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* Vietnam has revised the trade deficit in March, saying the actual gap totalled US$1.41 billion, up from the government's initial estimate of $1.15 billion, Vietnam Customs said. The revised March deficit brought the country's trade gap in the first quarter of this year to $3.5 billion, up from $3.02 billion estimated late last month by the General Statistics Office.

* Many listed companies have said they've sold assets including property and closed branches to recover from losses last year. With interest rates much higher than profit margins of 10-15 percent, local companies had to sell their assets to keep their business going, said economist Nguyen Van Thuan.

* Vietnam Airlines on Tuesday announced a plan to launch direct flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to London by the end of this year. The Vietnam News Agency quoted chief executive Pham Ngoc Minh saying nearly 90,000 English tourists came to Vietnam last year, an increase of 28 percent over 2009.

* Second-phase sales have begun at luxury villa project Oceanami Resort Long Hai in the coastal southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau. On an area of 21 hectares, the project has 180 villas ready for sale and a 114-room resort.

* Private companies will be allowed access to official development assistance (ODA) funds to implement prioritized projects, the government said while granting initial approval for amendments to a decree on foreign aid management. The final version of the decree is expected to be passed in the last quarter this year.

* Vietnam, the world's second-largest rice exporter, shipped 2.14 million tons from the start of the year to April 14, the Vietnam Food Association said. The country may ship as much as 7.4 million tons in 2011, the agricultural ministry said in a statement on April 8.

* Bao Viet Holdings, 18-percent owned by HSBC Holdings Plc, is targeting net annual profit growth of 15 percent, to as much as VND1.7 trillion ($84.3 million), by the end of 2015, the company said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday. Bao Viet, Vietnam's largest insurer, also set an annual revenue growth target of 12 percent, to as much as VND2.2 trillion, for the same period.

* The Finance Ministry has proposed that the government grant income tax expemption for citizens with monthly incomes of VND5 million ($240) or less, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported Thursday. The current taxable income threshold is VND4 million a month. Taxpayers are allowed to deduct VND1.6 million for each dependant.

* Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group, known as VNPT, expects about 51.7 percent of its earnings this year will come from Vietnam Mobile Telecom Services Co., a VNPT unit popularly known as MobiFone, Dau Tu newspaper reported. VNPT's 2010 pretax profit totaled VND5.86 trillion ($280.3 million), of which 52.3 percent came from MobiFone, according to the newspaper.

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