Vietnam orders banks to buy govt dollar bonds

HANOI, March 3 (Reuters) - Vietnam’s central bank has ordered commercial banks to prepare funds to buy dollar bonds the government plans to issue later this year, it said in a letter seen on Tuesday.

Banks should “coordinate closely with the State Bank’s Foreign Exchange Department and the Finance Ministry in the debt issues to ensure the success of the bond issuance”, Deputy Governor Nguyen Van Binh said in the letter addressed to the banks and obtained by Reuters.

Last month Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said the Finance Ministry will sell dollar-denominated government bonds on domestic markets this year to raise funds for key projects and to finance the state budget deficit. [ID:nB192669]

Binh gave no further details on the bond issues nor how much of the debt commercial banks should buy.

Fixings of dollar one-year lending rates stood at 2.55 percent on Monday on the interbank markets, down from 2.59 percent a week ago, according to Reuters data VNIBOV1.

The government has said economic woes and lower crude oil prices could cut 90 trillion dong ($5.3 billion) from Vietnam’s government income this year, forcing Hanoi to plan to raise 55 trillion dong from bond sales to bridge the shortfall. [ID:nHAN409102] (Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by John Ruwitch)