Tuesday, July 17 2018

VietNamNews

Dollar hike won’t significantly affect VN’s economy

Update: June, 21/2018 - 09:00

Last Thursday, Fed decided to raise the benchmark interest rate by 0.25 percentage points while implying that from now till the end of the year, the rate could be raised two more times.– Photo cafef.vn

HÀ NỘI – The US dollar has appreciated significantly against the Vietnamese đồng in the past few days in the wake of the US Federal Reserves (Fed)’s interest rate hike last week, but local officials and experts are not too worried, believing these hikes won’t affect Vietnam’s economy in any major way.

Last Thursday, Fed decided to raise the benchmark interest rate by 0.25 percentage points while implying that from now till the end of the year, the rate could be raised two more times.

The move caused immediate impacts on the domestic market with the dollar appreciating significantly against the dong in both official and unofficial markets.

Yesterday, the central bank listed the daily reference exchange rate at VNĐ22,617 per dollar, up VNĐ15  from the previous day. With the current trading band of +/-3 per cent, the ceiling rate applied to commercial banks during the day is VNĐ23,295 per dollar and the floor rate VNĐ21,941 per dollar.

The US$/VNĐ exchange rate quoted by all commercial banks also went up yesterday.

Vietcombank raised the rate by VNĐ10, listing the buying rate at VNĐ22,810  per dollar and the selling rate at VNĐ22,880. Compared with the end of last week, the dollar listed at Vietcombank rose by VNĐ45.

The rate at BIDV was also up VNĐ10, standing at VNĐ22,815 for buying and VNĐ22,885 for selling. 

The same move was seen at Techcombank, which added VNĐ15 to buy the greenback at VNĐ22,790 and sell at VNĐ22,890.

Despite the appreciation, the State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) said that the dollar demand and supply sources remained stable in the past days and banks had met all dollar demands of institutions and individuals.

The central bank continued net purchase of the greenback to build up the national foreign reserves, SBV said.   

Nguyễn Hoàng Minh, deputy director of SBV’s HCM City branch, said that SBV was closely monitoring the exchange rate to timely take measures.

Commercial banks also said that the dollar had appreciated by just 0.8 per cent against the đồng to date this year, meaning the current rise not yet a concern.

Cấn Văn Lực, chief economist of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam, was not also concerned about the depreciation of the đồng against the dollar thanks to the country’s balance in dollar supply and demands while the central bank is still applying a flexible and effective exchange rate policy.

Besides this, the record high of the nation’s foreign reserves of US$63 billion would also support the central bank to fight against external shocks to stabilise the exchange rate, Lực said.

According to the Viet Dragon Securities Company, the devaluation of the đồng against the dollar is still under the central bank’s control, predicting that the dollar could appreciate by 1.5-2 per cent this year.

However, experts also suggested the central bank be cautious as besides the Fed interest hike, rising inflation and the return of a trade deficit in May in the domestic market have also put pressure on the exchange rate.

Banking expert Nguyễn Trí Hiếu forecast that inflation this year could exceed the threshold of 4 per cent, but he believed it was acceptable for the rate to be ranged between 4 and 4.5 per cent as long as the country’s GDP growth reaching 6.8 per cent. "It does still need an alarm though," he said.    

In its latest report, the National Financial Supervisory Committee stresses that the dollar is forecast to be on an uptrend from now to the year-end, especially while the Fed plans to continuously increase interest rate, so the central bank needs to closely watch the move of the greenback to timely make flexible adjustments.

Exports benefit, imports suffer

Despite an impact on the exchange rate, experts said that the appreciation of the dollar against the đồng would also benefit Việt Nam’s exports.

"Local exporters receive payment in US dollars, so the appreciation of the greenback will help them make more profit," Hiếu said.

Đỗ Hà Nam, chairman of Intimex Group, one of Việt Nam’s major agriculture produce exporters, said that the dollar appreciation would be advantageous for exporting countries, especially for Việt Nam that has often had a trade surplus in recent years.

The depreciation of the đồng by 2-3 per cent in recent years had encouraged domestic exporters and also helped the economy operate more stably, Nam said, adding however, that if the đồng depreciated more than 3 per cent, it would cause risks for firms that have borrowed a large amount of dollars.

As for imports, Hiếu said, high dollar prices would create difficulties for Vietnamese import businesses, however, each sector would see a different impact.

Vũ Duy Hải, general director of Vinacam, which specialises in fertiliser imports, said that the dollar appreciation would cause an increase in input costs for local producers and farmers, especially for products that Việt Nam cannot produce, such as kalium fertiliser.  

As there remains an amount of fertiliser in stockpile, Nam said that the dollar price hike would cause selling prices of fertiliser to increase in the third or early fourth quarter this year. — VNS

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