Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army, Sen. Lieut. Gen. Do Ba Ty on May 21 held a reception for visiting Major General Ravinder Singh, Commander of Singaporean Land Forces.
|U.S. dollar notes are counted by an unidentified person in a file photo. The dollar on the unofficial market has declined in recent weeks - Photo: Minh Khue|
The owner of a shop on Phan Chu Trinh Street in the city’s District 1 said money changers around Ben Thanh Market reported a strong fall in dollar buying demand. Meanwhile, supply rose as foreign visitors and overseas Vietnamese returning for Tet holiday sold more dollars, leading to the price fall.
Trading is not so bustling, though. Most gold shop owners only sell the greenback to long-time customers for fear of being heavily penalized under the current regulations of the central bank.
On January 6, the central bank imposed a fine of VND100 million on each of two illegal exchange counters in Hanoi, much higher than the value of the confiscated foreign currency in transaction.
On October 20 last year, the Government issued Decree 95 on administrative sanctions against illegal monetary and banking operations, with a maximum fine of VND500 million levied on illegal foreign currency trading activities, plus the confiscation of the traded money. Money changers and gold trading shops will lose their licenses for 12 months for their first-time violations and indefinitely for recidivism.
Meanwhile, according to a teller of Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Bank (Sacombank), the bank now has abundant dollar supply sourced from import enterprises and overseas remittances, while buying demand remains flat because enterprises have prepared sufficient foreign money for import and some have stopped importing shortly before Tet holiday.
At present, when in need, enterprises can buy dollars much easier than last year’s October when the banks were difficult to reach for dollars and the price exceeded VND21,700 per dollar.
Sacombank is currently buying the greenback at VND21,030 a dollar, or VND4 higher than the quoted price and selling at VND21,060, against the quoted VND21,036, or VND300 lower than last year’s December.
The bank teller informed the U.S. dollar price on average dipped VND100 a day last weekend.
The inter-bank exchange rate on Sunday stayed at VND20,828 per dollar. Overall in 2011, the exchange rate increased by 10%, with the strongest surge of 9.3% recorded on February 11 over the level of VND18,932 in the previous seven months.
At an online meeting on the Government web portal, Governor Nguyen Van Binh of the central bank predicted the inter-bank exchange rate would increase 2-3% or less thanks to political or socio-economic stability this year.