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5:53 pm | September 11, 2023

Vietnamese banks generate big profits through foreign exchange operations

The Q2 2023 financial statements of 28 banks show that foreign exchange trading in H1 2023 brought nearly VNĐ12 trillion in total net profit. This was an 18% increase over the prior year, exceeding the total operating income growth rate by sevenfold.

The Big4 group, comprising VietinBank, Vietcombank, BIDV, and Agribank, were major contributors, earning nearly VNĐ8.3 trillion in net profit from foreign exchange trading in H1 2023. This represented a 30% increase over the previous year and accounted for 69% of the total net profit in the banking industry.

Vietcombank led with more than VNĐ3.18 trillion in foreign exchange trading profits, a 6% increase, and nearly 27% of the industry’s total net profit. VietinBank followed with nearly VNĐ2.35 trillion, a 47% increase, and almost 20% of the total net profit in the industry.

BIDV and Agribank reported approximately VNĐ1.46 trillion and VNĐ1.27 trillion, marking a 20% and 125% increase, and contributing 12% and 10% to the industry’s net profit, respectively.

The Big4’s dominance in the foreign exchange trading segment can be attributed to their extensive domestic and international transaction networks. They primarily profited from spot foreign currency trading, relying on the difference between buying and selling prices.

During H1 2023, the dollar’s selling price consistently exceeded the buying price by VNĐ350-400. This provided the Big4 group with a reliable income source.

Additionally, the banks derived profits from purchasing and selling dollars with the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV). In H1 2023, the SBV maintained a buying price for the dollar, VNĐ100-200 higher than commercial banks’ selling price. Commercial banks thus profited by buying dollars from customers and selling them to the SBV. This year, the SBV purchased over US$6 billion from commercial banks.


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