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Vietnamese economy expands 4.48 per cent in Q1

The Vietnamese economy expanded at 4.48 per cent in the first quarter of 2021, a positive result in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the General Statistics Office.

The economy grew only 3.8 per cent in the first quarter of last year and though the pandemic continued to impact the economy this year, the increased growth was a positive sign.

The agro-forestry-fishery sector grew at 3.16 per cent, the industrial and construction sector 6.3 per cent and the services sector at 3.34 per cent, contributing 8.34 per cent, 55.96 per cent and 35.7 per cent to overall economic growth, respectively.

The GSO said that the services sector posted positive growth as enterprises took advantage of free trade agreements.

The first quarter saw the strong recovery of imports and exports with total trade revenue estimated at US$152.65 billion, a rise of 24.1 per cent against the same period last year. The country enjoyed a trade surplus of $2.03 billion in the first quarter.

GSO statistics showed that the consumer price index (CPI) in March fell by 0.27 per cent against the previous month. On average, the CPI rose by 0.29 per cent in the first quarter.

“In the context of the COVID-19 with complex developments in the world, the socio-economic picture of Việt Nam in the first quarter of 2021 remains stable with positive results. The growth rate of 4.48 per cent was a relatively good result compared to other countries in the region and around the world,” the GSO said.

“The macroeconomy is stable while inflation is controlled at a low level,” it added.

In addition, the disbursement of public investment improved significantly in the first quarter. The disbursed public investment was estimated to total VNĐ122.4 trillion in the quarter, accounting for 24.1 per cent of total investment in the economy and up by 7.5 per cent compared to the same period last year – the highest rate since 2011.

The GSO, however, pointed out that the Vietnamese economy was facing challenges from unpredictable global developments.

The COVID-19 pandemic is still disrupting global supply chains and affecting many industries, including trade, tourism and transportation.

“The goal of achieving the growth rate of 6.5 per cent remains a big challenge,” the GSO said.

It was important to continue to contain the virus and carry out the vaccination programme, the GSO said. In addition, solutions should be offered to help enterprises benefit from the Government’s support packages while public investment disbursement should be accelerated to drive growth.

The focus should be placed on providing support to Vietnamese enterprises to take advantage of trade deals to expand markets.

Besides, foreign investment attraction policies should aim at quality and environmentally-friendly capital to promote economic growth and sustainable development.

The Government should maintain flexible and cautious monetary, interest rate and exchange rate policies in line with the domestic and international market developments and harmonised with other fiscal and macro policies to control inflation, support production and prevent negative impacts of the world market development on the domestic market.

Credit growth must meet the demand for production and business, the GSO said. — VNS