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December 25, 2008

Vietnam inflation climbs to almost 20% in2008

Vietnam's consumer prices rose 19.9 percent this year but came in well below government forecasts, Reuters quoted a state-run newspaper as reporting Thursday.

The government released the inflation figure during a cabinet meeting that ended on Wednesday, in which it also said the economy grew 6.23 percent this year, below the target of 6.7 percent, the ruling Communist Party-run Nhan Dan newspaper said.

Annual inflation in November stood at 24.2 percent compared with 26.7 percent in October.

The country's central bank raised its benchmark interest rates three times in the first half of 2008 to help contain double-digit inflation, but when monthly inflation started easing in line with the global crisis impact, it started slashing rates.

The State Bank of Vietnam has cut interest rates five times since October, unwinding almost all of the earlier tightening.

The government has targeted growth at around 6.5 percent next year percent, while striving to keep inflation below 15 percent and boost exports by 13 percent, the newspaper said.

Exports grew nearly 30 percent this year.

To boost exports the central bank allowed the non-convertible dong currency to fall 3 percent against the dollar on Thursday.

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