, HCMC Chairman, explained about site clearance work.
Apart from the HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay project, the ministry urges relevant agencies to develop two more expressway projects namely Dau Giay-Phan Thiet and Bien Hoa Vung Tau and commence construction of Long Thanh Airport by 2015, Deputy Minister of Transport Ngo Duc Thinh told the meeting.
The 55 kilometer expressway runs through HCMC and Dong Nai Province. In the first phase, it has total investment capital of VND9.89 trillion funded by the Official Development Assistance.
VEC is now constructing part of the project stretching from HCMC’s District 2 to Dong Nai Province’s Long Thanh District.
Meanwhile, VEC on Monday also resumed construction work on the Cau Gie-Ninh Binh Expressway project.
The transport ministry will allocate more capital to speed up the implementation pace. The project is set to be complete by June 30 at the latest, said Le Manh Hung, Deputy Minister of Transport.
The 50.3-km expressway intersects National Highway 1A at the starting point and National Highway 10 at the end.
At present, 23km of this expressway project is open to traffic to reduce the dense traffic circulation on National Highway 1A.
The first phase of this project costs nearly VND8.98 trillion, including VND6.94 trillion for construction expenses, VND489 billion for site clearance and VND665 billion for interest rate loan payments.
It is designed to allow vehicles to travel at 100-120 km per hour. In the first phase, the expressway consists of four lanes and it will be expanded to six lanes in the next phase.
Horea says ‘not right time for housing taxes’
The HCMC Real Estate Association (Horea) has blasted a suggestion to impose the housing tax, saying it is inappropriate to discuss this issue in the face of the current stagnant market.
Le Hoang Chau, chairman of Horea, told the Daily that his association had yet to receive any official information regarding this suggestion from the city’s construction department to the Ministry of Construction as reported by local media after the Tet holiday.
However, he stressed that it is unsuitable for the application of housing taxes at this time.
“Applying housing taxes for the time being only worsens the dreary realty market,” Chau told the Daily on Tuesday. He noted this proposal was no longer new because the National Assembly used to consider and treated it as a pending issue last year.
Along with many other kinds of taxes, imposing housing taxes is regarded as one of solutions to minimize the speculation in the property sector, which is believed to be one of causes pushing up the housing price in the recent past.
According to Chau, all citizens have to pay taxes as one of their duties for the State, the community and the society and other nations have already collected this kind of tax from residents.
The biggest difficult of the real estate market is weak liquidity, proven by the fact that products are abundant but have failed to attract home buyers. Those in need of housing cannot borrow money to buy homes while sellers are thirsty for capital to complete on-going projects.
There are few secondary investors in the market as Marc Townsend, managing director of CB Richard Ellis Vietnam, used to comment that investing in realty is not the game for yellow-bellies.
Chau and many people agreed there would be more ordeals for this year’s realty market since the monetary tightening policy will continue in line with Resolution 11. He hinted at the access to capital resources being restricted while the property market itself lacks of other capital mobilization channels.
Ngoc Chau tourism port set to start service this year
Tuan Chau Group this year will put into operation the VND3 trillion project of Ngoc Chau tourism port capable of accommodating over 2,000 vessels if natural conditions are favorable.
The group’s chairman Dao Hong Tuyen told the Daily that the construction of the 83-hectare facility has been prepared and implemented during the past three years. The basic parts of the project have been finished thanks to the efforts of 21 contractors along with over 200 machines mobilized.
The new port features a six-kilometer long system of ports and wharfs, a system of roads, parking areas and infrastructures equipped with water supply and drainage, power, lighting, communication and gasoline services among others.
Located in the southwest area of Tuan Chau Island, Ngoc Chau tourism port is very near to tourist attractions in Halong Bay. The wharf is six kilometers long and 200-750 meters wide while the port has a depth of ten meters ensuring the normal traffic of vessels when tides recede.
The tourism port is surrounded by a road stretching 4,400 meters in length and 27 meters in width. Notably, the center of the project is a three-storey terminal constructed on an area of nearly 2.4 hectares. Besides receiving visitors to Halong Bay, the terminal will have many facilities such as restaurants, a children’s entertainment area, a supermarket and souvenir shops.
Some 5.5 kilometers from Bai Chay tourism port and three kilometers from Thien Cung Cave, Ngoc Chau port has a convenient location for transport by sea and car to develop a tourism service center in Tuan Chau.
Tuan Chau Group believed Ngoc Chau tourism port will help save fuel costs and lower tour prices as well as protecting the environment of Halong Bay.
Chairman Tuyen said that a tourism port meeting international standards would help attract foreign visitors to Vietnam, especially at a time sea tourism has been developing strongly in the nation.
Improving FDI efficiency a top priority
Vietnam will pay more attention to disbursing Foreign Direction Investment capital rather than increasing the amount of registered capital in 2012, says the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).
The MPI’s Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) estimates this year’s FDI attraction at US$15-16 billion, US$1 billion higher than last year, and FDI disbursement at US$11 billion.
FIA Director General Do Nhat Hoang says over the years, many foreign investors have kept pouring money to factories in Vietnam in order to make the most of investment and tax incentives applied for made-in-Vietnam and made-in-ASEAN products. They are keen to import goods to the country and re-export it after relabelling.
In addition, many tend to maintain or even expand their production despite their claim to have suffered huge losses for years. What they usually do to dodge corporate income tax is to import input materials and machines from their parent companies at high prices and sell products to parent companies cheaply. This will cause a tax dodge and create an unfair business environment in Vietnam.
According to economists, if the problem remains unsolved, FDI businesses will also take liberties with Vietnamese laws.
The MPI will try to reduce the number of unsuccessful projects and focus more on industry, construction, high technology, and renewable energy, Hoang says.
MPI Deputy Minister Nguyen The Phuong says his ministry will change its way of investment promotion, with a focus on those investors who can meet Vietnam’s demand, especially for developing “green” technologies.
The Prime Minister has asked the MPI to work with related agencies to build a National Green Growth Strategy Framework for 2011-2020, which is aimed at developing new types of energy and attracting high-tech projects, Phuong says.
Phuong says the MPI will take the initiative to work with those groups to offer them preferential incentives.
At a recent conference on foreign investment in the northern region, Nguyen Xuan Doan, Deputy Director of Hai Duong provincial Department of Planning and Investment, said his province considered investment attraction essential for its development but there are also other important factors such as the authorities’ behaviour towards investors and local infrastructure.
The decrease in last year’s FDI inflows was a warning sign for Vietnam. It is much likely that the FDI will flow to other ASEAN countries such as Indonesia and Thailand, or even Myanmar and Cambodia as high interest rates, tight fiscal policies, and other macro policies on tax and land are posing challenges to Vietnam.
Economists say it is high time Vietnam improved the quality and sustainability of FDI capital. Despite the shortage of FDI capital, the country still has to loosen its controls to attract foreign investment.
In other words, they argue, the strategy to attract foreign investment should take into consideration both sides of FDI inflows to keep a balance between stimulating growth and building a modern, high-quality, and sustainable economic structure.
In stead of introducing incentives, the strategy should be focused on improving the business environment, upgrading the infrastructure, and developing the human resources.
Insurance market set for restructuring
The Ministry of Finance is developing a plan to evaluate and classify insurance businesses into four groups, each of which is subject to a particular administrative management, in a bid to restructure the insurance market.
Under the plan, which is expected to be implemented this year, the first group will consist of insurers with adequate financial abilities and profitable operations, according to Saigon Times Online newswire.
Members of this group will be allowed to maintain and expand their operations if they can develop effective business plans.
The second group will include companies which are still able of paying their customers, though encountering difficulties in operation, such as suffering huge operating expenses, facing high rates of compensation, or failing to earn profits for two consecutive years.
The relevant authorities will evaluate the operation’s effectiveness of insurers belonging to this group, and help them reduce expenses. The companies’ operational expansionwill be subject to close monitoring from the authorities.
Insurance companies which are not likely to be able to ensure their payments will fall into the third group. Members of this group will be required to re-evaluate their financial ability, restructure investment and administrative management, handle debts, increase equity, and even transfer their insurance contracts to other companies.
The last category will include insurers that are completely incapable of paying their customers. These businesses will thus be subject to special supervision, and will be asked to claim bankruptcy or merge with others if they cannot improve their situation.
Figures from the Ministry of Finance show that there are 39 insurance companies operating countrywide. Of these, 29 insurers are operating with a gain.
The industry’s revenues have steadily increased over the last ten years, with the average growth rate of 18.5 percent, according to the ministry.
Last year, the insurance sector posted a revenue of VND45 trillion (US$2.16 billion), and VND38 trillion from a year earlier.
Ocean tuna price remains high in central region
The price of ocean tuna in the central region continues to be high at around VND170,000 per kilo as many local enterprises flocked to purchase the fish in the early days of the New Year.
The lowest current price for tuna is VND115,000 per kilo and almost all fishing boat owners have made a profit.
Ocean tuna is considered one of Vietnam’s three major seafood exports, in addition to tra fish and shrimp. According to the Vietnam Tuna Association, the reserves of tuna in Vietnam’s territorial waters are more than 50,000 tonnes, with around 17,000 tonnes able to be harvested for sustainable fishing. Fishermen in Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa provinces currently catch around 10,000 tonnes of tuna each year. Most Vietnamese tuna is exported to Japan, Taiwan (China), the US, Australia and the European Union. However, Vietnamese ocean tuna is traded under foreign labels in the world market and no tuna processing establishments are set up in the country, leading to the unstable price of tuna.
In mid-2011, the Vinh Sam Company, Ltd in Phu Yen province set up a joint venture with five Japanese investors to process and export ocean tuna to foreign markets. They also pledged to develop a trademark for Phu Yen ocean tuna. By the end of February, the Japanese side plans to bring a boat to Phu Yen to purchase tuna from fishermen, with free rental of the boat for the first two years. The purchasing price of tuna depends on its quality and ranges between US$12-20 per kilo.
The joint venture aims to be fully operational in March 2012 and expects to export around 2,000 to 3,000 tonnes of tuna annually to foreign markets.
Viet Jet Air offers New Year discounts
On January 31, Vietnam’s low-cost carrier, VietJetAir, announced discounted one-way tickets between HCM City and Hanoi for just VND590,000.
The prices will apply to passengers departing between March 1 to April 25 who purchase tickets online through its website in the 48 hours from 12:00, February 2, to 11:59 February 4.
Passengers can make online payments via Visa and MasterCard or at nationwide ticketing offices and transaction sections of HD Bank.
VietJet Air launched an earlier discount program during the Lunar New Year Festival (Tet) with one-way tickets on the Hanoi-HCM City route for VND250,000. Nearly 50,000 passengers logged onto the airline’s website to buy tickets online.
For further information on discounts, travellers can visit the website www.vietjetair.com or call 1900 1886 from 8 am to 10 pm everyday.
Da Nang to have 3.6 million visitors this year
Da Nang Airport expects to welcome 3.6 million visitors this year, an increase of 600,000 people compared with last year.
The increase in visitors is largely due to a new flight route and the airport’s new passenger terminal.
The new terminal at Da Nang’s International Airport has been open for a month, said Le Xuan Tung, director of the Middle Airports Corporation, adding that the number of visitors may even surpass 3.6 million to as high as 4.5 million if the new flights remain popular.
It is expected that the airport’s sales this year would increase by 21 per cent compared with last year.
In the recent Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday, more than 2,500 flights take off and landed at the Da Nang Airport, an increase of 28.6 per cent compared with the same period last year and an increase of 45 per cent compared with normal days. More than 272,600 visitors came to the city during the holiday, an increase of 5 per cent compared with the same period last year.
Seven international airlines have flights to Da Nang City but this number is set to rise as international airlines such as Vietjet and Hainam Airlines are scheduled to begin flights to the city in the time to come.
It is forecast that Da Nang International Airport will welcome six million visitors each year by 2016.
The Middle Airports Corporation is lengthening its runway and plans to expand its terminal to be able to serve 10 million visitors each year by 2020.
Infrastructure projects to be finished in 2012
Construction of several transportation projects nationwide will be accelerated this year, following instructions from Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang.
On January 28, the sixth day of the Lunar New Year, construction proceeded on the Phu Quoc International Terminal.
The minister urged that construction be completed ahead of schedule, which is officially scheduled to be in the fourth quarter.
Several transportation projects in Ha Noi, including Lang Ha – Thai Ha Overpass and Belt Road No.3, have broken ground.
HCM City’s Department of Transport said it was important to speed up construction of transport projects this year, including 32 road, railroad and water transportation projects.
Some of the projects have been put into use, such as provincial road No.25B.
The project which will be completed by the end of 2012 will help vehicles travelling in and out of Cat Lai Port.
The construction of Do Bridge in Binh Thanh District will be completed by August.
The new bridge will help to resolve traffic congestion in Binh Thanh District.
The city’s transport sector will also proceed with construction to complete paperwork for another 33 projects in the city, according to a representative from the department.
Meanwhile, construction of several transportation projects in northern region are also on track.
According to a report from the ministry, the budget for developing transport infrastructure has shrunk. However, the ministry will disburse VND42 trillion (US$2 billion).
Deputy Minister of Transport Ngo Thinh Duc and the chairman of HCM City People’s Committee, Le Hoang Quan, have urged that construction of the HCM City – Long Thanh – Dau Giay Expressway be speeded up. Construction resumed on Tuesday.
As expected, seven kilometres of the expressway’s 1A and 1B bidding package will be finished this year. Construction of the entire 55-kilometre route is expected to be completed by October 2013.
Quan said during the ceremony to speed up construction, the project’s completion would help boost economic development in the south and HCM City as well.
Tra fish prices fall after New Year
The price of tra fish bought at the farm has edged down after the Lunar New Year in Dong Thap and An Giang provinces due to a fall in demand as processors are yet to resume buying.
White meat tra bought directly from farmers by traders now costs VND25,000-25,500 (US$1.20) a kilogramme, down VND500 since last month.
Yellow meat tra has fallen by VND200-500 to VND24,000-24,500 ($1.15).
Le Chi Binh, deputy chairman of the An Giang Fisheries Association, attributed this to a reduction in demand during the week-long holiday.
Tra traders said the price trend would be clearer in a week or 10 days’ time when tra processing firms step up their purchases.
Though the processors have resumed operation after the holiday, they are relying on frozen fish bought before Tet (Lunar New Year).
With supply of tra broodstock unable to meet demand, its price has increased sharply.
In Dong Thap, a two-centimeter long fry costs VND1,800-1,900 or even VND2,000 against VND1,650-1,700 before the Lunar New Year.
Farmers in Hong Ngu District’s Long Khanh Commune, which is considered the main broodstock farming area, said unfavourable weather in recent months caused fry to die en masse, leading to a severe shortage.
Nguyen Trang Su, deputy chairman of the Hong Ngu People’s Committee, concurred, saying the loss rate among fry was up to 80 per cent.
It depended greatly on the weather and environment, and growers could not intervene using medical or technical tools, he pointed out.
The cold weather in recent months had seriously affected the mortality rate of fry, he said.
Though tra broodstock fetched very good prices now, the district did not have enough stock to meet demand, he added.
Farmers in the province are trying to buy the fry in neighbouring provinces.
Many households in Hong Ngu raising broodstock have begun a new crop since the weather has turned warmer.
New decree on payments mooted
A draft decree on non-cash payments mapped out by the central bank will be sent to the central government for approval early this year.
The decree replaces the prevailing Decree 64/2001 on payment service providers.
This is the first time that parties involved in intermediary payment activities have been officially mentioned in a legal document.
Duong Hong Phuong, deputy head of Payment Department at the central bank, said that intermediary payments were a new service that has developed along with information technology and telecommunication advancements.
Without a complete legal frame for this activity, the central bank has had no choice but to grant licenses on a trial basis to nine organisations specialising in e-purse services at home.
“Intermediary payment services associated with high technology need to be strictly supervised to minimise risks,” Phuong said. “This is the reason why new regulation will set up a legal corridor to support non-banking institutions in payment activities.”
The central bank initially classified intermediary payment services into three categories, including electronic-payment infrastructure provisions, payment – service support and other services.
Another important feature of the draft decree involves regulations on supervising payment systems, such as principal, required criteria and the scope of supervision of the national payment system, or the inter-bank electronic payment system. The 2010 Law on the State Bank of Viet Nam provides for the central bank to manage, operate and supervise the national payment system.
Still, the national payment system has only accepted Vietnamese dong, forcing the settlement of payments in foreign currencies to depend on commercial banks accordingly.
Tien Giang aims to attract more tourists
Southern Tien Giang Province is aiming to attract 1.14 million tourists this year, a 9-per-cent increase over 2010, according to the province’s Culture, Sport and Tourism Department.
It said it expected 551,000 international tourists for an estimated VND258 billion (US$12.3 million) in turnover.
The province welcomed about 150,000 tourists over the Tet (lunar new year) holiday. Thoi Son Island and other islands in the Tien River have been the most popular destinations.
Bad weather hits coffee production
Coffee production this year is likely to fall as trees are blossoming early, according to Viet Nam Cocoa and Coffee Association.
The association blamed unseasonably warm weather and rain.
Some 30 per cent of the country’s total coffee-producing area is located in Tay Nguyen Province in the Central Highlands.
Tech company FPT’s turnover increases
Software giant FPT said last year’s turnover reached VND26 trillion (US$1.23 billion), a 27 per cent year-on-year increase.
During the period, its after-tax profit reached VND2 trillion ($95.2 million), surging 24 per cent against 2010’s figure.
Mekong tourism firms fined
The State Bank of Viet Nam branch in Dong Thap Province fined three tourism companies yesterday for violating financial and monetary regulations.
Diamond for Life Co Ltd in Ward 1 of Sa Dec Township and DHT Minh Tien Co Ltd in Thanh Binh District’s An Phong Commune were fined VND11.33 million (US$540) each, while DHT Minh Phu in Thanh Binh District’s Tan Thanh Commune was fined VND5 million ($240).
The fines were imposed after the companies were found listing prices of their 4-day, 3-night tours in US dollars, according to a statement on the central bank website.
Viet Nam decrees that all transactions, payments, advertisements and price listings are done in the national currency, excepting those carried out by banks, airports and customs agencies.
Earlier in October 2011, the Government issued a new decree setting higher fines for violations in the financial sector.
Accordingly, the maximum penalty for quoting prices of goods and services in foreign currencies were increased by seven times to VND500 million ($23,800).
On 30 December 2011, the central bank imposed a fine of VND500 million on the Metropole hotel in Ha Noi for listing its service prices in US dollars.
After the authorities strengthened their crackdown on violations in the monetary sector, many travel agencies, language centres and international schools in HCM City have filed documents seeking permission to list their service prices in US dollars.
However, the central bank is yet to respond to these requests.
FDI firms contribute to Da Nang’s growth
Foreign invested enterprises had contributed positively to the growth of Da Nang’s industrial area, said the city’s Investment Promotion Centre director Lam Quang Minh.
“They generate significant foreign trade values and lure a large labour force,” Minh said.
At present, the central city has 65 foreign invested firms investing in six industrial zones with a total registered capital of US$574 million. They disbursed around $351 million, 70 per cent of the total, and attracted about 33,700 workers.
The number of operating US-invested projects reached 23 with a total capital of over $375 million, representing nearly 12 per cent of all foreign investment in Da Nang.
These projects included the $50,000 AU Mechatronics Consultancy Project, which received an investment certificate earlier this year to develop consulting services for water, electricity and industrial installation.
Last year, these companies reached a production value of nearly VND3 trillion ($142.86 million), up 17 per cent over the previous year. Their export value reached about $400 million, a year-on-year increase of 18 per cent.
In order to boost both domestic and foreign investment, Minh said the city would offer incentives in the form of favourable immigration conditions, and would also co-operate with local universities in training human resources to meet firms’ demands.
It would also help investors seek loans and support themselves while establishing hi-tech companies, he added.
At the end of last year, the People’s Committee issued a decision putting in place preferential policies to support investment in the city’s hi-tech park, especially in the fields of infrastructure, production, housing and service industries.
The policies included discounts for and exemptions from land rent, taxes and infrastructure use fees.
Gold prices rise after post-Tet dip
Gold prices in the domestic market rose again by VND300,000 to between VND45.15 and 45.30 million per tael, after falling on one day.
Domestic gold prices rose sharply during Tet (lunar new year) to more than VND46 million (US$2,190) per tael. However, they saw a heavy cut on January 30 by about VND800,000 to VND45 million per tael after world prices declined by $10 to $1,726 per ounce.
The price of SJC-branded gold bullion on the afternoon of January 31 rose by around VND300,000 to between VND45.15 million and VND45.3 million per tael as compared with the rate on January 30. On the morning of January 31, wholesale prices of SJC gold bullion at the Ha Noi-based DOJI Gold and Gems Group were between VND45.20 million and 45.30 million per tael.
Meanwhile, Sacombank Jewellery Joint-Stock Company’s selling and buying prices stood at around VND45.20 million per tael.
A representative of the Bao Tin Minh Chau Jewellery Company in Ha Noi said because of the gold-price hikes, many people rushed to sell their gold sheets to make profits.
As a result, people’s gold selling accounted for 90 per cent to 95 per cent of the company’s transactions on these days.
He also said that the company’s selling gold price now was VND600,000 higher than the global rate per tael.
On the world market in Hong Kong, gold prices on January 31 increased again by $9.52 to $1,747 per ounce, and in New York, up $12 to $1,746 an ounce. The world-price hike was attributed by market experts to negative information about US economic growth. The experts also predicted that world gold prices would likely continue to rise, surpassing $1,800 an ounce.
Fishermen net huge tuna profits
Fishermen in central provinces enjoyed bumper catches of tuna after Tet (Lunar New Year) and earned handsome profits because of high prices for the fish.
Nguyen Van Long, head of the Hoai Nhon District Fisheries and Resources Protection Station in the central province of Binh Dinh, said his district had 45 tuna fishing boats returning to shore with a total catch of 70 tonnes since the first day of Tet (January 23).
Each boat earned a profit of VND40-80 million (US$1,900-3,800), Long said.
This year, Hoai Nhon had more than 400 tuna fishing boats with a total of 5,000 fishermen celebrating Tet on the sea, he said.
All these boats would return after the tenth day of the Lunar New Year.
In previous years, most fishing boats began their Lunar New Year’s first fishing trip on the fourth day of Tet, but this year they did it two weeks before Tet and returned to shore in the first days of Tet, Long said.
In the central province of Phu Yen, more than 150 tuna fishing boats have returned to shore with boats laden with fish.
The price of tuna has increased to VND170,000 ($8) a kilo due to high export demand.
Fisherman Mai Thanh Minh of Tuy Hoa City’s Ward 6 in Phu Yen Province said his boat caught 1.5 tonnes of tuna fish and he earned a profit of VND100 million ($4,760).
“My first fishing trip in Tet met with favourable conditions. My crew and I will have a few days to enjoy a late Tet before preparing to go offshore again because tuna are now appearing in large quantities,” he said.
Tet is a time when temperatures in the sea undergo big changes and it is also the time tuna move from colder water areas to warmer ones. So they can catch more tuna at this time, local fishermen say.
Tuna trading enterprises in Phu Yen have mobilised all facilities and labourers to purchase the plentiful catch during Tet.
Tran Thanh Son, owner of Thanh Son Enterprise, said despite the difficulties in exporting seafood during Tet, his company had purchased about 50 tonnes of tuna from Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa provinces.
Most tuna caught in the first fishing trip of the Lunar New Year met export standards, he said.
In recent days, breeder lobsters have appeared in large quantities off the coast of Phu Yen’s Tuy An District.
Small boats with just one or two people on board can now catch eight to 12 breeder lobsters, and some even catch up to 40, according to fishermen in Tuy An’s An Hai Commune.
An Hai now has more than 120 boats and 400 fishermen catching lobsters.
Ngo Xuan Yen, an official of the An Hai People’s Committee, said with one breeder lobster fetching a price of between VND200,000-220,000 ($9.5-$10), each fisherman could earn VND500,000 ($24) a night.
The lobster catch is only half of what was caught during the same period last year, but their prices have increased 1.5 times.
The catching season for breeder lobster begins in October and lasts up to seven months.
In the southernmost province of Ca Mau, hundreds of fishing boats have also returned to shore in the first days of the lunar new year with their boats full of fish, shrimp and cuttlefish.
After deducting all expenses, each boat earned profits of VND50-150 million ($2,380-$7,140), according to local officials.
Fifteen days before Tet, Ca Mau had nearly 2,000 boats that went offshore fishing, they said.
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