Vietnam’s central bank told lenders on Tuesday to meet the credit needs of fuel importers as authorities try to avoid a fuel shortage, Reuters reported.
The country of 98 million has experienced fuel shortages in recent weeks, with hundreds of gas stations in major cities shutting down or curtailing sales due to financial problems and tight supplies.
Government officials have said some fuel importers struggled to access bank loans and foreign currency to pay for their imports and that the weakening of the dong currency had made imports expensive.
“Petroleum products are strategic and important and can have a direct impact on macroeconomic stability and business and civilian activities,” the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) said in a letter to commercial banks.
It told banks to “fully meet the demand from fuel trading companies for loans to purchase petroleum products to ensure supply for the domestic market.”
Vietnam’s refined fuel imports in the first 10 months of 2022 increased 22.7% from a year earlier to 7.1 million tons, but costs increased 124% to $7.37 billion due to the rising global fuel prices, according to official customs data.
Crude oil imports rose 17% to 9.4 million tons in the period. These are destined for Vietnam’s two refineries, which supply 70-80% of the country’s fuel needs.
Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Martin Petty @ Reuters