Vietnam economy grows by 6.28% in first half of 2015



Vietnam's economy grew by 6.28 percent in the first half of this year, racing along at its fastest rate since 2008, official figures showed Friday.


Gross domestic product (GDP) rose to 6.28 percent in January-June, according to General Statistics Office estimates, up from 5.18 percent in the same period last year, and 4.9 percent in 2013.


The country last hit similar heights in 2008 when it enjoyed 6.5 percent GDP growth over the same reporting period, according to official statistics.


The country's central bank has devalued the currency, the dong, twice so far this year, most recently in May, in an effort to boost slowing exports.


"Vietnam appears to be staging a solid economic recovery," Research group Capital Economics said in response to the figures.


Economist Le Dinh An said the growth figures showed Vietnam's economy was recovering well, adding that it had little to do with the devaluations.


"GDP growth is high partly thanks to efforts by the central government and cities in revenue and tax collection," he told AFP.


He said the government is on course to reach its official growth target for the whole of 2015 of 6.2 percent GDP growth.


It is also in the process of easing business regulations and a long-running privatisation drive, which the government hopes will boost the country's economic outlook.


Despite the solid GDP growth figures, which exceeded most estimates, the country still faces "big challenges" in the coming years, Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh told state media this week.


The country needs to boost agricultural production and exports and improve the competitiveness of state-owned companies, Vinh said.


In a briefing note Capital Economics said Vietnam was pointing in the right direction led by increasingly strong manufacturing pitching the country as "a low-cost alternative to China".

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