Lending figures on August 20 showed a growth of 5.4 percent since last December, while non-performing loans and lagging demand continued to blight the nation's economy, according to data from the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The results showed only a minor increase on July data released by the State Bank of Vietnam, which indicated a 5.3 percent increase since the end of last year.

Despite low growth in lending, total deposits and total money supply remained consistent with previous years. Deposits surged 9.48 percent while official money supply rose 8.35 percent, according to the GSO.

The 8-month figure is less than half of the 12 percent growth target for 2013.

The director of the Central Bank's Monetary Policy Department, Nguyen Thi Hong, last week said the target would likely be achievable as lending often grew strongly at the end of the year.

In order to meet the 12 percent growth target, lending will need to increase 1.3 percent every month until the end of 2013, she added.

Hong said the central bank would see the boost of lending as one of its key priorities for 2013. The central bank is currently developing measures to lend the 30 trillion VND housing support package.

Hong also called on the participation of other relevant ministries and bodies to boost lending and consumption.

Measures on credit guarantee will also be developed to help businesses access credit, Hong said.

The central bank is also finalising the legal framework to settle non-performing loans in the banking sector.

According to the latest data from SBV, non-performing loans have decreased for the second consecutive month to 4.46 percent of total credits, down 19 percent from May this year.

Bad debts increased continuously in the first four months of the year, up from 4.08 percent late last year.-VNA