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Vietnam’s first quarter economic growth higher year-on-year

HANOI (AFP) – Vietnam’s economy expanded more than five per cent in the first three months of the year, the government said yesterday thanks to a pick-up in exports as the country emerges from the worst of the global pandemic, though officials warned of headwinds.

The communist state has long been a success story among Asian economies, posting growth of seven per cent in 2019.

But growth came in at just 2.9 per cent in 2020 as the pandemic shut most of the world down, while last year saw just 2.6 per cent expansion. The figures were the worst the country has experienced since the mid-1980s.

However, the General Statistics Office (GSO) said gross domestic product (GDP) came in at 5.03 per cent on-year.

Turnover from exports of goods in the first quarter was at USD88.58 billion, up by 12.9 per cent on-year, the GSO added.

A saleswoman checks goods on a shelf at a homeware mall in Hanoi. PHOTO: AFP

“While the economy continues to show resilience and is recovering, downside risks have heightened as the Omicron infections are sweeping the country and the Russia-Ukraine conflict has increased uncertainty about global economic recovery,” the World Bank said in a report on Vietnam in March.

“Authorities should encourage exporters to seek new markets and innovate into new products through global value chains and existing free trade agreements to strengthen export resilience,” it added. After almost two years of closure and strict measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Vietnam began re-opening to the world in mid-March, easing medical requirements and quarantine rules.

The country still reports more than 260,000 cases of virus infection a day, but hospitalisation and death rates are relatively low, the Health Ministry said.

More than 90 per cent of adults have been fully vaccinated, with the government urging vaccinations for teenagers and accelerating booster shots rollout.