The Vietnamese economy grew by 7.08% in 2018, the fastest rate in the past 11 years and beating the target of 6.7%, the General Statistics Office (GSO) has announced.

A breakdown of sectors shows that agriculture grew by 3.76% and contributed 8.7% to GDP growth, while industry and construction expanded by 8.85% and made a 48.6% contribution to the overall growth.

The services sector grew by 7.03% and contributed 42.7%, GSO Director Nguyen Bich Lam said on December 27.

Agriculture’s growth rate was the highest in seven years and came as a result of restructuring efforts in recent years, especially in plant cultivation and aquaculture.

Manufacturing continued to be the main growth driver of the Vietnamese economy, growing by a strong 12.98%, though lower than the figure of 2017 but still higher than during the 2012-2016 period.

Such figures demonstrate that the economy is no longer reliant on the extraction of natural resources when 2018 is the third consecutive year to witness a decline in the mining industry.

Services in 2018 also grew at a faster pace than during the 2012-2016 period with retail, wholesale, financial services, accommodation, catering services and transport all posting decent growth.

According to the GSO, Vietnam’s GDP in the fourth quarter expanded by 7.31% in comparison to the same quarter last year.

The country’s GDP in 2018 was estimated at VND5,535 trillion (US$238 billion), doubling the figure in 2011. The GDP per capita in 2018 rose by US$198 from the previous year to US$2,587.

In 2018 the consumer price index increased by 3.54%, below the target of 4% set by the National Assembly, thanks to the government’s efforts to curb prices.

The GSO said core inflation in 2018, which excludes food, energy and government-regulated goods, rose by 1.48% compared with the previous year.

Headline inflation outpacing core inflation indicates that price increases mainly came from higher food and energy prices and the government’s upward adjustment of medical and educational costs.

In 2019 Vietnam will continue to give priority to macroeconomic stability with inflation targeted at 40%.

Source: NDO