Monday, October 23 2017

VietNamNews

Q2 GDP growth robust, 2017 target still elusive

Update: June, 30/2017 - 09:00
Economic growth of the first six months through years. — VNS Infographic Thái Hà
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Strong second quarter growth has led Việt Nam’s economy back from a disappointing first quarter performance, with gross domestic product growth reaching 5.73 per cent in the first half of 2017.

2017’s first quarter GDP scored only 5.15 per cent, far lower than that of the two previous years. The second quarter, announced the General Statistics Office of Việt Nam (GSO) in a regular press conference on Thursday, scored remarkably better at 6.17 per cent, lifting the average GDP of the first six months out of the declining tendency.

The rate was the second highest in five years and higher than last year’s 5.52 per cent.

The GSO Director General Nguyễn Bích Lâm, however, warned that Việt Nam will have to strive during the last half of the year to meet the annual growth target.

“The National Assembly has set the 2017 GDP target at 6.7 per cent. In order to reach it, GDP growth must reach at least 7.4 per cent in the next six months,” he said.

The goal is obviously a major challenge for the Government, given that Việt Nam has not seen a six-month 7.4 per cent increase since 2011.

The agriculture-forestry and fisheries sector finally saw a turnaround from minus 0.18 per cent of growth in the first half of 2016 to achieve 2.65 per cent the same period this year.

The industry sector, however, suffered a blow due to plummeting decline in the extractive industry. It scored minus 8.2 per cent over the first half of this year, pulling down sector growth to reach only 5.33 per cent. The rate was far below that of 2015 and 2016 at 9.6 and 7 per cent respectively.

Deficit returns

After enjoying a surplus of US$2.68 billion last year, Việt Nam’s trade fell into a deficit over the first six months of 2017.

According to the GSO report, Việt Nam had a trade deficit of $2.7 billion.

This year’s six-month exports were estimated at about $97.8 billion, increasing by 18.9 per cent compared to the same period last year. Imports, meanwhile, reached some $100.5 billion, a hike of 24 per cent over last year’s.

The United States is the largest market for Vietnamese goods in 2017 while China remains the top exporter to Việt Nam.   

Inflation under control  

According to the GSO, the average consumer price index of the first half of 2017 rose by 4.15 per cent over last year’s.

The reasons for the increase, the GSO said, was a hike in medical and tuition fees and an indirect consequence from a minimum wage hike that led to higher costs for family-related services.

Average six-month inflation, meanwhile, was 1.52 per cent higher compared to 2016’s.

Lâm said that the low inflation proved the efficiency of the Government’s monetary policy despite global shake-ups since early this year. The Fed raised the interest rates twice in March and June, while political crises in Syria, the Korean peninsula, the United States, Great Britain and France.

The unemployment rate during the first six months of 2017 stood at 2.28 per cent, equivalent to more than one million people short of jobs. The rate had little changes over years, hovering around 2.2 per cent since 2015. — VNS

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