|A woman shops for goods at an Intimex Supermarket in Ha Noi. Consumer spending rose 5.1 per cent in the first quarter of this year reaching US$33.4 billion, up 10 per cent over the same period last year. — VNS Photo Doan Tung
HA NOI (VNS) — Consumer spending rose 5.1 per cent in the first quarter of this year reaching US$33.4 billion, up 10 per cent on the same period last year, the General Statistics Office (GSO) announced yesterday.
In March alone, consumer spending reached $11 billion, rising 2 per cent on the previous month.
However, not all welcomed the news, with GSO economist Vu Manh Ha describing the 5.1 per cent increase as a modest gain compared with the previous years. Consumer spending was 5.0 per cent and 4.5 per cent recorded in the same period in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
Ha explained that a low consumer price index (CPI) had contributed to the modest rise. In the first quarter of 2014, CPI increased 4.65 per cent, while it rose to 16.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 and to 6.64 per cent in the first quarter of last year.
He also noted that purchasing power in March had stayed low due to consumers reigning in spending after the Lunar New Year shopping season. Spending had also slowed with the pace of economic growth.
Meanwhile, many businesses have maintained halts on production in response to low spending and high inventories.
According to the statistics from GSO, in the first quarter of this year, the number of businesses stopping production had risen 10 per cent on the same period last year, while the inventory index stood at 13 per cent.
Low consumer spending is expected to continue for the next few months. — VNS