Vietnam 9-month GDP growth highest in 8 years

By Dat Nguyen   September 28, 2018 | 12:11 am PT
Vietnam 9-month GDP growth highest in 8 years
Workers are seen at a construction site in Hanoi. Photo by Reuters/Kham
Vietnam’s GDP grew by 6.98 percent between January and September, the highest nine-month growth rate since 2011.

Data released by the General Statistics Office (GSO) Friday showed growth in the third quarter was 6.88 percent year-on-year.

In the year-to-date agriculture and fisheries grew by 3.65 percent, the highest since 2012. Industry and construction grew by 8.89 percent and services by 6.89 percent.

Between January and September, the country earned $178.9 billion from exports, a year-on-year increase of 15.4 percent, while spent $173.52 billion on imports, up 11.8 percent. 

Exports of 26 items each topped $1 billion. Three of them exceeded the $10-billion mark: electronics-computers-components, machinery-equipment and phones-components.

Inflation was at 3.57 percent in the first nine months of this year. Vietnam set target to keep inflation below 4 percent for the whole year.

Growth in the first nine months showed many positive results. However, there are still many challenges, especially in the background of the China-U.S. trade war,” GSO general director Nguyen Bich Lam told a news conference Friday.

The escalating trade friction between the U.S. and China poses a threat to countries like Vietnam which exports intermediate goods to China, while weaker global demand will also act as a drag on growth prospects, Reuters quoted Capital Economics as saying Friday.

The research firm projected Vietnam’s growth rate to slow down from 7 percent this year to 6 percent in 2019 and 2020.

But the trade spat has not yet affected Vietnam’s exports to the U.S, Lam said. Vietnam could seek opportunities to boost exports and welcome foreign investments, while watching out for risks including transhipment to avoid tax, similar tariffs imposed on Vietnam and global trade contraction, he added.

In a report issued Wednesday, the Asian Development Bank forecast Vietnam’s GDP to expand by 6.9 percent this year.

The economy grew by 6.81 percent last year, the highest rate in a decade.

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