Residents should sell and buy foreign currencies only at banks or authorised agencies, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has warned.

“If inspectors discover illegal foreign currency transactions at unauthorised agencies, all the money will be confiscated and the agencies fined heavily,” said Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the central bank’s HCM City branch.

He said that the bank would publicly announce regulations in the near future that are aimed to curb black market dealings in foreign currencies.

Authorised foreign currency agencies, often located in luxury hotels, airports, railway stations, border gates and seaports, will be asked to display their permits for customers.
“If the Government wants to stabilise the market, the State Bank of Vietnam must eliminate all unauthorised agencies,” said Cao Sy Kiem, member of the National Advisory Council for Monetary Policy.

Vu Dinh Anh, deputy head of the Market and Price Research Institute, concurred with Kiem, adding that the Government should strictly manage foreign currency transactions.

“However, there is genuine demand among residents to sell and buy foreign currencies. Therefore, the SBV should consider how to organise easy access to authorised agencies,” Anh said.

The reason for existence of black market is small foreign currency supply from banks, according to experts. Since enterprises can’t buy sufficient foreign currencies from banks, they have to buy them in the black market. Later they ask jewellery shops to sell the money to the banks in their stead, and then buy it back from the bank with a legal receipt.

In addition, individuals typically do not use banks for their foreign currency needs.

Many unauthorised agencies have been fined recently for trading in foreign currencies but most residents still do business with them.

Furthermore, authorised agencies have limited transaction with banks due to the difference in exchange rates between banks and free market./.