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2018 saw Vietnam achieve or exceed all socio economic forecasts for the year and this accompanied by the high level of business confidence, maybe with the exception of the construction industry, augers extremely well for 2019.
GDP growth exceeded the target of 6.8% recording an 11 year high of 7.08% putting Vietnam as one of the strongest growth economies in Asia and the world. The strongest driver for GDP growth were the manufacturing industries with a growth figure of 12.98% . At the same time inflation remained at under 4%.
Vietnam saw record levels of foreign trade registering an increase of over 13% to US$ 480 billion and exports of US$ 245 billion of which 70% was contributed by the foreign invested sector. Phones and spare parts exports reached US$ 50 billion for the first time and agricultural exports reached over US$ 40 billion a record for the sector. The record trade figures also produced a record trade surplus of US$ 6.9 billion adding to the record foreign exchange reserves. In July 2018 the country’s foreign exchange reserves stood at over US$ 63 billion.
In December 2018, Vietnam also celebrated 30 years of Foreign Direct Investment “FDI” and the country saw FDI disbursements hit a record level of US$ 19 billion with total FDI commitments hitting more than US$ 340 billion and creating over 8.5 million jobs.
Vietnam continues to see some of the highest levels of Overseas remittances with over US$ 15.9 billion up from US$ 13.8 billion and putting it in the world’s top ten
Vietnam saw foreign visitor arrivals exceed 15.4 million an increase of just under 20% enabling Vietnam to grow from just 6 million foreign visitors in 2011, in just 7 years.
The signing by Vietnam of the CPTPP and the expected ratification of the EU Vietnam Free Trade Agreement by the EU member states bodes well for another significant year of growth for 2019.
Kenneth M Atkinson