Vietnam Announces Growing Revenues, Analysts Predict Further Growth

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Mar. 8 – The General Statistical Office (GSO) announced that total revenues from retail trade and services throughout the first two months of 2013 were estimated at a total of VND422.2 trillion (US$20.59 billion) – 10.9 percent year-on-year gain. In addition, HSBC recently released a report that predicted Vietnam’s GDP to continue to grow in excess of five percent per year, as exports are expected to continue growing at double digit rates over the next two decades.

In the data released by the GSO, trade accounted for the largest increase in revenues as it rose to VND328.2 trillion (US$16 billion) over the last two months – a 10.4 percent year-on-year increase. The clothing and apparel sector had especially strong postings, with exports from the sector increasing 28.4 percent year-on-year in January.

The hotel and restaurant sector posted 13 percent growth as it rose to VND48.8 trillion (US$2.38 billion), and the services sector also grew 14.5 percent year-on-year to VND41.7 trillion (US$2.03 billion).

Furthermore, the total value of retail sales rose by 16 percent over 2012 to VND2,324 trillion ($110.7 billion). Total retail sales rose 3.6 percent year-on-year throughout January and February. This was in despite of the sales of essential goods and construction materials falling significantly compared to the same period last year and despite prices still not yet falling to pre-Tet festival levels.

Also, the tourism sector experienced a 4.4 percent year-on-year drop to VND3.5 trillion ($170.7 million), only posting a modest 0.8 percent growth rate.

The pace of growth was well below the average level of 20 percent growth that Vietnam has experienced over recent years, yet the GSO still saw the growth as promising due to Vietnam’s current economic difficulties stemming from debt and inflation.

HSBC’s Global Connections Report gave a generally positive outlook on Vietnam’s future growth, especially with regard to exports. The report stated that the country is well situated to take advantage of its position in emerging Asia as China overtakes the U.S. as Vietnam’s top export market.

Exports to China were predicted to increase 18 percent annually between 2013 and 2015, and are poised to continue growing between 17 to 18 percent annually from 2016 to 2030. Vietnamese exports to Asia (excluding Japan) are expected on average to grow between 15 and 16 percent annually from 2013 to 2020.

The ASEAN Free Trade Area, which calls for zero tariffs on all goods by 2015, was pointed out as a key dynamic as it will greatly facilitate growth in intra-ASEAN trade over the next decades. India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and South Korea were also named as markets to watch.

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