HANOI: Vietnam's economic growth slowed this year to its weakest in at least three decades, buffeted by the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters and a sluggish global economy, government data showed on Sunday (Dec 27).
The economy expanded 2.91 per cent this year after having posted gross domestic product growth above 7 per cent for two consecutive years, the General Statistics Office (GSO) said in a statement.
The country likely posted a trade surplus of US$19.06 billion in the year, the GSO said. Average consumer prices rose 3.23 per cent.
"This is the lowest GDP growth level in decades. However, amid the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is considered a success for Vietnam, with the growth rate among the world's highest," the GSO said.
"We've successfully battled against the virus but at the same time kept our economy open. The pandemic is more or less under control in Vietnam."
With strict quarantine and tracking measures, Vietnam quickly contained coronavirus outbreaks, allowing economic activity to rebound faster than in much of Asia. The country has recorded 1,440 coronavirus infections, with 35 deaths.
The processing and manufacturing industry grew 3.98 per cent, remaining the main growth driver for the economy, while the services sector rose 2.34 per cent and the agricultural sector was up 2.68 per cent, the statement added. Exports and foreign investment were robust.
For October to December, the economy grew 4.48 per cent from a year earlier, the slowest rate for a fourth quarter since at least 2011, the statistics office said. It revised third-quarter growth to 2.69 per cent, up from 2.62 per cent.