Viet­nam growth hits 3-year low

New Straits Times - - Business -

HANOI: Viet­nam’s econ­omy grew at its slow­est rate in three years dur­ing the first quar­ter, data showed yes­ter­day, with Sam­sung’s de­ci­sion to slash out­put in re­sponse to its Note 7 fi­asco drag­ging on the key elec­tron­ics sec­tor.

The ex­pan­sion of 5.1 per cent on-year in the Jan­uary-March pe­riod this year was the worst since 2014, ac­cord­ing to Gen­eral Sta­tis­tics Of­fice (GSO) fig­ures, and was well off the 6.7 per cent in the pre­vi­ous three months.

It also eas­ily missed fore­casts of 6.3 per cent in a Bloomberg News sur­vey.

State-run me­dia said the lack­lus­tre growth was a sign of an “eco­nomic slow­down”.

“If there is no ma­jor break­through, it will be very dif­fi­cult to reach the year-end tar­get of 6.7 per cent,” GSO di­rec­tor Nguyen Bich Lam was quoted as say­ing by the Saigon Times web­site.

Lam blamed an 11.4 per cent pro­duc­tion drop in the min­ing in­dus­try and tepid growth in other in­dus­trial sec­tors.

Elec­tron­ics man­u­fac­tur­ers also pro­duced fewer of the goods they pump out to global con­sumers from fac­to­ries staffed by cheap Viet­namese labour.

South Korea’s Sam­sung was forced to scale back on pro­duc­tion of smart­phones in the coun­try, Bloomberg News said, as its pulled the Galaxy Note 7 from shelves. Its out­put in Viet­nam fell 38 per cent in the first quar­ter, ham­mer­ing the broader elec­tron­ics pro­duc­tion sec­tor — which ac­counts for al­most a third of the na­tion’s US$40 bil­lion an­nual ex­ports. AFP

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