PM hails central bank’s move to cut interest rates

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc lauded the State Bank of Vietnam’s latest moves to lower interest rates for deposits in Vietnamese dong and order local lenders to offer lower interest rates for key business sectors.


At a Cabinet meeting on the country’s socioeconomic performance for November, held in Hanoi today, December 2, the leader said the moves would help the business community and the public to reduce their business costs, reported the Government news website.

In a November 18 statement, the central bank announced that the limit on interest rates was being lowered to 5% from 5.5% for dong deposits with maturities of one month to less than six months.

The bank also ordered commercial banks to lower the maximum dong lending rate for short-term loans to 6% from 6.5%, which was aimed at helping firms, particularly in agriculture, supporting and high-tech industries and exporters.

Amid a slowdown in the global economy, clearly visible in Asia, Vietnam’s economy still enjoyed positive developments, according to PM Phuc.

The country’s headline consumer price index in November rose by 0.96% against the previous month, due to sharp price rises for pork and its associated food products. However, the average inflation in the 11 months stood at a three-year low of 2.57%.

African swine fever, a viral disease affecting pigs in many localities, has slowly been brought under control. Some 30 communes across the country saw no recurrence for 30 days, according to the PM.

He noted that the tourism sector had welcomed a significant number of international tourists. A whopping 1.8 million arrivals were recorded in November, taking the number in the 11-month period to nearly 16.2 million, equivalent to a year-on-year increase of 15.4%.

“South Korean President Moon Jae-in told me that the South Korean people chose Osaka (of Japan) as a habitable city (of choice) in 2018. But this year, they chose Vietnam, with the first (destinations) being Danang and Hoi An,” said the PM, who concluded his official visit to South Korea late last week.

“If we do well, there will be a wave of new tourists to Vietnam from Northeast Asian nations,” he noted.

Pressing tasks

The prime minister asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to scrutinize the prevention of and fight against diseases and maintain Vietnam’s position as one of the leading exporters of farm produce in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Measures must be adopted to overcome a possible shortage of food products during the upcoming Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday, which will take place in late January next year.

Also, the ministry was told to control deforestation, especially in certain provinces in the Central Highlands.

According to the Cabinet leader, industrial production has decelerated in sectors that make motorcycles, automobiles and fertilizers.

The disbursement of public investment remains slow, Phuc noted, stressing that the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the HCMC authority should pay closer attention to the issue.

The leader urged the concerned ministries and agencies to attract more foreign direct investment. As of November 20 this year, foreign firms poured roughly US$31.8 billion into Vietnam, up 3.1% from a year earlier.

He also asked Cabinet members to work out new solutions and initiatives to accomplish all targets for 2020, particularly the ASEAN chairmanship in 2020 and the non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council for 2020-2021, which he described as international positions with critically important roles within a changing world.


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