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Hanoi (VNA) – Lending by January 20, 2016 declined 0.21 percent against the end of last year, according to a report released by State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) on February 2.

Despite the decline, the central bank said that lending in the first month this year was still more optimistic than the same period last year when the lending decreased 0.5 percent.

According to experts, higher economic growth this year could push up the demands for capital.

Credit institutions have also been optimistic about the ability of businesses to take loans this year, according to a recent SBV survey.

Under the survey, the institutions expected outstanding loans to surge to 21.4 percent on average, much higher than the 14.57 percent forecast in the same survey in late 2014.

The central bank this year also targeted a credit growth of 18 percent to 20 percent, however, adding that the rate might be adjusted flexibly based on the actual situation, the same as in 2015.

In 2015, the central bank first targeted a credit growth rate of 13 percent, but then adjusted it between 15 percent and 18 percent to meet the rising capital demands of the economy.

Under its report, the central bank also revised last year's official credit growth rate at 17.29 percent, a little lower than the 18 percent rate estimated at the end of December last year.

Last year, lending to the high-tech application sector, one of five prioritised sectors, surged sharply by 43 percent year-on-year, seven fold higher than the average credit growth rate of the economy.

Loans to the agriculture and rural development sector, exclusive loans of the Social Policy Bank and Vietnam Development Bank, last year also rose 13.32 percent year-on-year.-VNA