Interest rate under pressure to remain unchanged


HÀ NỘI – The central bank has targeted keeping interest rate stable in 2017, however, the market’s developments in the first half of January 2017 show that lending rates are suffering from many pressures, the Người Lao Động (Labourers) newspaper has reported.

Analysts said the goal to stabilise interest rates this year may face many challenges, such as the recovery trend of commodity prices in the world market, including petroleum; the price adjustment of essential commodities of electricity, health service and education; and the risks of climate change and natural disaster.

Besides this, economist Bùi Quang Tín said the exchange rate will also put pressure on interest rates in 2017.

Tín said the US dollar is forecast to continue strengthening due to the expectation that Fed will continue increasing interest rates this year and in 2018 and 2019. This trend will make it difficult for local commercial banks to reduce interest rates because at that time, the exchange rate between the US dollar and other currencies, including the đồng, will hike.

If Việt Nam lowers interest rates, it will make the US dollar/đồng exchange rate increase, resulting in imported goods becoming expensive and making it difficult for businesses, he said.

In addition, the central bank’s regulation on reducing the ratio of using short-term capital for medium and long-term loans from 60 per cent to 50 per cent fromJanuary 1, 2017, will also affect deposit rates, especially terms that are more than 12 months.

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc also admitted interest rate is a serious problem for the central bank in 2017, especially in the context that inflation must be curbed and the macro economy must be stabilised. The country this year is targeting a GDP growth of 6.7 per cent and inflation at some four per cent.

In a bid to stabilise interest rate and control inflation, Tín suggested the central bank adjust inter-bank rates reasonably through the open market operation (OMO). Commercial banks can borrow capital from the OMO market to stabilise liquidity and deposit interest rates.

Besides preparation to cope with the US’s Fed policy on increasing interest rates, measures to support commercial banks enhancing medium- and long-term capital sources must be also taken, Tín said.

Economist Ngô Trí Long recommended the government continuously regulate prices of petroleum, electricity and public services according to the market mechanism with the State’s management.

Any changes in the prices of such commodities and services must be considered carefully and taken at a suitable time to avoid strong negative impact on the price level, Long said.

Source: Vietnam News

Photo: CBR Investment AG