Bai Tu Long Bay in the northern province of Quang Ninh is expected to stun holiday-makers as various tours to explore the beautiful bay will be launched this summer.
Vietnam Commercial Joint Stock Bank for Foreign Trade, better known as Vietcombank (VCB), has officially announced lowering the lending interest rate.
The interest rate easing policy has been approved by the bank's board director board, Nguyen Thu Ha, Vietcombank's deputy general director, told Thanh Nien newspaper.
Particularly, the lending interest rate in dong has been reduced by 2 percent per year, commercial loans and short term services at 17 percent per year, short term loans to serve production at 16.5 percent per year, and short term loans for exports at 16 percent per year.
VCB's consumption lending interest rate has been also been winded down, of which short term loans will cost 18 percent per year, medium and long term loans at 18.5-19 percent per year and the lending interest rate for securities and real estate sectors at 20 percent per year.
However, the reduction of lending interest rates will initially be applied for short term only and mainly for prioritized borrowers such as agricultural e, exports and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
With this incentive, at some branches of VCB, the lowest lending interest rate for export is at 16 percent and the highest level for non-production loans is at 20 percent per year.
With the this latest move act, VCB is the second largest state-run bank lowering to lower lending interest rates this year, after the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) pioneered the move.
Previously, BIDV marked the pioneer in lowering lending interest rate.
Since September 2011 so far, BIDV the bank has continuously made five reductions of the lending interest rate. Currently, BIDV's lowest lending interest rate for prioritized borrowers is 14.5 percent per year and the highest level is about 17-17.5 percent per year.
Lending rates poised to fall soon: bankers
Most bankers have agreed that lending rates will fall further this year, having somehow been eased by one percentage point compared to the month before the Lunar New Year (Tet).
The lending rates now vary among banks depending on their scales.
The lowest rates are offered by state-owned commercial banks, at around 17 percent a year.
Meanwhile, large joint stock commercial banks offer rates of 18-21 percent per year while smaller ones charge a yearly interest rate of 19-23 percent.
ANZ Vietnam has also launched a $160 million (VND3.376 trillion) credit line aimed at supporting SMEs involved in agriculture and textile and garment or seafood industries.
The rate applied by the bank for these clients is one to two percentage points lower than the market average.
An executive of Vietnam International Bank (VIB) has told the Saigon Times Daily newspaper that at his branch the lowest lending rate is about 18 percent yearly and the highest is 21 percent.
These levels had dipped over 1 percent against the pre-Tet period as his bank now focuses on healthy corporate clients to avoid credit risks, he added.
The banker supposed that borrowing costs from the second quarter will continue cooling down.
It is because the money volume injected by the central bank over the past few months has gone up sharply and deposits from the public have bounced back after Tet, he explained.
"Lending rates can be pulled down if the central bank is determined to carry out the road map to merge weak banks with one another and if all lenders agree to revise down the rates," he added.
The National Financial Supervisory Commission's vice chair Le Xuan Nghia told the Saigon Times Daily that the lending rate would fall substantially this year.
Improving liquidity at small credit institutions is the basis to revise down lending rates soon, he said.
But aaccording to a commercial joint stock bank's leader in Hanoi, the signs of recently cooling down interest rates in the interbank market recently was not due to the banks' liquidity has having been improved but because large banks did not lend to small banks for the fear of risks.
The bank leader added during that in the past time, especially in the post-Tet period, the market saw phenomenon of deposit interest rate caps breach again.
"Owing to weak liquidity, so they have to raise capital exceeding the allowable deposit interest rate ceiling of 14 percent per year, thus the lending interest rate still remains at 18-22 percent per year" the leader explained.
Last week, the Prime Minister asked the central bank to create a roadmap for the interest rate cut scheme to submit to the government within the first quarter of this year.
The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has posted a net-withdrawal of VND112 trillion ($5.38 billion) in the last two weeks via open market operations (OMOs).
The SBV injected VND13.64 trillion at the lending rate of 14 percent with 7-day and 14-day terms, while it withdrew about VND69 trillion, including VND65 trillion for the pre-Tet period and about VND4 trillion for the first week of the post-Tet, via OMOs last week.
As of February 8, the overnight interbank interest rate was at 13.83 percent, while the interbank rate for 6-month term was at 15.16 percent.