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Inflation eats at people's savings

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1 Inflation eats at people's savings on Sat May 14, 2011 8:23 pm


HCM CITY — "Where should I invest my savings?"

Many people are asking this question now and there are no easy answers.

In spite of the Government's strenuous efforts, inflation is showing no sign of coming down.

Inflation hit a record high last month, increasing 3.32 per cent over March and 13.9 per cent over April 2010.

Meanwhile, deposit interest rates have been capped at 14 per cent while the lending rate has climbed to between 19 and 20 per cent.

"At such inflation and interest rates, we cannot get any benefit from depositing our savings with the banks. In other words, depositing the savings can only be considered a safe measure to conserve capital when we are unable to find a way to make profitable investments," said Bui Phuong Hang of HCM City's Tan Binh District.

The securities market has continued its gloomy performance with low liquidity.

Many listed companies have made losses because they are unable to develop production or reinvest due to a lack of capital. Consequently, the prices of stocks have dropped strongly, and many investors have had to sell stocks to pay debts.

The real estate market does not look much better. It is predicted to meet more difficulties as local commercial banks tighten credit to reduce lending to the non-manufacturing sector to 22 per cent of total loans by June and 16 per cent by the year-end as required by the central bank.

Market analysts have said that the real estate market is likely to remain stagnant with prices of various kinds of properties standing at their lowest level in recent years.

However, these rates are still much higher than the financial capacities of most people in the country with real housing demand.

One month ago, investing in the forex market was still considered a profitable undertaking. But now, this business's attraction has reduced significantly since the gap in the exchange rate between the black market and banks has narrowed sharply.

The value of the dollar on the world market has also dropped continuously in recent weeks and there are no signs of recovery yet. In fact, the forex rate in the open market has actually dipped lower than the inter-bank market rate.

Meanwhile, gold prices have tended to increase despite the State Bank of Viet Nam's decision to stop banks from accepting gold deposits as well as making gold loans.

The decision has prompted many commercial banks including Eximbank, ACB and VietA Bank to consider measures to "settle" the gold deposits they have.

One method that is being tried widely is to launch promotions encouraging gold depositors to sell the precious metal to the banks.

The banks are offering higher than market prices for gold if clients sell the precious metal to them and deposit the cash with them.

This also means that individuals who buy and keep gold at home would not make any profit now.

For those with considerable financial capacity, the situation still presents opportunities to make profits, experts say.

They explain that both securities and real estate markets have bottomed out, so savings invested with banks now can offer significant profit in the future as the economy recovers. — VNS

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