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NEWS UPDATES 29  September   2010

Vietnam looks to brighter future

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Vietnam should maintain macroeconomic stability in response to its new status as a middle income country, the Asian Development Bank said yesterday as it boosted the nation's 2010 growth forecast.

Vietnam's economy was expected to grow 6.7 percent in 2010, up from the bank's 6.5 percent forecast earlier this year, following the government's steps to stabilise the economy, the Manila-based bank said in its twice-yearly economic forecast.

The country's expected growth boost was in accordance with the expansion of Asian economies by 8.2 percent, up from the previously estimated 7.5 percent, as the region "recovered from the global (financial) crisis with remarkable speed and vigour", according to the report.

The bank also increased Viet Nam's growth forecast for next year from 6.8 per cent to 7 per cent. Inflation was projected to average 8.5 per cent this year, easing to 7.5 per cent next year on the assumptions that domestic macroeconomic stability is maintained and that global oil and commodity prices remain relatively steady next year.

Viet Nam, along with Thailand and Malaysia, would see an upswing in their exports, said the bank, which predicted Southeast Asian economies to grow 8.2 percent in 2010, up from an earlier 5.1 percent estimate.

The steps taken by the government to stabilise the economy had contributed to improvement in the external and foreign reserves positions, the Asian Development Outlook Update noted. With improvement in the capital account, the overall balance of payments would likely turn to a small surplus in the second quarter of 2010 after recording deficits since the start of last year. The bank predicted quick economic growth in the second quarter.

Viet Nam was recently upgraded to a Middle Income Country as the GDP per capita reached US$1,024. In order to prepare for the next ten year period as a new Middle Income Country, Viet Nam needed to be cautious about maintaining macroeconomic stability and effectively communicating relevant policies to the public while accelerating reforms, the bank said in its report.

The country is preparing a new 10-year Strategy and a new five-year Socio-Economic Development Plan as a new "middle income country".

"It will be critical for Viet Nam to keep an eye on the global economic scene," said Koshini who warned that the transformation of China from the 'factory of the world' to the 'largest consumer market in the world' would certainly change the regional economic map, together with the establishment of the Asean Economic Community by 2015.

The bank advised the government to continue its efforts to ensure a better public understanding of its policy stance, supported by greater and timely availability of information and statistics which should be applied not only to the Government but also to the corporate sector.


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