Vietnam’s GDP Growth Slows in First Quarter as Virus Hits
Vietnam’s economic growth slowed in the first quarter as the coronavirus outbreak hurt key industries from tourism to manufacturing.
Gross domestic product rose 3.82% from a year earlier, the General Statistics Office in Hanoi said Friday, down from 6.97% previously reported for the last quarter of 2019. That would be the slowest growth since at least 2013, based on Bloomberg data, and compared to a median expectation of 5.1% expansion in a Bloomberg survey of four economists.
The government is targeting economic expansion of 6.8% this year but has warned growth could slow below 6% for the full year if the virus disruption continues into the second quarter. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc introduced an economic package earlier this month that includes tax cuts, interest-rate cuts for loans and reductions in insurance fees and land-lease costs.
Vietnam’s central bank last week cut its policy interest rates, lowering the refinance rate to 5% from 6%.
Other data points from Friday’s release:
- Consumer prices rose 4.87% in March compared to a year earlier, slower than expected
- Exports fell 12.1% year-on-year in March, while imports fell 10.1%
- March trade surplus was $1 billion
- Exports rose 0.5% year-on-year in the first quarter, while imports fell 1.9%
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