The total payment means by December 19 rose by 15.65 percent, while credit rose by 11.8 percent against late last year, announced the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV).

These increases helped the banking industry to meet its targets set earlier this year, the SBV disclosed during its regular meeting in Hanoi on December 23.

Moreover, deposits during December still increased by 15.5 percent despite the deposit interest rate cut of 1.5-2 percentage points against the same period last year. Of the total, the Vietnamese dong deposits rose by 16.31 percent.

SBV Monetary Policy Department Deputy Director Do Thi Nhung announced that credit rose by 11.8 percent by December 19. Moreover, the growth rate for the entire year is estimated to reach approximately 13 percent. This value meets the 12-14 percent annual credit growth target.

The central bank disclosed that lending this year had been positively oriented towards production and trading, especially in the five prioritised industries of agriculture, exports, supporting industries and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as Hi-tech businesses.

SBV Credit Department Director Nguyen Tien Dong revealed that lending to the high-tech agriculture and rural development industry by the end of this year was estimated to rise by 16 percent, while lending to SMEs would surge by 14 percent.

The lending interest rate this year has declined by approximately 2 percentage points, which brings the rate to the level attained during the 2005-06 period.

Commercial banks have also cut rates for previous loans. Currently, loans with lending interest rates of more than 15 percent and 13 percent account for roughly 3.9 percent and 10.65 percent of loans offered, respectively. These values are lower compared with the 6.3 percent and 19.72 percent recorded in December last year.

The central bank also officially targets a credit growth rate of 13-15 percent for next year in accordance with the government's targets for GDP growth, inflation control and capital demand and supply.

Vietnam Asset Management Company Deputy General Director Doan Van Thang announced during the meeting that the company had bought 123 trillion VND (5.774 billion USD) of non-performing loans (NPLs) by December 23, of which, 4 trillion VND (187.79 million USD) had been resolved.

However, Thang shared that more comprehensive measures and closer co-ordination between relevant agencies must be adopted to better handle the NPLs without the use of the state's budget capital.-VNA