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* Vietnam's trade deficit widened in May from the previous month. The shortfall was US$1.7 billion, compared with a revised $1.49 billion in April, based on preliminary figures released by the General Statistics Office on Wednesday. The value of imports of petroleum products rose 30.1 percent in May and the cost of cotton imports surged 118.3 percent.

* Inflation accelerated to a 29-month high in May. Prices rose 19.78 percent from a year earlier, compared with 17.51 percent in April, according to data released by the General Statistics Office on Tuesday. That's the quickest pace since December 2008. Prices rose 2.21 percent from April.

* Coffee shipments from Vietnam, the world's second-largest exporter, may drop to their lowest level in six months in May, according to the General Statistics Office in Hanoi. Exports may drop 12.7 percent to 110,000 tons in May from 126,000 tons in April, according to preliminary data released by the office.

* Vietnam will raise the export duty on iron ore to 40 percent in early July from 30 percent now to ensure raw material for its domestic steel industry, the government said on Wednesday. The new rate will come into effect on July 2 following a Finance Ministry circular, the government said in a statement.

* Private-equity investors' optimism in Vietnam's economic prospects dropped after inflation accelerated and the government devalued the currency, according to a biannual survey by Grant Thornton International. Those with a positive outlook for the coming year fell to 53 percent in the second quarter from 81 percent last year, Grant Thornton said in a report Monday.

* Vietnam Airlines Corp. signed a $457 million aircraft financing loan deal with a consortium of banks, including DBS Group Holdings Ltd., Citigroup Inc. and HSBC Holdings Plc, for the purchase of up to eight Airbus A321-231 aircraft, the airline said in a statement. The package includes a $400 million Export Credit Agency facility arranged and financed by HSBC and Citigroup.

* State-owned enterprises will from July this year have to declare the debts and assets they hold at banks and in funds if a draft Ministry of Finance circular is approved, Vietnam News reported. Public opinion is being sought on the draft, which would require companies to declare items such as gold deposits and credit certificates.

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