Tighter Bank Credit Helps to Accelerate the Development of Capital Markets

Nhat Trung

08:44 22/07/2019

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Large credit worthy companies are now able to access markets on favorable terms.

Tighter Bank Credit Helps to Accelerate the Development of Capital Markets
Aggregate and bank-by-bank limits on credit growth are a key plank of SBV’s monetary framework. Excessive credit growth and low loan quality before 2011– 12, including lending to SOEs and a property boom fed by credit, have left Vietnam with twin legacies of high bank credit-to-GDP and elevated non-performing loans (NPLs). 
In recent years, the authorities have gradually brought credit growth down, to 17.4 percent in 2017 and less than 13 percent in 2018, and resolved large quantities of NPLs. 
The authorities are seeking to constrain real estate lending by imposing higher risk weights and limiting short-term funding for long-term projects. The SBV also sought to limit consumer lending by introducing a cap on the share of cash loans and prohibiting lending to borrowers with weak credit. Tighter bank credit is helping to accelerate the development of capital markets: large credit worthy companies are now able to access markets on favorable terms. 
Plans to create a credit rating agency are at an advanced stage. The SBV plans to lower credit growth further, to close to nominal GDP growth. Vietnam is also moving to adopt Basel II standards by January 2020 and banks that meet the standards will be granted higher credit ceilings. 
Over the medium term, the SBV intends to replace administrative allocation of credit with market-based mechanisms. The exchange rate is SBV’s principal nominal anchor—it manages the Dong within a three percent band. It bought reserves in the first half of 2018, continuing the real appreciation trend of 2016–17. 
When the currency came under moderate pressure in July 2018, the SBV intervened in the opposite direction to limit the depreciation of the Dong vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar while short term interest rates rose close to the repo rate. As risk-on conditions returned in late 2018, the SBV resumed reserve purchases in early 2019. 
In all, the Dong depreciated by a modest 2.1 percent vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar in 2018, although it appreciated by 3.8 percent in REER terms, reflecting depreciation of the RMB. In the face of strong inflows, the SBV kept the Dong broadly stable vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar in 2019 Q1.
Staff welcomes the moderate tightening of monetary and credit policies (lower credit growth, higher interbank interest rates) as well as the planned prudential measures to contain real estate and consumer lending, although there is scope to do more to contain prices in segments of the property market. 
Credit growth should gradually come down to close to the rate of growth of nominal GDP and interest rates kept constant given stable growth and inflation approaching target. The SBV should focus real estate lending measures more narrowly on property developers where risks are larger. Higher credit ceilings for banks that meet Basel II capital requirements are also welcome. 
Market-based credit allocation would help boost productivity by improving the efficiency of credit allocation across banks and borrowers. This transition should becarefully executed to  minimize potential monetary and financial stability risks. It must be accompanied by a stronger banking sector and intensified efforts to address data gaps. Moreinformation is needed on high  corporate debt (140 percent of GDP), and private external debt (25 percent of GDP).
The above information is taken from IMF 2019 annual report. 

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