Economy of Vietnam

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Economy - overview: Vietnam is a poor, densely populated country that has had to recover from the ravages of war, the loss of financial support from the old Soviet Bloc, and the rigidities of a centrally planned economy. Substantial progress was achieved from 1986 to 1996 in moving forward from an extremely low starting point - growth averaged around 9% per year from 1993 to 1997. The 1997 Asian financial crisis highlighted the problems existing in the Vietnamese economy but, rather than prompting reform, reaffirmed the government's belief that shifting to a market oriented economy leads to disaster. GDP growth of 8.5% in 1997 fell to 6% in 1998 and 5% in 1999. Growth continued at the moderately strong level of 5.5%, a level that should be matched in 2001. These numbers mask some major difficulties in economic performance. Many domestic industries, including coal, cement, steel, and paper, have reported large stockpiles of inventory and tough competition from more efficient foreign producers; this problem apparently eased in 2000. Foreign direct investment fell dramatically, from $8.3 billion in 1996 to about $1.6 billion in 1999. Meanwhile, Vietnamese authorities have moved slowly in implementing the structural reforms needed to revitalize the economy and produce more competitive, export-driven industries.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $154.4 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4.8% (1999 est.), 5.5% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,950 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 26%
industry: 33%
services: 41% (1998 est.)
Population below poverty line: 37% (1998 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3.5%
highest 10%: 29% (1993)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4% (1999 est.)
Labor force: 38.2 million (1998 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 67%, industry and services 33% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate: 25% (1995 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $5.6 billion
expenditures: $6 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.7 billion (1996 est.)
Industries: food processing, garments, shoes, machine building, mining, cement, chemical fertilizer, glass, tires, oil, coal, steel, paper
Industrial production growth rate: 10.3% (1999 est.)
Electricity - production: 20.62 billion kWh (1998)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 12.95%
hydro: 87.05%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1998)
Electricity - consumption: 19.177 billion kWh (1998)
Agriculture - products: paddy rice, corn, potatoes, rubber, soybeans, coffee, tea, bananas; poultry, pigs; fish
Exports: $11.5 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)
Exports - commodities: crude oil, marine products, rice, coffee, rubber, tea, garments, shoes
Exports - partners: Japan, Germany, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, France, South Korea, United States, China
Imports: $11.6 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer, steel products, raw cotton, grain, cement, motorcycles
Imports - partners: Singapore, South Korea, Japan, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Sweden
Debt - external: $7.3 billion Western countries; $4.5 billion CEMA debts primarily to Russia; $9 billion to $18 billion nonconvertible debt (former CEMA, Iraq, Iran)
Economic aid - recipient: $2 billion in credits and grants pledged by international donors for 1999 and again for 2000
Currency: 1 new dong (D) = 100 xu

SOURCE: The World Factbook

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