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"¢ The Asian Development Bank has approved a US$1.1 billion finance package for two major transportation projects in Vietnam that will help unclog Ho Chi Minh City's overcrowded roadways. ADB will provide $540 million toward a $1.4 billion project to construct a second mass transit line in HCMC, and an additional $636 million for a $1.6 billion project to construct a modern expressway to the south of the city. The Mass Rapid Transit Line

2, an 11.3-kilometer metro rail line, will link from Ben Thanh in the center of HCMC, to Tham Luong near the Tan Son Nhat International Airport. Meanwhile, the 57- kilometer expressway between Ben Luc and Long Thanh will further ease traffic in the center of HCMC and facilitate the transport of goods between the major ports of HCMC.

"¢ Pakistan, Vietnam and Indonesia will lead wage gains in Asia next year, outpacing developed nations in the region, according to a survey by Mercer Consulting. Workers in Pakistan may have a 14.5 percent wage increase, Vietnam may see a 12.2 percent advance and Indonesia 9.2 percent, Mercer said, citing the survey of more than 5,000 companies in 15 markets across different industries in Asia. Japan will have the lowest gain at 2 percent, it said.

"¢ Vietnam will extend the deadline for banks to raise registered capital by one year to ease pressure on banks having difficulty meeting higher requirements. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved the proposal requiring local lenders to raise registered capital levels to VND3 trillion ($153.9 million), by December 31, 2011, the central bank said on its website.

"¢ Outstanding loans issued by foreign banks in Vietnam have risen to VND230 trillion in 2010, a 26-percent increase compared with 2009, Vietnam News reported, citing the central bank governor. Loans issued by foreign banks in Vietnam accounted for a 10.77 percent share of the banking system's credit market, the newspaper said quoting Nguyen Van Giau.

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