Vietnam’s gross official reserves, including gold, are expected to rise to US$15.4 billion in 2010 and US$19.2 billion next year from US$14.1 billion last year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said.
Moderate short-term capital outflows will facilitate the Southeast Asian country to enrich the reserves, the IMF said in a regular review of Vietnam's economic health.
It added that the country’s gross international reserves (GIR) declined to about two months of imports by end-2009, predicting the similar for 2010.
“Maintaining the current stable exchange rate and taking the opportunity to rebuild GIR should be the immediate goal for the government,” the IMF staff wrote in the note.
Once the government’s credentials for macroeconomic stability is established, and GIR is further built up, the government will be able to adopt a more flexible exchange rate regime without risking resurgent devaluation pressures, the IMF said.
Vietnam posted a trade deficit of US$12.246 billion last year, in which the country exported US$56.584 billion worth of products while it spent US$68.83 billion on imports.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung earlier affirmed that the country’s forex reserves were equal to about nine weeks of imports.
Vietnam had to tap its forex reserves last year to ease the dollar shortage due to lower dollar inflows as the country’s exports decreased 9.7%, the first decline since it opened the economy in 1986, and foreign direct investment fell 13%.
A newspaper published by the State Bank of Vietnam on May 15 reported that the country’s forex reserves had risen by six times from ten years ago to US$20 billion to date, compared to the World Bank estimate of US$15.2 billion at end-2009.
The WB also predicted Vietnam to boost its forex reserves to US$17.5 billion by late 2010. The figure was US$23 billion in 2008.