Vietnam playing catch-up to hit 2016 economic growth target: GSO official

By    July 4, 2016 | 06:19 pm PT
Vietnam could fall well short of its ambitious growth target.

Vietnam’s economy has to pick up speed in the second half of 2016 to offset slowing growth in the first half, otherwise the country will find it hard to reach its growth target of 6.7 percent for the whole year, Nguyen Bich Lam, head of the General Statistics Office, said in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency.

The Vietnamese government has set a growth rate target for 2016 of 6.7 percent, but achieving this target will not be easy due to several obstacles, said Lam.

Vietnam's economy slowed in the first six months of 2016 after an historic drought took a heavy toll on the country’s agricultural sector.

The country’s gross domestic product growth dropped to an estimated 5.52 percent during January to June, while the figure for the same period last year was 6.32 percent, according to a report by the statistics office.

"World commodity prices remain low, trade and global investment lack driving forces, capital flows are declining and the unpredictable upheavals in the world financial and monetary markets have badly affected our economy," said the General Statistics Office (GSO) in the report.

Vietnam's crude oil exports from January-June fell 23 percent from the same period last year to an estimated 3.57 million tons, official statistics show.

Crude oil export revenue in the six-month period dropped 46.6 percent from a year ago to $1.13 billion, the GSO said.

The Southeast Asian country’s economic growth took a hit in the first half of the year as the agriculture sector experienced negative growth of 0.18 percent for the first time in several years due to the worst drought and saltwater intrusion in nearly a century, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

According to a senior statistics official, the government can make up for the fact that the country’s economic growth might be losing momentum by simplifying business licensing and giving incentives to small and medium-sized companies.

Vietnam is also trying to accelerate share sales in state-owned enterprises (SOEs), a move that began in the 1990s, as the government seeks to spur economic growth to 6.7 percent this year.

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Vietnam targets GDP growth of 7 percent over next 5 years

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