Central bank says to refrain from policy tightening

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The central bank said it plans to stop tightening monetary policy further in the next three to six months, even after inflation reached its peak in April.

Nguyen Dong Tien, the central bank's deputy governor, said at a government meeting last week that money supply expanded 1.5 percent in the first four months this year. That compares to a money supply growth target of 15 percent for the whole year, he added.

Meanwhile, loans grew at 5 percent in the period, which means the central bank still needs to be cautious in controlling credit to achieve the annual credit growth target of less than 20 percent, he said.

Tien said the central bank would not tighten its monetary policy while waiting for the market to respond to recent regulations.

The State Bank of Vietnam has intensified its efforts to control inflation this year. In its latest move, the refinancing rate was boosted to 14 percent from 13 percent, effective May 1. The rate hikes followed consecutive increases in February, March and April.

The monetary authority also raised the discount rate to 13 percent from 12 percent on May 1. It stopped commercial banks from lending in gold and restricted deposits of the precious metal.

Inflation surged 17.51 percent in April from a year earlier, according to the General Statistics Office in Hanoi. The rate is the highest since December 2008.

Nguyen Xuan Phuc, head of the government's office, said at the meeting on Friday that controlling inflation will continue to be the priority this year. But at the same time, the government will try to achieve economic growth at the same level or not too much lower than last year's rate of 6.78 percent.

The government on March 30 decided to spend VND3.1 trillion on providing inflation relief to low-income citizens in the second quarter.

Phuc said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has also approved a plan to grant financial supports to students, personnel of the armed forces, and workers in the non-state sector, especially at garment and footwear factories.

Finance Minister Vu Van Ninh said amendments to the Personal Income Tax Law will have to be decided by legislators in a National Assembly meeting in July. Right now, the Ministry of Finance can only extend the payment deadline for corporate tax, he said.

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