Jewellery companies will receive loans to import gold for production, a representative from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) told local media on August 29.

He said the SBV will grant licences for gold imports to companies with facilities to produce jewelry.

This is a good news for local jewellers. Under the current regulations, the SBV is the only organisation that is allowed to import gold. In an effort to control the local gold market, Vietnamese credit institutions are not allowed to lend money for gold purchases.

In April, to boost local jewelry production, the central bank allowed jewelry companies to import raw materials to manufacture gold jewelry. However, they had to guarantee they would not use the gold as bullion.

Earlier this month, the director of Phu Nhuan Jewelry Company (PNJ), Nguyen Ngoc Trong, complained that he had sent a proposal to the central bank to buy raw gold for jewelery making, but received no feedback.

He said as the price gap between local gold and international gold narrowed to 124 USD per tael, imported gold will help his company reduce production costs. Trong said he has lost a lot of orders due to recent high prices.

Nguyen Thanh Truc, General Director of Agribank Jewelery Company, said that his company had to buy raw gold on the black market at the higher price of 800,000 to 1.5 million VND (40-75 USD) per tael, but if they could import cheaper gold with no tax, they could save considerably.

Dinh Nho Bang, Vice President of the Gold Business Association, said the local jewelry is making industry operated on a small-scale and less competitive than others in the region.

Bang said the SBV's timely granting licenses to the producers will make them more competitive.

Currently, Vietnamese made gold jewelry finds good markets in Turkey , Dubai and China. /.