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Vietnam sees GDP growing 6% in Jan-Sept

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September 30, 2008

Vietnam sees GDP growing 6% in Jan-Sept
Vietnam's statistics office estimated gross domestic product would grow 6.52 percent in the first nine months of the year from a year earlier, keeping pace with growth seen in the first half of the year, Reuters reported.

Still, growth has slowed from last year, when gross domestic product rose 8.5 percent, as the economy felt the hit from rising world prices for raw materials and food.

"The country's socio-economic dynamics were adversely affected, including high world prices of materials, natural disasters and disease outbreaks nationwide," the government's statistics office said in a report on Monday.

The economy grew 6.5 percent in the first half of the year from a year earlier.

The latest data reflected growth figures in a government statement on Friday.

The service sector is expected to post the strongest expansion, at 7.23 percent, while the construction and industrial sector is expected to grow 7.09 percent.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first nine months jumped to a record high $56.3 billion, about five times more than the whole of 2007, the statistics report said.

It said nearly 60 percent, or $32.3 billion, was in the industrial, construction and property development sector.

However, actual FDI spending during the first nine months was $8.1 billion, or 14.2 percent of the total FDI pledges, but still up 37.3 percent compared to a year ago, the report said.

Vietnam has been hit with 11 consecutive months of double digit annual inflation, prompting the communist-run government to cut its 2008 growth target to 7 percent from an original goal of 8.5-9 percent.

Consumer prices in September rose nearly 28 percent from a year earlier due to high fuel and food prices.

Vietnam has adopted various measures to try to control a widening trade deficit and inflation, including raising interest rates and restricting imports of luxury goods.

Vietnam estimated its trade deficit would nearly double to $15.8 billion in the first nine months of 2008 from a year ago.

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