SSI: Total Bad Debt in Vietnam’s Banking System is Decreasing

Diep Nguyen

12:18 05/11/2018

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In short, what SSI sees so far is stabilized inflation and better growth, which has nothing to do with the performance of the stock market during what has been a quite turbulent October.

SSI: Total Bad Debt in Vietnam’s Banking System is Decreasing
On resolving weak banks (or zero-bill banks, namely Ocean Bank, Construction Bank, and GP Bank, as well as one other bank, Dong A Bank), progress is quite slow, as the valuation process along with an additional final negotiation will take up time.
Total bad debt is decreasing, from 10.08% of total outstanding loans in 2016 to just 7.7% in 2017 and 6.7% by June 2018. Of this, 2.09% is officially considered to be in NPL territory, and the rest is bad debt at the VAMC and restructured bad debt. 
Banks and the VAMC alike are quite efficient in resolving bad debt after being empowered by the National Assembly via Resolution 42, and total resolved bad debt was VND 140 trillion (or $6 bn USD – or 2% of the total outstanding loan ) in the last 12 months. For VAMC in particular, total resolved bad debt was VND 95 trillion, or about 30% of purchased bad debt so far.
On controlling the credit flow into risky business, such as securities investment, real estate, and BT/BOT projects, the governor stated that credit growth in those segments were quite low, at 1.7%, 5.2%, and 6.5% YTD respectively by August 2018. This was notably lower than headline credit growth of 8.54%. The weighting of these segments to total credit are also quite small, at 0.36%, 7.4%, and 1.6% of total outstanding loans.
On the VND deposit rate ceiling (5.5% pa for 1-6 month tenures, 1% for less than 1 month tenure) , the governor stated that given current market conditions, the central bank would still opt to maintain this administrative measure for the sake of projecting a more stable monetary policy.
This measure might be removed when the central bank believes that the banking system showcases more sign of systemic resilience. In the concluding remarks, the National Assembly chairwoman requested the central bank governor to further review the aforementioned issues.
The Vietnam General Statistics Office just released the October macro data, and here are the key highlights: 
Regarding inflation, CPI edged up 0.33% MoM in October. The crawl upwards was mostly driven by a petroleum products price hike (gasoline: +3.45%, liquified gas: +3.17%, kerosene oil: + 2.87%), as well as the impact from a subsidies removal in the educational sector, as 7 provinces get ready to raise tuition fees. The food & foodstuff price was also a contributing factor towards higher inflation (rice: +0.99%, pork: +6.67%, similar to September data). Average CPI increased just 3.6% YoY in the first 10 months of 2018. However, there does remain the prospect of more subdued inflation in November, as the commodities price has been receding in the last few weeks.  
For retail sales, nominal growth is still high in Oct, at +12.4% MoM (year to date, +11.4% YoY). On a TYD basis, real growth is still quite healthy at + 9.31% YoY, higher than last year’s level of 8.79%. Retail sales growth lit up the board across all segments, and we noted that international tourist arrivals are continuing to stage impressive growth at 17.6% YoY. This continues on, tracing the tourism megatrend line as followed from previous months in general. Chinese and South Korean tourists are still the major drivers of tourism, growing at +28.8% and + 48.3% YoY respectively). 
On the industrial front lines, the same story of growth in the manufacturing sector has continued onwards. The headline industrial production index increased by 10.4 % YoY, whereas the first 10 months of 2017 rose only by 9.6%). Industrial production across key cities all increased at a pace higher than the headline numbers, i.e Ha Tinh (Nghi Son refinery, + 105.6%), Thanh Hoa (Formosa Steel, + 30.3%), Haiphong (LG, + 25.6%), Thai Nguyen (Samsung, + 12.2%), and Bac Ninh (a lot of FDI enterprises, + 11.9%).  
Regarding investment, FDI disbursement in USD terms was at $15.1 bn year to date (or + 6.3% YoY) and FII at $6.3 bn (+35.8% YoY). Meanwhile, public investment disbursement also rose higher than average growth, but still lower than expected (at 55.1% of the 2018 plan). The government promised to disburse capital faster over the next few months (for example more internationally-sourced ODA funding for Metro lines in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, or the Long Thanh Airport land clearance), so we might have to be patient to see what effect it has in the next data release. 
Other data regarding the state budget or trade are all just estimates for now, and we need to wait for official data from the Ministry of Finance and Vietnam Customs to parse out actionable insight. In short, what SSI sees so far is stabilized inflation and better growth, which has nothing to do with the performance of the stock market during what has been a quite turbulent October.

DIEP NGUYEN

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