The State Bank of Vietnam has asked credit institutions licensed to provide foreign exchange services to sell foreign currencies in cash to citizens.

According to Document 2033/NHNN-QLNH sent to commercial banks on March 12, the central bank's Governor Nguyen Van Giau called on commercial banks to help citizens, who have a legal demand for foreign currencies, open international debit and credit cards for spending money abroad.

The document was issued after the unofficial foreign currencies market halted operations last week, posing a challenge to citizens in need of other currencies.

According to regulations aimed at tightening control over foreign exchange activities, people in need of foreign currencies for legitimate purposes can buy at commercial banks. However, many individuals complained that commercial banks have refused to sell in cash.

This was caused by banks' foreign currency supply shortages. Cash transactions were also more costly for the banks to process.

The SBV is now also considering several solutions to make it easier for individuals to purchase foreign currencies at reasonable prices from banks in an effort to get rid of black market operations all together.

Tran Phuong Binh, general director of DongA Bank, said the bank's Vietnam dong deposit increased by 10 billion VND by March 11, while US dollar deposits fell by 500,000 USD.

People withdrew and sold dollars, and deposited money in dong to cope with the tighter forex market. Meanwhile, a leader of Eximbank said dollar deposits hav increased sharply in recent days, but the demand for dollar loans has not risen correlatively.

The bank had to adjust the dollar deposit rate down from 5.5 percent to 5.35 percent per year early last week./.