Vietnam’s economic growth eases in first quarter to 5%

by BLOOMBERG

VIETNAM’S economic growth slowed in the first quarter as coronavirus outbreaks and rising oil prices hindered the recovery of industries and businesses.

Gross domestic product rose 5.03% in the three months to March compared to a year earlier, down from 5.22% previously reported for the last quarter of 2021, according to estimates released by the General Statistics Office on Tuesday. That compares with the median estimate for a 5.5% expansion in a Bloomberg survey of seven economists.

Vietnam’s parliament in January approved a stimulus package worth about 347 trillion dong ($15.2 billion) to revive an economy battered by Covid-19 and harsh lockdowns. Its focus was on increasing infrastructure spending and assisting virus-hit businesses and workers, which the government expects will help lift GDP growth to 6% to 6.5% this year.

That’s a middle-of-the-road assessment, given the World Bank sees a relatively modest 5.5% expansion this year after a 2.6% pace in 2021, while Fitch Ratings expects growth to accelerate to 7.9% powered by a rebound in domestic demand and improving rate of vaccination.

Here are other key numbers from the statistics office Tuesday:

  • Exports rose 14.8% in March compared to a year earlier, while Jan-March shipments grew 12.9%
  • Imports climbed 14.6% this month, helping notch up a 15.9% growth in the current quarter
  • Consumer prices rose 2.41% in March from a year earlier. The government aims to cap average inflation at 4% this year