Vietnam orders foreign lenders to curb credit growth

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The State Bank of Vietnam has banned foreign bank branches from setting credit growth targets of higher than 20 percent, persisting with a tight monetary policy to fight inflation.

According to a statement dated Friday, the central bank said most foreign branches in Vietnam have planned to keep credit growth below 20 percent and tried to cut back on lending to non-production sector. Some banks, however, have not moved to reduce their lending operations.

As a result, the central bank has ordered all foreign bank branches to control their lending, especially for real estate and stock market transactions. "The State Bank of Vietnam will not accept any plans by foreign financial institutions and bank branches to have credit expand by more than 20 percent this year," the statement said.

Vietnam posted credit growth of more than 5 percent in the first four months of this year, which is in line with the target of keeping it at 20 percent for the year, central bank data showed.

The government cut the target for credit growth from the initial 23 percent as part of a series of measures to rein in inflation and restore economic stability.

The central bank has repeated its order to cut back on credit for the non-production sector several times this year. The goal is to limit credit to the non-production sector at 22 percent of total loans by June 30, and at 16 percent by the end of the year.

According to statistics mentioned on the central bank website, Vietnam now has 48 branches of foreign banks operating in the country.

In a separate posting on the website Friday, the monetary authority said Vietnam's gold and currency markets have stabilized and the use of dollar in the economy has been curbed.

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