IMF sees Vietnam strength, says Bloomberg

The International Monetary Fund said Vietnam’s economy is showing strength in areas including construction and domestic sales, and even with weakened growth prospects is expected to be among Asia’s top performers this year, Bloomberg reported May 5.

Export goods are loaded for shipping at a port in Ho Chi Minh City

Bloomberg wrote that the IMF last month cut its forecast for Vietnamese economic growth in 2009 to 3.3 percent from a previous prediction of 4.8 percent.

Vietnamese construction output expanded 6.9 percent in the first quarter, a “surprise on the upside,” according to a note last month from Vietnam Property Fund Ltd.
Retail sales of goods and services in the country grew 21.5 percent in the first four months, according to the country’s General Statistics Office.

“We expect some recovery in agriculture in the remainder of 2009, and this combined with robust construction and resilient private consumption should provide support to economic activity despite continued weakness in manufacturing exports and foreign direct investment,” Benedict Bingham, the IMF’s senior resident representative in Hanoi, was quoted by Bloomberg.

The paper said Bingham was commenting in a telephone interview May 4, in response to questions about the lender’s reduction of its 2009 growth prediction for Vietnam.

“With the global environment this tough, some downward revision in growth was inevitable in 2009,” Bingham was quoted as saying. “Nevertheless, Vietnam is still going to be one of the strongest performers in the region this year, and we remain positive about the longer-term outlook for Vietnam.”

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