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* Pledged foreign direct investment into Vietnam fell 22 percent in 10 months through October from a year earlier, the Foreign Investment Agency of the Ministry of Planning and Investment said in a statement. Committed investment fell to US$11.27 billion in January-October from the same period in 2010, according to the statement. Disbursed foreign direct investment rose 1 percent to $9.1 billion, it said.

* Vietnamese inflation slowed for a second month. Consumer prices rose 21.59 percent in October from a year earlier, according to the General Statistics Office. The inflation rate fell to 22.42 percent in September after reaching the highest level in more than two years in August. Prices climbed 0.36 percent in October from September.

* The State Securities Commission is working on a plan to merge Vietnam's two stock exchanges, according to Tran Dac Sinh, chief executive officer of the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange. The main bourse in Ho Chi Minh City has a market capitalization of $30.8 billion, making it the second-smallest of 16 major Asia Pacific exchanges tracked by Bloomberg. The Hanoi Stock Exchange is the country's smaller bourse.

* Vietnam's trade deficit narrowed in October from September. The deficit was $800 million, compared with a revised $1.5 billion shortfall in September, based on preliminary figures released by the General Statistics Office Tuesday. The trade gap for the 10 months through October was $8.39 billion.

* The State Bank of Vietnam will raise fines for violations of gold as well as foreign-currency trading regulations, as part of intensified measures to control those markets, according to a statement posted on its website Tuesday.

* US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will visit Vietnam and China in mid-November. The trip is designed to strengthen trade relations with the two countries, the Department of Agriculture said Wednesday in an e-mail. Vilsack will be the first American secretary of agriculture to visit Vietnam, the USDA Said.

* HAGL Joint-Stock Co., Vietnam's second-biggest listed real estate company by market value, said its net profit slid to VND7.3 billion ($348,100), in the third quarter this year, from VND568.3 billion a year ago. Net income for the January to September period dropped to VND216.2 billion, from VND1.6 trillion a year earlier.

* Vietcombank, the country's biggest listed lender by market value, said unconsolidated net profit rose to VND1.03 trillion ($49.1 million) in the third quarter from VND987.6 billion a year earlier, according to a statement on its website. The lender said January to September unconsolidated net profit increased to VND3.3 trillion from VND3.1 trillion compared to the same period last year.

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