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Country Forecast Vietnam November 2017 Updater

Country Forecast Vietnam November 2017 Updater

  • November 2017
  • ID: 359058

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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. 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 2018-22, despite the US's decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. Security ties will strengthen further.
  • The government will continue to restructure the banking sector (owing to the still-high level of bad debts) and state-owned enterprises, but there will be only gradual progress. 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 to trade tariffs, ambitious infrastructure development plans and increasingly costly social welfare programmes. The deficit will narrow slowly, from an estimated equivalent of 5.5% of GDP in 2017 to 4.2% in 2022.
  • We estimate that real GDP growth rebounded to 6.3% in 2017. Growth prospects are good for 2018, and we forecast real GDP growth of 6.5%. 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 deceleration in China. We expect a recovery in 2021-22, in tandem with a bounce in global trade.
  • 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.
  • 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. Consumer price inflation will remain at a manageable annual average of 4% in 2018-22.
  • The value of merchandise exports will grow rapidly as external demand rises-albeit unevenly-in 2018-22. However, the current account will remain in deficit in 2018-22 after moving back into the red in 2017.


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