Vietnam's GDP Growth Slows in First Quarter on Crude Curbs

  • Manufacturing activity rose 7.9 percent in first three months
  • Country's agricultural production hurt by severe drought

Vietnam’s economic growth slowed in the first quarter as the country’s income from crude and agriculture production dropped.

Gross domestic product rose 5.46 percent in the first three months from a year earlier, according to data released by the General Statistics Office in Hanoi today. That compares with the previously reported 7.01 percent pace in the last quarter of 2015 and a median 6.1 percent estimate in a Bloomberg survey for this quarter.

The economy “faces challenges including drops in international prices of crude oil. Any further price declines will negatively affect the state budget this year,” according to Nguyen Bich Lam, head of the General Statistics Office. Vietnam typically releases growth estimates before the end of the quarter, weeks ahead of its peers, and the numbers are often revised later.

State income from crude oil dropped 53 percent in the first quarter, according to a statement from the General Statistics Office.

Vietnam reduced its crude oil production by 3.7 percent to 4 million metric tons in the first quarter from a year earlier as global oil prices dropped, according to Lam. Crude oil this week extended its retreat below $40 a barrel on global markets amid a revival in the U.S. dollar.

Rice production from the Mekong Delta, the country’s largest rice-growing area, dropped 6.2 percent in the first quarter, dragging down total agricultural production by 2.7 percent, according to Lam.

“Unfavorable weather with the ongoing severe drought has hurt agricultural production this year,” Lam said.

  • First quarter exports rose 4.1 percent from a year earlier
  • First quarter imports dropped 4.8 percent from a year earlier
  • Credit growth was at 1.54 percent as of March 21 vs end-2015
  • Industrial production jumped 6.2 percent
  • Manufacturing rose 7.9 percent
  • First quarter money supply increased 3.1% as of March 21
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