Vietnam's central bank on Tuesday asked commercial banks to provide sufficient loans to fuel importers, as authorities try to avert a fuel supply crunch.
The country of 98 million people has faced fuel shortages in recent weeks, with hundreds of petrol stations in major cities shutting down or limiting sales due to financial difficulties and tight supplies.
Government officials have said some fuel importers were struggling to access bank loans and foreign currency to pay for their imports and the weakening of the dong currency had made imports expensive.
"Petroleum products are strategic and important and can have direct impacts on macroeconomic stability and business and civil activities," the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) said in a letter to commercial banks.
It told banks to "fully meet fuel trading firms' demand for loans to purchase petroleum products to ensure supplies for the domestic market."
Vietnam's refined fuel imports in the first 10 months of 2022 rose 22.7% from a year earlier to 7.1 million tonnes, but costs increased 124% to $7.37 billion due to surging global fuel prices, according to official customs data.
Its crude oil imports in the period rose 17% to 9.4 million tonnes. Those are for Vietnam's two refineries, which supply 70%-80% of the country's fuel needs.