Experts skeptical about high economic growth in 2017

Economic experts have cast doubt on last year’s higher-than-expected economic growth of 6.81%, saying it might not have been that high. Speaking at a workshop held in Hanoi on January 16 to launch a macroeconomic report for the final quarter of last year and all of 2017, Nguyen Duc Thanh, director of the Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR), said his institute had calculated the Vietnam Economic Performance Index (VEPI), whose results are not as impressive as GDP growth. VEPI is based on data on indicators like commercial electricity output, export-import turnover and credit growth. The index in quarter four last year was 7.28%, higher than in previous quarters and the same period of 2016, while the officially announced GDP growth this quarter was 7.65%. The fact that GDP growth was way above VEPI is seen as abnormal, Thanh noted. According to economic expert Pham Chi Lan, there is a differential between the figures announced by VEPR and the Government’s General Statistics Office (GSO). When GSO announced economic growth results, many people asked what led to phenomenally high economic growth in the last two quarters of last year. Lan described VEPR’s figures as more subjective. Former Minister of Trade Truong Dinh Tuyen threw his weight behind VEPR’s calculations. He said that his growth forecast for last year was not at all close to what was published by GSO. As estimated by VEPR, economic growth this year might reach 6.65%. Growth is expected at 6.02% this quarter and 7.27%… [Read full story]


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