The Vietnamese government’s foreign debt reached US$32.5 billion in 2010, up 16.5 percent year on year, according to a recent report from the Ministry of Finance.
The debt accounted for 42.2 percent of Vietnam’s GDP, which was a 3.2 percent increase year on year, said the report which was released 2 months later than scheduled.
The government had expected the amount to be only 38.8 percent of GDP.
In its report, the ministry also warned that Vietnam’s foreign exchange reserves in 2010 were equal to only 187 percent of short-term outstanding loans, compared to 290 percent in 2009 and 2,808 percent in 2008.
The ministry also warned that Vietnam’s borrowing interest rates tended to increase after the country joined the group of middle-income countries last year.
Borrowing interest rates also increased because of macroeconomic instability factors and the credit downgrade caused by the debt-stricken shipbuilder Vinashin, the report said.
Currently, though Vietnamese are still enjoying low interest rates of 1 percent to 2.99 percent a year for 65.5 percent of total loans, loans with high interest rates of 6 percent to 10 percent a year rose in 2010 to $1.89 billion, doubling the figure of 2009.
Vietnam's main creditors are Japan, France, ADB, and WB.