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3 July 2009

Vietnam posts 3.9% growth in H1, slowest in 10 years

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Vietnam's economy grew at 3.9 percent in the first half of the year, the lowest level in a decade, but is on course to meet the government's full-year target, AFP quoted officials as saying Wednesday.

The General Statistics Office (GSO) warned, though, that high inflation could return to the communist nation. It said second-quarter growth was 4.5 percent and estimated the economy would expand in the next six months at 5.9 percent.

"This 3.9 percent is the lowest level on record since 1999", when first-half growth was 4.1 percent, said Bui Ba Cuong, head of the national accounts department at the GSO.

But the GSO, in its report, said that although the economy faced many challenges in the first six months of 2009, it "has grown faster and has shown signs of recovery."

First-half growth last year was 6.5 percent. Vietnamese legislators agreed last month to lower the country's economic growth target this year to around five percent from 6.5 percent in the face of an economic slowdown that they said had hit production, trade, investment, job creation and revenues.

The GSO said that "if we try to maintain the current pace, the year-end growth may reach around five percent".

Vietnam's economy expanded by 6.18 percent last year, its lowest level in almost a decade, and first-quarter growth was 3.1 percent, the lowest on record. But Vietnam was one of the few countries with positive growth in the first quarter of 2009 while the world's major economies battled recession. 



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