The Government has lifted the current ban on gold imports as part of measures to regulate the domestic market, said State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) Governor Nguyen Van Giau.

Giau said on July 9 that there will be no restrictions on gold imports under the new decision.

The decision follows applications from many jewellery firms and banks asking permission to resume gold imports.

The Sai Gon Jewellery Company (SJC), for instance, has registered to import two tonnes of gold, he said.

The decision was also issued in the context of domestic gold prices increasing to levels much higher than the world rate. On July 7, the domestic gold price was 700,000 VND per tael (37.5 grams) higher than the world price.

SJC General Director Nguyen Thanh Long said the gold that the company was allowed to import would arrive in three days.

Independent watchdogs have said that the continuous rise in gold prices on the market over the last few days was related to rumours of a scarcity of the precious metal in the market.

In order to push up prices, some companies claimed they had exported all their gold while others said their sales had doubled or tripled on these days, the watchdogs said.

According to data from authorised agencies, gold imported over the last four years amounted several hundred tonnes while export of the precious metal via quotas in 2008 and 2009 was just 40 tonnes.

In the first six months of this year, about 36 tonnes of gold was exported as jewellery.

Giau also said that by June, banks had mobilsed 120 tonnes of gold worth 90 trillion VND./.