A view of Can Tho city - an economic hub of the Mekong Delta (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam posted a gross domestic growth (GDP) rate of 5.1 percent in the first quarter of 2017, signalling a slowdown compared to the first-quarter rates of 6.12 percent in 2015 and 5.48 percent in 2016.

General Director of the General Statistics Office (GSO) Nguyen Bich Lam revealed the information at a press conference in Hanoi on March 29.

He attributed the slower growth partly to the year-on-year growth of 2.03 percent in the agro-forestry-fishery sector. The sector’s growth is higher than the same period last year but still the second lowest rate since 2011.

The industry and construction sector increased by 4.17 percent from a year earlier, 2.99 percentage points lower than that in Q1 of 2016 and also the slowest pace since 2011, as the mining industry contracted by 10 percent.
Meanwhile, the services sector enjoyed the best performance since 2012 as it posted a 6.52 percent rise in the reviewed time, according to Director of the GSO’s National Account Department Ha Quang Tuyen.

Export turnover is estimated at 43.7 billion USD in Q1, up 12.8 percent year on year, with big rises recorded in the shipments of electronic products, computers and components (42.3 percent); textile and garment (10.2 percent); machinery, equipment and spare parts (34.6 percent).

About 80.5 trillion VND (3.54 billion USD) of foreign direct investment was registered in the three-month period through March.

Meanwhile, retail sales of goods and services totalled 921.1 trillion VND (nearly 40.53 billion USD), climbing 9.18 percent from the same period last year. The rate is 6.2 percent if price hikes are excluded, lower than the 7.5-percent expansion in Q1 of 2016, indicating slower growth in the economy’s aggregate demand and purchasing power, the GSO said.

This office added in the three months, 26,478 businesses were set up with a combined registered capital of nearly 271.24 trillion VND (11.93 billion USD), up 11.4 percent in the company number and 45.8 percent in the capital year on year. Meanwhile, another 9,271 firms resumed operations.

General Director Lam forecast more difficulties and challenges, instead of favourable conditions, for the remaining months of 2017. It will be hard to achieve the targeted growth rate of 6.7 percent this year if the economy does not make breakthrough from now to the end of the year.

Therefore, the Government, sectors, authorities at all level, the business community, and the entire society must be proactive and flexible to overcome obstacles and realise the socio-economic development targets set by the National Assembly, he added.-VNA