Foreign direct investment (FDI) into Ho Chi Minh City has risen sharply - in terms of registered capital and the number of investment licences – over the first two months of 2014, according to figures released by the municipal Department of Planning and Investment.

Speaking at a meeting on February 28, Director of the municipal Department of Planning and Investment Thai Van Re said in the first two months of the year, the city authority has granted 46 investment licences, up by 12.2 percent compared with the same period last year, with a total registered capital of 164.3 million USD, up by 267.2 percent on last year.

In addition, the city authority has approved plans for capital expansion of 52.6 million USD for operational projects.

Re said the city's economy remained stable and is showing positive signs of recovery.

In February the city attained total retail sales and service revenues of 43.4 trillion VND (nearly 2.6 billion USD), an increase of 3.8 percent over the same period last year, although this was a 27.2 percent drop from January 2014, according to a report released by the municipal People's Committee.

The city's total retail sales and service revenues in the first month of the year amounted to 103 trillion VND (nearly 4.9 billion USD), up by 11.8 percent compared with the same period last year.

Its tourism and hospitality industry and transport services also scored growth. The city welcomed some 396,000 foreign visitors in January and 778,000 foreign guests in the first two months, which is an 11 percent increase over the same period last year.

The early opening of shopping malls after the traditional Lunar New Year (Tet) and the market stabilisation programmes in February have helped the city to attain low CPI rate of 0.24 percent compared with January 2014.

The city has shown growth in other areas too - it reported an export turnover of 1.8 billion USD in February, which is up 14.7 percent and the city's agricultural production scored a 6.3 percent growth rate over the same period last year.

Also in February, 2,741 new businesses were established in the city, with total registered capital of over 14.36 trillion VND (nearly 680 million USD).

After Tet, enterprises in the city didn't suffer labour shortages like in previous years, because businesses (in particular companies that employ large numbers of labourers) provided staff with financial help returning home for the longest and most important annual festival.

In February, there were 25.000 employment opportunities in the city, including 12,300 new jobs, up by 15.6 percent over January.

To further improve the socio-economic growth, the People's Committee has asked district authorities, departments and agencies to focus on efforts to curb inflation, stabilise the macro-economy, and ensure social welfare for its residents.

The city authority asked agencies to further develop market stabilisation programmes to create favourable conditions for enterprises to boost production, and in doing so to promote their brands and to raise living standards.-VNA