The outstanding loans given by commercial banks have increased 2.11 percent since December, according to the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV).

Foreign currency loans declined by 7.2 percent, but dong-denominated loans climbed 4.15 percent.

Lending to agriculture and rural areas rose 3.1 percent during the four-month period, as Government policies to support agriculture and rural areas helped farmers and rural traders increase borrowing to expand production and business.

Real estate loans also went up 1.1 percent in the first four months and both yearly deposit and lending interest rates were reduced by roughly 2-3 percentage points against early this year.

To further help businesses, the central bank required four State-owned commercial banks to bring all their yearly lending rates below 13 percent.

SBV also asked credit institutions to boost lending to prioritises industries, including agriculture, exports, supporting industries and small- and medium-sized enterprises. The lending interest rate cap for the industries is 10 percent.

Total deposits by the end of April also expanded 5.2 percent from last December.

Meanwhile, SBV plans to carry out inspections at 18 Vietnamese lenders and seven foreign banks this year.

In the first quarter of the year, the central bank conducted 301 inspections, of which 145 were scheduled, 39 were unscheduled and 117 were examinations.

During a planned examination of Bao Viet Bank in May, the central bank branch in Hanoi will examine the bank's credit activities, finances and prudential ratios.-VNA