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"¢ Vietnam's exports this year may grow 19-21 percent while imports could rise 16-17 percent from 2009, said Le Van Duoc, director of the Industry and Trade Ministry's Planning Department. Exports could rise 10 percent in 2011 to US$74.8 billion, while imports could increase 9.7 percent to $89.4 billion, creating a trade deficit of $14.6 billion, the Planning and Investment Ministry has projected.

"¢ The government on Tuesday named a new chief executive officer for state-owned shipbuilder Vinashin, the fourth head of the group over the past two months. Truong Van Tuyen, former deputy general director of Vietnam Oil and Gas Group was appointed, replacing acting chief executive Nguyen Quoc Anh, who took the post on August 30. The two predecessors, Pham Thanh Binh and Tran Quang Vu, were suspended amid a financial investigation into the company.

"¢ Major state-owned companies will receive a total capital injection of VND5.18 trillion ($265.9 million) to develop infrastructure projects in 2011, news website VnExpress reported on Tuesday, citing the Ministry of Planning and Investment. The capital includes VND3.5 trillion for oil and gas group PetroVietnam, VND45 billion for the Vietnam National Shipping Lines, VND1.33 trillion for Vietnam Railways, and VND215 billion for Electricity of Vietnam.

"¢ The government has ordered the Ministry of Industry and Trade to take measures to reduce power cuts and ensure all power plants run at their full capacity. The ministry was also asked to supervise prices set by power producers in an attempt to make pricing more transparent.

"¢ Inflation in Vietnam may rise 1.56 percent in the final three months of the year as commodity prices are stabilized, Hoang Trung Hai, deputy prime minister, said in a statement on the government's website on Wednesday.

"¢ Gold prices in Vietnam have exceeded world prices as investors accumulated the metal to repay bank loans taken out several months ago, which they had sold for cash, said Tran Thanh Hai, director of the Vietnam Gold Business Corp. Domestic gold prices hit a record VND33 million ($1,690) per tael on Wednesday, up 4.4 percent from the previous day. One tael is about 1.2 ounces of gold.

"¢ The central bank may allow businesses to import gold to "stabilize the market" so that domestic prices will move closer to the international trend, online newswire VnEconomy reported, citing Nguyen Quang Huy, head of the State Bank of Vietnam's department for foreign-currency management. Any imports will be based on a "suitable volume and timeframe," the report cited Huy as saying.

"¢ Air Mekong, a local private air carrier that has partnered with Skywest Inc., will start domestic flights on October 9, said Doan Quoc Viet, chairman of the carrier. The company will use four CRJ-900 aircraft produced by Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. for its flights.

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