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* The State Bank of Vietnam and the Ministry of Finance signed an agreement to jointly make and implement monetary and fiscal policy, oversee financial markets, and manage public finances and official development assistance funds.

* The Vietnam Steel Association has asked member companies to be more cautious in expanding exports to avoid anti-dumping problems in overseas markets. Export of steel products topped US$2 billion last year, but exporters are also struggling with three anti-dumping lawsuits in Indonesia and the US.

* David O'Sullivan, chief operating officer of the European External Action Service, who is on a visit to Vietnam beginning February 29, said he will press for progress in negotiations for a European Union-Vietnam free trade agreement.

* The State Bank of Vietnam is ready to force mergers among weak banks and keep monetary policy "tight" yet flexible, deputy governor Nguyen Dong Tien said Tuesday.

* Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. offered a $64.2 million, 14-year loan for a wind power project in Dak Lak Province, according to a statement from Nippon Export and Investment Insurance.

* Le Hong Ha became Chief Executive Officer of Jetstar Pacific Airlines on March 1. Ha was vice CEO of Vietnam Airlines, which now has a 69.93 percent stake in Jetstar Pacific. The budget airline will receive a capital injection of US$25 million for fleet renewal.

* Takashimaya Singapore Ltd. has signaled its foray into the Vietnamese retail market which is "entering an exciting phase of growth with an increasing middle-income class" by pre-leasing approximately 15,000 sq.m. of retail space of Keppel Land Watco's Saigon Centre. The building's expansion is expected to be completed in 2015.

* Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower, the tallest building in Southeast Asia after the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, is adding 100,000 square meters (1.1 million square feet) of office space and threatening to drive rents to a five-year low.

* Vietnam shipped 473,802 tons of rice by February 23 and may export 6.58-7.34 million tons this year, according to the agriculture ministry.

* Dragon Capital is raising up to $100 million in a new fund that will invest in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, and look for investment opportunities as the Vietnamese government embarks on a major effort to privatize state-owned assets, according to the Wall Street Journal.

* More than 260 farmers in Dong Nai have sought VND17.6 billion ($842,000) in compensation from Sonadezi Service Joint Stock Company, which was caught discharging millions of cubic meters of untreated sewage into a local canal.

* Foreign direct investment reached $1.23 billion in the first two months of 2012. An estimated $1 billion of the amount was also disbursed, according to the Foreign Investment Agency.

* Vietnam's index of industrial production for February jumped an estimated 22.1 percent over the same month last year, after a fall of 2.4 percent in January, the Ministry of Planning and Investment said.

* While overall business outlook is still optimistic for 2012, two-thirds of business leaders believe business conditions in Vietnam have deteriorated, a survey done between November and December 2011 by Nielsen found.

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