Vietnam FX reserves rose $18 bln in 2012: media

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Vietnam's foreign exchange reserves rose by $18 billion in 2012 to more than double levels seen in 2011, a local newspaper said on Thursday, possibly boosting reserves to a record high.

The foreign exchange rate will fluctuate by no more than 2-3 percent, the Saigon Times newspaper also quoted central bank governor Nguyen Van Binh as saying.

"The pressures on the foreign exchange rate are not large," Binh was quoted as saying, without stating the value of the reserves at the end of last year.

The exact level of reserves remains a state secret, but the International Monetary Fund had estimated them at $13.5 billion at the end of 2011.

The nation's foreign exchange reserves fell from 2009 to 2011 after peaking at more than $23 billion in 2008, forcing the central bank to devalue the dong several times.

Vietnam's central bank reaffirmed on Friday that it will keep the dollar/dong exchange rate stable, declining market speculation about a devaluation, despite recent changes on the foreign exchange markets.

The dong rose to 21,100 per a dollar in the unofficial market on Friday after falling to 21,140 dong a day earlier, while banks offered the bid/ask rate at 20,860/20,920 on Friday after bringing it down to as low as 21,060/21,010 on Thursday.

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