Citi adds fixed-income trader to Vietnam team

The bank hires Nguyen Hoang Son as head of trading for fixed income, currencies and commodities in Vietnam.
Citi announced in an internal memo that Nguyen Hoang Son has become head of trading for fixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC) in Vietnam.

Son joined from Deutsche Bank and brought with him eight years of experience in the trading and risk management areas.

Based in Ho Chi Minh City, Son will report to the head of FICC Vietnam and regionally to both the local markets rates and the FX trading heads for Asia.

Citi is major liquidity provider in Vietnam's fixed-income market. Last year the bank issued a maiden domestic bond in Vietnam û a Vnd400 billion ($22 million) floating rate issue of two years and one day. It is also a regular underwriter of debt products for Vietnamese clients.

"There are immense opportunities for Citi in Vietnam to provide services to our clients and this latest hire underlines our commitment to develop our franchise in Vietnam,ö says James Griffiths, a Hong Kong based spokesman at Citi.

Son's hire is clearly part of Citi's efforts to expand its business in Vietnam. Earlier this year, Citi appointed Nguyen Son Nam as head of investment banking in Vietnam to boost its advisory business by targeting companies that need to raise capital. Nam, most recently a managing director at Citi technology investment banking for the Asia-Pacific region, moved from Hong Kong to Vietnam to take up his new role in May this year.

Building up a banking profile in Vietnam makes sense because the country is often portrayed as the next Asian tiger. However, investors have become increasingly worried about the health of Vietnam's economy late. Basic food costs, for staples such as rice, have been soaring in recent months, leading to runaway inflation. This has contributed to a slowing of the country's GDP growth to 6.5% for the first half of 2008, compared with an average of 8% before.

After much criticism for its slow response, the government has started to tighten monetary policy and talk to foreign investors to allay fears. The efforts may be paying off. Inflation increased by 2.2% in June from May, but it is still running at double digits with consumer prices up 26.8% in June from a year earlier. The country's trade deficit dropped to $6.4 billion in the second quarter from $8.3 billion in the first quarter.
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