An employee works at a desk as boxes of products sit stacked in a warehouse at a Traphaco JSC facility in Van Lam district, Hung Yen Province, Vietnam. (Photographer: Maika Elan/Bloomberg)

Vietnam Economy Remains Outperformer as Growth Tops 7% Mark

(Bloomberg) -- Vietnam’s growth accelerated in the fourth quarter, as stronger manufacturing output helped the economy remain one of the world’s best performers.

Gross domestic product grew 7.3 percent in the three months through December from a year earlier, and was up from a revised 6.82 percent in the previous quarter, the General Statistics Office said in Hanoi Thursday. Economic growth for the full year was 7.1 percent, compared with the median estimate of 6.9 percent in a Bloomberg survey of 12 economists.

“Manufacturing is a bright spot of the economy,” Nguyen Bich Lam, head of the government’s General Statistics Office, said at a briefing. Lam expects growth to remain strong next year as free trade deals boost exports.

Vietnam Economy Remains Outperformer as Growth Tops 7% Mark

Key Insights

  • Economic growth is being buoyed by robust domestic demand, and increases in exports, manufacturing and foreign investment.
  • The government is taking advantage of the U.S.-China trade tensions to boost the nation’s profile as a manufacturing and export powerhouse, selling everything from shoes to smartphones. Trade accounts for about twice the nation’s gross domestic product -- more than any country in Asia apart from Singapore.
  • “Vietnam is poised to capture some of China’s global market share in labor-intensive manufacturing,” according to Trinh Nguyen, a senior economist at Natixis Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong. “It’s the clear winner from the trade war.”

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  • Manufacturing rose 13 percent in January to December from a year earlier.
  • Realized foreign direct investment rose 9 percent in 2018 from a year earlier.
  • Exports increased 13.8 percent this year, with sales of electronics goods surging
  • Vietnam posted a trade deficit of $200 million for December.
  • Consumer prices rose 2.98 percent in December from a year ago, compared with a median estimate of 3.4 percent in a Bloomberg survey

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