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Vietnam to limit imports to narrow widening trade gap   2009-12-04 - Bloomberg

Vietnam will limit imports not essential to the economy and try to increase exports to quickly narrow the trade deficit, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said.



The Ministry of Industry and Trade will work with other agencies to adopt measures including tariffs to curb the import of non-essential goods, as well as implement other initiatives to promote overseas sales, the prime minister said in a statement dated Thursday on the government’s website.

Vietnam will “strive to reduce macroeconomic imbalances and reduce the trade deficit,” Dung said Thursday in Hanoi. A widening monthly trade gap has raised concerns of a “balance- of-payments stress,” Standard Chartered Plc said last month.

Imports exceeded exports by $1.97 billion in November, the highest since the first half of 2008. This year’s trade shortfall may be more than $12 billion, Lao Dong newspaper reported Friday, without saying where it got the information.

The State Bank of Vietnam on Nov. 25 devalued the reference rate for trading against the dollar by 5.2 percent to boost exports and help the government meets its economic growth target. The dong has fallen 5.4 percent this year, set for a second annual loss.

Vietnam’s economy may expand 5.2 percent and the country is targeting 6.5 percent growth next year, according to Dung. In his statement on Thursday, the prime minister also asked the central bank to work on proposals to support companies through an interest-rate subsidy program for next year. The bank has to submit a draft before Dec. 10.

Gold trading

“The government will stop its interest-rate subsidy on short-term loans on Dec. 31,” Le Xuan Nghia, vice chairman of the National Financial Supervision Commission, said by phone today. “The government plans to extend the subsidy for medium- and long-term loans for companies to restructure their businesses until the end of next year.”

Vietnam will tighten control gold trading to prevent transactions that disturb market stability and cause losses to the economy, according to Dung’s statement.

Vietnamese customers have increased gold purchases on concern about a widening deficit and quickening inflation. The gold price in Vietnam rose as high as VND28.32 million ($1,532) per tael as of 8:30 a.m. local time, from VND18.4 million at the start of the year. One tael is about 1.2 ounces of gold.

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