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* Vietnam may fail to achieve its goal of attracting at least US$15 billion of committed foreign direct investment this year amid a faltering global recovery and a domestic growth slowdown. "It will be very hard to meet the target," said Do Nhat Hoang, head of the Foreign Investment Agency at the Ministry of Planning and Investment. "We are facing domestic economic difficulties, fueled by unfavorable developments in global markets that have negatively impacted foreign investment this year," he told reporters in Hanoi on Wednesday.

* Progress in free-trade talks between the European Union and Vietnam may trigger a resurgence of investment in the Southeast Asian nation from companies within the 27-nation bloc, the EU's top representative in Vietnam said. Early headway in negotiations would boost interest in Vietnam even before an accord is signed, Ambassador Franz Jessen, head of the European Union delegation to Vietnam, said in an interview.

* Several banks are waiting for the central bank to raise their credit growth targets for the second half of 2012 while a National Assembly official said the central bank should keep lending growth at 1.5-1.7 percent per month through the end of the year, instead of the targeted 2 percent, Dau Tu newspaper reported Wednesday.

* Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries, or Vinacomin, signed a $36 million term loan agreement which will mature in June 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. arranged the funds, the data show.

* Inflation slowed to the weakest pace in a year in June, an official estimate showed. Consumer prices were up 6.9 percent year-on-year, after increases of 8.34 percent in May and 10.54 percent in April, according to the General Statistics Office. The inflation rate for the first six months of 2012 stood at 12.2 percent year-on-year.

* Vietnam's unmilled rice output from the 2011-2012 winter-spring harvest rose by 466,000 tons to 20.3 million tons from a year earlier, Vietnam News Agency reported, citing the agriculture ministry.

* Apple launched its iTunes Store in 12 Asian markets on Wednesday, giving consumers access to millions of songs and movies. The iTunes Store is now open to consumers with credit cards issued in Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Customers will now be able to choose from more than 28 million songs, including hits by Asian stars.

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