Most foreign exchange points in Ho Chi Minh City stopped transactions in US dollar on March 11, due to fear of inspections from relevant authorities leading customers completing transactions in banks.
Three days ago, foreign exchange points maintained normal operations while announcing trading at VND21.400 to US$1. They now refuse to buy the dollar and have stopped all dealings.
An employee at a gold shop said that since the authorities had been cracking down on foreign exchange traders for the last few days, gold shops dared not transact in dollars publicly any longer.
Many shops traded mainly in gold, especially gold jewellery and others suspended all foreign currency transactions.
The US dollar rate is quoted at VND20.401 per $1 for buying and VND20.875 per $1 for selling on the State Bank website, an increase of VND220 per USD compared to a day before.
US dollar rate in commercial banks is quoted at VND20, 860 per $1 for buying and VND20, 875 per $1 for selling a decrease of VND5 compared to a day before.
Customers said that although US dollar rates in banks are lower than the black market, they still come to banks to buy and sell foreign currency as they feel very safe.
Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the State Bank of Vietnam’s HCM City branch, said people have the right to possess foreign currency but are only allowed to sell them to banks and licensed moneychangers.
The SBV, in coordination with the police, is cracking down on illegal trading and has specified that inspections will be carried out every two or three weeks instead of every month as was the case earlier.
On March 11, the world gold price was $1,414 per ounce (1.2 tael), decreased by $20 compared to a day earlier.
SJC, PNJ and SBJ gold prices also decreased to VND36.85 million per tael buying and VND36.95 per tael selling, a decrease of VND850,000 per tael compared to last week.
To meet customer demand, VietABank has issued a short-term certificate of deposit for gold. The issuance period lasts till April 28.
The bank expects to issue 65,000 taels during this issuance. The minimum value for each certificate is one tenth of tael in SJC gold. VietABank applies competitive post-paid interest rates for each deposit term.
Agribank also launched a program to mobilize gold with interest rate of 3.5%. Each customer has to send at least 1 tael in SJC gold.