Vietnam economic growth at 6.5 percent in first nine months

A rice cart being pulled in Ho Chi Minh City

A rice cart being pulled in Ho Chi Minh City

HANOI (AFP) — Vietnam’s economy grew 6.5 percent in the first nine months of the year, lower than its target rate but still “encouraging” in the “context of a deteriorating world economy”, the government said Monday.

To reach the official aim of 7 percent growth for the whole year, “the GDP growth for the remaining three months must be 8 percent,” said an official report from the state-run General Statistics Office (GSO).

Amid double-digit inflation, Vietnam had to lower its growth target for 2008, after recording 8.5 percent growth in 2007.

But some parts of the media estimate the economy will grow at less than the 7 percent target, while the government says it has changed its focus from high growth to containing inflation to ensure stability and social security.

Vietnam’s inflation rate in September reached 27.9 percent compared to a year ago.

In terms of foreign direct investment (FDI), between January and September, the value of licensed projects reached 57.1 billion dollars, the GSO said.

Malaysia topped the list of leading investors, with 14.9 billion dollars for 37 projects. Then came Taiwan, Japan, Brunei and Canada.

According to the GSO, the FDI figure increased remarkably due to the granting of licences for a number of multi-billion dollar projects to build steel factories, oil refineries and residential areas.

Disbursed FDI for this period reached 8.1 billion dollars, up 37.3 percent against the same period last year.

The GSO also said industrial production in the first nine months of the year reached more than 493,000 billion dong (29.7 billion dollars), up 16 percent year-on-year.

AFP: Vietnam economic growth at 6.5 percent in first nine months

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