Vietnam's banks agree to lower deposit, lending rates

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Vietnam's commercial banks including Asia Commercial Bank agreed to lower interest rates in July to try to help the government meet a target for economic growth.

Lending rates will be lowered to about 12 percent and deposit rates to about 10 percent, according to a statement on the State Bank of Vietnam's website Friday. Lending rates are currently as high as 14.5 percent, and deposit rates are as high as 11.5 percent, the central bank said June 21 on its website.

State Bank of Vietnam Deputy Governor Nguyen Van Binh said this month the central bank would try to cut borrowing costs at the government's request as interest rates are still "high" and eroding corporate profits. The government is targeting 6.5 percent economic growth this year, up from 5.3 percent in 2009.

The proposed cuts are "essential for the economy and the banking system," according to Friday's statement, which cited unidentified general directors.

The central bank said yesterday that it would leave the benchmark interest rate at 8 percent in July. Inflation slowed for a third month in June as food prices eased, government data show. Consumer prices rose 8.69 percent from a year earlier, after exceeding 9 percent over the previous three months.

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