The Hongkong and Sanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) on March 4 released its report on the Vietnam’s macro economy, which asserts that after a tough 2012, the economy has started off on a better foundation and Vietnam is expected to achieve a 5.5 percent expansion of GDP in 2013.

The report spoke of the Prime Minister’s approval of the Master Plan on Economic Restructuring in 2013-2020 which shows a reform mind-set. It said a commitment to price stability over growth is considered positive and should be maintained, but concrete steps to increase efficiency of the economy are still needed.

The deleveraging process continues to weaken demand, it said, adding that the Purchasing Managers Index declined, but inflation slowed and the trade account was in surplus in February.

According to the report, while concrete actions to improve the efficiency and accountability of the state sector are missing, what’s commendable is the willingness to gradually wean off the state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

HSBC’s economists held that the approval of the 2013-2020 master plan, which focuses on restructuring public investment, credit organisations and SOEs, is considered positive in that the governemnt acknowledges the fundamental challenges facing the economy. However, they said, as in the cases of other reforms promised in 2012, it lacks details about implementation.

Meanwhile, HSBC experts believed that Vietnam is indeed making steady progress in building the foundations for more reform, taking the restrained support for inefficient enterprises in recent years as one example, and the stability of inflation and key economic indicators such as the trade balance and the foreign reserves as another.

As such, when it comes to monitoring the country’s progress, evidence of achievement and commitment is more important than promises, they said.-VNA