Survey: Vietnam Ranks First for Business Confidence in Asia

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Mar. 3 – Companies in Vietnam have the highest expectations to see profit growth in 2010, according to consulting firm Grant Thornton’s most recent International Business Report.

Of the 150 companies surveyed in the report, 91 percent expected to see profits grow in the next year. The report, an annual survey of 7,400 medium-to-large company executives in 36 markets around the world, also ranked Vietnam first in employment after its 54 percent increase in hiring during 2009.

After its GDP bottomed out at 3.1 percent growth in the first quarter of 2009, Vietnam was able to bounce back from the global recession largely thanks to a US$8 billion government stimulus package which included public investment expansion and lowered base interest rates.

Vietnam’s economy subsequently grew to 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, the highest that year.

In an effort to boost liquidity, Vietnam’s central bank has depreciated the dong twice since November. The most recent 3.3 percent depreciation on Feb. 11 drew praise from exporters and concern from economists worried about inflation, currently at a 10-month high.

Despite the hand wringing of economists, Vietnam’s management is evidently confident about 2010.

A recent HSBC survey of small-to-midsized enterprises complemented Grant Thornton’s findings, ranking Vietnam first for business confidence in Asia.

“Since the last survey in 2Q09, we had seen an increase in business confidence among the Vietnamese SMEs,” remarked Huynh Buu Quang, Head of Commercial Banking of HSBC Vietnam.

“Now the survey result of 4Q09 makes it clear that a majority of Vietnamese SMEs are expecting the economy to further recover in the next six months.”