National economic growth in 2018 hits 8-year high

Saturday, Sep 29, 2018 08:20

Viet Nam posted economic growth of 6.98 per cent between January and September, over the same period last year, the highest rate since 2011, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

Nguyen Bich Lam, GSO’s General Director, spoke at a press conference on Friday about socio-economic development in the first nine months of 2018, saying that the Vietnamese economy was on track to fulfill the Government’s growth target of 6.7 per cent for the full year.

Lam said that the economy gained growth momentum from the agriculture sector, together with the manufacturing and processing industry.

The agro-forestry-fishery sector grew by 3.65 per cent, the highest rate in the 2012-18 period, demonstrating the success of the sector’s restructuring coupled with the expansion of export markets.

The processing and manufacturing industry grew at 12.65 per cent, contributing 2.56 percentage points to the overall growth rate.

In the third quarter alone, GDP growth was estimated at 6.88 per cent, higher than the rate of 6.73 per cent in the second quarter, reflecting that the economy was maintaining its growth momentum.

GSO estimated that the Vietnamese economy would need to grow at just 6.11 per cent in the final quarter of the year to achieve the full year’s target. "This is within reach," Lam said.

The consumer price index (CPI) increased 0.59 per cent over the previous month. Nine-month CPI rose at an average of 3.75 per cent over the same period last year, statistics showed.

Lam said that the Government’s target of keeping the CPI under 4 per cent this year could be achieved. However, unpredictable developments in the global market such as the US-China trade war, and oil prices might affect domestic prices in the remaining months.

“Production expansion, a stable macroeconomy coupled with inflation under control are creating impetus for the Vietnamese economy in the coming years,” Lam said.

Lam said that in the remaining months of this year, close watch would be placed on the development of the US-China trade war which would create both opportunities and risks for Viet Nam.

The trade war would not have significant impact on Viet Nam’s trade with the US and China in the short term. But in the long term, its impacts would be worth considering.

The biggest risk was that the US might erect trade barriers, Lam said.

Lam said that there would be a shift in production out of China to other countries, including Viet Nam, adding that Viet Nam should pay attention to this to prevent the inflow of outdated technology. “It is important to be selective in FDI attraction.”

Another risk was trade fraud in which China might export its products under Vietnamese origins to avoid tariffs levied by the US.

However, the trade war would be an opportunity for Viet Nam to promote multilateral economic cooperation, Lam said, adding that it was necessary to seek new markets. — VNS

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