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Country Forecast Vietnam June 2018 Updater

Country Forecast Vietnam June 2018 Updater

  • June 2018
  • ID: 360702
  • 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. There will be no credible threat to the CPV's rule in 2018-22, and the party's opponents-both internal and external-will find it more difficult to voice dissenting opinions.
  • Vietnam will maintain an omnidirectional foreign policy. Ties with China will be strained owing to territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The author-ities will be keen to cultivate ties with other regional powers, such as Japan and India, to counterbalance China's growing influence in Asia. Ties with the US will also improve in 2018-22, despite lingering US unease over its trade deficit with Vietnam.
  • The government will continue to restructure the banking sector (owing to the still-high level of bad debts) and state-owned enterprises, but progress will be uneven in 2018-22. Beyond this, efforts at economic liberalisation will centre on international trade, anchored by a handful of significant free-trade deals.
  • Fiscal and monetary policy will start to tighten in sync in 2018-19 as the government reduces its wide budget deficit and as the State Bank of Vietnam (the central bank) raises interest rates to mitigate increasing price pressures. However, rates will fall again in 2020-21 as external demand growth weakens.
  • The economy will grow rapidly in 2018-22, with real GDP growth expected to average 6.5% a year. A technical recession in the US in 2020 will weigh on Vietnamese external trade prospects in that year, acting as a drag on headline growth. Economic prospects will improve from 2021.
  • Vietnam will benefit from the migration of low-cost export manufacturing from China and other foreign investment. Firms will be attracted by Vietnam's stable politics, low wages, reform outlook and participation in key trade deals.
  • A patchy pick-up in global oil prices, a weakening dong, growing demand-side pressures and much stronger producer price inflation will exert stronger upward pressure on consumer price inflation in 2018-22 compared with 2013-17.
  • The current-account surplus will decline in 2018-19, before moving into deficit in 2020. The shortfall will narrow in 2021-22 as the negative effects of a US downturn in 2020 fade. Nevertheless, widening deficits on the services and primary income accounts will mean the current account stays in the red.

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