vietnamese flag 400HANOI: Vietnam's foreign exchange reserves have jumped to an estimated $22 billion to $23 billion, thanks to a shrinking trade deficit resulting from the slowing economy, a state-run newspaper said on Friday.

 

The central bank has been a net buyer of foreign currencies so far this year and the reserves were enough to cover 11.5 weeks of imports, the Vietnam Economic Times newspaper said, quoting BIDV, the country's largest partly private lender by assets.

 

It did not give any timeframe for the reserves.

 

Vietnam's trade deficit fell 99 percent in the first eight months from the same period last year to $62 million, the government has said.

 

Foreign exchange reserves rose by more than $10 billion in the first six months of this year to reach around $19 billion, state media reported in early July.

 

Vietnam's exchange rate has been stable so far this year with little demand on the interbank market, traders have said, while the dollar/dong mid-point rate has been kept unchanged at 20,828 dong per dollar since December.

 

The country's foreign reserves are double the level at the start of this year, the official Vietnam News Agency on Thursday quoted Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung as saying.

 

There is no need for the government to seek loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or other ASEAN countries to deal with economic issues, Dung said in an interview with the news agency.

 

Copyright Reuters, 2012