What were the best investment channels in 2016?

People are investing their money in five main channels of stocks, gold, foreign currencies, property assets and savings but which of these offered the highest returns in 2016?

Stocks: 14.8%

Stocks, which were deemed risky and volatile assets, paid the highest returns last year. The benchmark VN-Index hit the eight-year peak at 692.17 points on September 29. Investors could earn a 34.9 per cent profit when investing in the VN-Index and nearly 26 per cent rate of return with investments in VN-30 during the peak period.

The stock market entered a downward correction from October but the VN-Index still ended the year up 14.8 per cent over December 31, 2015, a good performance compared to an 8.7 per-cent growth in 2015. However, actual earnings depended on the portfolios of investors.

Gold: 10.6%

Domestic gold prices jumped to a four-year high in July at VNĐ39.8 million (US$1,786) per tael, paying the gold investors a 17 per-cent rate of returns at this time. Investors could buy a tael of gold for VNĐ33.16 million on April 6 and sell it at VNĐ38.8 million on July 6.

Gold prices slowed down its pace from early October and kept abreast with world gold prices. In the last months of 2016, domestic gold prices still increased despite a steep fall in the global market, partly due to the unfounded rumours of demonetisation.

On December 31, 2016, SJC gold was quoted at VNĐ36.18 million per tael and VNĐ36.28 million per tael for buying and selling, respectively, with equivalent rises of 10.9 per cent and 10.6 per cent, respectively.

Savings: 6.5%

This safe-have investment channel was offering around 6.5 per cent to 6.9 per cent per year. Ending September, the average deposit interest rate increased by 0.4 per cent by the end of 2015.

However, short-term deposits of less than six months were subject to the ceiling interest rate of 5.5 per cent.

Popular interest rates at most commercial banks were between 6.5 per cent and 6.9 per cent per year. Bac A Bank, PVComBank offered a higher rate of 7.4 per cent to 7.5 per cent per year. With the annual inflation rate of 4.74 per cent, depositors still received earnings from savings.

US dollar: 2.4%

The USD/VNĐ exchange rate started to be flexibly adjusted daily since early 2016 with the fluctuation band of +/-3 per cent. The greenback was stable for the first ten months of 2016 and began to strengthen following the US presidential election.

The US dollar was quoted at between VNĐ22,720 and VNĐ22,790 per dollar, up 1.2 per cent and 1.1 per cent over the previous year, respectively. In the black market, the dollar hit VND23,370 per dollar in the last days of the year but calmed down soon after.

The dollar gained 2.38 per cent in the black market last year, a modest return rate compared to a 5 per cent gain seen in 2015.


The VNĐ30 trillion credit package to support low-income groups to buy social housing stopped disbursement on December 31, 2016. Circular No 06/2016/TT-NHNN eased some safety ratios for banks to channel capital in the real estate sector. However, Circular No 19/2016/TT-BXD tightened re-sale procedures which affected short-term investors.

Prices of real estate projects differed depending on locations and house types. According to CBRE, the townhouses and villas project in District 2 in HCM City could reward investors a profit of 10 per cent in the third quarter.

Source: VNS

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