Strong growth needed in 2019

Ex­perts say 2019 is turn­ing point to achieve five-year plan


HCM CITY — For Vieät Nam to reach its goals set out in its 2016-20 plan, ro­bust eco­nomic growth will be needed for the next two years, ex­perts have said.

Prime Min­is­ter Nguyeãn Xuaân Phuùc has pre­dicted that the plan’s goals would be met, but ex­perts have urged the coun­try to tap its po­ten­tial and main­tain its growth rate, which is ex­pected to reach 6.7 per cent this year.

De­spite global and lo­cal chal­lenges, Vieät Nam recorded 7.08 per cent growth last year, the high­est fig­ure of the last decade, mak­ing the coun­try one of the fastest-grow­ing economies in the world.

This was at­trib­uted to the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, which grew by 12.98 per cent, and the agri­cul­tural sec­tor, which ex­panded by 3.76 per cent, com­pared to 2012.

In ad­di­tion, im­port and ex­port turnover last year set a record of US$482 bil­lion, with a trade sur­plus of $ 7.2 bil­lion ( up 147 per cent com­pared to 2017).

State bud­get col­lec­tions, for the first time, ex­ceeded the tar­get of $3.5 bil­lion for the year.

The tourism sec­tor also showed im­pres­sive growth, with 15.5 mil­lion for­eign tourists last year, a rise of nearly 20 per cent com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year.

Nguyeãn Ñöùc Trung, head of the Bank­ing Uni­ver­sity’s re­search team that pro­duced the 2019 Vieät Nam Macroe­co­nomic Re­port, said the growth fig­ures were mainly due to a stable macro- econ­omy and a stable in­fla­tion rate of be­low 4 per cent for three years in a row.

“We can see that the busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment has many pos­i­tive signs,” he said.

The Pur­chas­ing Man­age­ment In­dex of 56.6 points in Novem­ber, for ex­am­ple, was the high­est among ASEAN- mem­ber coun­tries.

In a sur­vey con­ducted by the Gen­eral Statis­tics Of­fice, more than 85 per cent of en­ter­prises said they were up­beat about the eco­nomic out­look for the first quar­ter of this year.

De­spite the coun­try’s strong growth, some sec­tors, such as elec­tron­ics, con­struc­tion and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, had a slower growth rate than in the 2016-2017 pe­riod.

The min­ing in­dus­try con­tin­ued to face losses, while the ser­vices sec­tor achieved lower growth than it did in 2017.

Leâ Xuaân Nghóa, di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of Busi­ness Re­search and De­vel­op­ment, and a mem­ber of the Na­tional Mon­e­tary and Fi­nan­cial Ad­vi­sory Group, noted that the av­er­age growth rate of 7 per cent per year would be­come more dif­fi­cult as the global econ­omy would be un­pre­dictable in 2019 and 2020.

The US-China trade war has also shown an in­creas­ing pro­tec­tion­ist trend, which will pose chal­lenges for Vieät Nam, he said.

In ad­di­tion, FDI in­flows are on a down­ward trend glob­ally and are shift­ing to coun­tries with ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy re­sources.

To­tal reg­is­tered FDI in Vieät Nam last year fell by 15.5 per cent com­pared to 2017, an alarm­ing sign, Nghóa said.

Other prob­lems in Vieät Nam in­clude low pro­duc­tiv­ity, slow re­struc­tur­ing of sev­eral eco­nomic sec­tors, and un­der­de­vel­oped sup­port­ing in­dus­tries, he added.

Based on last year’s eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion, macroe­co­nomic growth is fore­cast to grow be­tween 6.8 and 6.9 per cent in 2019, ac­cord­ing to the 2019 Vieät Nam


Ex­perts said pos­i­tive fac­tors for growth could come from the pri­vate sec­tor and the re­cov­ery of the agri­cul­ture- forestry- fish­ery sec­tor, as well as healthy global eco­nomic growth.

In par­tic­u­lar, thanks to bi­lat­eral and mul­ti­lat­eral Free Trade Agree­ments (FTAs), Vieät Nam now has more op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pand its mar­kets, and will con­tinue to be an at­trac­tive in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tion.

Nguyeãn Xuaân Thaønh, di­rec­tor of de­vel­op­ment at Ful­bright Uni­ver­sity Vieät Nam, said the ser­vice sec­tor as well as re­tail, fi­nance, bank­ing and in­sur­ance ac­tiv­i­ties would con­tinue to ex­pand.

The Prime Min­is­ter noted re­cently that in­fla­tion and the Con­sumer Price In­dex had been kept un­der con­trol, and said that strin­gent fis­cal poli­cies and an over­spend­ing rate kept be­low 3.6 per cent of na­tional GDP would be im­por­tant pri­or­i­ties.

Ex­perts dis­cussed the coun­try’s eco­nomic prospects for the 2019-20 pe­riod at a meet­ing held this week in HCM City. — VNS


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