The foreign borrowing limits applicable to the Government and companies in Vietnam have just been issued last week under Decision 477 of the Prime Minister. Based on these limits, the State Bank of Vietnam will give its approval for foreign borrowing including offshore bond issuance by companies in Vietnam during 2014. Under Decision 477, for the year 2014:
- commercial borrowing by companies which are guaranteed by the Government is capped at US$ 2.8 billion;
- commercial borrowing by companies which are not guaranteed by the Government is capped at US$ 3.8 billion. However, this limit may be increased during the third quarter, if necessary;
- the Government may issue an international bond but the amount is not mentioned; and
- various ministries including the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Industry and Trade are instructed to evaluate its guarantee exposures in various BOT or large infrastructure projects. It is not clear if this instruction means that the Government now considers its obligations under various Government Guarantee and Undertakings for large scale infrastructure projects equivalent to its guaranteed obligations under foreign loans regulations.
On 28 December 2018, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) issued Circular 42 amending current foreign currency borrowing regulations (in Circular 24 of the SBV dated 8 December 2015, as amended from time to time (Circular 24/2015)) (Circular 42/2018). Circular 42/2018 will take effect from 1 January 2019.
Changes to permitted lending purpose
Vietnamese banks only lend in foreign currency for a few limited purposes. Circular 42/2018 has following changes to these purposes: