Undervalued Vietnam banks winning bet for investors

In the last week of November, 26 out of 27 bank stocks climbed in price, with rates of return reaching between 10% and 26%.

HANOI: Although banking profits are expected to grow slower in the fourth quarter of 2022 and in the first half of 2023, experts still have an optimistic outlook on bank stocks in the short term.

ACB Securities said the recent declines of the securities market have moved bank stocks to an “attractive zone”. Banks were trading at a price-to-earnings multiple of 7.1 and price-to-book ratio (P/B) of 1.3 in late November, equivalent to the lows in March 2020.

These figures are 38.1% and 29.6%, respectively, lower than the historical averages of the period between 2010 and 2022. As such, bank stocks appear to be a winning bet for long-term investors looking to get ahead of the market.

BSC Securities said bank stocks were trading at a huge discount compared to the previous periods despite banks’ good financial positions. On such a ground, the stocks are worth a higher valuation.

However, BSC Securities was also concerned about the headwinds that could hold back the banking system in 2023, including the global economic recession and the rise in the provisioning coverage ratio.

VnDirect said the banking system had improved significantly over the years on the back of Vietnam’s economic growth. With a forecast P/B of one in 2023, bank stocks appear to be a real bargain for investors.

However, VnDirect was concerned about a falling net interest margin (NIM) caused by mounting costs. The concern is based on its forecast that banks’ cost of capital would soar in 2023 amid unlikely-to-rise asset yields.

VnDirect also said banks with higher retail lending and current account saving account (CASA) ratios were more likely to be immune to the falling NIM.

In terms of retail lending, Vietnam International Commercial Joint Stock Bank (VIB) and Asia Commercial Bank are taking the lead in the banking system with ratios of 87% and 64%, respectively. Regarding CASA, banks on top include Techcombank, Military Bank and Vietcombank.

Remarkably, Vietcombank is among the few banks that have enhanced the CASA ratio substantially since early in the year. The driving force behind the enhancement is its “zero-fee” policy that has been introduced during the same period.

In the last week of November, 26 out of 27 bank stocks climbed in price, with rates of return reaching between 10% and 26%.

Of which, the Techcombank stock was the largest gainer of the week, increasing 25.2% in price after five consecutive bullish sessions. The SHB stock followed suit with a gain of 20.4%.

VIB was hitting ceiling prices in two sessions last week. Its liquidity hit its highest level since January 2017.

Other bank stocks also saw a two-digit growth in price, including An Binh Commercial Joint Stock Bank (17.5%), Vietcombank (16.3%), Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank (16%) and LienVietPostBank (14.1%).

Sector-wide liquidity hit 16.5 trillion dong (RM3bil) last week, equivalent to around 3.3 trillion dong (RM602mil) per session, up 77% week-by-week.

On Monday, banks were among the sectors behind the market rally with a gain of 1.34%. — Viet Nam News/ANN

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Vietnam , bankprofits , PEratio , equities , headwinds


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