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Vietnam’s growth slides to new 30-year low

HANOI (AFP) – Vietnam reported economic growth for 2021 of just 2.58 per cent yesterday, beating a 30-year low set last year as the pandemic continues to take a toll.

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

But shutdowns caused by coronavirus have battered the export-reliant economy, sending gross domestic product (GDP) growth plunging to 2.91 per cent in 2020 – the lowest reported in three decades.

The General Statistics Office (GSO) in Hanoi said fourth quarter growth was at 5.22-per-cent, but the annual figure was dragged down by a contraction of 6.02 per cent in the third quarter.

“The complicated situation of the Covid-19 pandemic since the end of April seriously impacted commercial and service activities… pulling down the growth of the service sector and the whole economy,” GSO said in a statement.

For at least three months, almost the entire country was in complete lockdown, with a huge impact on production, supply chains and businesses.

GSO Head Nguyen Thi Huong gave an upbeat gloss, saying that achieving even the modest growth under such difficult circumstances was a “huge success” in remarks reported by state media.

Vietnam is now trying to re-open by shifting away from its strict “zero-covid” policy. Around 88 per cent of adults in Vietnam have been fully vaccinated, the country’s Health Ministry said.

Employees working at a factory belonging to Maxport Vietnam in Hanoi. PHOTO: AFP