HA NOI – Viet Nam has the smallest current account surplus in Asia at US$200 million, equal to just 0.1 per cent of GDP, according to a quarterly research on emerging Asian economies released by ANZ Bank earlier this week.
The report also showed that current account balances have significantly narrowed throughout Asia, reflecting a shift in the global balance of payments. Combined current account surpluses in the region have fallen from $533 billion in 2007, when they were equivalent to 7 per cent of GDP, to just $333 billion last year, or 2.5 per cent of GDP.
The report blamed the declining surpluses on increased consumption in countries in the region, as well as rising investments into other countries.
Five countries or territories listed in the report had stable account balances, including Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea and Viet Nam. Meanwhile, statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that Viet Nam's imports last month rose by 5 per cent while exports surged 23 per cent, reducing the trade deficit to around $150 million.
However, both imports and exports in the first quarter were down against the previous quarter, and the trade deficit, at $275 million, was far below the average of $2 billion in previous quarters.
ANZ predicted the reduced trade deficit would help Viet Nam maintain a more stable foreign exchange rate in the near future. It also forecast that Viet Nam would see an economic growth rate of 5.5 to 6 per cent this year despite a pace of only 4 per cent in the first quarter.
The ANZ report also forecast that the State Bank of Viet Nam would maintain the prime rate at 14 per cent this month following last month's single-percentage-point reduction. However, ANZ predicted the rate would fall to 10 per cent by the first half of 2013. — VNS