Vietnam forex reserves fall below requirement: official

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Vietnam's foreign exchange reserves have fallen short of the minimum amount required to guarantee import payments, an official said.

Vu Viet Ngoan, deputy head of the National Assembly's Economic Committee, told Thanh Nien that international financial organizations have advised Vietnam to maintain its reserves at a level that can cover 10 to 12 weeks of imports.

Given last year's import payments of US$84-85 billion, Vietnam will need a minimum of $20 billion in its reserves, Ngoan said. Although he did not provide a specific figure, Ngoan said the reserves at present are "lower than the requirement."

One of the main reasons for the decline in forex reserves is the country's huge trade deficit, he said.

The National Assembly is seeking to keep Vietnam's trade deficit below 18 percent of its export revenues this year, with a goal of bringing the ratio down to 15 percent in the next few years, Ngoan said.

Vietnam's trade deficit stayed relatively steady at $12.4 billion in 2010, as exports surged over imports, according to the General Statistics Office.

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