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* Vietnamese regulators may approve the nation's main stock exchange proposal to lengthen its trading hours, a possible new measure to bolster the worst-performing stock market in the Asia Pacific region this year. The State Securities Commission has agreed in principle for the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange to extend its hours from February 20 into the afternoon, Le Hai Tra, standing member of the exchange's board of directors, said in a telephone interview Wednesday. The market currently trades from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

* Taiwan is the largest labor export market of Vietnam in the first seven months of 2011, having taken 20,504 Vietnamese workers in the period as part of the country's total 54,352, the Overseas Labor Management Department said.

* The State Bank of Vietnam should cut the number of small banks by 15-20 percent through mergers, acquisitions and liquidation, raise dollar compulsory reserves and lower foreign currency deposit rates to 1 percent, Thoi Bao Kinh Te Vietnam newspaper reported, citing the Vietnam Association of Finance Investors.

* Vietnam has granted new rice export licenses to 44 companies, including four foreign-invested firms, the Vietnam News Agency reported. Applications from five more companies are pending, the news agency quoted Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Nguyen Thanh Bien as saying. Together, these 49 firms will account for 70 percent of Vietnam's rice exports, he said.

* FPT Corp., Vietnam's biggest publicly-traded telecommunications and software company, will start integrating Facebook software into its mobile phones from October, according to a statement on its website.

* Refrigeration Electrical Engineering Corp., said net profit rose 7.5 percent to VND171 billion (US$8.23 million) in the first half, according to a statement filed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange's website. Revenue increased 15.4 percent to VND855 billion, it said.

* PetroVietnam Gas Corp., a unit of Vietnam Oil & Gas Group, received government approval to build a $1 billion liquefied natural gas import terminal in Binh Thuan Province, Thoi Bao Kinh Te Vietnam reported, citing information from the company. The terminal, which will be constructed from 2012, will be able to handle imports of up to 3 million tons of liquefied natural gas per year, according to the report.

* Robusta coffee stockpiles in Europe are set to fall until supplies from the new season in Vietnam, the world's largest producer of the variety, become available, according to Armajaro Trading Ltd., a supplier of cocoa, coffee and sugar. Vietnam usually starts its harvest in October.

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