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USD deposit interest rates plunge as supply exceeds demand   2009-03-07 - VIR


Local firms face a catch 22 situation regarding dong or dollar loans

Banks are slashing US dollar deposit interest rates as demand for the greenback wanes. “Given the situation, there might be more adjustments on dollar deposit interest rates,” a senior State Bank Ho Chi Minh City branch official said.

The VietA Bank on February 25 adjusted rates including a decrease from 2.6 per cent per annum to 2.4 per cent per annum for three-month deposits, from 2.9 per cent per annum to 2.7 per cent per annum with six-month deposits, from 3.0 per cent per annum to 2.9 per cent per annum with nine-month deposits and down to 3.0 per cent per annum with 12-month deposits.

Earlier, the DaiA Bank also slashed foreign currency savings interest rates with an average decrease of 0.9 per cent per annum, in which the rate for 12-month dollar deposits fell from 4 per cent per annum to 3.1 per cent. The highest dollar deposit interest rates are applied by the Saigon Commercial Bank, the bank that traditionally ensures high rates on foreign currency savings.

According to the State Bank, despite several cuts since late 2008, bank deposit accounts up to January, 2009 rose by 0.18 per cent compared to the month before, of which dong savings were down by 0.47 per cent whereas foreign currency accounts were up by 2.3 per cent.

The Ho Chi Minh City Statistics Office found VND568,800 billion in bank deposits within the city up to January, 2009, an increase by 16.4 per cent compared to the corresponding period in 2008. Of the figure, foreign currency savings accounts for 30 per cent, a jump of 37.9 per cent, whereas dong savings only increased 9.1 per cent.

Meanwhile, bank loans in foreign currencies have shown signs of decreasing as enterprises are hesitant to borrow in dollars to avoid exchange rates fluctuation ricks.

“Our company wants to borrow in dong, instead of dollars to avoid exchange rate fluctuations but it seems that banks only want importers to borrow and then pay back in dollars,” said a representative of the Ben Thanh Material JSC.

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