Vietnam central bank aims for lower bank lending rates

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Vietnam's government has asked the central bank to try to bring down commercial bank lending rates, the deputy governor of the State Bank of Vietnam said.

"Lending rates are rather high and we are considering measures to pull rates down at the government's request," Deputy Governor Nguyen Dong Tien said at a news conference late on Thursday.

The central bank would strive to reduce deposit rates and supply more funds to help lower lending rates, he said, adding that it would consider letting commercial banks offer negotiable rates on short-term loans.

Credit growth has not picked up due to high rates, with negotiable lending rates for medium- and long-term dong loans ranging from 14 to 18 percent, bankers said.

Bank lending in Vietnam in the first quarter of the year rose 2.95 percent from the end of December, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment. Dong loans were up 0.57 percent while dollar loans increased 14.07 percent, it said.

The gap between dong and dollar lending rates has encouraged companies to get dollar loans then sell to banks and get dong cash, a trader with a Japanese bank said.

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