Vietnam has no devaluation plans: newspaper

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The State Bank of Vietnam has no plans to adjust the dong exchange rate against the US dollar, even though the dong's value has been dropping on the unofficial market, a local newspaper reported on Tuesday.

"At present the State Bank does not have any plans for exchange rate adjustment," Governor Nguyen Van Giau was quoted by the Saigon Giai Phong daily as saying, rejecting market rumors of a dong devaluation.

The central bank has devalued the dong three times since November and speculation of another devaluation has been putting pressure on the currency, making businesses reluctant to sell dollars.

Dollar demand has also been rising as businesses need the currency for loan repayments and importers need dollars for settlements.

However, the dong edged up to 19,870/19,920 per dollar on the unofficial market on Tuesday morning from 19,920/19,970 on Monday, while it was steady at VND19,490/19,500 on the interbank market, with the selling rate at the permitted ceiling.

Victoria Kwakwa, the World Bank's representative in Vietnam, told reporters on Tuesday that "we think that broadly the government has been moving in the right direction" on monetary and fiscal policy.

However, she said more could be done by the authorities to communicate their policy stance and give more information on indicators, so as to build up confidence in overall macroeconomic management.

This would help "address some of the left-over expectations of inflation and continued instability that are underpinning some of the challenges".

The Bank's lead economist for Vietnam, Deepak Mishra, said he expected pressure on the dong to ease over time, but how the market reacted would depend on the government putting forward a "credible road map" for dealing with the problem.

The International Monetary Fund warned in September that Vietnam needed to concentrate on maintaining the level of the dong, and said that repeated comments from the government about the need to lower lending rates was counter-productive.

"A lack of coordination between monetary and fiscal policies, or the appearance thereof, would amplify market skepticism," it said.

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