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Vietnam index hits new 52-mth high on buying, rate cuts

HANOI, March 17 (Reuters) - Vietnam's benchmark VN Index ended up 0.59 percent at 600.36 points on Monday, a new 52-month peak, boosted by buying demand and after the central bank announced several rate cuts.

The central bank said on Monday it will lower the ceiling on interest rates that banks can offer on dong deposits to 6.0 percent per annum from 7.0 percent now.

"The continued decline in deposit rates will likely support the rally in the local stock market," the ANZ bank said in a report on Monday.

The index on Vietnam's market, Southeast Asia's best performer in 2013, closed at the highest level since Oct. 26, 2009, rising past a 52-month peak reached last Friday.

The Market Vectors Vietnam exchange-traded fund (ETF) would add stocks of food producer Masan Group and Petrovietnam Transportation Corp to its portfolio for this quarter's restructuring, it said in a statement.

MSN ended up 6.93 percent and PVT rose 6.67 percent.

"The ETF's buying has surprisingly boosted the index surpassing its strong resistance level of 600 points," said analyst Do Bao Ngoc at VPBank.

The fund said it would also buy stocks of property firms Vingroup Co and HAGL Co. VIC shares closed up 3.29 percent and HAG shares ended up 4.06 percent.

The VN Index would rise further thanks to positive sentiment and extended buying from ETF this week, analysts said.

Here is a snapshot of the VN Index at the close (0801 GMT).

VN Index 600.36 PREV. CLOSE 596.83 % CHANGE 0.59% HIGH 603.24 LOW 598.7 Change (%) 1-mnth 4.301 Change (%) 3-mnth 17.937 Change (%) 1-year 25.754 52-week high 600.68 14-Mar-14 52-week low 462.13 30-Aug-13