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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     30 June  2016  

GDP growth hits 5.52% in H1

Viet Nam’s GDP growth in the first six months of the year expanded an estimated 5.52 per cent, down from 6.32 per cent over the same period last year.

The slowdown was attributed to global economic volatility and adverse weather, the General Statistics Office (GSO) reported yesterday.

Nguyen Bich Lam, GSO general director, said the service industry was the only bright spot in the first half of the year, hitting a three-year record high of 6.35 per cent. Some services saw high growth in the period, including wholesale and retail (up 8 per cent); finance, banking and social insurance (6 per cent); and real estate (3.77 per cent).

Industry-construction in H1 also reported a rise in growth of 7.12 per cent; however, it was much lower than the growth rate of 9.66 per cent in H1 2015.

Ph?m ??nh Th?y, from GSO’s Industrial Statistics Department, said the slowdown was due to a 2.2 per cent reduction in the mining industry, adding that it was a pessimistic sign for the economy as the nation’s natural resources were being depleted. The falling trend of the industry, therefore, is expected to continue in the coming years.

Furthermore, a sharp reduction in the global crude oil price also contributed to the mining industry’s slowdown.

In H1, agriculture-forestry-fisheries saw a decline of 0.18 per cent for the first time in  many years. The decline was reflected in the reduction of 0.03 percentage points in the country’s GDP growth.

L?m attributed the agriculture-forestry-fisheries’ reduction to adverse weather, including very low temperatures in the northern provinces, a drought in the Central Highlands coffee belt and saline intrusion in the Mekong Delta food basket.

GSO experts said it would be hard for the country to meet its GDP growth target of 6.7 per cent this year as the GDP would have to expand to 7.6 per cent in the second half of the year, despite increasing volatility in the global economy.

To meet the annual GDP target, besides strictly implementing solutions and policies that support vulnerable areas, as approved by the Government, the GSO also recommends that the Government and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development adopt more effective measures in a timely manner to help the agriculture, forestry and fishery industries overcome their difficulties and achieve higher growth in the second half of the year.

The relevant ministries should also consider taking steps to boost the manufacturing and processing industry, besides continually strengthening high-added-value industries such as tourism, telecommunications, technology and information, as well as banking and finance.

It is also necessary to accelerate the disbursement of investment capital sources in accordance with the Government’s plans to boost economic growth, the GSO said, adding that steps to attract further resources for development and investment should also be taken.

The legal, business and investment environment must be continually streamlined to create the most favourable conditions for firms and investors, with the aim of providing the momentum needed to boost economic growth, the GSO said.

VN enjoys $1.5b trade surplus in H1

Ha Noi– Viet Nam gained a trade surplus of US$1.5 billion in the first half of this year due to reductions in import value, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

During the period, domestic firms showed a trade deficit of $9.7 billion, while the foreign-invested firms had a trade surplus of $11.2 billion.

The nation achieved year-on-year growth of 5.9 per cent in total export value, earning $82.2 billion for the first half of this year, the GSO said. However, the growth rate was lower than the state’s annual economic development target rate of 10 per cent.

Meanwhile, the value of national imports in the first six months fell by 0.5 per cent to $80.7 billion against the same period last year.

The office said the low growth rate was due to the reduction in goods prices by 3.85 per cent on the world market, driving down the export value of some of Vi?t Nam’s key products.

The export value dropped by 46.6 per cent for crude oil to $1.1 billion; 2.7 per cent for rice to $1.3 billion; 12.3 per cent for rubber to $530 million; and 29.7 per cent for cassava to $562 million. It also fell 8.4 per cent for porcelain to $217 million and 5.2 per cent for steel to $832 million.

However, some other key export products reflected a growth in export value in the first half of this year. They included seafood, up by 4.4 per cent to $3.8 billion; vegetables and fruit, up by 41.4 per cent to $1.2 billion; cashew, up by 11.6 per cent to $1.2 billion; coffee, up by 17.9 per cent to $1.7 billion; and telephones, up by 17.9 per cent to $17 billion.

The GSO also reported that many imported products had seen a reduction in value over the past six months. The import value dropped by 5.9 per cent for machines and equipment to $13 billion; 17.5 per cent for petrol and oil to $2.4 billion; 7 per cent for telephones to $4.9 billion; and 19.4 per cent for wood and wooden products to $878 million, as well as dropping 20.5 per cent for fertiliser to $532 million and 1.8 per cent for automotives to $2.8 billion.

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AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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