PM: Economy to Improve after First Quarter

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Apr. 22 – Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said that despite the country’s growth slowing to the lowest levels in a decade this quarter, he expects things to get better in the remaining three quarters of the year on the heels of the US$ 8 billion stimulus package.

“I believe in the second, third, and fourth quarters, the growth of Vietnam could be higher than the GDP growth in the first quarter,” said Prime Minister Dung at a Vietnam Investment Conference in Hong Kong.

Despite the county’s growth in real GDP this quarter slowing to an estimated 3.1 percent (down from 7.4 percent over the same period last year), Mr. Dung has maintained that Vietnam’s economic growth will round out to between 5 and 5.5 percent by the end of the year.

The World Bank’s latest forecast has backed up this claim with an estimated growth rate of 5.5 percent for Vietnam in 2009, while the International Monetary Fund has downgraded their forecast down to 4.75 percent due to external economic conditions.

Prime Minister Dung was also very optimistic about the positive impact the stimulus plan will continue to have on the nation’s economy in the coming months. He also commented on the encouraging signs stemming from the 37 percent increase in Vietnam’s stock markets in March.

During his talk in Hong Kong, Prime Minister Dung stressed the importance of seeking investment from abroad as well as pursuing loans from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
“We’ll continue to create favorable conditions for the foreign investors to do business and invest effectively in Vietnam,” Mr. Dung said.