Vietnam's central bank calls for cheaper loans, again

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An employee at an Asia Commercial Bank branch in Hanoi inspects bricks of dong notes. The central bank says lenders are stable enough to lower interest rates. Photo: Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP An employee at an Asia Commercial Bank branch in Hanoi inspects bricks of dong notes. The central bank says lenders are stable enough to lower interest rates. Photo: Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP

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The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has called for further interest rate cuts on both new and old loans, citing a surplus of the money in the system.
A bank statement issued on Monday afternoon said bank deposits rose 11 percent in 2014, while the sum of both deposits and money in circulation rose 10.73 percent, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
Both dong and dollar deposits expanded, at 12.37 percent and 2.78 percent respectively, according to bank figures.
Bank liquidity remains at safe and surplus levels, while inter-bank interest rates remain low, it said.
The central bank has therefore asked banks to slash interest rates, which have fallen by 0.5-1.5 percent since late last year.
By the middle of September, only 4.25 percent of dong borrowers were still paying 15 percent annual interest on their loans -- down from 6.3 percent in late 2013.
Those paying 13 percent or more on their loans fell from 19.72 percent to 12.16 percent of total borrowers during the same period, according to the bank.
The nation's total outstanding loans increased 7.26 percent since late last year. Most of those new loans were chanelled to business operating in priority sectors like exports or agriculture.

Figures released in late August by the General Statistics Office showed that 44,500 businesses had shut down or suspended operations since the beginning of this year, up 12.9 percent year-on-year.

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