The U.S. dollar prices continued to cool down on Tuesday with the selling price quoted at VND21,250 per dollar at banks and VND21,200 on the free market.
The owner of a gold shop in District 1 in HCMC said dollar prices traded through unofficial channels started falling last weekend. Exchange counters around Ben Thanh Market are buying the greenback at VND21,000-21,100 and selling it at VND21,200-21,250 each, a drop of VND300 against last weekend.
The source added the demand for dollars has dwindled lately. Gold shops are currently trading with regular customers only to avoid being caught for violating foreign exchange regulations, which will carry tough penalties including confiscation of the amount illegally transacted.
The greenback trading is also quiet at An Dong Market in District 5. Most gold shop owners there have halted dollar trading activity since last week.
In general, the dollar price quoted at banks was around VND21,250 on Tuesday, higher than that on the free market. A bank with big dollar revenue has raised the dollar selling price at its branches to VND21,400, said a teller of the bank who asked not to be named due to the sensitive nature of the activity.
Tellers would enjoy the price difference if they could sell the greenback at higher prices, he added. The formal rate, however, hovers around VND21,000 to the dollar only given the trading band of 1% either side of the inter-bank rate.
The inter-bank forex rate was quoted at VND20,803 on Tuesday. The dollar price quoted at Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam, commonly known as Vietcombank, was VND21,005 for buying and VND21,011 for selling, or unchanged compared to last week.
According to the source, enterprises demanding for some US$500,000 or more must contact banks with many export corporate clients and big dollar revenues. Smaller banks cannot meet such demands, he added.
Many bankers said the U.S. dollar supply is not scarce this year and they can balance on their own.
However, a senior executive from a HCMC-based bank said many importers have paid deposits worth 10-20% of the dollar amount they need to buy in the future for import. This hinted an uptrend in dollar prices, leading to the banks selling dollars at higher prices than quoted to prevent risks.
A finance expert told the Daily that several banks are making profit with the greenback, buying the dollar from exporters at low prices and selling it at high prices to importers. This gives the impression of a dollar short supply to push up prices, causing losses for enterprises and forex volatility.
The Saigon Times Daily