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NEWS UPDATES 18 August 2010

Vietnamese banks depreciate local currency

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Many commercial banks saw the cost of the US dollar rise 1.1 percent higher against the dong at VND19,310 when they opened for business this morning.

The rise followed the State Bank of Viet Nam's (SBV) announcement late yesterday that it would add VND400, or 2.1 percent, to the interbank rate as part of the effort to curb the country's trade deficit.

The decision - made after a month of non-stop increases in the value of the dollar on the black market - put the official rate for the dong at VND18,932 to the dollar. But the daily trading band of +/-3 per cent allows banks to quote buying-selling prices within VND19, 100-19,500 per dollar.

Major dollar trading banks such as Vietcombank, Sacombank, Eximbank, Asia Commercial Bank quoted prices at VND19,245-VND19,310 per dollar from VND19,100 on Tuesday.

But the price for the US dollar at crowded FX vendors in Tran Nhan Tong and Ha Trung Streets, Ha Noi, ranged from VND19,400-19,500, up VND10,000 per $100.

"The current price is quite high," said a senior Viet Nam Gold, Silver and Gemstones Corporation official who asked to stay anonymous.

"I think the dollar will not increase, or just increase very slightly in the coming days," he said.

The devaluation is the second this year and the fourth since December 2008 and means central bank's daily reference exchange rate is down more than 11 per cent in 20 months.

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