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Country Forecast Vietnam August 2017 Updater

Country Forecast Vietnam August 2017 Updater

  • August 2017
  • ID: 1698232
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit


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  • The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) will maintain a firm grip on power despite factional splits over economic and foreign policy. However, there will be no credible threat to the CPV's rule in the forecast period, and the party's opponents will find it more difficult to voice their opinions.
  • Vietnam will maintain an omnidirectional foreign policy. Ties with China will be strained owing to territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The authorities will be keen to cultivate ties with other regional powers, such as Japan and India, to counterbalance China.
  • Vietnam-US ties will improve in 2017-21, despite the US's decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. Security ties will strengthen further, helped by the US's decision in 2016 to lift the embargo on sales of lethal weapons.
  • The government will continue to restructure the banking sector (owing to the still-high level of bad debts) and state-owned enterprises, but only gradual headway will be made. Beyond this, efforts at economic liberalisation will centre on international trade, anchored by a handful of significant trade deals.
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit expects that the fiscal account will remain in deficit owing to cuts in trade tariffs, ambitious infrastructure development plans and increasingly costly social-welfare programmes. The deficit will narrow slowly, from a forecast equivalent of 5.5% of GDP in 2017 to 4.1% in 2021.
  • We forecast that real GDP growth will rebound in 2017-18, averaging 6.4% a year, after slowing to 6.2% in 2016. Vietnam will experience a cyclical slowdown in 2019-20, in part owing to an expected business-cycle recession in the US and the ongoing effects of a sharp slowdown in China. We expect a recovery in 2021.
  • Vietnam will benefit from the migration of low-cost export operations from China and overall foreign investment into manufacturing, attracted by its stable politics, low wages, reform outlook and participation in key trade deals.
  • Consumer price inflation will accelerate to an average annual rate of 3.8% in 2017-21. A patchy pick-up in global oil prices, a weakening dong and growing demand-side pressures will exert upward pressures on inflation. The State Bank of Vietnam (the central bank) will start tightening policy in mid-2018.
  • The value of merchandise exports will grow rapidly as external demand rises-albeit unevenly-in 2017-21. However, the current account will move back into deficit from 2017 as a result of more buoyant import growth.

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