Why foreign investors are dumping Vietnamese stock

By Minh Son, Phuong Dong   March 23, 2020 | 10:30 pm PT
Why foreign investors are dumping Vietnamese stock
An investor looks at price lists at a securities company in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Foreign investors have been net-sellers on Vietnam’s stock exchanges for a month, indicating a withdrawal amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

Monday marked the 30th consecutive net selling session of foreign investors on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HoSE) with a total value of over VND8.5 trillion ($366 million).

As Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index keeps recording historic losing sessions, hitting 656.41 points Tuesday morning, compared to the peak of over 1,000 last year, the selling trend shows foreign investors are ignoring low-priced stocks and turning to other assets.

Nguyen The Minh, an analyst with stock brokerage Yuanta Vietnam, said: "This obviously is a withdrawal from stocks in general, not just from the Vietnam market."

Minh said that for years many investors have been withdrawing from emerging markets like Vietnam to pour their money into the U.S. stock market, which has been hitting new peaks repeatedly.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic has triggered a selling trend even in U.S. markets.

Another reason for stock dumping is the gains the U.S. dollar has made over other currencies. The U.S. dollar started gaining over the Vietnamese dong on March 17 after the U.S. Federal Reserve lowered its interest rate to 0-0.25 percent.

The dong value has dropped 1.72 percent from then to VND23,710 per dollar Monday at local banks, before recovering to VND23,500 Tuesday morning.

"As the U.S. dollar becomes stronger, investors are selling other assets to hold the greenback," Minh said.

Tran Truong Manh Hieu, head of Market Strategy at securities firm KIS Vietnam Securities, said that foreign investors were taking this opportunity to transfer their investment from emerging markets like Vietnam to U.S. and Europe, expecting bigger profits when the markets gain.

"It is unclear when the selling spree will stop. It could go on for a long time until Covid-19 is controlled."

Last year, foreign investors bought VND7.3 trillion ($315 million) worth of equity on Vietnam’s stock exchanges, remaining net buyers for a third straight year.

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