The State Securities Commission on Jan. 9 increased the daily trading band for stocks on both the HCM City and Hanoi stock exchanges, effective January 15.

Under the decision, the amount by which a stock's price can increase or decline within a single trading day will increase to plus-or-minus 7 percent in HCM City and plus-or-minus 10 percent in Hanoi.

The same day, the commission also lifted the limit on margin trading from the current ratio of 40-60 percent of debt to equity to a 50-50 ratio, effective February 1.

Commission chairman Vu Bang said the decision aimed to help invigorate sluggish trading on the securities market and was reached through close co-ordination by ministries and agencies. Any measure taken by the commission, he said, required approval from the Government and the Ministry of Finance.

Further measures to address the difficulties on the securities market would be undertaken gradually, he said. Raising the limit imposed on foreign ownership in listed companies would depend upon a decision by the Prime Minister, but the commission has proposed that strategic foreign investors in some types of listed companies be able to hold shares without voting right in excess of 49 percent of equity in the company.

Bang also said that rising bad debt levels in the commercial banking system need to be addressed before the stock market can see some recovery.

The commission has also petitioned the State Bank of Vietnam to place the securities industry on its list of non-manufacturing industries eligible for preferential interest rates from banks, said Bang.-VNA