Lending this year rose only 8.8 percent against that at the end of 2012, and lower than the 12 percent growth target set by the State Bank of Vietnam.

Speaking at a press conference in Hanoi on December 16, SBV deputy governor Nguyen Dong Tien said these numbers remained optimistic, since lending in VND increased significantly while that in USD declined, as targeted by the central bank.

Additionally, the high increase in medium- and long-term lending helped firms meet their long-term investment demands, Tien said.

He added that this year's lending was largely demanded by those in the production and businesses sectors, especially priority industries, where lending to agriculture and rural development rose 24.51 percent and support industries was up 10.84 percent.

Tien said that though the central bank set a yearly credit growth target, it could also make adjustments to ensure the quality of credit and avoid rising bad debts.

Previously, SBV Governor Nguyen Van Binh, at November's National Assembly meeting, said he expected that credit growth this year would meet the 12 percent annual target, explaining that lending often sharply surged in the final quarter.-VNA