Gold shops are switching en masse from selling gold bars to rings after the central bank decreed that from January 10 only shops fulfilling certain financial criteria can continue to sell bullion.
The new regulation threatened to put nearly 70 percent of shops out of business, and many now sell rings which are considered jewelry.
The State Bank of Vietnam requires bullion traders to have a registered capital of at least VND100 billion (US$4.8 million), pay a minimum of VND500 million in taxes, have a presence in at least three provinces or major cities, and have been in the business for at least two years.
People buying or selling bullion at unapproved places face a fine of VND50-100 million (US$2,400-4,800). Shops selling gold bars without a license will be fined VND300-500 million.
There are now 2,497 shops selling gold bars, 900 of them in Ho Chi Minh City.
Customers too are turning to rings.
Nguyen Ngoc Trong, director of the Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company (PNJ), said sales of rings were up five or six times.
Tran Hai, the owner of a jewelry in District 5, HCMC, said rings are preferred by customers since they cost less than bullion and are closer to world prices.
But experts warn that the weight or quality of gold in rings are not properly controlled or guaranteed. People should therefore be careful about buying the rings, they add.
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