European firms remain upbeat about doing business in Vietnam

European business leaders remain positive about conducting business in Vietnam, according to the latest Business Climate Index (BCI) for the third quarter of 2018 from the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, or EuroCham.

european firms remain upbeat about doing business in vietnam hinh 0
A local customer inspects French apples at a supermarket in HCMC
The report indicates that confidence in Vietnam’s trade and investment environment, now at 81 points, is the second-highest rating since late 2016. Despite a slight dip since the high watermark of second quarter 2018 – the highest BCI score for 18 months, business sentiment in quarter three remains strong.

Co-chairman of EuroCham Nicolas Audier said in a statement that the results of EuroCham’s latest BCI are another vote of confidence in Vietnam’s trade and investment environment. “Our members continue to report positive signals across the board, from increasing their investments to growing their workforce.”

EuroCham member enterprises continued to perform well in the last quarter, with 57% describing their situation as ‘good’ and a further 10% as ‘excellent’. Meanwhile, just 8% described their situation as negative.

Looking ahead to the next quarter, business leaders remain optimistic, with just under 60% anticipating a ‘good’ outlook for their business, while a further 11% looking forward to an ‘excellent’ end to 2018.

EuroCham members are also positive about Vietnam’s macroeconomic outlook, with 58% predicting ‘stabilization and improvement’ in the next quarter, and 32% believing that it will remain static. Meanwhile, less than 10% of business leaders anticipate a worsening economic outlook.

The BCI dives deep into the detail of business operations of European companies, asking questions about issues from staffing and investment plans to revenue prospects for the next quarter. Over 200 representatives of EuroCham member companies responded to this survey.

Over half of business leaders anticipate growing their workforce in quarter four, with 41.9% predicting a ‘moderate’, and a further 8.4% predicting a ‘significant’ increase, while less than 8% believe that their headcount will fall.

Likewise, over 50% of EuroCham members believe that their businesses will grow its investment in the current quarter, with 40.9% predicting a ‘moderate’ rise and 10.8% anticipating a ‘significant’ rise.

Just 6% foresee a reduction in their investment plan. Revenue projections are even more impressive, with over 70% of business leaders anticipating either a ‘significant’ or ‘moderate’ rise in orders or revenue in this quarter.

Last month, EuroCham and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry co-organized a high-level lunch in Brussels with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, bringing together almost 20 major business leaders from across Europe eager to grow their investment in Vietnam.

“The strong interest in this event highlights the appetite of European investors to increase their footprint in Vietnam, with ratification of the European Union-Vietnam free trade agreement on the horizon. EuroCham will continue to push for the quick ratification of this historic deal, and encourage more European trade and investment in Vietnam in the future,” noted Nicolas Audier.

Through the BCI, EuroCham has been taking the pulse of European businesses operating in Vietnam since 2010. The BCI gives up-to-date, on-the-ground insight from member companies and their perceptions of the business environment each quarter.

Since the last quarter, EuroCham’s BCI is now conducted, in collaboration with HCMC-based Decision Lab, in order to ensure a wider and more representative sample of respondents and more sophisticated research methods.

Saigon Times

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