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"¢ Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has asked concerned authorities to strengthen efforts to keep prices stable and stabilize the exchange rate, according to a government statement.

Ministries were asked to intensify measures to reduce price increases. The central bank should take "strong" actions to control and stabilize domestic gold prices, the dong and bank interest rates, according to the statement posted on the government's website.

"¢ Vietnam expects economic growth in 2011 to be about 7 percent, revised down from an earlier target of 7.5 percent, given the high inflation rate, Minister of Planning and Investment Vo Hong Phuc said at a press conference in Hanoi Wednesday.

"¢ Vietnam has started construction of a $490 million deep-water port in the north-central province of Nghe An, the Dau Tu newspaper reported. The project will be completed by 2015, the report said.

"¢ Police on Monday arrested a fourth executive of Vien Dong Pharma Joint-Stock Co. as authorities pursued the nation's first share-price manipulation case, the State Securities Commission said on its website.

Nguyen Van Viet, a board member of Vien Dong, was taken into custody for alleged involvement in a "pump and dump scheme" masterminded by the firm's former chairman and general director, Le Van Dung. Dung is already in custody along with deputy general director and chief accountant Cao Hong Van as well as shareholder Le Van Manh.

"¢ Vietnam's foreign reserves were at a "low" level at the end of September, covering 1.8 months of imports, the International Monetary Fund said. The reserves have stabilized this year, the IMF said in a statement on its website, without giving an overall number.

In September, it said they were projected to rise to $15.4 billion by the end of this year from $14.1 billion at the end of 2009. They were at less than 2 1/2 months of imports in December last year, the IMF said at the time.

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