Vietnam’s not-so-bad bad loans

The Vietnam Asset Management Corporation is so far failing to come to grips with the country’s non-performing loans, but this may yet be a problem that solves itself.

Vietnam’s handling of its banking system’s non-performing loans has not followed any textbook plan of action and is unlikely to improve the credit-risk capabilities of its banks. But in terms of helping the economy to recover its mojo, it might just work.

Foreign portfolio investment into Vietnam has picked up recently, with $416 million of inflows for the year to August 15, according to Dragon Capital. That’s a lot for a country with a stock-market capitalisation of about $55 billion, and an increase from 2013’s net foreign buy of $326 million.

To be sure, investors have reason to be concerned about the country’s non-performing loans. According to...

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