Friday Thursday Official USD/VND rate: VND20,828 VND20,828 Vietcombank rate: VND20,840-VND20,890 VND20,840-VND20,890 Gold shop rate: VND20,870-VND20,890 VND20,860-VND20,890HANOI (Dow Jones)--The State Bank of Vietnam Friday set the exchange rate for the U.S. dollar at VND20,828, unchanged from Thursday.
Rates offered by major commercial banks led by Vietcombank are steady, while gold shops have slightly raised their selling rate.
"Forex trading activity in the interbank market is lackluster because of weak corporate demand for the greenback as many trading firms still report slow sales of imported materials and goods," said a foreign exchange dealer with a Hanoi-based commercial joint stock bank.
Many domestic firms have reportedly said they faced rising inventories in May because of weak consumption caused by ongoing recession, the dealer said.
Dollar demand from importers of staple items declined after the import value of gasoline fell 13.3% on year to $3.98 billion over January-May, while automobile imports fell 36% to $845 million during the same period, said the dealer, citing government trade data released this week.
Another dealer with Ho Chi Minh City-based ACB Bank said though Vietnam reported a trade deficit of $700 million in May, the deficit was only $632 million for the January-May period compared with a deficit of more than $6.25 billion booked for the same period last year.
"These figures show that Vietnam has faced no immediate dollar shortage, and I expect the exchange rate to be flat in the near term," the dealer said.
Currency dealers with banks and gold shops in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City forecast the free market rate to move in a range of VND20,870 to VND20,900 over the weekend.
-By Nguyen Pham Muoi, Dow Jones Newswires; 84-4-35123041; firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 31, 2012 22:30 ET (02:30 GMT)