Vietnam spent VND693 trillion (US$33.13 billion) on clearing foreign debts in 2013, the Ministry of Finance recently said in its third public debt bulletin.
Foreign debt repayment was VND154 trillion ($7.25 billion) higher than in 2012, according to the semi-annual document, which reports the country’s public debt.
The government accounted for VND38.75 trillion ($1.84 billion) of the total foreign debt repayment last year.
Vietnam’s public debt/GDP ratio reached 54.2 percent in 2013, up from 50.8 percent a year earlier, according to the bulletin.
The foreign debt/GDP ratio declined 0.1 percentage point from 2012 to 37.3 percent.
Total outstanding public debt was VND1,335 trillion ($62.84 billion).
The finance ministry has predicted that Vietnam’s public debt will rise to 60.3 percent of GDP while foreign debt will be 39.9 percent of GDP by the end of this year.
The government is expected to earmark 14.2 percent of the total budget collection for debt repayment this year, according to the ministry.
All of the figures are below the safe limits approved in a National Assembly resolution, the ministry noted.
The Southeast Asian country this year borrowed VND77 trillion ($3.62 billion) to restructure some of its loans to have longer terms but lower interest rates.
The government aims to reduce the public debt/GDP ratio to 60.2 percent by 2020, and the government debt/GDP ratio to 46.6 percent.
In Vietnam public debt includes money owed by state-owned enterprises and local and central governments, while government debt covers loans the government directly takes or indirectly secures for other entities, according to Dr. Vu Thanh Tu Anh, lecturer of economics and director of research at the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program in Vietnam.
The first public debt bulletin was released in February 2013, and the second in October the same year.