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AFP - Vietnam stocks index slides below 400 points   2008-06-04 - ThanhNienNews

Vietnam's official stocks index fell below the 400-point benchmark on Wednesday, representing a fall of almost two thirds from its peak and continuing a non-stop decline since early May, dealers said.


The VN Index at the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HOSE) dropped by 5.54 points to close at 395.66. In March last year, the index hit a record high of 1,170 points.

Securities experts said millions of shares by leading companies have been on offer but a lack of buyer interest has prompted the market's slide.

"I think the market should probably bottom out in the next two months," said Fiachra Mac Cana, Managing Director of VinaSecurities Joint Stock Company, though the market could recover "before the economy shows any signs of recovery" itself.

The Vietnam stock market has experienced upheaval since around October 2007 despite the communist government's efforts to keep it on track.

After joining the World Trade Organization in January last year, the country was hailed as an "emerging tiger" and its gross domestic product grew by 8.5 percent in 2007.

However, the economy has started to encounter difficulties this year, starting with an alarming rise in the consumers price index of up to 25.2 percent in May. Inflation is forecast by the government to reach at least 22 percent by the end of 2008.

To deal with the situation, the government has introduced several measures, including a decision to raise interest rates.

But this has led investors to shed their stocks and turn them into cash even though minister of Finance Vu Van Ninh was quoted on local media saying that the government would not "sacrifice the stock market".

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