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Cautious consumer spending continues

Update: July, 01/2014 - 09:52
A customer purchases seafood at Satra Sai Gon supermarket. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu
HA NOI  (VNS) — Even five years after the financial crisis, consumers still tightly controlled spending, with purchasing power levelling off in the first six months of this year.

According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), the total retail sale of goods and services in the first half of this year was estimated at US$68.5 billion, up 10.7 per cent over the same period last year.

However, excluding inflation, the growth was only 5.7 per cent, just equivalent to the rate of the five-month period and lower than the four-month period's 6 per cent, that was showing signs of levelling off.

Retail sales, which contributed three-fourth to the total value rose by 12.2 per cent – the lowest level among four components including accomodation and restaurant, retail sales, consumption and tourism services. The tourism service posted the highest increasing rate of 20.5 per cent.

GSO said that the economic difficulty still had its impact on employment, incomes and spending of consumers.

Rising petrol and power prices and health-care services in HCM City added to the slowdown spending.

Other indicators announced previously also showed that industrial production was also in difficulty with high inventories (nearly 80 per cent) in the first six months, coupled with a rising number of companies being dissolved or being forced to halt operations (up 16.3 per cent over the same period last year).

GSO said there would be hardly any improvement in purchasing power in the coming months as the aggregate demand had not improved, adding that a large part of consumers were tightening their belts.

Spending on books and school supplies were expected to rise, as the new school year would begin in September. — VNS

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