GDP to soar 6.8 pct in 2019: WB

By Dat Nguyen   December 17, 2019 | 05:45 am PT
GDP to soar 6.8 pct in 2019: WB
A smartphone production line in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Tuan Hung.
Vietnam’s economy is estimated to expand by 6.8 percent this year, with continued trade surplus and declining public debt, the World Bank says.

GDP growth has been driven by exports increasing by about 8 percent in 2019, nearly four times faster than the world average, the bank said in its bi-annual economic report "Taking Stock" released Tuesday.

The country has also remained an attractive destination for foreign investors, with foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows averaging $3 billion per month.

In addition, private consumption has emerged as an important contributor to GDP growth as the result of an expanding middle-income class and rising wages. Private firms also increased investment by 17 percent during the same period.

Prospects for the short to medium term are good as the World Bank forecasts a GDP growth of around 6.5 percent over the next few years.

However, this exports growth rate is a decline from 21 percent in 2017, meaning the country remains vulnerable to external shocks, the report warned.

Decline in export growth was more pronounced in non-U.S. markets, up by only 3.6 percent in the first 11 months of 2019. 

Many firms operating on the domestic market face obstacles preventing expansion, with the most pertinent being access to credit.

The country’s capital markets have rapidly expanded, but remain 1.5 to 2 times smaller than in Thailand and Malaysia, respectively.

"Addressing financing constraint of firms should receive the greatest attention from policy makers if Vietnam wants to continue on its trajectory of rapid and inclusive growth," said Ousmane Dione, World Bank country director for Vietnam.

Asian Development Bank this month revised its GDP growth forecast for Vietnam from 6.8 to 6.9 percent in 2019.

The country targets 6.6-6.8 percent growth, following a decade-high 7.08 percent rate last year.

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