Vietnam's central bank has taken over gold production: official

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The State Bank of Vietnam confirmed Thursday it has taken over gold bar production as of late May, making SJC the national brand.

The Ho Chi Minh City-based Saigon Jewelry Company Ltd., which previously owned the SJC brand, stopped producing gold bars on May 25, focusing on other business activities, central bank Deputy Governor Le Minh Hung said in an interview published by the Vietnam Economic Times Friday.

"That also means since then, all production of gold bars in the country has been exclusively handled by the government," Hung said.

He said the central bank selected SJC because of its popularity. "To save money for the state and avoid creating chaos in the production and trading of gold bars, the State Bank has been allowed by the government to make SJC the national brand."

Responding to a question on recent price reductions of non-SJC gold bars, Hung said the central bank did not ban any particular brand and that "prices of these gold bars are completely determined by the market."

The Saigon Jewelry Company is managed by Ho Chi Minh City's government. According to a statement on its website, SJC gold bars account for 90 percent of the bullion market.

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