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 7 Sep 2008

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Vietnam to cap 2008 inflation at 25%

Vietnam, which has been grappling with soaring inflation, aims to limit the rise in consumer prices for the whole year to 25 percent, Reuters quoted the government as saying Friday.

Consumer prices in the Southeast Asian country of 86.5 million people, jumped 28.3 percent last month from a year ago, mainly due to a spike in food and fuel prices.

"Our objective is to unite our force and mind to strive to achieve a growth of 7 percent and inflation at 25 percent," Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told a cabinet meeting in Hanoi this week.

"The policy of tightening credit must be continued, but with flexibility in order to accommodate businesses," a government report seen Friday quoted Dung as saying.

Dung asked the government to keep the monthly trade deficit -- due mainly to high oil prices as the country relies on refined product imports -- to under $1 billion between now and the end of the year to bring annual trade gap this year to under $20 billion.

The Communist Party government is facing its biggest economic test since market liberalisation began in earnest in the mid-1990s.

It has cut growth targets to 6.5-7 percent from around 8 percent previously and raised interest rates three times this year to fight double-digit inflation.

In July the Asian Development Bank revised Vietnam's annual inflation this year up to 19.4 percent, from 18.3 percent previously estimated.











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