Illustrative image (Source: Reuters)
 
Hanoi (VNA) - People are investing their money in five main channels of stocks, gold, foreign currencies, property assets and savings but which of these offered the highest returns in 2016?

Stocks: 14.8 percent
Stocks, which were deemed risky and volatile assets, paid the highest returns last year. The benchmark VN-Index hit the eight-year peak at 692.17 points on September 29. Investors could earn a 34.9 percent profit when investing in the VN-Index and nearly 26 percent rate of return with investments in VN-30 during the peak period.

The stock market entered a downward correction from October but the VN-Index still ended the year up 14.8 percent over December 31, 2015, a good performance compared to an 8.7 percent growth in 2015. However, actual earnings depended on the portfolios of investors.

Gold: 10.6 percent
Domestic gold prices jumped to a four-year high in July at 39.8 million VND (1,786 USD) per tael, paying the gold investors a 17 percent rate of returns at this time. Investors could buy a tael of gold for 33.16 million VND on April 6 and sell it at 38.8 million VND on July 6.

Gold prices slowed down its pace from early October and kept abreast with world gold prices. In the last months of 2016, domestic gold prices still increased despite a steep fall in the global market, partly due to the unfounded rumours of demonetisation.

On December 31, 2016, SJC gold was quoted at 36.18 million VND per tael and 36.28 million VND per tael for buying and selling, respectively, with equivalent rises of 10.9 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively.

Savings: 6.5 percent
This safe-have investment channel was offering around 6.5 percent to 6.9 percent per year. Ending September, the average deposit interest rate increased by 0.4 percent by the end of 2015.

However, short-term deposits of less than six months were subject to the ceiling interest rate of 5.5 percent.

Popular interest rates at most commercial banks were between 6.5 percent and 6.9 percent per year. Bac A Bank, PVComBank offered a higher rate of 7.4 percent to 7.5 percent per year. With the annual inflation rate of 4.74 percent, depositors still received earnings from savings.

US dollar: 2.4 percent
The USD/VNĐ exchange rate started to be flexibly adjusted daily since early 2016 with the fluctuation band of /-3 percent. The greenback was stable for the first ten months of 2016 and began to strengthen following the US presidential election.

The US dollar was quoted at between 22,720 VND and 22,790 VND per dollar, up 1.2 percent and 1.1 percent over the previous year, respectively. In the black market, the dollar hit 23,370 VND per dollar in the last days of the year but calmed down soon after.

The dollar gained 2.38 percent in the black market last year, a modest return rate compared to a 5 percent gain seen in 2015.

Property
 
The 30 trillion VND credit package to support low-income groups to buy social housing stopped disbursement on December 31, 2016. Circular No 06/2016/TT-NHNN eased some safety ratios for banks to channel capital in the real estate sector. However, Circular No 19/2016/TT-BXD tightened re-sale procedures which affected short-term investors.

Prices of real estate projects differed depending on locations and house types. According to CBRE, the townhouses and villas project in District 2 in HCM City could reward investors a profit of 10 percent in the third quarter.-VNA