Seventeen banks and 14 companies will be granted licences to trade gold bars from next year, when the country implements tightened regulations to better manage the gold market.

Making the announcement on December 28, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) estimated more than 2,000 stores will qualify for trading gold bars nationwide under the new rules. Any companies not licensed by the central bank must exit the gold bar business by January 10, 2013.

To qualify for a gold bar trading licence, as per Decree 24/2012/ND-CP, bullion traders must have a minimum charter capital of 100 billion VND (4.8 million USD) and at least two years experience in the industry.

In addition, they are required to have made tax payments of at least 500 million VND from gold trading annually for two consecutive years and have branch networks in at least three centrally-governed provinces and cities.

As for banks, SBV will consider granting business licences for gold bar trading if they meet three conditions. Banks must have chartered capital of at least 3 trillion VND, be registered for gold trading, and own trading networks in at least five centrally-governed provinces and cities.

The regulation is designed to make it easier for the central bank to manage the local gold market. At the same time, the monetary authority also hopes to ease the high pressure on public gold holdings caused by the limited number of gold selling points in recent times.

Director of the SBV's Foreign Exchange Department Nguyen Quang Huy said the central bank will continue its strict management of the gold market to prevent speculation on the market.-VNA