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Rising Worth: Highlight on Vietnam

Vietnam has been an uninterrupted development story for the reason that early Nineteen Nineties and it’s nonetheless going sturdy. This displays the inherent energy of the nation from an financial and human capital standpoint.

Nonetheless, it began from such a low level, after many years of devastating wars, that the nation nonetheless has a whole lot of catching as much as do. It’s now shifting up the availability chain and might be an early beneficiary of the USA-China tensions and the diversification of worldwide provide chains.

Vietnam Overview

Vietnam is a rustic of 99 million individuals and a GDP of $469B ($1.4T in PPP), giving it the fifteenth largest inhabitants on this planet and the thirty sixth largest economic system (twenty sixth by Buying Energy Parity).

The nation has historically been principally agrarian, counting on superior irrigation techniques and a really heat and moist local weather, ultimate for rice farming.

Aside from its spectacular agricultural manufacturing, particularly rice, the nation is comparatively poor in pure assets, with just a bit bauxite (aluminum ore) and oil, principally used domestically.

It principally follows the South China Sea’s western coast, with a mountainous inside and a couple of main river deltas: the Crimson River Delta within the North and the Mekong River Delta within the South.

The nation was scarred by the fallout of the Indochina Battle (with France: 1941-1954), the Vietnam Battle (with the USA: 1955-1975), and even a short struggle with China in 1979.

The nation’s first burst of development got here in 1990-1997, with 8% annual development, following free-market reforms. It will, in a while, decelerate throughout crises, just like the 1997 Asian monetary disaster, then in 2000 and 2008. General, the nation has sustained regular financial development over that point, with an annual development price normally within the 7% vary.

The principle export is digital & telecom tools, usually assembled in Vietnam to leverage the nonetheless comparatively low labor prices, which grew to become more and more aggressive as China grew to become much less and fewer low cost. The following largest export classes are clothes, footwear, furnishings, and meals merchandise.

Tourism can be an vital a part of the economic system (7.5% of GDP), or no less than was earlier than the Covid pandemic, with the massive majority of vacationers coming from Asia.

Vietnam has usually been categorized as one of many “Tiger Cubs” (primarily the ASEAN), in reference to the earlier 4 Asian Tigers (Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea).

The Tiger Cubs membership has seen development decelerate strongly in the previous few years, excluding Vietnam, which is by far the perfect performing of those economies.

GDP of World, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Emerging & developing Asia in chart

Vietnam’s Strengths & Future

Vietnam’s development has been fueled by a couple of components:

  • It’s situated in Asia, near most worldwide provide chains.
  • Labor prices are low and high quality is comparatively excessive.
  • The economic system has develop into very open.
  • Vietnam has a younger and rising inhabitants.
  • The politics are steady and the setting is protected.

Whereas these benefits nonetheless maintain, the progressive growth of the nation makes them much less essential for the subsequent step of Vietnamese growth. The demographic transition is occurring and salaries are rising. Fortunately, the expansion is supported by 2 new traits.

Going Up the Provide Chain

Following the blueprint established by Japan, South Korea, and China, Vietnam is now trying to develop into greater than a mere assembler of products manufactured some place else, or the maker of low-value and labor-intensive items like clothes.

West-China Tensions

Regardless of their “tense” frequent previous, Vietnam is surprisingly pleasant to the USA, seeing it as a counterbalance to an more and more highly effective and influential China.

Vietnam has been one of many prime beneficiaries of factories leaving China, searching for each cheaper labor and decrease geopolitical danger.

The more than likely situation is for Vietnam to climb the availability in segments that aren’t too labor intensive, as its a lot smaller inhabitants, comparatively effectively educated, is unlikely to be sufficient to soak up labor-intensive industries at the moment dominated by China (which is a job that India matches higher).

Vietnam’s Weaknesses

One key Vietnamese weak point in protecting development steady and absorbing extra of the added worth is that most of its exports are at the moment managed by international corporations. They may arrange store in Vietnam, however they don’t substitute native champions.

Native corporations are usually less than the extent of high quality required to develop into unbiased suppliers. This would possibly change over time, as extra of the labor pressure is gaining expertise, abilities, and connections to start out on their very own. It’s nonetheless only a (distant?) chance for now.

One other key weak point is dependence on China. China gives 35% of Vietnam’s imports. So when individuals have a look at Vietnam as an alternative choice to China, they may underestimate how a lot Vietnam functioning correctly depends on protecting no less than first rate relations with China.

The final subject is that Vietnam wants to speculate extra massively in its infrastructure. Energy demand has usually caught as much as max capability, and the identical might be stated for logistics infrastructure (roads, railways, harbors). Sturdy investments by the federal government and native utilities will likely be wanted, particularly if the nation strikes towards extra energy-intensive industries.

Firm Spotlights

Vin Group (HOSE:VIC)

Vin Group is THE conglomerate of Vietnam and the closest the nation has to a Korean chaebol (Samsung, LG, and many others.) or a Japanese buying and selling firm. It represents round 12% of the primary Vietnamese inventory index (VN-Index) and 1.1% of the nation’s nominal GDP.

The corporate has an attention-grabbing historical past, having been based by Vietnamese expats in Ukraine in 1993, earlier than being introduced again to Vietnam in 2000.

It’s principally lively in actual property growth and asset administration (purchasing malls, accommodations, condos, and many others.), however can be working information administration, wine promoting, hospitals, college, and even manufacturing its personal design of e-motorcycles and electrical vehicles (VinFast, anticipated to IPO in 2023) and AI.

As a consequence of this very diversified array of actions, the Vin Group is current within the each day lives of most Vietnamese. With its deep pockets, it’s also the most effective candidates for actual home innovation and taking management of business provide chains.

SABECO – Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp. (HOSE: SAB)

P/E: 20.35

Dividend yield: 2.11%

The 148-year-old firm is dominating the native beer market. Contemplating how beer manufacturers efficiently preserve out international rivals, this can be a moderately “moaty” enterprise. Vietnam can be, surprisingly perhaps, a “beer nation”, with beer accounting for 90% of alcohol gross sales.

The corporate’s gross sales and income have absolutely recovered from the Covid droop. The corporate can be investing closely in its bodily property (breweries, automation, and many others.) and its model (sponsorship of the nationwide soccer workforce, music festivals, and many others.).

With rising nationwide revenue, SABECO is well-positioned to seize an growing price range on entrainment and consumption. SABECO’s administration additionally anticipates growing consumption from ladies and younger individuals.


P/E: 17.36

Dividend yield: 2.2%

Gemadept dominates the port operation and logistics companies in Vietnam, an important position in a trade-dependent economic system. It’s well-positioned to achieve from any enhance in imports and exports.

It was among the many first 3 firms to be privatized in 1993 and was publicly listed in 2002.

As a consequence of its essential position within the logistical chain, Gemadept primarily acts like a toll cost on the entire Vietnamese industrial sector. Its harbors are distinctive property nearly not possible (or no less than horribly expensive) to duplicate, particularly the deep-sea harbor that opened in 2021.

Extra just lately, the corporate has additionally gotten concerned in actual property, with the event of a business heart, places of work, and a 5-star resort, for a complete funding of $280M.


Whereas Vietnam is normally included in Asian or ASEAN ETFs, there are a restricted variety of ETFs centered solely on the nation.

VanEck Vietnam ETF (VNM)

Closely tilted towards Vin Group and its subsidiaries, it additionally has a whole lot of publicity to the monetary sector (51% of the entire ETF) and client non-durable items (19%) sectors (partly by means of Masan Group Company, a retailer/grocery store chain).

So this may be an acceptable ETF to guess on Vietnam’s general development, however solely so long as the Vin Group is doing effectively.

Top 10 VNM holdings


The ETF high holdings usually are not very totally different from VNM, besides for a bigger publicity to actual property by means of Hoa Phat Group (9% as a substitute of 6%). It is usually extra uncovered to uncooked supplies and vitality.

MSCI Vietnam ETF sector


Vietnam is a development story that has not upset within the final 30 years.

Vietnam would possibly, at this level, be a spot the place it’s comparatively simple to speculate (not a frontier market, with publicity by means of ETFs) however with a whole lot of development potential remaining.

It appears on the verge of beginning a brand new chapter, trying to develop into a brand new South Korea or Taiwan within the subsequent few many years. This lofty aim is achievable if the nation manages to play its playing cards correctly and use geopolitical tensions to its benefit, however keep away from getting caught in an precise battle within the South China Sea.

A deep understanding of aggressive benefits and native markets may be required for optimum inventory picks of Vietnamese small caps. However the nation’s blue chip firms provide “easier” alternatives as effectively, with giant conglomerates, logistic firms, or client items giants and retailers.

Discovering Worth in Rising Markets

Inventory Highlight has repeatedly coated shares in rising markets, which may provide nice firms at discounted costs. After a decade of outperformance for the US inventory market, it may be time for rising markets to shine. This cycle between rising market (EM) vs the US tends to be roughly 10-15 years lengthy, as you possibly can see under. With the S&P500 outperformance acknowledged in 2010, we’re due for a reversal in pattern.

Relative Earnings - MSCI Emerging Markets Index I S&P 500 Index - Historical EPS: monthly data: January 1995 trough November 2022 chart

Supply: Western Southern

Previous patterns is probably not repeated, however the investing world extends past the US, and growing numbers of buyers are contemplating publicity in non-US markets!

Rising Worth
It is a sequence targeted on alternatives in rising markets. The aim is to not focus on breaking information. As a substitute, we’ll deal with long-term traits and lasting phenomena that may influence investing in a rustic or area. It can additionally have a look at a number of firms that may be value a better look.



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