Vietnam 's foreign reserves have surged from a level of just 9 billion USD last year to 20 billion USD at the end of last month.

The figure was equivalent to 2.4 months of imports and the highest level since 2009, according to Asian Development Bank figures released on October 4 in the bank's report, Asian Development Outlook 2012.

A research team from the Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV) has pegged the nation's foreign reserves at an even higher level of 23 billion USD.

A shrinking trade deficit has helped strengthen reserves and stabilise exchange rates. The General Statistics Office has reported that, in the first nine months of the year, the nation had a trade surplus of 34 million USD, with an improved balance of payments.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has also forecast that the current account deficit this year would be lower than previous estimates as exports were exceeding targets.

At the end of the first quarter of this year, the ADB set the country's foreign reserves at 17 billion USD, equivalent to two months of imports and 3.5 billion USD higher than the estimate of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Government has said that foreign reserves could cover 12 weeks of imports by the end of the year.

The Prime Minister has approved a strategy for 2011-20, requiring foreign reserves to rise to at least 200 percent of total short-term foreign debt.-VNA