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NEWS UPDATES 9 February 2010

Vietnam banks’ remittance at $6.2bn in 2009

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Total inward remittances flowing into Vietnam through banks last year reportedly reached $6.283 billion, down 12.8 percent year-on-year but only 10 percent of the amount was sent or sold back to banks, reported

Tran Xuan Huy, general director of Sacombank said that the bank's remittance payment in 2009 achieved $850 million but few receivers re-send the US dollar to Sacombank. Regarding Western Union system at ACB where each transaction value is only below $10,000, the majority of remittance receivers did not sell US dollar to the bank.

Popularly, remittance receivers will sell US dollar in the free market at high price, said a director of bank's remittance company. For example, the receiver of $1,000 can sell for 19.5 million dong at gold shops but only 18.5 million dong at banks, representing a loss of one million dong.

Till late 2009, HCM City based banks received a remittance volume of $3.1 billion, declining 20.3 percent against 2008 while the number of US dollar traders of commercial banks fell sharply. Total US dollar purchase value of banks reached $64.4 billion, equalling to 67 percent of 2008's whereas the total US dollar sales valued at $69.7 billion.

According to the director of a foreign bank's foreign exchange division, banks only can buy few hundreds of millions of US dollar from the residents and corporates.

Between December 2009 and January 2010, SBV sold $3 billion to commercial banks meaning that 55.437 trillion dong based on the forex rate of 18,479 dong/US dollar was withdrawn from circulation, leading to the scarcity of the dong and pushing banks to join the race of attracting capital to meet the capital demand in year end.

SBV reported that total deposits in January 2010 only surged 0.3 percent slightly over the previous month while the lending for the economy rose by 1 percent against last December.

The movement is in the SBV's plan because when falling in the scarcity of dong, enterprises will have to sell US dollar to commercial banks. Thanks to this, commercial banks can improve the liquidity of US dollar and the forex rate was pulled down 18,600 dong/US dollar.

Some specialists said that the US dollar pumping of SBV should be conducted in short term only. In fact, the greenback and dong forex rate in the free market remains higher than the officially listed rate and many people complained difficulties in buying US dollar from banks.

Citing the latest report of ANZ in February early, the forex rate could stand at 19,300 dong/US dollar by this December 2010. With the high expectation in the appreciation of US dollar against the dong, people will still keep US dollar. SBV should release suitable forex rate policies to help attract a huge volume of US dollar from residents into circulation.


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