Fall in price of crude oil would positively influence the Vietnamese economy, helping the country gain stronger growth in 2015, commented an article posted in The Diplomat, a magazine specialising for the Asia-Pacific region affairs.

The article, run on December 23, said given the fact that crude oil exports account for about 10 percent of Vietnam ’s state budget, Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh held that at each US dollar drop in the price per barrel would mean a concurrent drop of between roughly 46 USD to 56 million USD in the budget.

The country is now much less reliant on oil exports for revenues than it was before, with the current 10 percent a far cry from the previous 20-25 percent rate, stated Vinh.

The article quoted experts’ opinions as predicting that the impact on the State budget may also be offset in 2015 by other positive effects on economic growth for Vietnam , which exports around 16 million tons of crude oil but also imports 10 million tons of petroleum products annually. Reduced spending on imported petroleum products may mean lower inflation in 2015.

All in all, Glen B. Maguire, ANZ bank’s chief economist for the Asia-Pacific, said the oil price would have negligible impact on GDP growth in Vietnam in 2015 relative to other economic factors. Maguire said he expects that even if the oil price declines by 10 percent for four successive quarters, Vietnam’s GDP will only lose 0.1 percent while inflation would be cut by 2.6 to 2.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank recently raised Vietnam ’s projected GDP for 2015 from 5.7 percent to 5.8 percent, citing loosened credit conditions and improved domestic investment.

Frontier Strategy Group (FSG) predicts that Vietnam ’s GDP growth in 2015 could rise from the current forecast of 5.9 percent to 8.5 percent, and that oil prices stabilising at 50 USD per barrel in 2015 could in fact propel this rate to over 10 percent. FSG attributes this to significant improvements in consumer spending power and business margins.

The Vietnamese government could also take steps to help mitigate potentially negative economic effects. Already, earlier this month the Ministry of Finance raised tariff caps on petroleum products to help offset a state budget deficit.

Other measures could be mulled, including selectively reducing drilling activities if prices fall further as it would reduce the profitability of some oil exploitation for companies like the national oil and gas giant PetroVietnam. This could prove trickier, however, as Vinh, the minister, said that a reduction of oil output by 30 percent would cause GDP to fall by between 0.8 to 1.2 percent in 2015./.