Vietnam’s economy grows at highest rate in five years

AFP-JIJI

Vietnam’s economy in 2015 grew at its fastest pace in five years, official figures showed Saturday, shaking off regional economic worries with strong exports, record foreign investment and buoyant domestic consumption.

The communist nation recorded a GDP growth rate of 6.68 percent, easily surpassing the government’s 6.2 percent target with a figure that looks set to be one of Southeast Asia’s strongest showings for the year.

“This growth rate is very important for the Vietnamese economy in the coming years in the context of falling world oil prices and instabilities in the international financial markets,” Nguyen Bich Lam, director of the General Statistics Office, told reporters in Hanoi.

Many Asian economies have been rattled by troubles in China, where the world’s second-largest economy has suffered with its worst annual growth rates in a quarter of a century.

But Vietnam has proved resistant to the slowdown inside its giant northern neighbor.

Exports rose 8.1 percent in the 12 months through December while imports climbed 12 percent.

Much of the growth has been fueled by low oil prices and a flurry of international interest with disbursed foreign investment surging 17.4 percent compared to last year with a record-high of $14.5 billion.

The strong showing is a significant jump on the last two years.

In 2014 Vietnam’s GDP growth was just under 6 percent, while that of 2013 was only 5.42 percent.

On Wednesday, Vietnam released an annual inflation rate of just 0.63 percent in 2015, the lowest in 14 years.