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* Vietnam needs to reduce US dollar transactions in its economy and restore confidence in the dong as faster inflation deters use of the local currency, said Ayumi Konishi, the Asian Development Bank's Vietnam director. Dollars make up about 20 percent of money used in Vietnam, Konishi told reporters at a conference in Hanoi on Wednesday.

* State-owned carrier Vietnam Airlines intends to hire an overseas bank to work on its planned domestic initial public offering. "We have to have a foreign adviser since the value will be big and the local banks are all commercial," Finance Director Tran Thanh Hien said on Monday.

* The Vietnam Gold Traders Association has asked the government for a cut in the gold export tariff to boost shipments of the metal, Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper reported. The current 10 percent export tax for the metal should be cut to 0.5 percent or 0 percent because profit margins for the gold export business are not higher than 1 percent, the association said.

* TNK-BP signed agreements with BP Plc, India's Oil & Natural Gas Corp. and PetroVietnam on acquiring the UK company's stake in the offshore gas Block 06.1 and becoming the operator of the project, the Russian venture said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement. The accords will be submitted to the Vietnamese government for final approval, Moscow-based TNK-BP said.

* FPT Corp., Vietnam's biggest publicly traded telecommunications and software company, will withdraw its plan to invest in EVN Telecom Co., it said in a statement on its website on Wednesday. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in January approved FPT's purchase of a 49 percent stake in EVN Telecom, a state-owned phone operator.

* Vietnam may start building the country's second oil refinery as early as the second quarter, the Vietnam Economic Times reported, citing Dinh La Thang, chairman of PetroVietnam. The construction of the US$5.3 billion Nghi Son refinery was initially scheduled to start in March, and has been delayed due to talks between PetroVietnam and a group of international contractors.

* Some banks have reduced interest rates on gold deposits as the central bank has restricted gold lending. Vietnam Export-Import Commercial Joint-Stock Bank cut rates to as low as 0.2 percent for deposits with terms of six months or longer. Viet A Commercial Joint-Stock Bank also decreased rates to as low as 0.5 percent for six-month deposits.

* The Piaggio Group on Wednesday announced a new phase of growth in Asia involving an expansion in its manufacturing and sales operations. It plans to expand a plant in Vinh Phuc Province near Hanoi. The expansion will help the factory, which began manufacturing in June 2009, triple annual production to 300,000 scooters. So far the group has invested a total 30 million euro ($42.9 million) in Vietnam.

* Petrolimex, supplier of 60 percent of the country's fuel, had a first-quarter net loss of VND2.65 trillion ($127 million) because of a weaker dong, Deputy Chief Executive Vuong Thai Dung said. "The central bank's increase in the dollar-dong's exchange rate earlier this year was the main reason for our loss, as we borrowed in dollars to import fuel products," Dung said.

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