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Two jewellers await gold import licences

Update: September, 10/2013 - 09:26

Customers buy gold at Vietnam Agribank Gold Corp. The State Bank of Viet Nam said it would grant licences to some companies to import raw gold for production purposes. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet

HA NOI (VNS) — The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) will grant licences to two local jewellery companies this week, allowing them to import raw gold, but for production purposes only.

The bank is the only organisation allowed to import gold or authorise others to import limited quantities.

On August 29, the bank said it would grant the permits to enable the companies to manufacture gold jewellery so that they can maintain their existing export trade. However, the companies had to guarantee they would not use the gold as bullion.

The licence is expected to permit each company to import a maximum of 100kg (or 2,600 taels) of gold, said a source from SBV. However, the name of the two companies have not been revealed.

In the past six months, jewellery makers complained they were losing exports because of the higher prices they had to pay for gold, sometimes on the black market.

Nguyen Thanh Long, president of the Viet Nam Gold Trading Association, said the ban on gold imports may have forced some enterprises to purchase the precious metal on the black market.

Long added that the Vietnamese jewellery industry was suffering losses in the local market because of competition from Chinese competitors.

SBV did not hold a gold auction last week. However, in previous months, it sold more than 1.5 million taels or 58 tonnes of gold, at 57 auctions.

At 3pm yesterday, The Saigon Jewelry Company (SJC) posted gold prices of VND38.28-38.45 million (US$1,820-1.832) per tael on its website. At the same time, international gold prices declined to $1,387 per ounce, or $1,672 a tael, on the kitco.com trading floor, leaving gold prices in Viet Nam $160 per tael higher than global rates.

Nguyen Quang Huy, head of SBV's forex management told VnEconomy that although SBV would not hold any more big scale gold auctions in the near future, it would still interfere in the market if necessary.

On the forex market, yesterday, some commercial banks reduced US dollar prices for both selling and buying side. In particularly, Vietcombank bought dollars at VND21,080 and sold for VND21,165, as much as 15 dong less than its rate last Friday. Other banks also reduced their dollar prices by 20-30 dong. — VNS

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