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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        14 January 2011

Hanoi banks target capital increase

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In 2011, Hanoi's banking sector plans to increase total capital by 25-27 percent compared to the previous year's figures and boost total outstanding loans by 23-25 percent to contribute to the capital's economic development.

Hoang Manh Hien, vice chairman of the Ha Noi People's Committee, said Hanoi targeted a 12-per-cent GDP (Gross Domestic Products) growth this year and to complete such a high target needed support from all ministries and especially the banking sector.

As of December 31, total mobilisation of Ha Noi-based credit institutions surpassed VND767.68 trillion (US$36.55 billion), a year-on-year increase of 31.1 percent, which exceeded the annual target with a 28-30 percent increase.

Deposits in dong (VND) were up by 38.6 percent and US dollar (USD) deposits increased 12.5 percent.

Last year, there were VND494.77 trillion in total outstanding loans, a 31.2 percent increase over the same period in 2009. The amount exceeded the 2010 target of 25-27 per cent growth. Dong loans rose by 25.1 percent and foreign currency loans increased by 46.7 percent.

Hien said he appreciated the contributions that local banks made to Hanoi's economic achievements last year, particularly with the capital's 11 percent growth in GDP.

"Providing sufficient capital to the economy and professional activities, along with the social programmes instituted by banks, have helped to develop a solid economic structure for the capital, creating momentum for rapid and strong growth in the following years," said Hien. He stressed the important support provided by local banks that helped to create a sound and sustainable economic infrastructure, especially by boosting lending to rural areas, exporters and medium and small enterprises.

Since last November when interest rates tended to rise abnormally, the central bank's Hanoi branch and bankers' association jointly called for consensus from 12 commercial banks in the area to limit interest rate hikes, which would help to stabilise the currency market.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

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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