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Vietnam's growth slows in 2016 but remains resilient
[HANOI] Vietnam's economic growth eased off in 2016 but remained resilient in the face of a global trade slowdown and environmental disasters, authorities said Wednesday.
The communist country's GDP picked up in the fourth quarter to clock in at 6.2 per cent in annual growth, a dip from last year's 6.68 per cent, official data showed.
"Although there has been no breakthrough in GDP growth in 2016, it was still a success as the figure is relatively high and stable," Nguyen Bich Lam, director of the General Statistics Office, told reporters in Hanoi.
He blamed the tempered growth on fragile global economic conditions, a punishing regional drought and a toxic leak in central Vietnam that devastated the local fishing and tourism industries earlier this year.
However robust manufacturing gains helped the economy expand in the fourth quarter to 6.68 per cent, up from 6.4 in September.
Foreign investment also shot up nine percent year-on-year, with Vietnam attracting a record US$15.8 billion dollars in 2016.
The Southeast Asian nation has increasingly become a regional magnet for private investment, especially in its growing manufacturing and consumer sectors.
Analysts have hailed it has a bright spot in the region.
Neighbouring Thailand, once the star of Southeast Asia, has by contrast seen its economy stagger under a military junta.
"Vietnam is in a sweet spot right now," Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economic research at HSBC Holdings Plc in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg News.
"Foreign companies continue to invest in Vietnam to take advantage of its highly competitive labour and low cost. The outlook is bright and it is one of the standout economies in Asia." An analysis published by the World Bank earlier this month said strong domestic demand and export-oriented manufacturing gave the country's economy a favourable outlook.
It also hailed low inflation rates, which the government said Wednesday were kept below its target five percent.