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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        5  May 2011

Vietnam eyes foreign reserve disclosure

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The State Bank of Viet Nam will work with government members to discuss the possibility of disclosing national foreign exchange reserves, central bank governor Nguyen Van Giau told the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) 44th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors in Hanoi this week.

Although Giau admitted that publishing information regarding a bank's activities was a normal practice in many other countries, disclosing such information in Vietnam would be a different story.

Such procedures not only involved the State Bank of Viet Nam, but also the Ministry of Industry and Trade as well as the prime minister, Giau said.

According to the March 2011 ADB Development Outlook, Vietnam held low foreign exchange reserves, estimated at around US$12.4 billion (about 1.9 months of the country's import cover) at the end of last year. Other foreign financial institutions estimated that Vietnam held $24 billion in foreign reserves during 2008.

Responding to concerns regarding the independence of the central bank, Giau affirmed that the SBV was part of the government, which makes it very different to banks from other countries. According to a State Bank Law from 2010, the SBV still has certain independent powers regarding its monetary management.

Governor Giau said that the central bank would strictly control credit growth during 2011, keeping figures below 20 per cent to help tackle soaring inflation.

Credit growth rose in the first quarter of this year to above 5 percent from the end of 2010. Current outstanding loans equal 1.2 times the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

GDP in Q1 of this year grew by 5.43 percent (worth VND441.707 trillion or $21.03 billion) from 7.34 per cent in the last quarter of 2010, according to the General Statistics Office.

During 2010, credit growth reached 27.65 percent, overshooting the target of 25 percent and pushing outstanding loans to 140 percent of the GDP.

Vietnam's GDP reached $104.6 billion during 2010.

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AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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