Beer market of Russia 2016: PET goes to draftThe beer market of Russia was warmed up by the hot summer, but the preparation for large volume PET prohibition has already impacted it negatively. The year was successful for Efes, MBC and regional producers; Carlsberg’s positions were virtually stable but AB InBev and Heineken lost a part of market share having focused on the sales profitability. The dynamics of big brands was determined by how much the companies were willing to keep the prices down or by their promotional activity. In this context the economy segment of the beer market and sales of inexpensive draft beer were increasing. The premium segment started shrinking due to license brands migrating to the mainstream segment.
Beer market of Vietnam: “Young tiger”Vietnam is one of the few big beer markets that continue to grow steadily. The beer popularity results from its low price, street consumption culture, and social motives. The outlooks of beer market as well as the Vietnamese economy inspire optimism, though the country is heavily dependent on export of goods. The state regulation can be called liberal, but the key risk for brewers is harbored in intensive rising of excise. Within TOP-4 there are two leaders, Sabeco and Heineken that grow at the fastest rates. The first company effectively employs its capacities, the second one focuses on marketing technologies. Almost 80% of the market belongs to century-old brands, yet the middle class and the youth are shifting their interest toward international premium that is growing taking share from the mainstream.
Analysis of beer market in China (on Russian)
Beer market of Ukraine: big three losing weightIn 2016, fast increase of excises and resulting price spike stood in the way of the beer market stabilization. Most of competition (as well as mass sorts) moved to the economy segment of the market. The biggest losses were incurred by the leading three, especially Obolon, which again experienced pressure after reallocation of Efes market share. However, one should already speak of TOP-4. Group Oasis CIS (PPB) became a strong player and competitor to transnational companies. Besides the net sales of many regional medium breweries look rather good and 16-fold cost reduction wholesale trade license for craft brewers opens up a possibility of rapid growth in 2017.
Vietnam. Don’t Blow It
Yet by some measures, the country's progress is precarious. And as Vietnam's Communist Party convenes in Hanoi this week to select new leadership, amid much intrigue and controversy, there's a risk that the regime could squander a singular opportunity to reform its economy for the long run -- and to address the festering problems underlying Vietnam's remarkable rise.
The outcome of the selection process is still anyone's guess. The favored candidates for the party's general secretary are Nguyen Tan Dung, the current prime minister, and Nguyen Phu Trong, the incumbent. Dung generally supports freer markets and closer ties to the U.S.; Trong favors more state meddling and friendliness toward China.
Whoever wins will face a slate of economic conundrums, ideological quandaries and geopolitical hazards. But he also has two very big opportunities.
The first is demographic. Fully 60 percent of Vietnam's population is under age 35, with about two people of working age for every dependent. Actuaries call such a windfall a "golden population structure." Yet this won't last. In 20 years, the proportion of citizens aged 65 or older will roughly double. That means it's crucial to put a sustainable social safety net in place now, while the middle class is growing and able-bodied taxpayers abound.
The second opportunity is economic. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a U.S.-led free-trade deal, is likely to benefit Vietnam hugely. If ratified, it would cut some 18,000 tariffs in 12 countries, helping Vietnamese goods -- from apparel to seafood -- find new customers and new markets. By 2030, the World Bank reckons, the agreement would boost the country's exports by about 30 percent and its economic growth by 10 percent.
All this good fortune means that the new general secretary should have a very unusual grace period -- and a very brief window for pushing ambitious reforms.
Despite its lively growth figures, Vietnam faces some daunting challenges. The economy remains heavily dependent on low-wage labor and cheap exports. The tax system is among the most complicated in the world. Corruption is embarrassingly common. And distrust of government is widespread.
Some Vietnamese officials have recognized these problems. They've made progress in streamlining investment rules, selling off some state-owned companies, and opening more markets to foreign investors. They've also tried to encourage better governance and public works investment.
But a few further reforms are in order.
Relinquishing state control of more businesses should be the top priority (some of that delicious beer, for instance, is still brewed by the government). That would help rationalize the economy, reduce fraud and boost productivity, which would in turn ease the burdens of an aging workforce. Scrapping the regime's "two-child policy" could also alleviate demographic pressure. Raising the retirement age -- now set at 60 for men and 55 for women -- would go a long way toward shoring up the teetering pension scheme. And easing official discrimination against families that sided with the U.S. during the war would remove a serious impediment to upward mobility.
All easier said than done, of course. But there are indications that at least some members of the Communist Party understand these challenges and are prepared to act on them. There may never be a better time.
22 Jan. 2016