Vietnam says government debt totals 41.9 pct of GDP

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Vietnam's government debt stands at 41.9 percent of gross domestic product, and the country has no overdue or bad loans, Finance Minister Vu Van Ninh said.

"We are managing the government debt within the permitted range," Ninh told the National Assembly in Hanoi Thursday. Policy makers are required to keep borrowings below 50 percent of GDP this year, he added.

The International Monetary Fund said last month that the Southeast Asian nation's debt level wasn't a concern and the government could maintain a "healthy" rate of economic growth and reduce its budget deficit. The shortfall may narrow to about 6.2 percent of GDP in 2010, from about 9 percent last year, Citigroup Inc. said last month.

Vietnam's debt has increased from 34 percent of GDP in 2008, Vietnam Investment Review newspaper reported on May 31, citing minister Ninh.

Foreign debt makes up about 58.8 percent of Vietnam's outstanding borrowings, according to the finance ministry.

Of the overseas debt, 86.5 percent is made up of long-term development loans from the World Bank, IMF, Asia Development Bank and Japan, Ninh said Thursday.

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