Industry runs up biggest bank bad debts

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The processing and manufacturing sectors account for the highest ratio of banks' bad debts followed by property, the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) said.

In February the State Bank of Vietnam estimated non-performing loans at US$7.8 billion, or 6 percent of the total outstanding loans of $130 billion.

Processing and manufacturing accounted for 22 percent, and real estate for 19 percent, a report by the CIEM on July 9 showed.

State firms, which got 17-19 percent of total loans, accounted for 70 percent of the bad debts.

The public sector accounted for only 1 percent of the country's firms and performed badly; foreign and domestic private firms accounted for 81-83 percent of loans and 30 percent of bad debts.

Eighty-four percent of the bad debts were mortgage-backed.

The banks with the highest bad debts were SHB with 8.53 percent, BAOVIET Bank with 5.94 percent, and state-owned Agribank with 5.8 percent.

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The CIEM blamed the underdeveloped legal environment and banks' poor risk management for the lack of transparency in the country's efforts to clean up bad debts.

Fitch Ratings has said the establishment of the Vietnam Asset Management Company, expected to start buying bank bad debts later this month, is unlikely to fully resolve banks' asset-quality problems unless there are "meaningful" regulatory improvements.

In September last year the central bank reported a bad-debt ratio of 8.8 percent, but Fitch estimated the number at 15 percent.

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