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MARKETS | Tony Chua, Vietnam
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Vietnam allows banks to resume offshore gold trading

Five lenders will sell six tonnes of gold to help narrow the gap between domestic and international prices.

Vietnam's central bank has allowed five banks and Saigon Jewelry Co (SJC), the country's top gold trader, to reopen offshore gold trading accounts to help narrow the gap between domestic and international prices, state-run media said on Thursday.

The six institutions will sell up to six tonnes of gold from their stock to increase supply in the domestic market, an online report of the official Thanh Nien newspaper said.

Partly private DongA Bank, Asia Commercial Bank, Techcombank, Eximbank, Sacombank and SJC will buy and sell gold at the same price quoted by SJC, the news website VnExpress (vnexpress.net) said.

In March 2010 the central bank ordered Vietnamese gold traders to close offshore trading accounts in a move to restrict gold transactions to help stabilise the domestic currency, the dong.

The State Bank of Vietnam granted quotas to banks and gold trading companies to import at least 13 tonnes of the metal in August and September to cut the premium.

Domestic prices remain far higher than international prices and hit a record gap of 4.3 million dong ($206.4) a tael above the world price on Sept. 26, according to domestic gold trading companies.

View the full story in Reuters.

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