Friday, October 12, 2007

Vietnam Targets 9.3% GDP Rise In Fourth Quarter

Vietnam's government aims for the economy to expand 9.3% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier to achieve a target of 8.5% for the full year, a government official said. The Ministry of Planning and Investment official said that as Vietnam attracts more foreign funds there is greater pressure for the Vietnam currency to appreciate, but that the government believes "it's a small cost compared to greater benefits that Vietnam has reaped so far." Official policy is for the dong to gradually weaken against the U.S. dollar to protect Vietnam's export competitiveness.
Despite casualties and infrastructure damage from recent natural disasters, economic conditions remain strong, with dollar reserves estimated at $20 billion, up from $12 billion at the end of last year, he said.
"After seeing the economy grow 8.16% in the first nine months, the government officials who met last week had set a 9.3% GDP rise in this quarter, and we consider this is attainable," he said. The growth rate through September was the fastest in 10 years.
Economic growth will accelerate in the fourth quarter because of higher quarterly export values and faster disbursements for domestic and foreign investment projects, the official said.
Vietnam is expected to have total investment disbursements of 130 trillion dong ($8.1 billion) in the fourth quarter, up 17.2% from a year earlier. That would push full-year disbursement up 16.6% to a record 465 trillion dong, he said. He attributed the figures largely to new foreign projects, which so far have received licenses valued at $9.6 billion, up 38.8% from a year earlier. The planning ministry expects to issue new investment licenses valued at $14 billion this year.
The country targets exports of $12.9 billion in the fourth quarter, up 27.3% from a year earlier, the official said.